Vancouver power-play a joke but it's no laughing matter for Canucks

Publish date:

The Canucks were practising, getting ready for Tuesday night's Western Conference semifinal game against the Anaheim Ducks 10:30 p.m. ET. They were trying to solve the riddle of a power play that has managed just four goals in 58 chances and went just 1-for-8 in Sunday's 3-2 loss that left Vancouver trailing 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Against the Ducks, the Canucks are 1-for-20 with the man advantage. That's a bit of a joke, but no one in the Vancouver dressing room was laughing.

"The power play is winning games for Anaheim right now," said Daniel Sedin, who hasn't scored a power-play goal in 10 playoff games. "We have to get that working. It's going to be the difference in this series."

Throw out the 5-1 loss in the opening game of the series and the Canucks believe they are matching the Ducks five-on-five. Anaheim was 2-for-5 on the power play Sunday.

"We still have a chance to win this," said centre Brendan Morrison. "We have the personnel.

"If we play 5-on-5, I like our chances. Special teams have been the difference so far in this series. Five-on-5 we have played extremely well."

Vancouver's regular season power play followed the same roller coaster ride as the team. After a slow start the power play found its groove after Christmas.

Coach Alain Vigneault said his players have not yet adapted to the tighter, more defensive play of the playoffs.

"They've had success during the season maybe doing something else," said Vigneault. "Right now that something else isn't working. You have to make adjustments in your play.

"We are showing them but it's not easy to form new habits and change things in your game."

So far in the playoffs the Canucks first power-play unit has had Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin playing with Taylor Pyatt. The second unit has featured captain Markus Naslund, centre Brendan Morrison and Bryan Smolinski.

Vigneault hinted changes may be coming for Tuesday's game.

"We're at a point where do we tick with patience and hope guys do what they did . . . or do we change it up and tinker with it a little bit?" he said. "There's not 300 options here."

While the Canucks try to fuel a power play that has run out of gas, the Ducks admit they are lucky to be ahead in the series.

The Ducks came out flat Sunday and were outshot 13-2 in the first period. Anaheim was also guilty of taking too many penalties.

"I don't think we've played our best in the series yet," said defenceman Chris Pronger. "We need to play a lot better in Game 4. It's a pivotal game for us.

"We can get a stranglehold on the series. It's going to take a better effort than we had in Game 3."



NHL Power Rankings: Golden All the Way

Vegas is on top thanks to their two-way ace and their veteran goaltender. Where does your team rank?


Q&A: Sportsnet's Breakout Star Analyst Jennifer Botterill

One of hockey's best and busiest studio analysts caught up with the Hockey News to discuss her evolution on Hockey Night in Canada, competing on 'Battle of the Blades' and much more.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

'Kirill the Thrill' Has Been Exactly as Advertised

Kaprizov has made the Minnesota Wild a better team in the early days of his NHL career. His arrival took a while, but it's been absolutely worth every second.