Travis Green isn’t looking to make adjustments after the Vancouver Canucks’ 5-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Sunday.
It was only Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round. The Canucks did not perform like they did in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, when they defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-1 in a best-of-5 series, or the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, when they defeated the defending champion St. Louis Blues 4-2 in a best-of-7 series.
“This was probably our worst game so far, so it’s a little bit different as far as adjustments,” the coach said. “A lot of times you’re making adjustments, you’ve played a good game, or you maybe haven’t quite been on, and you’ve also played a team three or four times. This is the first game of the series.
“I think first and foremost, we just have to play a lot better if we want to respond, and we’ve talked to our group a lot over the season and we’ll talk to them again. I’ve got a lot of belief in our group. That hasn’t changed. Whenever we’ve challenged them and asked them to respond, they’ve always given us an effort. It’s one game. We’ll meet with our group again tomorrow, and we’ll be ready to go next game.”
Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is in Edmonton, the West hub city, on Tuesday (9:45 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).
Teams that win Game 1 are 485-220 (68.7 percent) winning a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series, including 7-1 in the first round this season.
“I just don’t think we were good enough tonight,” Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler said. ‘They have a very good team, but so do we. But I don’t think we got up to our standard today, and you know what? That’s Game 1. We’ve just got to look forward to Game 2, and we’ve got to be better.”
The Canucks struggled with the Golden Knights’ speed and size, and they were outshot 39-26. Green pulled goalie Jacob Markstrom in the third period after he allowed five goals on 34 shots.
“He’s the coach,” Markstrom said. “We’ve got to come ready to play, and I’ve got to be better for Game 2.”
Vancouver’s top five scorers in the postseason — forward Elias Pettersson, forward J.T. Miller, defenseman Quinn Hughes, center Bo Horvat and forward Brock Boeser — were minus-11 with three shots on goal combined.
Green said the Canucks needed to be better with the puck.
“I thought we missed some pucks that we’d normally have, where we’d normally transition and get up the ice, where we didn’t,” Green said. “We just skated over it and bobbled it, and they ended up playing in our zone. That happened quite a bit tonight.
“And they’ve got a quick team. And that might have been part of it. Maybe their speed caught some of our players by surprise a little bit, where they turned over some pucks, but I definitely think we should have been better with the puck, and we’ve got to play a lot better if we’re going to win this series.”
Bottom line: To the Canucks, the reason the loss was so lopsided was less about Vegas and more about Vancouver.
“They have a good team all over, but we’ve just got to play our game better,” Edler said. “We’ve shown that we are a very good team, and we’ve just got to show that in Game 2.”