Just five days ago, the talk was about the winning streak of the Vancouver Canucks and how it wasn’t supposed to be happening. After Tuesday’s 9-2 demolition at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, things can settle back down to Earth for all those Internet “realists” out there.
The facts, though, are clear. Vancouver is now through with their longest winning streak in six years and it couldn’t have happened in a more disappointing fashion.
Prior to taking on the Lightning Tuesday, the Canucks had won seven straight games. They hadn’t done that since John Tortorella was behind the bench.
But against Tampa, they went in for a little more history by allowing nine goals against – something they hadn’t done since January of 2014.
Oh, and guess who the coach was? If you said Torts, give yourself something nice.
Tortorella’s Canucks blew it 9-1 against the Arizona Coyotes about a month after that legendary seven-game winning streak in 2014, so at least Vancouver scored two goals Tuesday. That’s, uh, something.
Honestly, these things happen. While losses, especially blowout losses, seem indefensible in the serious, serious culture of hockey, the Canucks can and will find a way to bounce back from this ugliness and get on with the business of righting the proverbial ship.
But in a sport where the only accomplishment that matters is the most recent one, this is tough.
“It will take a bit to process obviously,” centre Jay Beagle said. “It’s still kind of too fresh. That’s a tough game to be a part of; I’ve never really been a part of a game like that.”
It’s important to deal with the emotion of such a loss, sure, but it’s also important to get back to basics. This is just the first game of a five-game road trip for Vancouver and the Florida Panthers are up next Thursday. Putting some positive energy back in the room is as critical as winning the next game, if not more critical.
Tampa blasted Vancouver in large part because they were able to score four goals in three minutes in the second period. Prior to that, this was a 2-2 contest that could’ve gone either way. The visitors even jumped out for a 1-0 lead to start the game after Elias Pettersson put one past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
“It’s 2-2 with five minutes left in the period, and then all of a sudden it’s 6-2,” Canuck coach Travis Green said. “Sitting in the locker room after the second period, you could really tell how down they were. We lose a couple of faceoffs, they score. We lose a couple of pucks, and they score. A team like that, they’re going to make you pay when you make a mistake, and they did.”
Vancouver is now 23-16-4, good for fifth in the Pacific Division. Over the course of the winning streak, they snagged victories over the Rangers, Blackhawks, Flames, Kings, Oilers, Penguins, and Golden Knights.
After the Panthers, the Canucks draw the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild and Winnipeg Jets before landing back home to face the Coyotes a week Thursday.
Photo credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports