Canucks face Stars, look to end power-play woes

As they founder though a lengthy homestand, the Vancouver Canucks have no problem pinpointing the skate-blade sharp difference between winning and losing.

Heading into Sunday’s home date with the Dallas Stars, the Canucks have just one victory through five games of a seven-game homestand, and their substandard special-team play is the biggest reason for that swoon.

On the power play, Vancouver has scored just once with 20 opportunities in those five games, while their opponents have seven power-play markers.

“We know we have to be better on both sides: PK and PP,” defenseman Tyler Myers said. “You can tell guys are working. It’s not that. We’re just missing pucks by a couple of inches here and there, and it’s not going our way right now. We have to keep talking about it, and we have to try and find a way to get better … we’ve got to try and swing the pendulum here.”

Vancouver’s 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday night was a textbook example of those woes. Nashville went 2-for-3 with the man-advantage, while the Canucks were blanked despite five power plays. The failure to score while holding an advantage is a big reason all four of Vancouver’s losses on the homestand have been by one goal.

It’s a surprising lack of execution for a squad that boasts plenty of offensive talent in the likes of Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, Quinn Hughes, Conor Garland and captain Bo Horvat.

“It just comes down to effort, shooting the puck, putting in the effort to get the puck back, opening up another shot, shoot it again. Crash the net,” Boeser said. “We’ve just got to keep it simple. You can’t keep looking for the perfect play. We’ve just got to find a way. … There’s no excuses.”

The Stars arrive on the West Coast after splitting the first two stops on a three-game trip, falling 4-3 in Winnipeg, and then scoring a 4-3 overtime win over the Flames on Thursday. That was a much-needed victory, snapping a four-game skid.

Forward Tyler Seguin said a team meeting on Wednesday helped everybody dial in on their job, which resulted in a victory they hope to build on.

“It was more about how we wanted to play and how we wanted to get our identity back of what our organization is like,” Seguin said. “I thought we did a good job with that (Thursday). I don’t think it mattered too much who we were playing. Our thought process was on us.”

All four of the Stars’ victories have been in overtime this season, but the victory over the Flames saw a few more positives in Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Jamie Benn having an offensive impact after slow starts to the season. Radulov has four points in a four-game point streak and Benn, who scored the overtime winner, has tallied in consecutive games after opening the season with an eight-game scoring drought.

“You knew once he got one, things were going to roll,” Seguin said of Benn’s 10th overtime goal, most in franchise history. “That’s a play that he makes when he’s feeling it, when he’s feeling comfortable again and when he’s feeling that swag.

“The patience, pick your corner, snipe it, game-winner. He’s such a good player, and this is just the beginning for him this year.”

–Field Level Media