Game 2 Report Card ; It's Not You, It's Me

The Urban Dictionary gives the definition of  that phrase as  "I no longer find you attractive, but I can't say that because then I'll feel guilty. Oh, by the way, good riddance."

Whether it is just because of the unique and bi-polar-ness of Canuck fans, there will be some Luongo haters and doubters popping up in the next couple days.  The Twins are going to get the same business from our some times overly demanding fanbase.

The truth is, the team would not have gotten to overtime without Luongo, and could have won it a couple times after regulation because of the Twins.  That they did not ( the Bieksa save especially ) has to do with Pekka Rinne and his weird Finnish bullshit.   Your ESPN numbers.  The NHL (click highlights there, if you must...)

Let's see if we cannot make some sense out of this game...no guarantees though!

 

Tonight, it was the visitors that were the aggressors. They won the face off battle, 51 to 38.  They outhit the Canucks, but only slightly, 41 to 34.  They outshot the home team 46 to 33, and of that, 36 to 15 in regulation, before the Canucks turned it on and outshot them 18 to 10 in the two overtime periods, most of which they looked like what we have become used to seeing.

For all that, the Preds were horrible at giving up odd man rushes, in both regulation and O/T. That was Canuck speed and checking as well, but with better "execution", as AV referred to afterwards, you have to think they would have gotten more out of this game.

The overtime(s) were redemptive, in that I saw the Sedins doing more against the same match ups they had all game in the extra fun time hockey. The Predators did well on them tonight 5 on 5,in regulation at least, and the Canucks only got one chance to try the power play.  But there were several Sedin rushes that showed the "Hart B2B" form in sudden death. Samuelsson even looked better back there. The Preds are a very good team.  If they can shut them down for an entire series. Mad props.

But let's just say I have my doubts on that.  Even when Trotz gets last change.  They are pretty disciplined at changing on the fly anyhow and with the Sedins, its not really about the match up. Its what they do with it. Sure, you would like to get them away from Suter and his Johnny Canuck looking buddy, but they have scored on them more than once in the regular season anyway. Part of that is playing off the third guy holding up the puck, or with him taking two defenders in front.

You know that AV liked some of what he saw with Hansen there, and Higgins brought the "solid along the boards with the puck" thing when he was there. But FU Sweden needs to get the FU going.  Maybe someone else goes there... maybe he puts Burrows back there for a bit to get the Twins going.  Maybe the Mayans had a point, and we better win the #$%^ing thing before its too late!  Well, maybe not that last one, about the Mayans anyhow.

Bottom line, the Twins and Sammy makes the Canucks a better team, taking advantage of the chemistry Kesler has with both Burrows first and Raymond later on in his development and growth as a player to give them two lines that force defensive pairing match ups to change like today. Weber and Suter were out versus the Kesler line in the third and beyond. Two lines playing well, and match ups are the problem of the other guy anyhow.

 

we don't get hung up on labels like "1st line" around here ;

 

A funny thing happened while Ryan Kesler was taking another step as a hockey player in round one. Since being reunited with his Terror Twin buddy Alex Burrows, and the speedster Raymond, the line has become a revelation.  I mean, by mid game tonight, Trotz was working his line up to get Weber and Suter out against them instead of the Twins ( he went back to that match up in overtime, but thats another question. )

Ryan Kesler might just have some Canadian in his bloodline somewhere. Or Livonia Michigan is where Canadians move to when they move to Detroit.  In addition to more superlative penalty killing that resulted in the only Canuck goal, his line was a force all night.  Its unfortunate that they were the line beaten on the winning goal, it seems almost criminal that Kes and his linemates carries the minuses tonight.  Apart from being a -1, he had 6 shots on net ( missing 4 others ), an assist on Burr's goal,1 blocked shot, 3 hits and 5 takeways in 33:43 TOI ( :46 PP/ 4:37 PK ). That led all forwards.  He won 20 of 38 draws, though the one on the winning goal might bug him tonight. Eight is a lucky number, sooooo... 8.8/10.

Alexander Burrows must still be running on adrenaline, for sure. After scoring 2 in the clinching Game 7 earlier this week, he went to the hospital and welcomed his daughter into the world.  You would not really know it tonight.  He scored on the penalty kill by not giving up on a play, and he played most of the night the same way.  The -1 of course, but had 4 shots on Rinne, a block, a takeaway, a giveaway and a full rich 30:37 TOI ( 1:19 PP/4:18 PK ) on the most dangerous line for both teams. 8.8/10.

Mason Raymond has been pretty awesome since being put on that line too.( still needs to cut to the net more ) His speed is better suited for playing with them, as they are both almost as fast as the Cochrane Alta. native. He must have been coming on a change on the lucky Suter goal, as he was a team worst -2, but that does not seem fair either.  2 shots, 1 takeaway and 1 give away in his 30:35 TOI ( 1:19 PP/ 2:04 PK ) 8.1/10.

 

Orskoldsvik? You in the big time now son ;

 

The Sedin Twins. You would think the past two seasons, if not the ones before them, would buy them a little slack. And maybe it is a credit to how far they have come that we demand such high standards from them on the ice every time out.  Tonight, they were not able to come through.  Yes, we know its tough in the playoffs.  Yes, there has not been many points from our identical superstars for a while.  It is just different in the playoffs.  Not only do you play against the very best defenders and defensemen the other team has to offer most times, but they spend hours and hours scheming how to do it in meetings as well.  They do need to battle through it, however.

Tonight, the Twins had a hard time getting their game going in regulation. They certainly got it going in the overtime periods.  So, just for them tonight, two scores. One regulation, one O/T.

Henrik Sedin did not have his best night statistically. He finished 12 for 31 in the circle.  Legwand was the man that did most that damage.  That allowed the Pred's checking line to control the puck on the Twin's line.  His 31:25 TOI (:41 PP/:09 PK ), he only had 1 shot, 1 missed. 1 block. 1 takeaway and 1 the other way.  The coach tried some other guys in the 2nd and 3rd periods ( mainly Hansen and Higgins on those shifts, but Samuelsson was back with them in overtime ) In that O/T, the Twins line was excellent.  Their slick passing and movement set up Bieksa for what should have been the winner.  6.9/10 reg. 8/10 o/t.

Brother Daniel Sedin filed the scoresheet a little better, but could not beat Rinne, and had trouble fighting through some checks early on.  Like Kesler, he had a team leading 6 shots ( also like Kes', he missed 4 more ). 1 takeaway as well in 29:08 TOI (:41 PP/:09 PK ) 7.1/10 reg 8/10/ o/t.

Mikael Samuelsson had another night he must surely think back on as not good enough.  He struggled in regulation, but did finish the game with 4 shots( missed 1 ), He was rotated down in the lineup in regulation by his coach ( though, he was reunited with the Twins and much better in overtime ). The penalty he took was a somewhat questionable one, but he was only credited with 1 hit. Had 25:57 TOI ( :41 PP ) He needs to be better in the physical part of the game, and other areas of the game. 6.4/10 reg 7.8/10 o/t.

 

I thought they were supposed to be a checking line ;

 

Perhaps we should have trusted the management team when they traded for Lapierre and Higgins.  Since Manny Malhotra's tragic eye injury, the team did experiment and try new things out.  I kind of like what they have settled on.  More proof, when the coach wanted to get the Twins going in regulation, it was from this line he pulled the guys to do it, with both Hansen and Higgins playing with the Sedins.

Maxim Lapierre has been wonderful in the playoffs.  Tonight, his line was once again forcing the play against tight checking. In his 20:55 ( 1:29 PK ) he tallied 4 shots (missed 1)  ( just a little higher on that chance in regulation, and he gets to be the hero...damn! ) and had 6 hits. Only 4 of 11 in the circle though. 8.5/10

Chris Higgins was solid most of the game as well.  In his 24:01 TOI ( 1:19 PP/ 1:20 PK ) he had 1 shot, and missed 2. he blocked 2, was credited with 2 hits, and 1 takeaway.  The Predators battled much better tonight, and made it tough. But Higgins was one of the guys that brought it tonight. 8.2/10.

Jannik Hansen will be getting a raise in the offseason this year. He is another that just works hard. He did battle the puck an little tonight, with only 1 shot on net. He blocked 1 as well in his 23:02 (2:04 PK ), and while they did not score, of course, he did make the Sedins look better when he joined them in the third.  I honestly think AV put him back with the regular linemates because that line was working better. 8/10.

 

my 4th line is better than your 4th line ;

 

Since I started doing these Report Cards, I have tried to hone how I do it. While the stats and breakdowns help, I have taken notes as well.  Tonight, the 4th line for the Canucks was out for about seven of their 11-12 shifts against the other team's fourth. They were the better in about six of those seven ( Halischuk was the GWG scorer, but he was out in place of Tootoo on the 3rd line at the time ) head to head shifts.

Tanner Glass, for instance. 1 block, and 1 takeaway was all the stats guy saw him do in his 8:11 TOI over 12 shifts. He won 2 draws out of 4, and while the sheet says no hits, together with his linemates, they pressured their opposite numbers most of the time in the offensive end. 7.9/10.

Victor Oreskovich actually filled the sheet a bit worse in his 11 shifts and 7:04 TOI.  The official sheet says he missed 1 shot, and thats it.  But it was a strong play to the net that forced the defense, and was a good chance for him. I flat out disagree that he had no hits. I am pretty sure I saw at least a couple. 8.1/10.

Raffi Torres had a good game. His coach noticed he was flying and engaged tonight, and bumped him up in the rotation, playing some time on the 3rd line as well.  Subsequently, he had 20 shifts, and 12:19 TOI.  1 shot, and 2 missed ( his best chance may have been negated by an offside by Edler, off the bench and all alone ). 1 hit, though I would argue that was a little low too. 8.3/10.

 

blue line, its a state of mind, man ;

 

Tonight was a tough night for all the defenders. Its not like they had horrible games.  Hamhuis and Bieksa might have played Suter a little casually on the tying goal, but it was a lucky bounce, essentially.  Rome and Ballard were out on the winner, but again, it was more a nice play by the visitor's team. 

Kevin Bieksa and his partner were the big minute guys once again.  Tonight he played 46 shifts and 38:08 TOI (1:19PP/3:37 PK ).  How did he do?  Well, in addition of being robbed of the game winner on a smart jump into the play with the Sedins ( 1 of his 2 shots, he missed 4 more ) he led his team with 7 hits, the biggest one where he just flat out "blew up" Weber in his own end. 1 blocked shot, 1 takeaway, and 1 giveaway.  Had one of the O/T penalties for clearing the puck over the glass. ( I hate that rule! ) Rated an even though he was on for the tying goal. 8.5/10.

Dan Hamhuis, had the same sort of game as his partner.  He was mainly good, but his stick in on the tying goal hurt more than it helped (though it was basically a bad bounce ). In 37:52 TOI ( a team high 4:44 SH ) his steady play was a big part of the penalty kill being perfect. His 1 missed shot, I thought was on net, but whatever. He blocked 3 the other way.  Had 2 hits and a giveaway. 8.2/10.

Alexander Edler needs to shoot more. He may have been blocked here and there, but was credited with no shots on net in his 45 shifts and 37:56 TOI ( 1:19 PP/3:14 PK ) His 6 hits included a couple of the "seismic" variety, and he blocked a team high 4 shots. 8.4/10.

Christian Ehrhoff had 43 shifts and and 34:14 TOI ( :41PP/ 2:39 PK ).  In that time, I noticed only 1 pass up the middle that was intercepted. He was trying to hit all night, and was credited with 3. 1 shot on net, 1 missed. He blocked a shot, and had 1 takeaway to go with 2 giveaways. Took a debatable penalty ( but you have to keep the stick down Hoff!) 8/10.

Now the ones you all have been waiting for. Aaron Rome goes first, because he had a smidge more ice time compared to his partner ( 28 shifts, 21:41 TOI 1:19 of that SH ) a -1 on the GWG. 1 hit, 1 takeaway, 1 giveaway, and not much else.  NOt a horrible game for Sean's favorite defender, but I would not be surprised if he gave way to Alberts in Game 3. 7.9/10.

Keith Ballard, for all you ice time wonks, had a shift more than Rome, but almost 2 minutes less at 19:27 TOI.( :37PK ) He was also a -1 on the GWG, and only was credited with 1 missed shot ( though he was jumping up in the play at the right times ) 3 blocked shots, 2 hits and 1 giveaway.  Not a horrible game at all, but he did look to get forced off the puck a couple times, particularly by Smithson. 8.1/10.

 

He SUCKS!  No  he doesn't! TRADE LUONGOLZ!!!! ..no...shut up...NO YOU SHUT UP!! ;

 

Ahhh, Roberto Luongo.  What can you say?  Well, on the two goals, I might find fault only on the GWG, where I thought he went down a touch early ( helluva shot by Halischuk high, but maybe down a little early ). The Suter goal late in regulation, I honestly believe is just one of those things. He looked like he had the post pretty well, but after deflecting off Hamhuis's stick, it hit his stick, and then his skate before skittering home. Tough break.

He also kept his team in when they were being outshot 2 to 1.  It is kind of sad that there will again come the debate on the radio, and in the media ( and I am sure on our threads too ) of what he did or did not do.  Before the cheezy goal though, he was a minute and a half from back to back shutouts.  The other goalie will get the kudos because of the incredible overtime saves.  They are certainly earned. But Luongo was not as bad as he will be portrayed. 8/10.

 

So, there you go. I have tried to take everything into consideration tonight, and I am sure that being mostly in the 8 range has to look like a cop out.  But the Canucks had some good players tonight.  They were the better team in most of the extra time.

Maybe an explanation.  I am a positive person, so look at things that way. But I saw the mistakes too. Maybe the numbers could be down a little.  But the wide variety of 8's, to me, just shows how close the game of hockey is. Yes, the Preds were the better team in regulation tonight. They also were pretty ordinary in O/T. To me though, if you played hard and contributed, and did not really cost your team, you should rate around an 8. Plus, the notes with each rating, I try to give you some insight with the numbers.  But yeah, I can always get better. If its any consolation, I thought the Preds were the better team tonight. Just that I thought it was closer than some might, even with the disparities in the stats above.( for instance, the Preds blocked 24 shots tonight, with Klein leading the way with 5 ). They were equally as good at defending in their own end, breaking up passes and getting sticks in passing lanes.

But if the Canucks can execute better, they will destroy a team that gives up as many odd man rushes as tonight. Even with Pekka Rinne.

If I was rating the Preds, there would have been a few 9's, if it makes anyone feel better. That Finnish bastard was as close to a 10 as you can get without a shutout...damnit!

 

 


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