VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 29: Cody Hodgson #9 of the Vancouver Canucks lays a hit on Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals during the first period in NHL action on October 29, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
In the film business, there is a term for the people that get their names "above the title". Its a designation for the biggest stars. Tonight, this game was chock full of those kind of stars. From Alexander Ovechkin to Daniel and Henrik Sedin to Roberto Luongo.
This was a marquee matchup, and one the Canucks had been talking about looking forward to. They knew that the fans and media might have been, to steal a line from the Tom Cochrane song "Avenue A", "you'll forget about me, when your name is on the marquee" when building up this one. The Province said they could get beat by the Capitals 8-0 if they did not watch it. They were up to the challenge. So, in honour of a potential playoff matchup, I'm going back to the numbers ratings from the playoffs. Stars or the "character actors", lets see who stole the show after the break.
Well, that was a fun game to watch, was it not? Not one the coaches will love afterwards, and one in which the opposition always had the threat of coming back, at least until the third period. It was the kind of game that can propel the Canucks along on their six game road trip. They beat a very good team tonight. ( note ; 1st time in a while pulling this out, don't be too tough on the numbers! )
Henrik Sedin - How many times did you see one of "those" passes? You know the ones. The pass to a spot a guy is filling, or just one where you just wonder how he saw that. He had a goal, (the GWG ) and assist, a +2 and was 9/16 on draws. 9.4
Daniel Sedin - Hank's younger brother had several chances to get on the scoresheet more, on the power play and 5 on 5. Only 1 assist, a +2, and only credited with one shot, but his line, and himself, were strong on the boards and at both ends most of the night. 8.8
Alexandre Burrows - Burr was at his agitating game more than his scoring game, having only one shot. ( missed another ) A hit and a block, he was solid on the PK that went 3 for 4. His line was out versus Ovie's in the first, but it was the Kesler line with that task in the second and third. 8.65
Ryan Kesler - #beastmode was his setting tonight. In addition to being a thorn in the Great 8's side, after going 4 of 7 in the first, he turned it on, not losing another one the next two periods, going 10 of 13. 2 assists, including a deft poke in close to give Henrik the empty netter. 4 of 5 shots hit the net, a block, and was at his speedy and abrasive best tonight, in only 16:59 TOI. 9.5
Cody Hogson - The rookie seemed to struggle a bit early, but it certainly did not affect him in the offensive end. Looked to be starting to figure out the two burners he has on his line now. Finished a -1, but had 3 shots, 2 hits, and went 3 for 7 in the circle. Best period was the third. 8.65
David Booth - maybe his best game as a Canuck, even though you can see he has more to give. 1 assist ( on some great work along the boards that led to Higgins goal ), 6 shots on goal ( 1 missed ), but maybe gypped by the stats guy with only 1 hit. Dude has a ton of speed. Its coming Booth fans. I see a breakout game on the roadtrip in his immediate future. 9.25
Manny Malhotra - He is still not quite "there", but this was a better game for Money. Started out a little slow in the circle, going 2 of 5 in the first, but finished up 7 of 12. No shots, a -1, and only 1 hit. He earned a very nice assist on Lapierre's second with some fabulous work on the boards. 8.4
Jannik Hansen - Another guy that was getting frustrated with his slow start, and had a solid game. A slick assist on Higgin's second, and a far more abrasive and speedy game than he has had so far this season. 2 hits and 1 shot in only 12:26 TOI. 8.7
Christopher Higgins - Had himself a pretty #beastmode game himself. 2 goals on 3 shots.1 hit, +1, and had 14:14 TOI to lead his line. He made the third line better all by himself. Can't give him a ten because I am giving one to the guy below! 9.99
Maxim Lapierre - I am giving him a perfect ten folks. I don't care. Consider that Mad Max's line had virtually the same TOI as the third line ( his 14 min was higher than Money's 12:14 ). He had 2 goals, a +3, 6 shots, missed 2 more, ( both tied for the team lead ). Had 5 hits to go with his 7 of 13 at the dot. 10.0
Dale Weise - The guy just keeps getting better. Displays his hands more and more as he gets comfortable ( my fave was coming out of the corner in the third, slipping it through the defender's legs and getting the shot off. So slick. 1 assist, +1, 2 shots, and must be dating the stats guy's daughter to only get credited with 1 hit. 9.2
Aaron Volpatti - I have a soft spot for the Revelstoke native. ( hell,some of my family still lives there, sue me! ), but he had himself one of his better games as a Canuck tonight. Ended up with 5 hits ( 3 on one memorable shift ), which is his job on the team. +1, and finished up with 12 minutes. 9.15
Alexander Edler - The second 10 of the evening. What a night for the Silent Swede. 2 goals, and 1 assist ( and could have had more. He was jumping into the play all night ). Tied for team lead with 6 shots( missed 2 ). A +3, 2 blocks and 1 hit. 10.0
Dan Hamhuis - A very solid game for the top line killer. Had to battle with Backstrom and Ovechkin all night ( when Ovechkin and Bieksa were not continuing their game long battle ) Led the team with 24:03 TOI. Had 2 assists, 1 shot, and a block. 1 minor penalty from a shockingly high score. 9.5
Kevin Bieksa - Also had 2 assists and a +2, but his most memorable shifts were against Alexander Ovechkin. The guy had 2 goals tonight and was one of Washington's best players, but between Hamhuis and especially Bieksa, they kept him in check quite well. 3 shots, 1 hit, and 1 block. 9.2
Sami Salo - 1 assist and a +1, he was a threat on the power play all night for the Caps to handle. You could see their penalty kill was leaning that way, which gave the Twins and others more time and space to work the puck in Newell Brown's system. No shots credited, but I would bet of the 18 blocks for the Caps, several were from SaloBombs. 8.99
Keith Ballard - Tough to quantify his night. He was a team worst -2 tonight, but had 2 shots and 3 hits tonight ( my fave a hip check while pinching in the first period ). Yet, in his just over 15 minutes, AV had him on with the Sedins a fair amount. He made some nice plays. He might be the best passer for them, and he had several rushes tonight that were very good. No one gets under an 8 on a winning night, but let us say an 8.25 .
Alexander Sulzer - Der German only got on the stats sheet with a first period minor for a high stick on Brouwer ( it was a penalty, but I liked what he did. Brouwer was poking at his goalie's hands and he went in there after him. He just got the stick up! ) Finished an even, and his 15: 54 was more than his partner's ( 15:11 TOI for Hips ) 8.4
Roberto Luongo - OK. He could have probably had 2 or 3 of those goals when he is locked in. ( No one was getting the Ovechkin power play goal. Helluva shot! ) The penalty shot was a tough one that he had, until he did not. But the first was just a lucky goal. Maybe the guys in front could have gotten to Ovie's stick there, but that was just one of those things, you know? The Johansson goal though? I did not like that one. Again, a helluva shot. But from there? Maybe he was thinking pass or something, but I did not like that one. I did, however, LOVE his play in the third. Robbed Ovechkin on a huge glove save, and made several others. People that call him "shaky" tonight are going to go down the "negative narrative" road anyhow,(perhaps ) but this was a game that the other team could have came back in yet again, but did not due to the superior goaltending. He locked it down in the third, and had 28 saves at the end of the night ( that .875 save % tonight won't impress anyone though ) Let us say, 8.75 and be done with it.
So, there you go. The Canucks were the better team tonight ( 43 shots to 32 , 25 to 11 in hits, and 39 to 26 on faceoffs ) and deserved to win. Onto the road now for 6, starting with the Lames on Tuesday.