ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 29: Cody Hodgson #9 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts to his goal for a 2-0 lead over the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center on December 29, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
#MilkHotDog. Yeah, I don't know what it means either. Evidently, Kevin Bieksa's teammates put $300.00 on the board if he could work the phrase into his pregame with SNET. As usual, Bieksa is bang on. ( thats his teammates in the background laughing.) I forgot to #embracethehate myself last night, what with all the "shenanigans" that went on. He is right of course. Laugh at it, have some fun with it.
The team certainly had some fun tonight in front of an appreciative
home road crowd. They roared out to a 4-0 lead, withstood a plethora of penalties pretty well in the second, and skated away with a solid road win. Your Vancouver Canucks are now tied with the BlackHawks for the NHL lead with 50 points. How can you not smile?
Observations and whatnot after the break.
NHL ( more clips than you can shake a camera at )
- The opponent tonight, is obviously still in a tail spin. The Big Line was not even together tonight, which was pretty good for Bobby Ryan, skating with Teemu Selanne. It was the best line ( with whomever Boudreau was putting out there with them ) tonight. Ryan had a goal, 4 shots, and was dangerous quite often tonight. The problem with this team tonight was the giveaways. They were ahead in that stat 6-1 after one, 12-5 after two, and 18-10 at the end. Ryan Getzlaf led that stat with 4, and was simply the worst of the big three tonight. His average shifts were somewhere between 75 and 95 seconds, and he seems to be playing a selfish, me first kind of game. You know Bruce Boudreau noticed, as his captain was absent from a fair amount of the third period power play time. It is ugly in Anaheim right now.
edit - I forgot to mention him initially, but Perry was at his usual self again tonight. I am pretty sure that the first penalty was a dive, as Hamhuis is just not that strong. He had a few shots, and made a few passes, but, like the Canucks mainly did against most of the other team tonight, they held him and the rest of the Ducks to the outside, or beat them to the rebound after yet another Cory Schneider save. Forwards and defensemen made numerous smart plays in front of their own net tonight.
- Contrast that with the top line for the visitors tonight. After not being the dominant force they usually are, the Sedin Twins and Burrows had it going tonight. Henrik's early goal was the product of their usual offensive zone dominance, winning a faceoff, this time with Burrows being first to the puck in the corner. He made a nice pass to Henrik Sedin in the slot, and he had all day ( the Ducks have problems on the back end too. Their defense looked bad on that one, and the them continued throughout the night ) to snap it high glove to beat Jonas Hiller. A goal just 1:11 in certainly set the tone.
- The second goal for the
home visitors was a prime example of how much stronger Cody Hodgson is this year. Dale Weise made a nice play to get the puck up to him, but he made Toni Lydman look silly twice. Once on the shot, and then again on the rebound, as he just overpowered the supposedly bigger and stronger defender to get to the puck and beat the goaltender ( again, high glove ). His coach even made sure to address the "minutes conundrum" that some like to talk up. On this team, with a Hart guy as the #1, and a Selke guy at #2, there are 20 minutes to spread between the next two guys. AV was most complimentary of his play tonight, but you have to see his point. He made the most of his 16 shifts and 11:27 TOI. Personally, I am very happy with having him as our #3 centre.
- After one period, the Canucks had a 13-8 edge in shots, a 13-9 edge on the draw, and seemed to be the faster team to pucks all over the ice. Hansen had the team lead in shots after one with 3, Keith Ballard had 2 hits. AV used Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre with Mark Mancari tonight very well situationally, putting them out in defensive zone situations, and against any and all lines. Both Lappy and Money were 3/4 on draws in the first, with Malhotra playing 6:15 in the first. (1:14 PK )
- It was not all about the offense tonight though. Teemu Selanne took a turnover and forced a huge save from Cory Schneider. It was one of several that made it very tough for the Ducks to get into a game where they were down early.
- Except that it WAS all about the offense shortly afterwards, when Ryan Kesler made a rush down the wing, held the puck very well against checking from Fowler, and then, as soon as the young defender turned, made a very nice pass in front to Mason Raymond, who got to the spot at the exact right time to put home the puck on a goal that was not the goaltender's fault, but definitely was the fault of the guys in front of him.
- It is funny. If Cory Perry or Selanne score on the two grade A chances they had shortly after that, who knows? Schneider made a huge save on the former, and Alexander Edler made a great sprawling play on the latter to prevent the Ducks getting any kind of traction. It would prove even more important not long afterwards when ( on yet another odd man rush ), the Canucks came down on a 3 on 1. The play was all started by Burrow making a great play at his own line, Bieksa found Henrik, and he found his brother. You had to feel for Hiller, knowing that if he plays the shooter too much, the pass is coming. This time the pass was not coming, and Daniel had all day to pick his spot and make a shot over the pad and under the blocker for the 4-0 goal that would end Hiller's agony, as Dan Ellis took over between the pipes.
- The penalty kill then had their time to shine, as the Canucks got into trouble. First it was Ballard on a trip. That was being killed fairly well, with Burrows getting a breakaway from centre ice in. He went to his "move" and Ellis got just enough ( he would have scored if he got it a little higher ). Hamhuis then took a slightly soft cross check on Palmieri to put the team down two men for 26 seconds. It looked like the chance for the home team to get into the game was given to them on a platter. ( and Ryan missed an open net on it!) Enter Jannik "Honey Badger" Hansen with a simply awesome block to send the puck out and kill the rest of the two man advantage. Hell, the Canucks had as many good chances on that power play time as the guys with the PP!
- For all the good things Kevin Bieksa did this game, he made a pretty egregious turnover to give the Ducks a marvelous chance. Teemu hit Ryan, he blasted it, and beat Schneider, but not the post. The puck went off the goaltender and would have rolled in, but for a wonderful reaction by Schneids, who covered the puck as it danced along the line. Part of the puck went over the line. Part is not enough. Bieksa cleared one off the line as well after a save, so it all evens out right?
- The Ducks used the power play time to even up the shots after two at 21 apiece, and came up in the faceoffs to only trail that stat 20-19. The Canucks also blocked 10 shots ( to 3 ) after two periods. Daniel Sedin led the way with 4 shots, Henrik Sedin led the way in faceoffs by being 7/10 after two, And both Ballard and Alberts ( both +2 ) both had 2 hits to lead that stat.
- The Quackers, after Bruce Boudreau probably peeled the paint between periods, at least did not give up. With the assistance of another penalty, this one on Bieksa ( it could have been Hansen ) for a check on Perry, gave the Ducks yet another power play. While they did not score on it ( a great save on Perry by Cory Schneider had something to do with that ) only two seconds afterwards Perry found Ryan for a goal he deserved with his play tonight.
- Finally, at the 9:58 point of the third, a Duck did something that was judged to be illegal ( a stick sandwich to Dale Weise by Lydman ) and the #1 power play got its chance. They were very good at moving it around, and looked dangerous, with Daniel getting a great chance that was denied. The second unit looked almost as good as the first, but they were not able to cash it in.
- Young Nick Bonino made a nice shot to make it 4-2, and it even gave Shorty pause to refer to the last time these two teams played, when the Canucks almost came back from a 4-0 deficit to fall just short at 4-3. But just about 1:40 afterwards, this happened...
Wow. We get to see it all the time, but man, those Sedin Triplets can throw it around. Even though the Ducks got a late power play to fumble about on, they were no match.
- It has to be said again. Those fans that traveled down there were awesome tonight. I fully expect them to be loud and proud in LA on Saturday, but tonight? They were singing Oh Canada at the end, they were giving the Canucks a standing ovation as the game wound down, and they were even jeering the refs when calls were not made, and got the "HIL-LER chant going early on as well. Well done guys. Well done indeed.
- The final stats seemed closer than the game was. The shots were 32-31 for the visitors, they won the faceoff battle 30-24, ( Henrik Sedin led the way at 11/14 draws won ) Daniel Sedin led the way with 6 shots, and the 1st line had ; Daniel - 2 goals, 1 assist, Henrik - 1 goal, 2 assists, and Burrows - 2 helpers. Edler, even with the late penalty, had himself a game. An assist, 3 shots, 2 blocks, and a team leading 3 hits. Lots of guys had a good game, but those were the stars for me tonight.
Here's the highlight package...
Pretty good stuff. Another solid win. Looking forward to a hopeful sweep of the trip with a win over our friends the Kings. They hate us too right? I know there are a few milk hot dogs on that team, for sure!