There’s playing aggressive, and then there’s what the Vancouver Canucks have recently become during this four-game losing streak.
On Saturday, the New York Rangers took full advantage in a lopsided win in Vancouver. It was an onslaught on Ryan Miller, who faced plenty of two-on-ones, three-on-ones and even some four-on-ones in Vancouver’s fourth loss in this skid. Yeah, not good for the Canucks, who got off to a terrific start following a season of change in the front office and behind the bench.
But their last four games, not necessarily textbook performances on the defensive side of things, has prompted head coach Willie Desjardins to change things up. And it does hurt having Dan Hamhuis, one of Vancouver’s steadiest blue liners in its top four, out of the lineup with a lower-body injury, suspected to be an injured groin.
The coach isn’t changing the system. Just tweaking it, as his team figures out a fine line between good aggression, making good pinches to keep possession in the offensive end, instead of the kind that leads to the plethora of odd-man rushes like what occurred against the Rangers.
“That one time, you watch the clip, and it should’ve been a five-on-one but one of their guys went and changed so it was only a four-on-one,” defenseman Luca Sbisa said Tuesday.
“So that’s not good. You’re definitely playing too aggressive. But it’s not a lack of effort. It’s lack of smartness. We were eager to play back here … after being on the road for a long time and we didn’t use that energy in the right way.”