If style points were awarded in the playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks would have an abundance of them, especially for their work on the power play in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks converted only one of seven man advantages in the series opener, but if nothing else, their scoring attempts on six missed opportunities were pretty.
Unfortunately, pretty and hockey don’t go well together.
Power play after power play, Vancouver had Chicago hemmed in its own zone swiping at the jugular, only to make an extra pass or two to try and set up a highlight-reel goal.
That’s not how things work in the playoffs; ugly goals are all the rage.
"We definitely tried to be too pretty a few times," said Alex Burrows, who received over two minutes of power-play ice time on the night.
"They pressure a lot and we have to move it quickly, and when we get a shooting lane, we have to take that shot. We just have to keep it simple and get shots through."
Vancouver got eight shots on goal in 12:46 of power-play time with Pavol Demitra’s first-period one-timer the only shot that managed to sneak past Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin.
Henrik Sedin said the lengthy time off the Canucks had prior to starting the series made converting on special teams a lot harder than it should have been.
Instead of simply taking the open shot, the Canucks were over-thinking the process and passing the puck off.
"We had a lot of power plays in the early part of the game and you could tell there’s a lot of rust," said Sedin, Vancouver’s second-leading playoff scorer with five points.
"Our passes weren’t good, our decisions weren’t good, but I think it’s part of being off for 10 days because we’ve haven’t been in those situations."
The upside to making the extra passes was that the Canucks got a good look at how the Blackhawks react on the penalty kill, which will only help Vancouver moving forward.
"They’ve got good reads, guys are paying the price and getting in shooting lanes, they like to force a lot and press a lot," Burrows said.
The Canucks were 1-for-6 in the first game against the St. Louis Blues in the opening round, but finished 4-for-18 with 4 of their 11 goals coming via the power play. That outlines just how important it is for Vancouver to bury the chances they have against Chicago.
Not only was every Vancouver player from Game 1 accounted for at practice, there was even an extra to be seen. Jeff Cowan, who was called up from the AHL on Thursday, skated with the Canucks for the first time.