The Vancouver Canucks seem to be falling apart again, but this time their collapse isn’t coming from an overwhelming outside force–it’s coming from within.
This past Sunday, the Canucks lost Ryan Miller, their starting goaltender, to a leg injury suffered via friendly fire. Fellow Canuck Jannik Hansen flew into Miller during the second period of their game against the New York Islanders.
As a result, the Canucks must now depend on Eddie Lack, Miller’s backup, to keep the peace in Vancouver.
Also, just as a precaution, the Canucks called Jacob Markstrom from AHL Utica.
Before Miller’s untimely injury, the Canucks were busy trying to fight off two surging division rivals in the Los Angeles Kings and the Calgary Flames.
The Kings are currently riding a seven-game win streak and look to take down the Canucks and get closer to solidifying a spot back in the playoffs.
As the defending champs and also being the team that somehow won four straight against the San Jose Sharks in the first round after falling in an 0-3 hole, the Kings know a thing or two about resilience in hard times.
And it’s that mentality that should have Vancouver even more on the ropes than they already are.
As for Calgary, they do not pose as much of a threat as the Kings do to the Canucks’ success, but if allowed to grow and get out of hand then they could definitely become an issue.
Vancouver’s other issues seem to stem from their home games–they’ve got nearly the same record at home at they do on the road–and to be a great team in the National Hockey League your team needs to be able to dominate in front of a home crowd.
Especially come playoff time.
If the season were to end today, the Canucks would be stuck playing the Los Angeles Kings in the very first round. Right out of the gates, the Canucks would have to prove that they belong by trying to get through the hardest team in professional hockey.
The Kings currently own the lead of the season series (2-0 so far), with two more games coming in March and then the season series concludes in the first week of April with a game in Vancouver.
Time for the Canucks to lock and load.