I struggled to find a recap theme tonight. I am not ashamed to admit that. I thought first of " Pyrrhic Victory " when it looked like players were dropping like flies in the opening 40 minutes. In the end though, it is what you read above.
A very solid display of goaltending from Roberto Luongo on the first 13 shots before being felled in the second, and Cory Schneider swatting aside the greater territorial and other offensive stats of the Avalanche with seeming ease made this game a stylish one. Or a Daniel Sedin hat trick that was all style, the last goal a possible Sedinery of the year candidate.
It is a shame Kevin Porter is a dirty SOB in some of the more troublesome substance of this game ( his first penalty minutes, and he probably is not that kind of player, but that was about one of the dirtier things you can do on the ice ) for his hit on David Booth, and he might get a call from the head office on that one. It is equally a shame that Shane O'Brien let his moronic tendencies get the better of him. The refs gave his team a mercy break for a stupid cross check on Henrik Sedin late, but the team did not, and Victor Oreskovich challenged him to a fight that he lost to the former Canuck. That is fine. Punching him on his knees is not however, as perhaps is the taunting of the bench afterwards. It does make one really want the NHL to go NC-17 and sell PPV with mics all over the place. You just know a few of those lines were great. I know I would pay for that.
In the end though, we hope the guys that were hurt are not hurt that bad, and on to the next one. It does make one feel better when the record is now 11-0-2 against the pesky AVs since their last victory against their new Conference "A" opponents. The Avs team was better for two periods in this one, but they play three periods in the NHL. They let in 3 goals in 4:25 in the third, and let it get to them. On to Montreal next, but first, some fun after the break.
Stylish or substance, you decide.
I tried something different tonight, and tried to track the saves and chances in a somewhat substantial way. I know that by how Cam has explained it to me ( with little words and pretty pictures ) some point shots are not considered point shots. I take the view that some of these guys can bring it at triple figures, so if a point shot is without traffic, I won't call it a chance. But if there is, I will. I am not infallible, and this is totally learning on the fly, but let's see. I also add to that trying to differentiate between a "good save" ( one you should have made most of the time ) and a "great save"( one that was a case of the goalie taking away something ) and the self explanatory "game changing" save. I'll just try to incorporate that into the overall mileu and see how it goes.
The first period ; We all saw it. The Avalanche seemed to be faster to pucks, harder on checks, definitely aided by winning 3/4's of the draws to start out with the puck. I had them at 5 good saves, 3 great, and one game changer on McClement off of a nice Winnick pass. The stats guy said 11 shots over the initial twenty minutes, with 2 blocks for the home team, and the Avs missed 3 more. By comparison, the total attempts a net for the Canucks, including the 5 on net, was 11. It was plain to see the Avs were on it better early.
Yet it was the Sedins and Alexandre Burrows on a nice bit of puck hunting to go with a Shane O'Brien turnover that led to a rebound and a nice play by Daniel Sedin for his first goal of the night.
It was the entire team, with people moving to spots they were not planned, that did a good job keeping things to the outside, and clearing traffic and rebounds very well. They were definitely getting pushed though, with the visitors taking a 19 to 6 lead in hits after 20.
I did think that, even though the five minute power play was clownshoes and of the five shots, only the goal was really something troubling for Varly, that the restless booing was a bit gauche. It is the number One power play, even if it looked like the 30th at times tonight.
Individuals ; Jay McClement was a perfect 4 for 4 on faceoffs to help power his team to 9 of 12 of those. Galliardi and Elliott both had 3 shots, while O'Brien and O'Bryne had 3 hits each. Porter played 2:05 and had a major and a game misconduct. Get ready for the phone call kid.
In the second ; It was more of the same, but not really. Yes, the young Avs were still pressing the play.They even had a 12-5 lead in shots in this period after a 12-6 1st, but most of those were from places the Canucks would let them shoot from. It is becoming obvious to this Canuck fan that the team has no problem giving the shooter the shot on some rushes. Both goalies have shown that they can do that as well. Of the 12 shots, I only had about 4 that forced good saves, and only a couple that I would call great. It was a much more controlled period on defense for the Canucks.
It was on one of those 12 shots that one from Gabriel Landeskog ramped up Aaron Rome's stick and caught Luongo in the side of the neck forcing him to hit the showers early, though he said afterwards that he "already told AV I am OK for Montreal". That shot came almost 4 minutes in, and was about the first of the second to get through. The Canucks would finish the second period with 16 blocks after having only 2 in the opening twenty. Ryan Kesler especially paid the price, blocking 5 shots after forty, and 4 in this period alone.
There were a lot of pretty goals in this game when all was said and done, but check out this one, its one of the nicest. It was started by a nice play by Cody Hodgson finding the right guy yet again, and finished by some nice offense from Bieksa and Hansen. See for yourself here...
Even with the Avs getting some power play time in the middle stanza, with big minute eaters and PK guys Edler and Hamhuis taking consecutive penalties, there was nothing but saves and blocks and clearing missed shots. A fan of the Colorado team might have thought they were being hard done by, but really, that was about right. Sorry, not to be an asshole, but your team should have been down another guy for the blatant elbow to the head by David Jones on Kevin Bieksa. A bemused Juice told Dan Murphy that "the ref said he didn't mean to do it" , but come on. He lost a tooth and had two more pushed in by an elbow to the head. As much as they whined about Wilson not getting any ref love on a hit by Lapierre that the cameras everywhere seemed to miss, this was the payback for that, at the very least.
Numbers after 40 ; After losing 9 of 12 draws after one, the Canucks went 5 of 10 in the second. Manny Malhotra was 4 for 8, and Kesler was 2 of 5, but it was McClement at 4/5 and Matt Duchesne at 5/6 that were eye openers. KesLord's 5 blocks were already noted, but how about Galliardi having 7 shots after two periods? The Avs had a 13-9 edge on hits in the second, but that was not as bad as the first in that category, at the least.
In the third ; It became apparent who the team with the greater talent level was. Now, that was aided by the opponent in the last period for sure. First, McClement took a dumb, dumb holding the stick call on Daniel Sedin right in front of the referee. It led to some good shots and saves, a post by Hamhuis, and a great save on a Mason Raymond tip. Cody Hodgson going to the net started a little something something at the end of the power play, and Burrows and Quincey went to the sin bin for a couple.
It turned into the turning point of the game, as the Avs were like a bunch of beer leaguers when caught four on four against the more talented Canucks. First, it was this one, where Varly was pretty helpless after losing his stick on an earlier save for the hat trick guy's second...
Then, there is this one, where Jannik Hansen sure looks like a shooter than a plugger. SNET calls him "The Danish Army Knife", and he sure did plug in well on the second line, as did Raymond once they got going.
This one though, is Sedinery of the damn year folks. My favorite part is how Burrows fills an open spot where Hank is setting him up for an even better pass to his brother. I could watch it over and over again...
The Canucks would finish off the scoring on a beautiful shot by Alexander Edler, and with the only thing left the shutout, the Canucks finished that off in a much more stylish way as well, Schneider made a couple great saves on Elliott and Galliardi along the way, there were maybe a couple more good ones, and that was about it.
Well, not quite. Victor Oreskovich took it in his own hands to remind SOB that hitting our captain from behind was not going to fly twice in a season, battling the Roxy's favorite customer in a fight that showed SOB's "showmanship" at the least...maybe Chuck Kobasew felt the same way about Lapierre, going after him. Or maybe the refs just wanted it to end without any more fireworks.
numbers at the end that tell the tale ; after going 14 and 8 in the opening two, the Avs lost 10 and won 8 draws in the third to finish with a 22 to 18 edge in that stat. They dominated the hit stat 40 to 18, and the shots 33 to 23. But it was obvious that those watching this one could see the better chances were for the team with the big edge in goals. Individuals that stood out included Galliardi, with 8 SOG, a -1, 5 hots and 2 takeaways. Bieksa had an assist, a +3, 2 blocks, and 3 hits. Daniel Sedin had 3 goals and 5 shots, Hansen 2 goals, 3 shots and a hit, while Ryan Kesler finished with a game high 6 blocks, a hit, and 8 of 13 draws to lead his team. Hodgson 2 assists, Burrows 2 as well. There were a lot of guys filling up the stats sheet.
Lastly, just for shits and giggles, I thought I would include a comment of the night. Its is not likely that will come from our game threads, as even the other teams' fans are too smart. No these will be more the intended or unintentional funny. Try as I might, I could not decide between two on the TSN thread. Here are both. You decide ;
1 hour ago
1 hour ago
God how I and the rest of Canada despise this overrated Nuck team!!!!! Have a wonderful time pading your stats against the softest division in hockey as come Spring you will no doubt CHOKE against better teams. Bank on it!
Both have their own special idiocy, but I vote "Demon"...you? If only because the Metal gentleman does not specify the 18 year old. Maybe he is a Nuge fan, or perhaps is upset the Hawks / Canucks rivalry looks to be something for this year only.
On to Montreal. Vive Le Canuckes!!!