The Vancouver Canucks will play their last game of the season on Monday night when they will be defeated in regulation time by the Dallas Stars. The Stars will move onto the next round from being down three games to one. As far as 3-1 comebacks go, this one was rather routine.
Let’s the examine the facts here. The Canucks have been shutout three games in this series and have not scored a goal in over six periods, dating back to Linden’s winner in the fourth game. The teams have played two full games since then. You don’t win a playoff series by not scoring, especially for three games. Obviously when you don’t score for that long, everyone is accountable but you have to look at the players that you expect to score. The Sedins have one goal and an assist each. Markus Naslund also has the same numbers. Three goals in total over six games from the top players on your team does not set yourself up for success.
The Canucks have also put themselves in dificult situations. They have been very fond of taking penalties, especially in bunches. These aren’t even good penalties where a hook might have saved a goal. Most of their infractions have been errant sticks in the face or an undisciplined clear over the glass. Let us also not forget the ability of the Canucks to take penalties while on the powerplay. The same powerplay that has yielded only one goal in over 20+ attempts.
So how is it that Vancouver is even at a game seven? We can only look at goaltending as the reason. Roberto Luongo has been their best player in this series, giving his team a chance to win every single game thus far. Had he been fortunate enough to be playing with just a moderately powerful offense in front of him, the series would have been over already. Think of Ottawa who scored 3+ goals in four of their five games with Pittsburgh.
On Monday night, we’ll see a Dallas team with all the momentun on their side. They’ll be playing to win for a full sixty minutes and every one of their players knows they can finish the Canucks. Vancouver on the other hand, will be playing not to lose, fearful to not let the collapse be complete. Success rarely falls to the meek so I expect a near blowout in the score. There will be indeed sorrow in Vancouver tomorrow night.