Canucks Game Day: Avenging loss to L.A. Kings that’s like gum on shoe

The Kings looked playoff-ready in a dominant 5-1 win at Rogers Arena on Thursday. They executed a 60-minute effort. The Canucks didn’t.

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Vancouver Canucks (39-17-7) at Los Angeles Kings (31-19-10)

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When and where: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Crypto.com Arena

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TV: SN Pacific. Radio: Sportsnet 650

The buzz: Coaches often abide by The 90-minute Rule.

Players have that timeframe to savour victory or get over a loss. For the Canucks, the sting of a telling 5-1 setback to the Kings on Thursday at Rogers Arena is like gum on their shoes. Hard to remove.

It wasn’t just one thing, it was everything. The opportunistic Kings looked playoff-ready and executed a 60-minute effort. The Canucks didn’t.

Frustrated head coach Rick Tocchet even reached for the thesaurus and pulled out the term “egregious” to summarize a series of critical errors, especially in puck battles and slow line changes. By definition, egregious means “extraordinary in some bad way — glaring or flagrant.”

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“I don’t think we gave them a lot, but what we gave them was egregious,” said the bench boss. “Sometimes, our body position, and I hate to say mind-boggling, but for some reasons our backs are to the wall. You’ve go to be in front.”

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Blake Lizotte, left, and Jaret Anderson-Dolan of the Kings harass Elias Pettersson during Thursday meeting. Photo by ETHAN CAIRNS /THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Kings limited time and space and clogged up the neutral zone like Interstate 405 at rush hour. The Canucks couldn’t enter the offensive zone at pace and dumping pucks in played right into the Kings’ game. The manner in which they defended down low and boxed-out was textbook stuff.

The good news is that the Canucks learned something Sunday in Anaheim.

They played a perfect, low-event road game in a methodical 2-1 victory over the Ducks that was more about grinding — especially in the third period with Anaheim pressing — than putting on a show to open a three-game road trip.

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GOT A PREDICTION FOR TONIGHT’S GAME? TELL US IN THE COMMENTS.


The history: It wasn’t just the Thursday loss to L.A., the Canucks have a history of not measuring up to the Kings. L.A. has collected points in six of the last seven meetings with Vancouver (4-1-2) dating to Dec. 30, 2021. In their last meeting at Crypto.com Arena, the Kings blanked the Canucks 3-0 on April 10. They locked it down and Joonas Korpisalo had to make just 20 saves for the shutout.

The hope: Defenceman Carson Soucy practised Monday, and with the recalled Matt Irwin returned to Abbotsford, it signals a return of the club’s best defender. Soucy has missed 17 games with a hand fracture suffered when he blocked a Mitch Marner shot Jan.20 against the Maple Leafs.

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The fear: Failure to launch. The Canucks had 31 shots Sunday. They had another 21 blocked and eight that missed the net. “We’re getting shots blocked too much,” said Tocchet. “Our defence has to move laterally. And since the All-Star break we’ve missed the net the most.”

The top guns: J.T. Miller was tied for sixth in NHL scoring heading into play Monday with 83 points (30-53), which includes nine power-play goals and six game-winners. Elias Pettersson was 11th with 75 points (29-46) and Quinn Hughes was 14th with 71 points (12-59). He continues to lead all blue-liners in scoring.

The wounded: Canucks: Tyler Myers (lower body, week-to-week), Dakota Joshua (hand, week-to-week, IR), and Guillaume Brisebois (concussion, week-to-week, LTIR). Kings: Adrian Kempe (upper body, game-time decision), Mikey Anderson (upper body, day-to-day), Viktor Arvidsson (lower body, IR), Carl Grundstrom (lower body, IR), and Pheonix Copley (undisclosed, IR).

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The quote: “I just like the team effort. It wasn’t like we had a lot of outstanding guys. We grinded it out.” — Tocchet on 2-1 win at Anaheim.

The lineup: 

Hoglander-Pettersson-Suter

Mikheyev-Miller-Boeser

Podkolzin-Lindholm-Garland

Di Giuseppe-Blueger-Lafferty

Hughes-Hronek

Soucy-Cole

Zadorov-Juulsen

The prediction: The Canucks rely on their top-rated, even strength scoring — the Kings sport the second-best penalty kill — and grind out a rare 3-2 win in L.A.

(FAN FORUM: Do you have a specific question for a player? Pass it along to @provincesports and we’ll get it in a future edition.)

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reference: theprovince.com

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