NHL Playoffs 2012: Canucks Won't Repeat as Western Conference Champions

Brian LangenContributor IApril 14, 2012

VANCOUVER, CANADA - APRIL 13: Dwight King #74 of the Los Angeles Kings shots wide of the net as goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks scrambles to make a save during the first period in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Arena on April 13, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

If I told you last week that there would be a 2-0 series lead as the games move to Los Angeles, you probably would have believed me. If I told you that the Los Angeles Kings would be the team holding that lead, you probably would have told me to pull me head out of inappropriate places. 

Either way, here we are heading to the Golden State with the Vancouver Canucks in a deep hole. Does this mean that the Canucks will be swept by the Kings? No, but I do think it is safe to say that we’ll be crowning a new Western Conference champion this year.

In two games the Canucks have been absolutely abysmal. Quite frankly, the list of things they are doing right is ridiculously shorter than the list of the things they’re doing wrong. 

Here’s what the Canucks are doing right: Roberto Luongo

If it weren’t for him, the first two games wouldn’t have even been close. Luongo made 35 saves in Game 1 and 22 saves in Game 2, but it wasn’t the quantity, it was the quality. Vancouver has given up an astonishing number of prime scoring opportunities each game. Whether it’s a blown defensive zone coverage or a brutal turnover, Luongo has been called upon to make a number of highlight reel saves.

So, if the goalie that’s been under scrutiny all year long is the only thing going right, how bad is it for the Canucks? In a nutshell, pretty bad.

The power play has been abysmal, going a combined 0-for-10 while giving up two shorthanded goals. The penalty kill hasn’t been much better, surrendering three goals on 12 opportunities. Alex Edler and the rest of the defense have been an endless supply of turnovers. Ryan Kesler, Alexandre Burrows and Maxim Lapierre are more focused on being disturbers then actually contributing offensively. Last, but certainly not least, there’s no timetable for Daniel Sedin’s return and Henrik has looked lost without him. 

If the Canucks don’t figure it out soon—and by soon I mean tomorrow—they will be making a very swift exit out of the playoffs. Even if they do make improvements after their first two pitiful showings, there is one external factor that won’t go away. That being a man by the name of Jon Quick who is sporting a casual .946 save percentage after Games 1 and 2.

Let’s dream big here and pretend that the Canucks take two from the Kings at Staples Center and manage to pull out the dramatic comeback; where does that leave them? It leaves them with at least one, maybe two series against defensive juggernauts like St. Louis or Nashville and as we’ve seen with Los Angeles, this just doesn’t match up well for the Canucks.

I hate to say it, but this year doesn’t look like it’s going to be Vancouver’s year either.