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 bought up, he obtained the puck again at velocity from teammate Quinn Hughes, then heeled his go on the blue line for a turnover.
It’s unattainable to offer context for a way badly the Vancouver Canucks’ greatest 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 by means of the final six video games with a complete of no targets, two assists and simply 9 pictures on objective. He had one shot on Thursday.
Pettersson isn’t the rationale the Canucks misplaced their second straight dwelling recreation 2-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers. However he’s indicative of Vancouver’s largest drawback: its greatest forwards, who’re imagined to be the turbo-charged engine on this group, are failing to make an impression.
Brock Boeser has only one objective and one help within the 5 video games he has performed since coming back from a pre-season harm that price him important preparation time. J.T. Miller hasn’t scored in six video games, however after establishing a handful of targets 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 almost 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 internet within the two dwelling video games.
The Canucks have been a little bit higher defensively than final season – though the dreadful opening minutes in opposition to the Flyers have been a flashback, crammed with odd-numbered rushes – however the offence is a shocking concern early within the Nationwide Hockey League marketing campaign.
The Canucks have scored six targets of their 4 losses, which is why a group determined for a optimistic begin to the season is again beneath .500 at 3-4-1.
“Positively irritating,” Hughes mentioned Thursday night time. “Everybody within the room needed that one; that was an essential recreation. That was irritating. I feel getting scored on within the first minute, it is powerful too.
“We discuss (beginning nicely) within the locker-room, so it is nearly going on the market and doing it. If we will pinch, we want a 3rd man excessive. And if we will pinch, we have to cease the puck. We have simply bought to maintain going and play sharp within the first (interval), and first 10 minutes play arduous, come out excited and able to go. Like I mentioned, everybody in there desires to win. We have simply bought to go on the market and attempt to play a little bit 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 ample 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 an excellent begin,” Canucks defenceman Luke Schenn mentioned. “Within the first interval specifically, we gave up numerous odd-man rushes. Some off the impartial zone, typically there is a defenceman pinching. There is no query that begins are large and, like we mentioned 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 referred to as for interference at 6:48, it took the Flyers’ energy play simply 10 seconds to fantastically 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 possibilities within the closing 53 minutes however couldn’t generate a tying objective.
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.
“We now have to be competing and skating for something to work,” Miller mentioned after Thursday’s morning skate when requested concerning the wrestle to attain for him, Pettersson and Boeser. “If we wish it to be a simple recreation as the road — expert gamers — it’ll seem like it has up to now. We have not spent any time within the offensive zone. I do not need 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 profitable our one-on-one battles, you are going to be chasing the puck all recreation, and it does 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 group an opportunity.
Boeser had one of the 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 put up, Boeser’s off-wing one-timer went again in the 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.