The Vancouver Canucks won only 43 per cent of their faceoffs in Game 1 against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday, and apparently there is a reason why.
“I would say, what would be logical for us to try and get to is 50 per cent against such a good team,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault told reporters following the team’s practice at Rogers Arena.
“Some of that is sometimes jumping and maybe making more scrums and winning those one-on-ones instead of trying to beat some of those guys clean, the way they cheat and they are allowed to cheat. It makes it more challenging.”
Sharks center and captain Joe Thornton, who won 50 per cent of the 20 faceoffs he took in a 3-1 San Jose win, had a rather succinct response when asked what he thought of someone saying his team cheats in the circle.
“I don’t think we’re cheating,” he said.
Reporter: “If someone says that to you…?”
Thornton: “I don’t listen.”
The Canucks, trailing 1-0 in the series and in a desperate bid to generate some scoring, shuffled the lines at Thursday’s practice.
Ryan Kesler was moved to the wing, and skated on a line with Derek Roy and Chris Higgins, as Vigneault may be trying to load up that second line.
Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again
If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”
There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.
Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.
One team climbing, the other stumbling
With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.
During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.
Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.