This game seemed to crackle with an electric tension almost from the outset. While I am sure that the officials saw a mention in the morning briefing to note that Dustin Brown had indeed done what Dustin Brown does, and run over another goaltender ( in the blue paint too. It's like he has a "Special Shanny Hall Pass" or something... ) , causing injury to the Canucks #1 netmider.
Perhaps that had something to do with how he reacted to Zack Kassian's somewhat clumsy way of sending a message to Mr. Brown. And while I will say that the officials, struggled with their duties this evening, it was a game that anyone would have struggled with. Well, maybe not Kerry Fraser, but everyone else !
Anyhow, a minor was called, and the Canuck penalty kill ( NHL.com says 89.1 %, 1.6% better than the Penguins ), just warming up, batting it away without much distress. It was soon after that the officials ( well, one of them seemed to be making most the calls ) made a mistake that made their night infinitely harder to deal with from then on.Just at the end of the kill, Jordan Nolan skated a long way and tried to hurt the captain of the visiting team on a dump out at the blue line. At least it sure appeared like it.
There really is not another way to describe it. He was holding his hands high, and had his knee out to hit him, ( puck having just left, it wasn't late ), and it was charging. They never seem to call that anymore, but that is what it was. Henrik was aware enough to spin away, and the contact was minimal as a result, but the die was cast.
( Before we go further, I know both teams dislike each other. The description above isn't about that. Just how this rollicking game went. Ill intent on one side is "finishing my check" on the other. Just trying to give you a feel of the emotions of this one. )
EXTRASKATER.COM( but really, were you thinking Corsi and Fenwick in this one as you watched it? ;-)
After I am sure hearing about how to play "big" against teams like this opponent from their coach, and doing what was his sole "role" in tonight's festivities. Tom Sestito went after the person that had tried to hurt his captain with a dirty hit. That is how this works in this game. Anyhow, what he did was pummel Jordan Nolan, who turned turtle, as they say. ( the question being asked by at least one bench of how you can go after a star player, as a "role player" and nominal 4th liner yourself, and not expect to answer the bell. But it was that kind of night. Questions like that get asked! )
Here's the clip in question...which is also funny, because Shorty keeps calling Tom Sestito as Darren Archibald for some reason...
The end result was a whopping seven minute power play. Now, you can give credit to the fact that the Kings are actually a little worse than the Canucks' 23rd ranked 15.1 %, clocking in at 14.6 % for 26th. Both teams have a lot of dangerous stars that can really throw it around, and both should have a better power play. Consider :
- Only 3 shots in the first 6:13 of the #MammothKill . Hell, the Canucks had that many themselves, with Kesler, Hansen and Santorelli all getting shots of varying degrees shorthanded. Three blocks by Tanev ( his only one on the night ) Hamhuis ( 5 ) and Garrison ( 3 ) as well.
- After Henrik Sedin got another minor, for a stick foul on Toffoli, to make the tail end of #MammothKill just a wee bit more fun, only Drew Doughty was able to test Lack. The penalty kill that is best in the NHL got "bester" tonight, going a perfect 7 for 7.
- The referees were so scared of this game exploding that, while there was hitting , and emotions, throughout, the very next sign of "trouble", when Willie Mitchell and Zack Kassian came together on a whistle and exchanged fishing tips, they were assessed 10 minutes each. It was not the officials' finest hour, shall we say. But it was funny.
There was so much hitting and "no love lost" events in this game, that it extended off the ice. The broadcast got a less than complimentary view of how they ( and they got a shout out from an ex LA King tonight as well. True Bernie, Cheech is anyhow. But we love him anyways... ) "tried to capture the flavour"...But when Bernie Nicholls is trash talking Cheech and Shorty, you know it's a singular night.
The Canucks did get a power play, with a little over six minutes left in the first. It would have been a great time for a goal. They did get three shots, ( Kesler, Garrison and Henrik Sedin ), but Quick was, unfortunately for the Canucks tonight, showing signs of being in that "zone".
- The Canucks outshot the Kings 8-7 in the first period, while outhitting them almost two to one at 11-5. They forced 5 giveaways to only 2 of their own. Oh, and they won 10 of 13 face offs against the #2 in the NHL team for faceoff percentage. ( At 53.5%...Vancouver is 10th at 51.3%, with the Penguins and Blues ).
- Now think of that with some of these players and icetimes ; Kevin Bieksa - 5:25 TOI / 5:25 shorthanded TOI . Dan Hamhuis - 9:52 TOI / a whopping 9:19 SH TOI . Of Edler's 5:09 TOI, 4:17 was with at least one man down. Ryan Kesler ( who was a beast tonight ) had 6:38 TOI, and 5:21 of that was with a man in the box. He also went 8 for 8 in the first period. There were many others. Hell, Zac Dalpe had 2:44 SH TOI. But if there was any doubt who Torts' ( and Sullivan, Sully runs the blue line ) favorite is, Christopher Tanev had a team high 10:00 TOI, and 9:39 was on the penalty kill. I hate that the stats guy at Staples gave him a giveaway in that time. Seems unfair somehow.
So, the first period out of their systems, they'll calm down and play hockey in the second, right? Wellllll.... perhaps not. Ryan Kesler and Dustin Brown came together for an "All American teammates in a month, but **** that now" fight that Kesler managed to get the better of. Nope. More of the same. The "OldeTymeHockey, so damn entertaining" same.
( Not all of this game was pretty. There were things that you definitely shouldn't teach the kids about. Like Dale Weise's slewfoot. I know Dale, Devorski was calling the game like crap, and that was definitely an interference call that should have been made on him. But there is no need for a slewfoot to put him down on the tailbone. I get it though. It was one of those games. )
After the fight, there was, in short order, a minor on Bieksa for a crosscheck that was going on harder in front, uncalled, the entire night. It was on Brown though, so maybe he showed him his "Secret Bettman Edition" tattoo or something. It was a little high, I suppose. Carter nullified it with a slash the Kings MUST be coached up on. It was called, but they do that a helluva lot, and it was uncalled a few times tonight, including in the defensive zone on Henrik Sedin later. That's a part of Big Boy Hockey. "Screw you refs, we're going to do it all night. Call what you want". It was "Big Boy Hockey" from both teams tonight.
Only a couple minutes later, Kevin Bieksa was in front of the net ( because he does that now sometimes, when you're shorthanded guys. It was the end of the short PP thanks to Carter ), and got too much of Quick. In the head. Matt Greene thought that wasn't that nice, and responded with a fight that gave us this. Check out Henrik's reaction to how Kevin Bieksa is still feeding them upwards while on his back.
Henrik Sedin would take another minor, this time on Drew Doughty, and Paul Devorski ( or Francois St Laurent, but probably Devorski ! ) saw that Zack Kassian was out on the ice, and that certainly would not do, so he sent him back to the sin bin for another 10 minutes for something or other directed at somebody. Part of his not being able to get on the ice much had to do with the way the refs had him singled out for "special attention". Kassian had 7 shifts and 3:53 of ice time after two periods, and he did see the win of the Twins tonight ( and was decent there, in the short look ). But he had 22 minutes in the box by then too. He ended the night with 7:24, but it wasn't for lack of trying.
- Shots were now 17-12, the hits 25-22, the Canucks had forced 9 giveaways to 4 against, and won 19 of the 28 draws after two periods. While increasing the PIM up from 41-12 after one to 67 to 36.
- Kesler was now up to 11 of 15 draws won, and was impacting the game all over the place. But I was impressed with Alex Edler in this game. He had 2 shots, 2 blocks, 4 hits, and 13:41 TOI after forty minutes, and finished with 6 hits ( some big ones too ) in 21: 54 TOI. He fought the puck a few times, but was overall a force, and one I am glad to see return.
I am sure, if Dan Hamhuis could, he would have just turned and got back if he could have the pinch back at the beginning of the third period. For the record, Mike Santorelli didn't do him any favors when he got the puck, and Dustin Brown made a nice play to put it right back up past him, and away from Santorelli. It's a shame. Chris Tanev got back, and so did the Kesler line as best they could. A shot attempt from Kopitar that Tanev sort of dealt with had the unfortunate effect of drawing the goaltender to the move as well, and Brown ended up being able to get the puck into the net in front of a flailing Tanev.
It wasn't the only mistake on the night, the defense let Carter have two deadly chances that he somehow shot wide on the night, but it was a shame. Most of the time tonight, the Canucks were pretty good in their own end, and made good plays under pressure.
The Kings were just equally good at the same in their own end, especially on recoveries. Drew Doughty chased down Santorelli on a memorable one early on. There were other chances on the night for the visiting team. Credit Quick. The top was open more than once, but his game is all about making sure you don't have the time to get it there. He challenges, has the help from the defenders, and has great reactions. His best in the third was a power play chance where the Sedins got Ryan Kesler a shot up top that looked to be labeled. Just a great move to get across on that one.
- You knew the referees would give the Canucks a shot on the power play, if only to even it up. They got one with about four minutes gone in the third, and had a couple shots from Daniel Sedin ( missed, blocked ) a couple hard ones from Weber saved, and Kesler had one blocked before the best chance, a tip from Bieksa in front, was turned aside. The other chance on the PP came with 5:42 left, and didn't do much of anything. Sigh
- Between those two was a penalty by Dale Weise. I'm of two minds on it. Weise made the fast skate and did stop just short of the blue paint, but he has to be more careful there. Quick is like any goalie there. He "invited" the contact, and embellished the shit out of it. I don't think it was a "slewfoot" like some said, more like their feet getting tangled up. But it was still another dummy play. Another thing I did notice tonight was, almost every chance the Kings got after the slewfoot on Doughty, they were diving specifically on Weise contact, the most obvious Doughty falling back into the pool on a pinch where Weise barely touched him. Trying to get him fired boys?
- #DanielSedinHipCheck. Enjoy. Glove tap to PITB for the find.
- 26 of 51 draws won, powered by Kesler going 14 for 20. The final hit count was 43-31 for the Canucks. They outshot the Kings every period, while killing 7 shorthanded opportunities against, and were 28-20 in that stat. The giveaways ended up 11 -6, the Kings turning it over almost two to one, ( although they did have a 3-0 edge in takeaways ). Some individual leaders ;
- Edler - 6 hits, Hansen - 5 hits. Bieksa - 5 hits. Richardson had a "hard" game and had 3 hits. But come on. No matter the number, Henrik Sedin having 2 hits ( I thought stats guy shortchanged him of a couple more too ) and Daniel had 1 credited. You knew something was going on when the Twins were as physical as they were tonight.
- Kesler led his team with 6 shots. Weber had 4. Bieksa and Santorelli 3. Henrik Sedin had 2, and a post in the first period on a rebound that had Quick beat... ( so close ! )
Yes, they lost. Yes, it was another one to the hated Kings, and that makes it 4 in a row. Yes, they are a good team. But the Canucks showed them, you, us, anyone in the NHL that was up this late back East, or anyone that cared that they have definitely gotten the "hard to play against" part their coach talks about. Tonight, they all stood up for one another in new and different ways, and maybe the talk on the broadcast about "team building" has some merit.
All I know is I wrote almost 2400 words and still left some stuff out ! This kind of hockey doesn't happen all the time folks. We probably wont see it to this extreme against the Ducks on Wednesday. Maybe.
I'm betting Torts made sure the video coach made plenty of copies of this game for everyone. I know I sure enjoyed it.