HockeyBuzz.com - York Newbury - Canucks Gameday: Game 4 (2024)

After a stalwart defensive game on Friday night, the Canucks are up 2-1 in the series. It was a bend-don’t-break mentality from the boys as they were hemmed in their zone for a good part of the evening. It’s an early puck drop tonight, so we’ll see how they respond and adjust after yesterday’s practice. Tocchet wants the boys to work a little harder to close their space:

"Their breakouts and their neutral zone, I thought they got after it and we didn't," he said Saturday. "I didn't feel we moved our feet to work back to space. And when you do that, you're disconnected and all of a sudden they look good. Credit to them, they looked good, but I think we made them look good.

"I think we have to work 5 yards harder to our spots, that will help our breakouts, our neutral-zone forecheck. It will make us connected. Five yards will make us connected."

It will be another tight-checking and rough game, but the boys will be better prepared after getting the first road game under their belt – and the first true playoff road game for a lot of these players.

“I'm still trying to get a grasp of all the emotions,” Boeser said after practice. “The first couple of games at home, there were a lot of emotions, especially that first game. And even in the second game, momentum shifts and much tighter hockey, harder hockey. I'm just trying to wrap my head around that. Then we come here and for a lot of us guys it's the first time playing a road playoff game.

“We're just getting a feel for all of that. We have to look at it (with) a learning mentality and learn as we go, and deal with the emotions as we go.”

Keys to the game today:

1. Attack, not defend: the Canucks were on their heels most of the game. They defended really well, but their offence was lacking its punch with just 12 shots on goal.

"Just playing it safe last game, first game on the road in the playoffs, you're just a little tentative," Soucy said. "You want to be safer than kind of be aggressive and make that mistake. But we're such a good skating team, we have to be more in their face and that takes a confidence level that you work at the whole season. That's when we're playing our best, when our forwards are skating forward, tracking hard. That allows us to have good gaps.

"We defended too much and I don't think we were at our best skating-wise in taking away their time and space as the game before or Game 1. I think a big part is us getting on that forecheck and getting our feet moving."

2. Keep the special teams advantage: it was the reason they won game three. Two goals on the power play and no goals on the penalty kill.

The PK has been terrific this series and all year against the Preds, so it has to sustain that level for the team to have its chance. Staying out of the penalty box would also be helpful.

The PP looked much better when they brought Lindholm in and moved Boeser back to the net front. He took a shot from Miller in practice the other day, leading to some speculation, and this funny anecdote after practice yesterday:

“He's done that a few times over the years,” Boeser explained. “That's why I usually don't screen in practice because sometimes I think he's going to shoot blocker and then he doesn't and he'll shoot glove and when I move he hits me. But he said he was sorry. A few years ago, if he would have hit me, he wouldn't have said sorry.”

3. Slow down the Nashville forecheck: the Preds caused a lot of problems on the forecheck on Friday. Turnovers, panic plays, and hits. Hughes and Hronek were targeted relentlessly, and they took a lot more licks than they’re used to. It showed up in their play too, as Hughes especially was not his dominant self. The forwards will need to do a better job slowing down the Nashville forwards, and doing a better job supporting the D on their breakouts to quickly escape the zone.

Puck drop today is at 2:00 PST.

(Quotes from MacIntyre, and NHL.com)

HockeyBuzz.com - York Newbury - Canucks Gameday: Game 4 (2024)
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