As fans, we’re almost always optimistic about how good our team is. When they have bad games, we just know they’ll bounce back with good games. After good games, we don’t expect any team to beat them.
This unfailing loyalty was in full display going into game 1 of the Canucks’ first round match-up against the San Jose Sharks. Despite an uneven season – they played some good games in spurts and bad in others – the prevailing thought among the Canucks faithful was that the team would switch the proverbial switch in a favorable match-up against the Sharks.
Somehow, we convinced ourselves that the Canucks’ 0-2-1 record against the Sharks this season doesn’t mean a lick.
And expected the 20th ranked offense in the NHL in the regular season to light the lamp against a top-10 goaltender in Antti Niemi.
And believed that all they needed was the return of Ryan Kesler to the lineup to provide an emotional lift.
Well, as we know, the Canucks failed to score a goal on Wednesday (remember it was the Sharks’ Raffi Torres who put the puck in his own net to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead), and couldn’t muster any semblance of offensive pressure with the score tied in the third period.
For the last week or so, I’ve been referencing the Canucks’ 3-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks from April 22nd. I said all along that this team could be a true contender if they played like they did against Chicago that night. As if, in this shortened season, that was the norm.
But looking back at it, how many of the Canucks’ games this season resembled that Chicago game?
And how many resembled game 1 against the Sharks?
The honest truth is, game 1 was probably like most Canucks games this season – a disjointed offense, very little pressure and a lack of finish.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a fan and am still eternally optimistic that the Canucks will bounce back tonight. But what if what we see is what we get? After all, we’ve seen them play like this all season long.
Maybe we’re wrong and there is no switch to flip. Or maybe there is one, and the Canucks are still fumbling around looking for it.