|Photo courtesy of Anthroscribe – Flickr.com|
The Canucks seemed to be peaking in time for the playoff run, winning four out of six on a recent road trip and riding an eleven-game home winning streak. They had just passed the Calgary Flames for the Northwest Division lead, a position many thought the Canucks were destined to hold onto given the Flames’ recent lacklustre play.
Three games, three losses (one in overtime). The Flames, thought to be in the rearview mirror, have passed them again. The Blackhawks are now three points up for the fourth spot and home-ice advantage. Roberto Luongo, their captain and most prominent player, who had seemed to have regained his all-star form, has let in 14 goals over that span. Perhaps most telling: Willie Mitchell, who has been their most consistent defenseman all season long, went -1, -2, -1 in those games. He had had only one minus game since January 20.
There were some signs of trouble on the aforementioned road trip: Their losses against the Coyotes and the Blues were of some concern at the time, and the win against the Wild was no work of art, either. So, maybe we should’ve seen it coming.
Certainly, one contributing factor in the past three games is that they’ve been digging themselves a hole: The Canucks have been down at least 2-0 in every game. They did come back against the Ducks (and were up 4-2 at one point in that game), but trying to do so every night has been resulting in desperate, oftentimes undisciplined play — something that definitely should not be encouraged at this time of year.
Maybe it’s too much to make out of three bad games. Maybe the distraction of the Carly Bragnalo tragedy has been taking its toll, or some tired bodies are needing some rest. Whatever the case, the coaster rolls through the Calgary Flames tonight. Which direction it ends up going afterwards is anyone’s guess. Hold on tight.