All that talk of breaks is something we'll get to in a second, but here's a tip for the team that just replaced its coach and had the home fans booing again at the end.
In the great game of hockey, you can better implement your game plan if you have the puck. Now, that may seem a simple thing, but consider this. Aside from the "Puck Gods goal" that Ryan Kesler was given to even up the one from Saturday, the other two came from face off wins. I mean, check this out : After one ; Canucks ahead 14-9 on draws. After two periods ; the number was increased to 20-12, and by the end of this game, the Canucks had a more than two to one advantage on draws at 35-15.
Ryan Kesler was 13 of 17, and ( can you TEAM folks, callers and talkers, PLEASE stop kvetching about Kes' now? ) had a great game. Henrik Sedin was 11 of 16 on draws, and Richardson and Santorelli both went 4 for 5. In fact, the guy playing his first game of the regular season, Jordan Schroeder, was the only one under 50%, at 3 for 7.
The first period was one that the Flyers should have been fairly happy about, considering their recent run of play. Even while not winning draws, they were controlling the zone play, had the puck more, and seemed to be playing pretty good. They ended up outshooting the Canucks 9-7 in the period, and looked like they had some jump, as they should, being the more desperate team.
They may ( or may not, I don't know if the cause and effect of hockey fights is 100% when it comes to emotion ) have felt good about the fight that Luke Schenn had with Zack Kassian ( it came after a big hit at the other end, but didn't feel like one of "those" fights. Maybe they hated each other in the lower leagues or something ), but a hardworking goal opened the scoring for the Flyers when Tye McGinn was in the right place in front to sweep home a puck. This goal was also way more the fault of the Canucks having a very shitty change ( kids, a #ProTip...get the puck DEEP when you want to go for a change! ) than the Flyers fantastic play, however.
What followed next though, was clear clownshoes. I certainly hope the Flyers fans and media aren't going to intimate that Steve Mason was at fault for it, as he was just doing his job when he went behind the net to stop the puck. It just never got there, as it hit a bump, ( more likely the Zamboni door edge ) and bounced right to the front of the open net, where a grateful Ryan Kesler slid it into the goal for his second of the season. It almost feels unfair that Tanev and Hansen got an assist each on that one ( really refs? 2 assists on that kinda goal? ), but they'll take them.
The Canucks had a power play after Grossman hooked ( held, mauled ) Daniel Sedin down low for a call the Philly fans thought was diving ( it wasn't ), and they did OK, but not up to the usual standards of a power play that does need to score more, but sure looks pretty sometimes. Credit the other team getting in the way and doing a good jpb of reading plays.
After One...some "snack stats" to nosh on.
- Kevin Bieksa had a -1 after one, but, like I said, was a victim of a change. He was given another giveaway too, although he did get that one right back on the play!
- Canucks had the edge in hits after one, with a 10-8 edge, fueled by Booth, Santorelli, and Stanton all having two of them.
- Our coach doesn't play his 4th liners and 3rd pairing much either, but he did both with more frequency than Craig Berube. Mind you, Craig does have to find icetime for two facepunchers in Rinaldo AND Rosehill. But Luke Schenn only had 5 shifts and 3:20 after one ( check here, and here , as ShiftChart.com has a little line that moves to entertain AND inform! ), as opposed to Yannick Weber getting 6 and 4:18.
Sometimes, folks get so into the game so much, that we say stupid things. I, for one, said that perhaps Ed Snider's position as an owner of Comcast, in addition to being the owner of the Flyers, had something to do with the egregiousness of the Flyers' second goal in this period.
For the record, I don't really believe that. I believe the referees were incompetent and bad at their jobs. I mean, before the goal at 2:10 of the second, and definitely afterwards, the Flyers seemed to come forward as much as a moderate Republican in GOP House conferences. The 9-5 shots for the Canucks flattered the home team for sure.
But anyone else besides the striped shirts, in the arena seats, and certainly all over the ice, saw that there was a hand pass from Claude Giroux to Tye McGinn at the side of the net to put away his second of the night. It wasn't even that hard to see. They were shorthanded on the officiating crew in the first period, but had a full complement at the start of the second, so that is not an excuse. The ref at that end was in the corner and looking, seemingly, right at it. ( and no TSN, or the supposed "experts" at the Sportsnet desk, it didn't "go off his arm". It was directed, and even if it caught just the cuff of the glove, there is no way a ref can ( or should ) make that determination that you did after repeated replays. It was an illegal goal in real time at full speed and the refs gave it to them anyhow. Sorry. Just say it! )
So, incompetence it is. Either way, it was tough to swallow. The Flyers certainly took their good break and ran with it, as they turned into the 95-96 Devils soon afterwards, not coming forward, and playing #UberDefense . The Canucks tried, and had a couple chances, but Steve Mason was actually living up to this year's press clippings, instead of last year's, and made some good saves.
After Two, don't feel blue...
- It says that Jay Rosehill had a block and a hit after 2:38 of TOI through two periods, but I didn't see it!
- Nik Grossman had a pretty full stat sheet ( see here ) through two periods, but it was Braydon Coburn leading the way for the Flyers at 15:47 TOI.
- That was chump change compared to the guys at the top of the list for the Canucks. Kevin Bieksa had 4 shots through two and led the game with 18:02 TOI, while Jason Garrison led the game after two with 4 blocks and 17:42 TOI.
I was joking on Twitter that Torts must have been saying "if you guys don't start shooting the puck, I'll split those Sedins right up!! Don't Make me turn around this game!!" But it was great to see John Tortorella's deft touch once again spark his team. To tell the truth, in games with the average amount of power plays, I am totally cool with him splitting the Twins and keeping them together on the first power play.
It certainly had an affect on the game. Even though the first real "shot" wasn't until the 7:31 mark, when Chris Higgins finally got his first off of a patented Henrik Sedin behind the net "patient pass" by burying the perfect pass in the slot, the change brought about more jump throughout the Top 6.
OK, maybe not splitting up the Twins ALL the time, but it did work once again, and Torts did find the perfect time to do it too. It seemed to catch the Flyers napping a bit. There was little doubt who was the team pushing the play after the tying goal, and it was another dominant shift by the Henrik, Kesler, and Higgins line that provided the winner, as Henrik fed Higgins for another great chance that was stopped, beofre the puck came to Kesler at the side of the net, where he overpowered ( I want to say Coburn, but maybe Gustafsson ? ) the defenseman to put away the winning goal, his second of the night.
It was s typical Kesler goal. He had a pretty great night tonight. Maybe he was pissed about Botch' calling him a "third liner" in the media recently!
The Canucks beared down and prevented any real chances, even on a gift power play ( that was no elbow, no anything by Bieksa ref, it was just a good hot, check the replay! ) where the Flyers didn't really get too much going. So, a game where they didn't have their best to start out turned out to be a hard working victory. Perhaps the Flyers are a better team than they showed tonight, but they sure didn't act like it. Maybe the Canuck defense had something to do with that. Their breakout of their own end was excellent tonight.
Sometimes, you get the numbers, sometimes the numbers get you... ( line here )
- Ryan Kesler had a solid night. How solid? 2 goals, +1, 6 of 8 shots on net, 2 blocks, 1 takeaway and 13 of 17 draws won solid.
- Henrik Sedin had a more cerebral, less #BigBoyHockey game than Kes', but it was still pretty effective. 2 assists, a +2, 1 of 2 shot attempts forcing a save, and 11 of 16 draws won. But Daniel DID block a shot, so I bet Torts likes him better now ( #coachsuckup )
- I put up Jordan Scroeder's line over 10:52 TOI, just to see it. I thought he had a good game for his first one. He makes smart passes, he skates all the time, and he is deft along the boards. His best play was one that doesn't come on the stat sheet anyhow, when he broke up the final pass on one of the few odd man rushes the Flyers had late. The line was 3 of 7 draws won, 1 missed shot, and 2 hits. I hope I am not "too positive" saying I liked his game though, because I did.
On to visit Cody and his new team. Don't think it's an accident that we got to hear his whining about "Dad not being involved" through the media today either. We ( well, I don't, anyhow! ) don't believe you Cody, and the reports of a Hockey Dad gone mad have already been sort of confirmed by Allan Walsh ( ex agent ) on Twitter already anyhow. Besides, your new team supposedly had the same problems this summer! So, hush young man, and just play hockey. Keep your head up too...I have a feeling Kassian is going to try and "leave a mark" on Thursday.