Canucks' offensive strategy often a defensive liability
Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu (11) reacts after scoring during the second period against the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center Jan 5, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA. (Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
What started off as a few late — spoil the shutout — goals has suddenly advanced into the dangerous — no lead is safe — category.
And the better teams in the Western Conference have done their homework. They know if they push this Vancouver Canucks team while trailing by a goal or two good things will happen.
For starters, the Canucks offence will extract themselves from the opposition zone, regardless of how much time is on the clock. The strategy appears to be back up and assist the defence and join them in weathering the third period storm.
Despite some outstanding goaltending of late, the Canucks, more nights than not, end up the ones weather-beaten.
Recently I found myself staring at the NHL's Western Conference standings marvelling at how dominant certain teams have been at home.
The top five teams in the West, the ‘Hawks, Ducks, Blues, Sharks and Kings, have a staggering combined home ice win/loss record of 88-11.
The longer I’m transfixed on those standings the more it became obvious the Canucks could simply find a way to stay healthy during the second half and continue to get solid goaltending for one of those final three playoff spots that are there.
The good news is the Canucks might actually benefit from the unfamiliar label of underdog. The bad news, they'll have to win and win often in some of the stingiest buildings in the league.