by PuckStopsHere on 05/04/13 at 05:52 PM ET
The Vancouver Canucks have played two games against the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs so far and lost them both. The second game was an overtime loss. While there are many reasons to explain their losses - luck being a major one - one significant reason that I haven't seen discussed is the lack of faith the Canucks have in their fourth line. Of all players who have two games played in the playoffs Andrew Ebbett and Dale Weise have the least playing time. They are Canucks fourth liners.
Ebbett has averaged less than four and a half minutes a game and Weise less than six minutes. This shortened bench forces the rest of the Canuck forwards to increase their playing time and is hard on their stamina. A team with stamina issues typically allows more goals at the end of games and that usually causes them to lose those games. Yesterday they allowed a tying goal in the final minute of regulation and then lost in overtime. In game one they lost with three unanswered goals in the second half of the game (two in the third period). These are symptoms of stamina issues brought on by a needlessly shortened bench. The Vancouver Canucks would be well advised to play their fourth line more - perhaps using players they can trust in more situations then Ebbett and Weise. It is a simple strategic move that will counteract some of the problems they have seen in the first two games of the series.
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