When the Canucks pulled off seven wins in eight games between October 22 and November 13, there was one thing that was consistent: the Canucks played with energy and an aggressive game of hockey.
In recent games, the Canucks have moved away from this method and are losing as a result. Instead of coming out with all guns blazing, they have played to not lose and seemed content to be carried by the game rather than taking charge and carrying the game.
The team came out completely flat against the Phoenix Coyotes, and when they scored the first goal of the game, there was no push back from the team to try and turn the momentum around.
When the top two lines were unable to sustain any pressure in the offensive zone for an extended period of time, the bottom two lines did not do their job. They are supposed to ignite the crowd, shift momentum, spark the team and generate energy.
Rogers Arena was so quiet last night, those in attendance probably had their ears ringing. That is unacceptable playing at home, and for a team that was supposed to be faster, bigger and grittier.
The third line is suppose to be the Swiss army knife of the team, with the ability to do everything from providing timely scoring to shutting down the opposing team's top lines. The team needed them to get the puck into the corners and bang some bodies, but the entire game they had one meaningful hit to show for from Raffi Torres.
It was great that the revamped line featuring Tanner Glass, Joel Perrault, and Peter Schaefer did not get hemmed in each and every shift, and that they produced the game tying 2-2 goal. But the line is not what a fourth line should be—an energy trio.
An all-energy fourth line is a winning formula. The 2010 Chicago Blackhawks had Ben Eager, John Madden and Adam Burish. The 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins had Pascal Dupuis, Maxime Talbot and Craig Adams.
The 2008 Detroit Red Wings had Dallas Drake, Darren Helm and Darren McCarty. The 2007 Anaheim Ducks had Brad May, Todd Marchant and Shawn Thornton. The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes had Andrew Ladd, Kevyn Adams and Craig Adams.
The common denominator? A speedy, energetic forward flanked by two grinders.
The incumbent fourth line currently consists of three random players thrown together essentially to eat up ice time. You have three incompatible players together: a grinding winger, an AHL Gretzky and a soft winger.
Joel Perrault is an offensive juggernaut in the American Hockey League. He will be always looking for a pass to his winger or a shot towards the net rather than getting the puck deep into the corners to bang some bodies.
Peter Schaefer is a checking winger who likes to use his speed to get into shooting and passing lanes instead of using bodily contact to retrieve the puck.
Tanner Glass is only as effective as his linemates are, and he cannot bang bodies if his linemates do not get the puck deep into the corners.
The Canucks have the grinding left winger and the speedy forward in Alex Bolduc, when he returns from injury, but are lacking a grinding right winger.
The team has options with both Aaron Volpatti and Victor Oreskovich in the system at their disposal. Both are speedy, grinding players hungry for their shot at the NHL and willing to get their nose dirty to remain in the league.