This one had it all for Shark fans. They got their forecheck going better, in the first period especially. Though, both teams can be excused for not focussing on the five on five play, with so much time spent killing penalties or on the power play.
Its not the "end of the world as we know it" Canuck fans. I know its supposed to be tomorrow. But if you do not believe in that sort of thing, expect a pretty different game on Sunday afternoon. Some of that is what will need to be better discipline by the Canucks, against a lethal power play. Honestly though? I do not expect the officials to be so involved. I sure as H-E-double hockey sticks hope so!
For the record though, I believe they blew it on the Burrows call, and on not calling Boyle for moving Hansen's stick away from him. Correct me if I am wrong there in the comments, but I don't think it was broken. Hansen looked to be trying to go for it. If not, that is just a referee blowing it by not remembering the rule book, which seems unbelievable in the NHL. That is supposed to be interference by rule. You cannot push a guy's stick away from him.
#$@^ it though. Refs are just another break in the game. Look for Ballard and Alberts in the next one. Unless Ehrhoff is only slightly hurt. Then the great debate will begin, and everyone will mention Ballard as "the 4.2 mil guy that can't get in the line up". I expected Rome to draw out based on performance before McGinn did his thing. The 4th liner definitely made his mark on this game, with two guys injured, one illegally. The Canucks need to respond with more than prayers and supplications to the series supervisor. If it gets called like the first two games though, they should be OK. The Sharks deserved some ref luck after two missed high sticks in Game 2 anyhow!
You knew that the Sharks would come out hard in this game. They did. A dominant first, helped along by the power plays. But lets not get too down on the team. They showed no give up in the third and almost completed the comeback. Yes, the Sharks had a good game. They blocked 26 shots. The 5 on 3's especially were a fine example of Pavelski and Murray, amongst others, throwing their bodies in front of bombs. The Canucks also won the hit count 28 to 19 ( though the two biggest hits by McGinn, one legal, one...ummm...not knocked out two defensemen ), and the face offs 38 to 32.
Nonetheless, I honestly believe this game was an example of more what the Canucks did not do as what the Sharks did. Yes, they had the second forechecker jumping in quicker, as Bones pointed out to CBC between the first and the second. But the visitors seemed to figure that out. The Sedins looked dangerous in the third, and the power play did its thing on the major. Expect the numbers to reflect the good and the bad. Consider that +/- will mean little tonight. Five of the seven goals were special teams goals.
Note ; I get some guff from time to time on who got what score. Usually after a loss, when some want to assign more blame here instead of there. Look at it this way. If you were an 8 or over, you did more to help your team win than lose. There were two guys tonight. Hansen and Bolduc that barely squeaked over that line. Another hint. Look at all the defenseman, for instance ( forwards the same, BTW ), and its easy to see who was the worst by the numbers. I get that you want to blame this guy or that, and we all see the game differently. Hope this helps though. Generally, a night where barely anyone gets over the 8.0 line means it was not a great game for them. I put some thought into it to judge a defender compared to another, or a forward to another, and so on. Tonight, the best guy was Hamhuis, and he only got an 8.1!
Wonder Twin powers can still activate! ;
A different night for the Twins. They were not horrible. Hell, they rocked on that major penalty, and got the team back in with a sublime Hank pass to Hamhuis on the second goal. They also were involved in a bunch of 5 on 3 time where their were too many passes and not enough shots. Sure, they blocked a few. But come on. What is it with them and 5 on 3's? They were better by far on the one man down situation.
Henrik Sedin, and his brother, for that matter, were shut down better by Thornton's line than the Couture match up. Boyle and Murray were also out more than Vlasic and Huskins on Swede herding duty as well. He had the above mentioned assist. But in 25 shifts and 19:48 TOI ( 7:53 ! PP / :23 PK ), he only had 2 shots. He blocked one and was 10 for 21 on draws. Not good enough for the captain's high standards. 7.8/10.
Daniel Sedin had a tough night. His shots were just missing, getting sticks in front of them, or were being blocked all night. In 24 shifts and 19:54 TOI ( 7:15 PP / :43 PK ), he was only credited with one shot, and one miss. Two giveaways as well. They focussed on keeping him from getting in a shooting position, and/or deflected passes to Daniel often. 7.7/10.
Alexandre Burrows? Well, he was in the right place, and made a great shot for the first goal. Its not so much his fault that of his 30 shifts and 22:12 TOI almost 7 minutes was killing penalties ( 6:54) to go with 4:06 on the PP. Hell, the second unit PP got the 3rd goal, with him in front. He had 7 shots,( a team high ) as well as 1 missed. 2 blocked shots offset 2 giveaways. I guess it comes down to the crippling penalty. It was a tough one. But you know what coaches always say about that. Don't put yourself in the position to let them call it on you. With 8 being the "give a shit line", and just to penalize him a bit for that call, a 7.9/10.
Look for at least one "is Kesler slumping?" article in the papers tomorrow ;
Ryan Kesler did not have a good game by his standards. Part of that was the Sharks. He had to defend more, especially on the penalty kill. Douglas Murray was a beast on him in front on the power play. But that can be game planned a bit for the next one. In his 28 shifts and 22:57 ( 6:52 PP / 5:42 PK ) he was still a force in the circle, going 19 of 27. But 2 minors ( the second at the 20 min mark, but the first for tripping Heatley ) did not help. He only had 1 shot on goal. He blocked 2, got credit for 2 hits, 1 takeaway and 2 giveaways. He had a night where he gave his all, but needed to play a little smarter. 7.7/10.
Chris Higgins will still have great games in the playoffs after this one. In 27 shifts, and 16:55 TOI ( 3:03 PP / 3:35 PK ), he just could not get those shots through. He only had 1 make the stats sheet, as opposed to 2 misses. 2 hits and 1 takeaway, as well as 2 of 3 on draws ( one led to a goal ) belied the fact that his game seemed a bit the effort of the opponents tonight. 7.6/10.
Mason Raymond was probably more dangerous than his linemates tonight. He had a nice pass on his assist on the final goal for the Canucks. In 27 shifts and 16:09 TOI ( 2:28 PP / 4:57 PK ), he was both good and bad on the PK. (they had a long night, tough for the whole team with as many kills as they had. (He won a big draw with two men down, but it was the only one as he went 1 for 4 ) He had 3 shots though. Missed 1 and blocked 1. Still not enough to get over the pass/fail line, but close. 7.9/10.
Man guys, a little consistency ;
Maxim Lapierre did not have the most disciplined game. He took an early penalty that was easily avoidable. The Sharks scored on it. In his 17 shifts and 10:55 ( 3:24 PK ), not very much of it was in the final period. He was credited with 1 shot, 1 hit, and won 3 of 9 draws. I would like to give him props for the misconduct ( for obviously telling the refs exactly what he thought of the last penalty on Bieksa...I thought the same Maxim! ), but thats about it. 6.9/10.
Of his two running buddies, Jannik Hansen was the better. In 20 shifts and 13:32 TOI ( :35 PP / 4:40 PK ), he had an assist, he won 2 of 3 draws ( one of them a big one an the PK ). He had 3 shots, and certainly seemed to be skating better than his teammates. 1 blocked shot and a takeaway. he makes it over the line. 8.2/10.
Raffi Torres was just not the "bowling ball" at which he is most effective. He had 11 shifts and 7:33 TOI (:49 PP ), and was a big hitter relatively speaking ( his 3 hits matched Bolduc for the team high for the forwards ), but that is not enough. 1 shot on goal, and 1 block were offset by 2 giveaways. 7.4/10.
Geez guys, McGinn took out two guys, how did you guys do? ;
Alexandre Bolduc may have done enough to stay in the line up. He may not have. Perhaps AV goes back to Hodgson. He had 8 shifts and 4:34, and won 1 of 2 draws. But he did have 2 shots and 3 hits, which aint bad for his limited time. 8.2/10.
Tanner Glass, however, should probably update the smartphone to make sure he has the latest edition of Scrabble. In his 11 shifts and 6:34 TOI ( a useful 1:54 on the PK, but its only useful when they don't score!) He blocked a shot and had a takeway. I did not notice him that much, and the 4th line for the other guys had a big game instead. 6.99/10.
Victor Oreskovich was skating hard all night. He was even the guy to join the Twins after a PK at least once tonight, so AV must have found him noticeable. 8 shifts and 4:53 TOI produced 2 hits on the score sheet. He can stay. 7.6/10.
It is not a good thing when the defense is offensive, right? ;
Well, well well. Was it the better forecheck, or the defensemen? A little of both, I expect. They might have been surprised by the second guy being so aggressive in the first, and the Sharks did well at checking breakouts at the line all night. But the blue liners did better at figuring that out in the second and the third, when they were not killing penalties. The thing tonight was, the defenders had a bad night on the PK, but without Hamhuis and Bieksa's goals late, it is not close. The Sharks did play them a bit different with a lead, backing off. But the break out looked better in the later periods before that. I would expect the coaches can figure out how to deal with the forecheck just fine on Sunday.
Kevin Bieksa. Well, this is the tough one to mark. He had a goal, and was a +1. He was in the penalty box so much the Bad Boys Bail Bonds company would like to speak to him about an endorsement. The last one I am willing to forgive, as I thought it a bad call. ( the last minute, another guy back, and he only touched him with the stick once to get a hooking call. A bit harsh for the circumstance ) The others? Smarten up Kevin! Aside from the troika of minors, he had 1 shot that resulted in a goal. He blocked 3 and had 3 hits. A pretty full 37 shifts and 25:23 TOI ( 4:13 PP / 6:28 PK ) Ahhh, just give him an 7.75/10 and be done with it.
Dan Hamhuis did not have the worst game either. He may have been the best defenseman for the Canucks tonight. In his 33 shifts and 25:39 TOI ( 3:06 PP / 7:46 PK ), he was not one of the defenders at blame on the power play goals. Tough when you put in almost 8 minutes to escape unscathed, and he had hard minutes. But he also had a goal. 5 shots, missed 1, blocked 1, and had 2 hits to go with his lone giveaway. Could have maybe stood in better on the winning goal to try and block it, according to Don Cherry, anyhow. 8.1/10.
Alexandre Edler, however, did not have his best game. It was tough for the blue liners, with Ehrhoff going down early, and Rome later in the third, but Edler was one of two minus players at a -1 in his 35 shifts and 23:32 TOI ( 5:36 PP / 7:17 PK ) Was the one at fault on the Clowe goal, leaving him alone for far too long, after not following him to the goal on the PK. 1 shot on goal, and missed one. he did, however, lead his team in blocks with 5, and with hits with 5 too. He also had a bad giveaway that led to the Marleau breakaway goal. 6.9/10.
Sami Salo was also a -1. He also had a team high 38 shifts and 24:30 TOI ( 5:18 PP / 7:32 PK ) He was partly at fault on the Clowe goal as well. 1 shot on, 2 missed ( both on the 5 on 3 PP where they HAD to score ) 1 blocked shot and 2 giveaways. Not the very best from the quiet man, but, like I said, tough when they were down to 4 defensemen at the end there. 7.3/10.
I am tempted to give Christian Ehrhoff an incomplete. After all, he only played 7 shifts and 3:35 TOI ( :14 PK ). But in that 14 seconds, he and Rome both last Marleau in front of the net, they both made a mistake on who was going to take Thornton behind the net, and they both hung their heads in shame when they got the opening goal. His 4 minute penalty led to the Clowe goal, and was just a lazy attempt at lifting a stick that resulted in a double minor. Can't do that, you drunken German. That being said, I hope you are not hurt too bad.We can use him, even with his foibles. 6.2/10.
Aaron Rome, however, gets only a little more sympathy. He got injured late, and as a result played 19 shifts and 14:56 TOI ( :16 Pp / 1:06 PK ). He had 5 hits, and thats good. He was a +1, somehow. He missed a shot, and blocked 3 of them too. But both his penalties were a bad ones, or at least at a bad time, when his team was coming on. ( though I thought Wellwood went down pretty easy on that one in the third ), and took away from a time when the team was starting to turn momentum. You can't do that, no matter how easy they go down Aaron. You also cannot run around like you and 'Hoff did on the opening goal.. If his concussion ( my diagnosis only, just by how he looked going off ) is not one, he could come back. I doubt he will even if he is healthy. 6.45/10.
This is the perfect kind of game for the haters of our big Italian to go nuts on. Roberto Luongo... I know, I know, but I cannot blame him on the Marleau goal to open the scoring, nor the Clowe goal. Both were power play goals that resulted from breakdowns. You would like it if he made a huge save on Marleau's breakaway, but that was a helluva shot. So was Boyle's, he can get it off quick. But Luongo beat him across and should have had that one. I think the winning goal is the only one keeping him up tonight. But without Lui in the first, it might have gotten really ugly in the first period. So, a little sympathy please. Still, 4 goals and 34 saves. Its an .895%. Not quite enough, just like this 7.73/10.
So, there you go. Expect a different game on Sunday. Some will say the Sharks are now "in the series". We will see. I want to see how they do 5 on 5 before getting too worried about them being back in all the way. Lets hope that everybody stays on their skates better on Sunday. I want to see them play five on five. I think it still favours the Canucks.
Mind you, I still think the special teams game favours them as well. Two of the three power play goals were on defensive breakdowns. That can be coached up and corrected. Yes, the penalty kill cost three goals in a game you lost 4 to 3. Of the three, correct coverage would have made the first two infinitely harder. So, that is why I think its more what the Canucks did not do, rather than the Sharks ( though much better ) did.
Oh yes, and please, Craig Simpson in particular, STFU about goaltending. You have a habit of saying the wrong things about a position you know little of, and never played. Let Healy or one of the dozen other ex goalies out there as commentators handle it. The depth of where Luongo was and is had little to do with the winning goal. Its the way he team and Melanson want him to play. You act like every goal is the goalie's fault, 100% of the time Craig, and it is getting pretty tiresome.
Can we trade Simpson for Garrett? Hell, and goalie will do...even Greg Millen ( OK, not that far! )