VANCOUVER — On his second to final shift of the sport, Elias Pettersson tried to wind up with the puck in his personal zone and fell down unchecked. When he obtained up, he acquired the puck again at pace from teammate Quinn Hughes, then heeled his go on the blue line for a turnover.
It’s unattainable to supply context for the way badly the Vancouver Canucks’ finest ahead is struggling, besides to say now we have by no means seen Pettersson look this awkward and seemingly bereft of confidence.
Importantly, he’s additionally bereft of factors, having managed just one at even energy in eight video games this season, and struggling via the final six video games with a complete of no objectives, two assists and simply 9 pictures on purpose. He had one shot on Thursday.
Pettersson isn’t the explanation the Canucks misplaced their second straight dwelling sport 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers. However he’s indicative of Vancouver’s greatest drawback: its finest forwards, who’re purported to be the turbo-charged engine on this crew, are failing to make an impression.
Brock Boeser has only one purpose and one help within the 5 video games he has performed since getting back from a pre-season harm that value him important preparation time. J.T. Miller hasn’t scored in six video games, however after organising a handful of objectives on the Canucks’ season-opening 3-2-1 highway journey, is pointless within the two dwelling video games and simply went shot-less in consecutive video games for the primary time in practically two years.
Buzzsaw wingers Conor Garland and Nils Hoglander, who crammed the offensive and play-driving void on the highway swing, have mixed for zero factors and two pictures on web within the two dwelling video games.
The Canucks have been somewhat higher defensively than final season – though the dreadful opening minutes in opposition to the Flyers have been a flashback, stuffed with odd-numbered rushes – however the offence is a shocking concern early within the Nationwide Hockey League marketing campaign.
The Canucks have scored six objectives of their 4 losses, which is why a crew determined for a optimistic begin to the season is again beneath .500 at 3-4-1.
“Undoubtedly irritating,” Hughes stated Thursday evening. “Everybody within the room needed that one; that was an essential sport. That was irritating. I believe getting scored on within the first minute, it is powerful too.
“We speak about (beginning properly) within the locker-room, so it is nearly going on the market and doing it. If we’ll pinch, we’d like a 3rd man excessive. And if we’ll pinch, we have to cease the puck. We have simply obtained to maintain going and play sharp within the first (interval), and first 10 minutes play laborious, come out excited and able to go. Like I stated, everybody in there desires to win. We have simply obtained to go on the market and attempt to play somewhat bit higher within the first.”
Flyer Sean Couturier scored simply 22 seconds into the sport, on a two-on-one after Canuck defenceman Tyler Myers pinched within the offensive zone with out enough cowl from teammate Bo Horvat. It was the beginning of a interval wherein Vancouver was outshot 15-4. This was after the Canucks’ leaden begin in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild within the home-opener at Rogers Area.
Thursday’s shot disparity reached an embarrassing 18-4 early within the second interval earlier than the Canucks, aided by a few energy performs, lastly began skating with the identical tempo because the Flyers and generated some offensive zone time round Philadelphia goalie Martin Jones.
“We talked about it, clearly, having begin,” Canucks defenceman Luke Schenn stated. “Within the first interval specifically, we gave up a number of odd-man rushes. Some off the impartial zone, generally there is a defenceman pinching. There is not any query that begins are large and, like we stated earlier than, it is powerful chasing video games.”
The Canucks shortly tied it 1-1 at 2:15 of the primary when Hughes jammed some extent shot previous Juho Lammikko’s display screen and thru Jones.
However when Hughes was dubiously known as for interference at 6:48, it took the Flyers’ energy play simply 10 seconds to superbly execute a set play with a financial institution go off the top boards: Claude Giroux to Couturier to James Van Riemsdyk for a tap-in.
Vancouver’s energy play had 5 probabilities within the ultimate 53 minutes however couldn’t generate a tying purpose.
The final turnover of the sport was made by Pettersson, simply contained in the Philadelphia blue line within the dying seconds after Boeser gave him a hand grenade of a go.
“Now we have to be competing and skating for something to work,” Miller stated after Thursday’s morning skate when requested in regards to the wrestle to attain for him, Pettersson and Boeser. “If we wish it to be a simple sport as the road — expert gamers — it should seem like it has to date. We have not spent any time within the offensive zone. I do not wish to be a cliche to say ‘simply do the little issues and simply chip in each puck’ as a result of that is not what makes us good. But when we’re not competing and skating and successful our one-on-one battles, you are going to be chasing the puck all sport, and it would not matter what line you are on.”
Canucks goalie Jaroslav Halak, who regarded shaky early on, made a pile of robust saves when it was 2-1 to provide his crew an opportunity.
Boeser had the very best alternative to tie it, teed up by Garland on a fast three-on-one after a Flyers turnover late within the third interval. However with area on the close to submit, Boeser’s off-wing one-timer went again in direction of the center of the online and hit Jones because the goalie was shifting throughout his crease.
The Canucks’ seven-game homestand continues Saturday in opposition to the Edmonton Oilers.