When it comes to the Kings, it seems that they always get up for these games that feature a crowd almost as loud as their own cheering for the visitors! The "LUUUUUUUU's" were raining down tonight. He may have wobbled a bit, but in the end was solid, making more than one save to seal the deal. I think I will call him "Weebles" now.
In the end, the Canucks made it a little harder for themselves in the third, but were somehow the better team versus the one with the self proclaimed "best defenseman in the world" . He did have a game, I guess. A helluva shot no goalie is going to get for the first King's goal. He also took the 2nd stupidest penalty of the night for his team in front on the penalty kill. ( Dumbest was Dustin Brown tripping Hansen in the third ) But he did have a goal and an assist.
Meh. The Kings played an undisciplined game, and even when the Canucks tried to do the same and give it away with penalties in the third, the once again solid penalty kill shot their momentum down. It got a little hairier towards the end, and the visitors were playing the 1-3-1 themselves in that last period, but in the end, a lot of the chances and play from the Kings was kept around the outside.
On to the next...some manner of insight on this one first after the break.
ESPN - Final
- Aaron Rome. He got a bit too involved in the score sheet in a negative manner with that penalty late, but check how our 750K #5/6 defenseman measured up to the erstwhile Doughty. DD had a goal, an assist, +1, was lucky enough to get his butt in front of a shot once, and was off for a penalty that sorta kinda gave the Canucks a power play goal. It was infinitely stupider than Romes penalty. Even the "best defenseman in the world" cannot get away with that mugging. Even though he got away with a few more as the refs recognized his superstar status. Now, the stoic Aaron Rome, on the other hand. had a goal, another denied,( though there is a definite argument that the goal was already in by the time contact, outside the crease mind you, was made. Refs get it rough a bit. Seeing that once and at full speed, I might make the same call ). He was +1, and had 4 shots. Courageously and unselfishly blocked two shots, and I bet the one hit he got credited for probably sent the receiver off in agony. ( I love how the final ESPN box score has Rome down for that "4th" goal as well )
- Yes, it was a penalty Kings fans. Trevor Lewis brought his stick and elbow up. Don't get hung up with what it was called. It was idiocy that only had the intent to injure. That is what a five minute penalty is for as opposed to the minor. Kevin Bieksa went off for stitches. And yes, that is the power play you heard of. Without Quick in the first period, the Kings were not even in this game to make it close later. 12 shots to 3 in the first ( almost matched in the third by the Kings going 13 to 6, after a closer 2nd where the Canucks held a 14-12 edge ), and a 3-0 lead was about right. The way they moved the puck around made a relatively dangerous power play for the Kings on display later look commonplace in comparison.
- I love how Shorty called it the "5 on 3 unit" when the power play came out with Sami Salo. You cannot hope to stop that shot, you can only hope that he misses. Was it not nice to see the Sedins put on a show for the "home fans" tonight. Daniel had 2 assists to Hank's one, and the Twins are now 1-2 on the all time Canuck assists list. Daniel's 4 shots was also good, while each taking a minor was not. It has to be said though. There was a few "new NHL" calls tonight. But we like it like that in Vancouver, because they can't call them all on our team right? In the end, the Canucks going 2 for 6 on their PP beat the home team only going 1 for 6. Not only is the Canuck power play lethal, their penalty kill is on serious lock down. Before Doughty scored they were 39 of 40, and have now killed 42 of their last 45 man disadvantages.
- Alexander Edler is now tied with Bergeron for the league lead in scoring for defensemen with 3 goals and 16 points. Daniel and Henrik are tied for the NHL lead in assists with 14. Daniel Sedin is 3rd in scoring( 3 behind with 20, and one ahead of Henrik's 19 points ) trailing Kessel leading the way, and tied with Kopitar. The power play is now second and the penalty kill fourth. This is the deep, fast, and competent team we expected, and look at that, the goaltender is suddenly not the greasy sieve he was accused of being last month. Keith Ballard was a plus tonight! ( mostly liked his game again tonight. That pairing with Rome is fine with me ) When all was said and done, after the numbers being the other way early, they outshot ( 32-30) and outhit (25-24) another opponent that was jacked about this one and looking to make a "statement."
- Deep defenses have different guys that can do different things. Pairings that are discussed and measured to the Nth degree to find harmony. Here are two examples of that depth. Dan Hamhuis had 11:03 ( 6:01 PP / 5:02 PK ) of his team high 24:32 TOI on special teams. He was a -1 on the late goal by Richards, but had 2 shots ( missed 2), blocked 2 and had a hit. Kevin Bieksa had 4 hits. The stats guy in L.A is clearly not a fan of hip checks, as he had Keith Ballard down for only 2 hits, and I counted 3 hip checks alone from him tonight! But through it all is the defenseman scoring leader. 5 shots, 5 hits. The same amount of PP time as Hammer. An even with a blocked shot. The both of them did have 5 giveaways given, but that stat is another that follows hits and sometimes faceoffs on the hometown bias thing. And I did not even mention the White Viking himself, Sami Salo ( a goal, 2 shots, a pretty solid game ). When they are all doing there thing, it becomes tougher for the opposition to get the puck in our own end, and it is gone out of the zone almost as fast. Let's hope Aaron Rome does not take away Norris votes from Alexander Edler.
- How many of the saves in the above highlight package for the Canucks feature a goalie that is doing the "Gumby" thing? Roberto Luongo made some saves that some of the goalie critique-ers will rightly point to as awkward, or some such. The puck still stays out of the net when you make the save though right? He made the saves when he had to. Hell, there was a save with traffic, where he got the puck with his toe after reacting to seeing it late when the Kings had 3 shots in the first. That goes in, and who knows? There were plenty of others worthy of praise. The two goals featured a howitzer in the corner that I don't see any goalie getting, and the tip from Richards late was pretty sublime too. I like the goalie that just enjoys playing and never gives up on the play. He helped his team win tonight for sure. Good enough for me!
- After losing 11 of 15 first period draws, the Vancouver Canucks ended a very respectable ( considering ) 25 of 53 overall, with Manny Malhotra ( in a "Money" type game. He was aces on the penalty kill ) going 7 of 9. and Kesler recovering from going 1 of 5 to finish 8 of 15. The best part of the faceoff story was the Canucks going 9 of 13 while killing a penalty. Money and Kes were both beasts there.
- Speaking of which, the second line. They were a force, and were strong all over the ice all night. Yes David Booth did not have a great game ( 1 shot on, 1 off, 3 giveaways and only 14:36 TOI...though if you look at his linemate's times, their greater number has more to do with them both killing penalties. ). Nevertheless, even not having the best game of the team tonight, he used his speed to create on a few occasions. He has a couple great chances that he should have done better with. Its coming. Patience. Maybe tomorrow for that line. Higgins and Kesler both had 3 shots ( and Kesler 2 blocks. I saw him as having his power and speed mainly back now. The scoring will follow too. Still one of the best at screening the goalie on our team, and moving up that list in the league ). With Kesler moving back into #beastmode , Higgins already there, and Booth close to putting it all together....despair not. They'll get there. It's just a "Little Bit Harder".
On to an arena named for a car instead of one named for office supplies tomorrow. Put the screws to another struggling team boys. This one does not even have the "best defenseman in the world" ( Unless Cam Fowler has an interview scheduled with IaIn McIntyre!)