Before we get into the impending doom and feelings of personal angst over this one, I have to say. Another perfectly done tribute by the Canucks organization. I hope they never, ever have to have another. RIP Ryp'.
Now. How are we going to couch THIS one, huh? I am making a prediction right now that Luongo stays trending in Vancouver, for a few days. That the TEAM 1040 executives started dancing in the private suite when the fans gave Roberto a bit of the business. Even though you cannot blame him for this loss. The talk shows, and comment boards will take a contrary point of view to me on that one, I bet.
The Rangers, and especially Ryan McDonagh, had themselves a helluva game. They are a hard working team, and paid the price again. Blocks? No problem. Hit them Torts? You got it. They came out and had a solid third period, after their goalie stole the first two periods. It happens.
Its a shame that Luongo had to get some grief from the home fans tonight. But, its part and parcel of being in a major hockey market, and playing the position. Henrik Lundqvist will enjoy basking in that media induced glory tomorrow in New York, the media capitol. Unfortunately for our star goaltender, it will be the ugly flip side of that glory in the "village of Vancouver". ( where, no doubt the media intensity will be, sadly, more intense!) At least until the next game. And probably beyond it.
Can you imagine if Cory Schneider starts at home versus the Preds and wins!?
In honor of the opponents tonight, we will have a Top 10 things I noticed tonight. They are in no particular order, and I won't even use numbers. If you want those, here's the ESPN stats from the game. Some highlights here, and I am sure you can find some mention of Luongo, and the loss here and on Twitter. If you follow folks that I do, you know that a lot is already being said.
- They would not have had a chance to have that game if Henrik Lundqvist was not King Henrik tonight. But his 40 save masterpiece does not mean that the goaltender at the other end is any less of a player. Its a team game. Just as Lundqvist had lots and lots of help tonight in front ( 23 shots blocked, at least a few of those SaloBombs ). Luongo had a little less of that help in his own end. Not to blame just the defenders. You want your #1 to rob someone when the other guy is doing it to you. The chances that were given up by the home team tonight were mainly against the run of play. But the skill shown was no less apparent for that. Give them some credit too, while sharpening the knives for poor Roberto "Yorick" Luongo.
- Ryan freaking Kesler. The Keslord. How'd he do? Well, he had 3 shots, missed another two, and was a solid screen on the PP, and also made it more dangerous. Not enough to get one in, but it will get there. 3 hits, and a penalty while on the power play that was a "new NHL" call, but did take them off. He won 10 of 17 draws. The penalty kill looked better too. 19:07 TOI, only the Sedins had more. Tonight he did not get the win that you know the entire team wanted for Rypper. But I know I am not the only one that was smiling, seeing him back.
- A dangerous second line. Look, we know that if this team plays that way against anyone not named Lundqvist and maybe Thomas ( and, there were several tonight that hit Henrik before he even knew they were coming. ) and we are home and clear. The Canucks had 28 shots to 9 by the end of the second. The second line finished up with 7 shots on net and 6 more missed. They were buzzing. Cody Hodgson looks just fine on that line, and won 5 of 8 draws that Kesler did not take. Add that to what Kes' did above and tell me AV did not know what he was doing. Initial test passed.
- Too bad Kevin Bieksa had to lose it a bit there at the end, but that was a glorious distraction, was it not? He got the 17 minutes, and the hit was of course going to be called even if he did not scrap, but the "Huggy Bear" motion and the Torts smirk were fun. Dubinsky did not earn his 15 minutes, but damn, Juice got his money's worth!
- The rush by Edler where he almost ( who am I kidding right?) scored after the first goal was great. He and Hamhuis had some moments. But both were a -3 each. Only 2 combined shots. Juice and Kevin Ballard were both a -1 ( as was Sami Salo ), but Bieksa had 5 shots, Ballard 2, and they looked more dangerous five on five tonight. The only guy that finished even was Andrew Alberts, and he had a team high 6 hits! It seems that there is something there with the new pairings. More data maybe needed, but I did like the Hippy Juice combo.
- Second unit power play. OK, no one was getting one by the Are, Sweden native, but the second unit, with Cody Hodgson, Alexandre Burrows and Chris Higgins was awesome. You could see AV had no qualms about evening out the time they got compared to the Twins as the game went on. It led to Sami Salo and Burrows leading the defense and forwards with 5 and 6 shots respectively. To many chances. It also looked better at dealing with pressure on the points than Mikael Samuelsson, at least on the first period chances.
- That leads me right to FU Sweden. He had 3 shots, though that was mostly power play. one hit and 1 giveaway in his almost 15 minutes ( 6:31 on the PP!) TOI. Put Ballard in that spot. Please. He can pass too, and his shot is pretty hard as well. Because FU Sweden is going to give me a heart attack every time someone pressures the point on the penalty kill.
- One place the defensemen have to tighten up is after they lose a draw, or a puck battle along the boards. Some of that can be the new pairings and reading off each other. But not much. Apart from Andrew Alberts. I love him. He is the new Aaron Rome Mr Stanchion. Except this one is awesomely bigger and looks much more dramatic when he gets hit in the numbers. Which has now happened in every game he has played. Opponents see the "41", get dyslexic, and try to take a run at Burrows. Poor Andrew Alberts pays the price again.
- Jannik Hansen is still struggling. He was fine on the penalty kill again. He just seems to be a step behind on the cycle. Can we blame that on Samuelsson too? Lets blame him for everything, it seems to make him play better. I thought Manny Malhotra was pretty good tonight, but his line did get caught on one goal. He had 3 shots though. And after going 1 for 4 in the first on draws, he finished at 10 for 16. Yeah, lets blame them.
- The fourth line was pretty good at times too. Like every other line, they had a minus on a goal ( the Canucks had the two above mentioned defenders with -3, but apart from Kesler, Alberts, and Salo, everyone else ended up a -1. ), but were pretty solid for a 4th line. In their 9 minutes, each had a shot , all but Weise was credited a hit. The fourth line is getting better aren't they?
A Top 10, and no real mention of the Sedins? They were pretty slick on the man advantage, but a few times Henrik was read like a book on the power play. Kudos to the Rangers for their penalty killing tonight as well ( who am I kidding , Lundqvist WAS the penalty kill ), but each Sedin only had a shot credited. Thats it. Well, Hank got a penalty for trying to shoot Hamhuis his stick in the first, and was credited with a team high 3 giveaways...
But what the hell. We are going to be all over Roberto Luongo until Thursday anyhow right?