IN FOCUS: How Did Calgary Pull off the Upset?

Once again, the Canucks failed to live up to high expectations. They were defeated by their division rival, the Calgary Flames early in the first round. What hurts the most about this loss was that the Canucks had dominated the Flames for the past seven seasons. They were at the bottom five last season and haven’t made the playoffs since Trevor Linden retired from playing hockey. This victory by the Flames will have Calgary fans celebrating like they won the cup, while leaving the Canucks fans frustrated. After the huge roster renovation by Benning and Linden, this early exit definitely did not live up to the hype. But how did this happen? The Canucks were clearly the better team on paper, and they also dominated the Flames in regulation. It was because of inconsistent goaltending, keep their lead, and playing well on the road. These three reasons were why the Canucks had such an early exit in the playoffs.

Goaltending seems to be a big problem for Vancouver. I don’t understand how this team cannot succeed with Ryan Miller protecting the house. Every year in the playoffs, no matter whom they have, the goaltender will always crack. It’s almost like a curse. Luongo and Schneider are also both former Canucks who screwed up under pressure. Now, Lack and Miller are the latest victims of this “curse”.  When the game is on the line, they are all deemed to make a mistake. In game one, Eddie Lack allowed the Flames to score a game winner in the final seconds. In game six, Ryan Miller blew a three-goal lead. I’m not saying it’s his fault, but you allow five goals in 33 shots. You do the math; it’s not a very good performance. The Flames outscored the Canucks throughout the series. They have scored a total of 21 goals, while the Canucks tally only 14. The poor goaltending in away games contributed dramatically in this loss.

Goaltending seems to be a big problem for Vancouver. I don’t understand how this team cannot succeed with Ryan Miller protecting the house. Every year in the playoffs, no matter whom they have, the goaltender will always crack. It’s almost like a curse. Luongo and Schneider are also both former Canucks who screwed up under pressure. Now, Lack and Miller are the latest victims of this “curse”.  When the game is on the line, they are all deemed to make a mistake. In game one, Eddie Lack allowed the Flames to score a game winner in the final seconds. In game six, Ryan Miller blew a three-goal lead. I’m not saying it’s his fault, but you allow five goals in 33 shots. You do the math; it’s not a very good performance. The Flames outscored the Canucks throughout the series. They have scored a total of 21 goals, while the Canucks tally only 14. The poor goaltending in away games contributed dramatically in this loss.

Vancouver did have a lot of opportunities, but they couldn’t capitalize on them. Leading early in the first period in game six, they allowed the Flames to make a three-goal comeback. Leading by one in game one, the Canucks, once again, allowed another Calgary comeback.  These two games could’ve easily been won, but they weren’t consistent enough with their game. It’s like flying an airplane for them. Once they take off and fly steadily, Vancouver turns on autopilot and takes it easy. Then they fly into a storm and everything goes sour. When Calgary flies ahead, the Canucks just can’t catch up.

Lastly, Vancouver’s inability to win on the road was a large factor in their boot from the playoffs. Their last playoff victory on the road was in 2012. That is just a terrible statistic. If you can’t win on the road against Calgary, you don’t even deserve to go on to round 2. Lets say that they win the series, but no way they could win in the Honda Center. Anaheim fans will be harsh, and do you think that Vancouver can tune out the Blackhawks fans in the conference finals even if they outlast the Ducks?

 

It was an amazing run for the Canucks no doubt, but they still have a lot to work on this offseason if they want to go deeper into the playoffs. Benning drafted some really great rookies in the offseason, and their impact will be huge next year. Some things to work on is playing with an empty net, improve penalty kill and find out if Ryan Miller is our guy or not.