| The Vancouver Canucks fell to the Boston Bruins 1-0 in Vancouver last night. The team showed up at GM Place in full force this morning for practice before boarding a plane for Los Angeles. They will play back to back games tomorrow and Friday against the Kings and the Anaheim Ducks. |
While the players put in a strong effort yesterday, generating 31 shots on goal and some prime chances, they admittedly have to figure out how to win games without the bounces in their favour. Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas received praise from both teams for his impressive play that held Boston's lead.
“We’re not in a position to sit back and think we played a decent game,” said Mattias Ohlund. “We know how tight the standings are. You have to find a way to win these games. Now or in April, it’s still two points. Especially at home, playing a tired team, you’ve got to find a way to win. We have to find a way to score some goals. That’s the bottom line.”
Head coach Alain Vigneault promoted speedy forward Mason Raymond to the Sedin line during practice today and had Steve Bernier playing with Kyle Wellwood and Taylor Pyatt in an attempt to find the offence that they all believe is within the team’s capabilities.
“Obviously we need to find a way here to get both Daniel and Henrik to contribute offensively and right now one of our best offensive personnel has been Mason,” said Vigneault. “He’s been getting a lot of chances, with his skating he’s been getting to open ice, so we’ll try that and see what we can come up with during the games.
“A lot of their chances lately have been coming off the rush. Last night their two best chances were Daniel on a breakaway and then a two on one after that. A lot of their chances do come on the rush and maybe they will be able to create more and then from there because of that rush chance instead of getting into a cycle mode right away, maybe with Mason’s speed they’ll be able to go to the net a little bit quicker.”
Vigneault does not think that Bernier has been holding the Sedins back from accumulating more points. Rather he feels that Bernier has been playing well and done exactly what they expect from him, going to the net and playing physically.
“It’s another opportunity,” said Bernier. “I’m a team player and I want to win. I’m playing with two good players in Pyatt and Kyle Wellwood right now. So, I’m going to try play a very good game offensively and defensively and hopefully we’re going to win the two points.”
Vigneault compared the Sedins, who have only registered three points between them in the last five games, to the fluctuating stock market, and looks forward to them turning things around. He noted that while they have not been putting the pucks in, they have been generating chances.
“I believe that the twins with everything they’ve brought to the forefront, I believe when we look at the stats at the end of the year, they’re going to have a point or more a game," said Vigneault. "I’m hoping that the turnaround here, when they get on a roll, is a lot sooner than later.”
Roberto Luongo was hardly outplayed by Thomas, he matched his play with some incredible saves, letting in only one goal. Unfortunately that goal which came in the first period on a delayed Canuck penalty was the only one that the Bruins needed to win the game.
His team in front of him were able to get a lot of pucks into the offensive zone, but were unable to slip any past Thomas as Boston collapsed back into the shooting lanes to hold onto their 1-0 lead. Despite the lack of scoring the Canucks captain, who seems to have found his A-game, sees a lot of potential.
“Last night was probably the most comfortable I felt all year, they were a team that shot the puck a lot,” said Luongo. “Pretty straight forward so that helped me out a lot as far as getting into my groove and feeling good and making some good reads.
“I think we’re definitely better than last year, obviously our record right now is not indicative of that. But, we’re doing some good things, it’s just a matter of cleaning a few little things in our game and making sure we get rolling all together as a team.”
Luongo took a Milan Lucic shot to the jaw in the third period and was slow to get up, but played on and brushed it off after the game.
The team believes if they continue working hard in practice and generating as many scoring chances as they did yesterday, eventually they will begin to convert them into goals.
OTHER NEWS: Rick Rypien who has not played a game since October 17th in Buffalo will have surgery tomorrow evening for his sports hernia injury. Pavol Demitra is still recovering from a fractured rib cartilage suffered during the October 19th game in Chicago.