You never know in games against the Stars. In the past, a visit to Dallas has meant everything from a blowout for or against, a defensive struggle, or a shooting gallery game. Last time at home, the Canucks should have scored more, but only got 1 goal on 43 shots, and missed some great opportunities in a home ice loss. This time, it was a bit more apparent on the scoreboard who won the game, but perhaps the visitors deserved a better fate. Or, perhaps not. The Stars once again deserved to win a game against our Canucks.
Certainly, the Canucks did not deserve it based on the first period. It is not like they were playing horribly, but the Stars were just skating better, or just getting better luck in their offense. ( no, they were playing better ) The opening goal was a good example, as a nice pass from Seguin, and a better shot by Benn up high beat Roberto Luongo cleanly.
For the first time in a while, it was another quick goal that was frustrating. Tom Sestito takes right guy on the back check, is right there, but not anywhere near hard enough on his stick. You got it half right Tommy...but that was frustrating for ME to watch, when I like you and you are right there...the Canucks need the full pull buddy, and you have to take that stick.
There was certainly plenty of time to make this game one where the points keep coming. A solid play by the second line at their own blue line ( chipping one time Canuck Kevin Connauton no less ) springs Chris Higgins with Kesler on a two on one. He didn't even look for the pass, and beat the goalie cleanly with a great shot, and suddenly it's a game again at 2-1.
More frustration....Hank has set up Hansen twice, missed the first, heeled the second. Both prime scoring chances on great set ups. MOAR FINISH Jank! Even in a period where the other team is doing well, there was two goals for you on set ups from one of the best set up men in the NHL. Bear down and execute.
A teeny bit of frustration...Tyler Seguin learnt that dive in Boston, obviously. You were going down before the stick was anywhere near. Ryan Kesler was right. It was a dive. Good thing the penalty kill is plainly awesome still. ( they went 4 for 4, and pushed that percentage up from an already great 89.5% that it was going into tonight )
Definitely frustrating...An open net ( seemingly not the first on this night, but a big one, being in a 1st period where things were still very close )...on a rebound on short handed chance. Higgy missed this time. 2nd shorty opportunity draws a big save ( bouncy puck too ) and a penalty on Garbutt for knocking net off in desperation. Shorty was right in wondering about a penalty shot for Richardson, but that is a judgement call, and I guess they went the other way.
As an aside, the refs didn't have a great night, but it wasn't their fault, really. The dive by Seguin was obvious on the replay, but they don't have that luxury. The rest was a judgement call thing. Roussel suckered them on a slash call on Daniel Sedin ( one hand on stick, was dropping it before the contact even happened on the replay ), but they also got a tough call right on denying a goal because of the interference that led directly to it. That is always a penalty, and is not called a lot ( when a skater becomes a blocking back, basically, for the puck carrier or shooter, as the case may be ), when a guy gets taken out to give the room to the shooter. Not many refs have that kind of stones to wave off a goal and make that call...so, overall, they were definitely not the real source of frustration tonight.
Another frustration for Jannik Hansen, this time a miss on a wide open net. Hansen buried it into the glove of Lehtonen instead. Is that a great save? Or should Jank have at least one now? I love giving goalies credit, and he was amazing getting there, but it seemed like Honey Badger had a whole net to get the puck up into instead Canucks were 4-0 in shots early, ( another niggler, the stats guy in Dallas seemed to be shortchanging the Canucks on shots all night. Maybe they don't want Lehtonen's stats to look too gaudy? ) but a post for the Stars by Peverly almost kills the great early period start. More chances abounded, with a slick pass by Kassian on prolonged 3rd line pressure forcing another strong save on a Hamhuis shot.
The kind of night it was for the Canucks when it came to frustration? Kesler blocks a shot, his shotblocker on his skate comes loose, and then , while hobbled, ( being hobbled helping lead to best Stars' pressure of period ) blocks another awkwardly, causing him pain on the bench, but no injury. That kind of night, eh Kes'?
The pressure from a period where the Canucks dominated drew another call, for another power play, but once again, the power play a great power play without the payoff. Movement, shots, everything. The Stars did well to collapse, and take the rebounds, but the Canucks should have probably had one on a PP that looked that good. So, what do you think was going to happen shortly afterwards? Here's what I noted. I am leaving it verbatim, just because it captures the feeling ...... ;-)
"Faaaacccckkk. Could definitely be a back breaker Shorty. Cole shot. Lui squared right up to, and it somehow gets through him. Canucks should feel Hockey Gods hate em this period! ( off glove, chest, down between legs and trickles through ) "
Now, the penalty that washed out a goal came not too long after that, and, like I said, it was a brave, and right call. But it really only delayed the frustration to make it a full, three period event.
The PP was just not sharp enough. Bouncy pucks aside ( a common event in places where the weather is not that cold...sorry...science says that it has an effect on how a game on ice is played with a piece of rubber ! ), some bad execution, and a solid PK by the home team led to an important power play, one where a goal would have changed the game. So what happens soon after? You got it!
This one was one that made me angry as a fan with some knowledge of the game. It was just a horrible play by the Canucks on a rush. I mean, sure Stars and their fans, it was a nice play to get Nikusckin a goal,a slick pass at the end, but tthere was enough guys back. They were just, seemingly, just standing around. Luongo did not have his best night and all, and it was after this one that he got the mercy hook, but when your numbers equal the other guys, and you ahve that kind of coverage of your own zone on a rush, even players with some talent like the line that was out there should not end up looking like the 70's Habs. Come on guys!
After that, the frustration train continued...after a Great PK ( on a shitty Hansen penalty to begin with ), he gets out of box, and ices it. needlessly. Then, with one foot in the blue line, he smacks a Garrison clear farther out, ( didn't need to do that either, the puck was getting out of the end ) as in out of ice surface. Just a cursed game for Jank. Playing on the first line to start, has a bunch of great chances to score, and instead, will be ingrained in the coaches minds as the purveyor of boneheaded plays. #sigh
The rest of the game continued as you might expect, with the time running down in a now half full or less arena ( Shorty said they had a decent crowd at the start, but I didn't see it. There were a lot of empty seats...just even MORE when the third wound down ). Maybe the definition of a decent crowd in Dallas is a wide one, with many shadings?
Some had better nights than others, with Kevin Bieksa slamming his stick and breaking it at the end an apt metaphor for his -3, 4 shots, and 2 hits ( really stats guy? He seemed to be finishing more guys than THAT ) in 20:55 TOI. Andrew Alberts, and Christopher Tanev, for instance, had +1, 1 shot, 1 hit 13:45 TOI , and +1, 1 shot, 1 miss, 4 blocks, and 2 hit 20:23 TOI nights respectively, and both helped the best part of the game tonight, the penalty kill.
But sometimes, shit happens. Sometimes, a guy that is playing great going in, like Luongo, lets in a goal as smelly as that 3rd one. Sometimes a guy like Jannik Hansen works very hard, and gets no reward, and even less credit for having an OK night when it comes to trying and skating hard. ( -1, 3 of 5 shots on net, 2 minors, and 3 hits to go with a giveaway and a takeaway in his 15:06 TOI )
It IS frustrating when it does happen. Almost as frustrating as a guy as Antoine Roussel being a frustrating player to play against, and then realizing he was at YOUR team's prospect camp before you let him get away!