It won't be the scoring, goaltending, or anything else that will be talked about tomorrow. It will be Raffi Torres. AV called it "not even a penalty", and Quennville called it "brutal". At first blush, I was in AV's camp, but I just don't know anymore! I do see both sides, and in today's new NHL, it is likely that Raffi will be suspended again. He did look to get the head.
That's OK, Cody Hodgson looked good in his time the first two games. Ahhhh depth.
Let's break it down.The forward lines
Vancouver - The Sedins may just be the most efficient players in the NHL. We know how they make the most of their ice time, and both of them were in around 18 minutes once again. ( Daniel 17:29, Henrik 18:34 ) Burrows was in at just under twenty minutes, but 4:13 of that was on the PK, where he was once again excellent. Daniel a goal and an assist( on 3 shots ), Henrik 2 assists, and he helped set up his "after the PK" linemate Samuelsson for the game winner. Point deductions for stupid penalties. 8.5/10.
Chicago - Rookie Ben Smith was rewarded for his production with a move to the top line, which tonight consisted of him, Toews, and Kane. They were buzzing all night, and were aided by 6 power plays ( 1 a two man advantage for over a minute ) Captain Serious had two assists, including a super faceoff win on Keith's opening goal, and Kane had several great chances that were shut down by Luongo. Toews had 4 shots, Kane 3 ( and missed 2 ), and looked dangerous all night. Smith had no shots, but was credited with 4 hits. 8/10.
Vancouver - Ryan Kesler is continually showing what a complete hockey player he is. Proof? 6 shots, 3 hits, 3 blocked shots, and a whopping 5:03 of SH TOI in his 18:31. Took 27 faceoffs, and won 13 of them. Higgins 1 shot and 2 hits in his 15:03 TOI, to go with solid work against the Hawk stars. Welcome back FU Sweden. 15:14 TOI, a goal,2 shots, a hit and 2 blocks. You get extra for the GWG and the great PK work by Kes'. 9/10.
Chicago - I think it was Hossa, Stalberg and Frolik that were the second line for the home team. Q' does mix them up, but lets go with those guys. Uneven. Hossa was more of a force, but mainly on the power play, and finished with 2 shots, 3 hits, and 1 takeawy. His linemates? Stalberg finished with 2 shots, and 3 hits in his 14:49 TOI, which was 4:14 less than Hossa. Frolik had 3 shots, 3 hits, and was 7 for 14 in the F/O circle. Lets say a 6.9/10.
Vancouver - Ahhh yes, the 3rd line. Raymond moved to centre, the Great Dane, and the erstwhile Raffi Torres. Well, Raffi returned form suspension, and may just go right back on the shelf with his borderline hit. Raymond only had 1 shot, and was 50% on 8 draws. Hansen had 2 shots, 1 block, and 2 hits in his 14:07. ( Raymond had 14:01 TOI, while Raffi was only on the ice for 9:07, sitting part of the 3rd ). Hansen and Raymond get extra points for playing well on the PK. 7/10.
Chicago - The 3rd line. The repository for extra parts, and whatnot. Tonight it was Sharp with Kruger and Brouwer, most of the time. Sharp had the most ice of the three, with 5:22 of his 17:18 TOI being on the power play. He scored a nice goal with the extra man. Sharp also had 4 shots, 2 hits, and went 5 for 9 on the dot. Brouwer had 3 hits, but only one shot. Kruger? Well, he won 1 of 3 F/Os he took, but that's it. 6.8/10.
Vancouver - You can see that Lapierre is slowly getting more responsibility. His ice time went up in the 3rd as AV juggled his lines to hold the lead, sitting Torres, and putting Lapierre between Raymond and Hansen. 3 hits and 2 for 4 in the circle. Solid defense, along with Glass. Oreskovich had a penalty and 3 shots on goal, but was somehow judged to have no hits. I think I saw him hit some people out there. Meh. 7.2/10.
Chicago - Oh Quennville. I get starting Dowell, and of course Pisani, but John Scott? Well, he was credited with 3 hits in his 5:02 TOI, but took a dumb penalty that resulted in Ehrhoff's goal. Pisani had 3 shots, and Dowell was credited with 2 hits. He did go win 4 of 5 draws though. 6.7/10
Vancouver - Lets do it a little different tonight, and just throw all six together. Both coaches do that anyhow. Big minute man was Edler, and he was great, with 4 of his 25:27 being on the penalty kill. Nice line. 1 assist, plus 1, 2 blocked shots, 2 hits, and 3 takeaways. His smart play led to Daniel's goal. Next was Bieksa, at 24:10, with 3:39 being SH. A little less great, with 4 hits, and an assist, but 3 giveaways, an ill advised penalty, and no blocked shots. Hamhuis clocked in at 23:19, led the blue line with 5 hits, and was mainly solid in his own end. Ehrhoff? Well, a goal does not hurt, and neither does an assist. He had 3 shots, and 2 hits, but did take a penalty.
Salo was once again solid, with his 17:04 being taken up by :34 on the PP and 3:34 on the PK. He was very good in his own end. Ballard was the low man minutes wise once again, with 9:10, and 1 hit. He was not THAT bad though! Lets give the whole blue line a 8.6/10.
Chicago - Quennville changed his pairings up, with Leddy jumping up to join Keith, and Campbell and Seabrook together at the start. When we look at Keith's 25:42 TOI ( a whopping 6:55 on the PP ) compared to Leddy's 15:46 ( 1:40PP ), its obvious that the big guys were getting mixed and matched. Keith had a goal on a howitzer shot. Totaled 4 shots and 2 hits, but was also a -1. Seabrook seemed to shake off the big hit from Torres to tally 21:40 TOI, and had 3 shots, 2 blocks, and 3 hits. Campbell? Well, he was on the ice for 22:02, and had 1 blocked shot, was a -1, and took a penalty that took his team off the power play. Not good enough for 7.2 million.
Campoli had 1 shot on goal, 2 hits, and a takeaway in his 16:13 TOI. But was I the only one that noticed him being down low too much, leading to his team having to defend odd man rushes the other way? 7.9/10.
Masked Men ;
Luongo - What more to be said? He could not really be blamed for either goal, made 30 saves, and might just be in Kane's head ( oh, the irony! ) after robbing the sniper in close twice. He was a monster on the two man disadvantage, making one of those big saves on Kane then, and another on a labeled Sharp shot. It looked like he may have been forcing the Hawks to look pass instead of shooting a few times. Always a great sign. 9/10.
Crawford - Another game where he was "not bad", but just not good enough. May have been at fault on the Ehrhoff goal, and was definitely swimming around the crease on the Samuelsson backhander for the game winner. He did rob Kesler on a shorthanded breakaway. Tough to fault him on Daniel's goal, though maybe he overplayed Edler and was beatable on the cross crease pass. 7.4/10.
All in all, it was a more difficult game for the Canucks than say, Game 1. Luongo made the difference on the 5 on 3, and made more big saves than the other guy.
Can't wait until Tuesday!