Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/16/12 at 12:54 PM ET
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
There was no sign this was coming. No sign at all six days ago that either the Vancouver Canucks or the Pittsburgh Penguins were in danger, or would quickly lose their first three games of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and find themselves on the precipice.
Even those who predicted the Pens and Canucks would lose in the first round foresaw long, drawn out series.
But then, nobody saw that the Canucks wouldn’t be able to score - five goals in three games against L.A., seven goals in their last seven playoff matches - or that the Penguins wouldn’t be able to defend. Pitt coughed up an unearthly 16 goals against in losing Games 2 and 3 to Philly, and while Marc-Andre Fleury has been stinky, he’s hardly been provided with a wall in front of him.
Vancouver, meanwhile, can’t get it going without Daniel Sedin, which would be an excuse if not for the fact they couldn’t get it going on the attack with Daniel Sedin in the latter part of last spring’s Cup final either. All that talent up front and nobody can find the net, while the players acquired by GM Mike Gillis in trades along the way this season - Zack Kassian, David Booth and Sammy Pahlsson - have added nothing to the attack.
Barring a spectacular comeback by either club, we’ll soon be looking at the changes coming in both cities. In Pittsburgh, it will be whether its time to move on from the trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeny Malkin and Jordan Staal. In Vancouver, there will be questions about head coach Alain Vigneault, and which of goalies Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo will be moving on to a new home this summer.
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