Roberto Luongo not the only Vancouver Canuck struggling to find his game
With just one win in their last four games, the Vancouver Canucks appear to have hit a speed bump—or perhaps a pothole—on their way to the playoffs. It's not enough to derail the team, but losses to teams like Edmonton and the New York Islanders should serve as some kind of reminder that the Canucks have to work a whole lot harder than they're working if they're going to see results.
This is a hockey club that has designs on a lengthy playoff run starting three weeks from now. Last night (March 23) in Edmonton, Roberto Luongo failed to give the Canucks the kind of goaltending they're going to need over their final nine games of the regular season and on into the post-season. See the puck, stop it. It should be that simple, but the routine saves are the ones the Canuck netminder is having the most-difficulty with these days.
And as much as Luongo is the Canucks captain, their leader and their highest-paid player, he can not win games by himself. He needs to be a whole lot better—and considerably more consistent—than he's been recently. But there is now a long list of players who need to raise their games at crunch time.
Kevin Bieksa has been disaster since returning from a lengthy ankle injury. In six games back in the line-up, Bieksa has one assist and is -5. Twice a double-digit goal scorer in the NHL in seasons past, Bieksa is sitting on one goal this season and it came on opening night (October 1 in Calgary). More is expected and more should be demanded of a guy collecting $3.75 million this year and next.
Alex Burrows has gone three games without a point and has just 2+1 in his last seven games. Ryan Kesler has one goal and is -4 in the team's last four games. And even the Sedin twins, despite outstanding seasons, have seen their production tail off recently.
By the nature of the position he plays, Roberto Luongo takes the brunt of the criticism when the Canucks lose. And based on many of his recent performances, he has to accept that he hasn't been nearly good enough. But there are others who have to crank their games up, too. And it has to start tonight (March 24) when the Canucks host Anaheim at 7 p.m. at General Motors Place.