Slumping Canucks embrace challenge against Bruins

Slumping Canucks embrace challenge against Bruins

About Slumping Canucks embrace challenge against Bruins

The top two NHL clubs square off on Saturday, with Vancouver trying to snap a four-game losing run.
Vancouver — One might assume that the Vancouver Canucks are in dire need of a visit from the Boston Bruins, who are leading the Eastern Conference and are playing for first place in the NHL rankings, given their longest losing run of the season.

Forward Elias Lindholm of the Canucks disagrees.

Lindholm stated on Friday, “I’d rather take this stretch right now where we are struggling a little bit rather than do it later.” Every club has some difficulties each season, so it’s difficult, but fortunately we’re facing a strong opponent [on Saturday]. Playing the greatest team in the east will be a fantastic test for us.

Slumping Canucks embrace challenge against Bruins

Before their game against the Bruins (34-12-2) on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CITY, SNP, NESN), the Western Conference-leading Canucks (37-16-6) had lost four straight games, all in regulation. The Canucks are intent on finding the form that placed them in the conversation to begin with, so any idea of this game being a potential Stanley Cup Final preview is put on hold. Vancouver is 4-5-1 since the NHL All-Star break, including a 4-0 loss at Boston on February 8.

Playing against that Vancouver club is the only way Lindholm, who was acquired on January 31st in a deal with the Calgary Flames, is familiar with its appearance.

When Lindholm spoke about watching his new squad when it was playing better, he noted, “There’s not a lot of room out there.” The squad put up a lot of effort, and it seemed like there were always people chasing after the puck, leaving little time for moves. We’re a little sluggish right now.

Slumping Canucks embrace challenge against Bruins

After the Canucks’ 5-2 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, coach Rick Tocchet was extremely critical of the team’s effort and execution. However, he converted practice on Friday to optional, with the majority of the starting lineup choosing not to participate. It is hoped that it would boost their stamina following a period of 10 games in 17 days, eight of which were away.

Vancouver is on course to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons and the second time in nine, even with the losing skid. The team is now tied with Boston atop the NHL with 80 points. However, since the All-Star break, their special teams play has declined, and as a result, the depth scoring has dried up, with the third and fourth lines in Seattle unable to produce a shot on goal.
It must be difficult to play against you. Everyone has to embody this identity, according to Tocchet. “We anticipated this would be a challenging section. We would be if we can win on Saturday.500 throughout this difficult phase. We can’t just keep saying, “Well, we’re still in first place,” even if it’s not that horrible. It is imperative that we take a slight stance.
Better special teams would be beneficial. Despite frequently fielding five players that participated in the 2024 Honda (U.S.)/Rogers (Canada) NHL All-Star Game, Vancouver’s power play is 1-for-28 in the last nine games and is having difficulty building momentum or scoring opportunities. Over the last ten games, the Canucks have scored three goals on the power play and given up three goals on short hands.
Tocchet remarked, “We have difference-makers, but we’re deferring the puck a lot right now.” To be honest, an 8-foot pass isn’t always an 8-foot pass these days. We’re going through a tremendously difficult moment, and I believe that pressure is something you have to cope with. It is imperative that you manage the strain.
The penalty kill hasn’t performed much better during the previous ten games, giving up 10 goals on 36 opportunities (72.2%), including four goals on Monday’s 10-7 defeat to the Minnesota Wild, three of which came on 5-on-3 power plays. Since the All-Star break, Vancouver has ranked fourth in the NHL in terms of shorthanded time on ice per game (6:07).
“The stick penalty is excessive,” Tocchet remarked. There is a lot of high-sticking and reaching. Stick penalties must go, and it’s not just about one individual. It destroys momentum since around six or seven males have repeated the behavior. Guys need to be more disciplined because when they sit on the bench, it’s difficult to get a flow going.

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