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O from the D

by Dave Tomlinson / Vancouver Canucks
Goal scoring has come under the microscope as of late for the Vancouver Canucks, and with 13 goals scored in their last seven games, or seven goals for in their last six losses, it’s no wonder there is concern.

The focus has been placed on the forwards that typically put the puck in the net with regularity, or have so in the past, and have struggled to do that recently. Upon closer inspection, the scoring from the defence has also dried up, with only two goals from the backend since the loss to Los Angeles, in LA, back on the 9th of November. Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis have both scored goals in the last two weeks, but before that the entire defensive core had combined for seven goals in the team’s first 17 games, and the team went 10-5-2 in that time.

More ABOUT TOMLINSON

Dave Tomlinson, radio Colour Commentator for the Vancouver Canucks, and analyst of all things hockey.

Earlier this season the Canucks were one of the top three scoring teams in getting goals from their defencemen, along with Boston and Phoenix. They’re still in the mix in the top 10, but Phoenix now leads the league with 19 goals and Boston has 17 from their D, whereas Vancouver totals 12 goals from their defencemen altogether. When on the power play, the Canucks have received a goal from Jason Garrison in the season opener in San Jose, and then another from Kevin Bieksa, also ironically against the Sharks (during their last visit to Vancouver November 14th). Both goals were the only ones the team would score in those games.

For Vancouver to add additional offence throughout this road trip out East, they’ll need their defencemen to contribute, and the best way would be the use of the half-slapper or one-timer.

A full stationary slap-shot, although obviously a lot harder shot, takes more time to get off, which allows the opposition to get in the lane, and blocked shots can be turned into a rush the other way. With a quick half-slapper, the element of surprise is there for the goalie and it can still have enough steam to get through traffic. The best case scenario is a hard D-to-D one-timer, but aim can become an issue.

With all that being said, it is still incumbent on the forwards to make their way to the front of the net to screen the goalie properly, with their bodies directly in front of the goalie’s sight-line, instead of standing off to the side waving with the stick.

Incremental scoring from the defencemen though, from this point forward, will have to improve for the Canucks to put together a healthy winning streak.

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