Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 4/17/12
Skating a Fine Line

With every win the Vancouver Canucks move one game closer to lifting Lord Stanley’s mug, but with every loss the City of Vancouver moves one step closer to riot 3.0.

The Canucks know how important every last game can be, so after every win and loss NWSB will outline the reasons the Canucks are either destined for Stanley Cup glory or hockey riot hell.

Hello again hockey fans. After a long day of drinking to get over a tough loss in Los Angeles the Flying V is back to discuss the 16 (!) reasons the Canucks won’t be continuing this season past the first round.

Quick Killing It

Jonathan Quick broke out with a sensational shutout performance on Sunday night, stealing Game Three from the Canucks in a 41-save performance for the Kings. If Quick continues to play like he did to begin the season Vancouver can consider theirs cut short, there no coming back opposite Vezina-worthy performances four games in a row.

Richards a Rock

Mike Richards continues to dominate the matchup at second line center, forcing Ryan Kesler to flop around the ice in an apparent attempt to win the series with drawn penalties.

If only Kesler was aware of Vancouver’s power play percentages during these playoffs.

Brown’s Breakthrough

Kings captain Dustin Brown has carried LA throughout the series, and was at it again with devastating hits and hard-working play in the offensive zone on Sunday. Brown laid out Henrik Sedin and tallied the game-winning goal in Game Three, setting up for a potential sweep Wednesday at the Staples Center.

Will Hank benefit from Dank in Game 4? (Photo - Jenn Vinnick/NHL/Getty Images)

Willie Winning

After moving down the coast to play for the Kings, defenceman Willie Mitchell has proven his worth against his old team through three games.

The former Canucks blue liner has been consistent for Darryl Sutter, working a patented poke-check and boxing out forwards away from a focussed Jonathan Quick.

Scuderi Solid

Along with Mitchell, veteran defenceman Rob Scuderi has been solid for the Kings throughout the opening three games of the series. With over 60 playoff games under his belt it is clear why the Kings acquired the rugged defenceman immediately after the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Stanley Cup win a few years ago.

Momentum

Vancouver’s fall from grace has been gigantic, and with the tough task of a four-game comeback ahead of them the team appears defeated heading into Game Four in Los Angeles.

The Kings have never been up 3-0 in a series before this Sutter took control this season, and the Canucks have never come back from that same score in a playoff series.

Edler Eludes Logic

If a comeback was to be in the cards for the Canucks, the play of defenceman Alex Edler would be at the top of the list of things to change in Game Four. Edler has been absolutely awful so far during the series and has to show a different side of himself Wednesday in Los Angeles if the Canucks are to have any chance at playing again at Rogers Arena this season.

Depth Downplayed

Heading into the series between the Canucks and Kings Vancouver’s playoff depth was arguably one of the winning characteristics of the team.

After three games the Kings have dominated the depth matchup, taking advantage of Vancouver’s bottom-six while keeping Henrik Sedin and company under control.

AV SOL

After starting Cory Schneider for Game Three in Los Angeles Head Coach Alain Vigneault doesn’t have many cards left to play heading into an elimination game in Los Angeles.

AV simply has to motivate his players to execute to perfection in Game Four before the Canucks find themselves on a long flight back to Vancouver.

Goaltenders Giving Their All

If there is one positive to take out of this opening round, it has been the play of both Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Vancouver’s goaltending duo has given the team a chance to win in all three games, but without any consistent scoring to speak of both Luongo and Schneider have been stuck with tough losses against Los Angeles.

Can’t Score, Can’t Win

In what many considered a must-win game Sunday in Los Angeles the Canucks couldn’t force a single puck past Jonathan Quick, leaving Cory Schneider to prolong the scoreless tie as long as he could. The game was eerily reminiscent of Vancouver’s shutout loss to the Bruins in which they also failed to find the score sheet in an obvious must-win.

Diving To Distraction

Many would expect playoff veterans to know better, but the Vancouver Canucks have continued to dive and embellish calls throughout the series to little success. Rather than focussing on the flop the Canucks must work on winning every puck battle regardless of the referees’ point of view.

What player is going to win puck possession when the slightest push sends him to the ice like Bambi?

Kesler Striking Out

Can Kesler amp it up when it matters most? (Photo - Jeff Vinnick/NHL/Getty Images)

Ryan Kesler hasn’t been half the man he was during last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs, struggling to find fifth gear opposite Mike Richards and the Kings. Kesler has been guilty of diving to draw calls throughout the series, rarely with any success.

Vancouver’s second-line center has to be the hammer, rather than the flail in Game Four for the Canucks to have any hope.

Sedin Struggling Solo

It’s simple: Henrik Sedin isn’t quite the same player he can be with brother Daniel Sedin on his wing. The pair have been playing hockey together for their entire lives, and while separated during this series Henrik has looked lost, unable to find his brother in the disjointed cycle game.

Positive Reinforcement

Henrik Sedin may not make another pass to his brother all season, but Daniel Sedin will be in Los Angeles Tuesday to practice with the team for what could be the last time all year.

Sedin flew into Los Angeles late on Monday and has been cleared for contact, opening the possibility of a Game Four return for the forward.

Daniel Doubtful

Down three games to none, a team’s top-scorer is always a welcome addition to the lineup, but at what cost will Daniel Sedin lace them up on Wednesday?

After watching several other NHLers struggle through long-term concussion problems a potential early return all for the sake of one series terrifies me.

Are there any other fans that suspect concussion protocol is a myth in during the post-season?

CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE VANCOUVER CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY ON NWSB!

© Kevin Vanstone for North West Sports Beat, 2012. | Permalink | No comment |

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Post tags: 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Alain Vigneault, Alex Edler, Canucks, Cory Schneider, Daniel Sedin, Darryl Sutter, Henrik Sedin, Jonathan Quick, Kings, LA Kings, los angeles kings, Maxim Lapierre, NHL Playoffs, Rob Scuderi, Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, Staples Center, vancouver, Vancouver Canucks, Vancouver Canucks Blog, Willie Mitchell

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