We take our puck pretty seriously here in Vancouver. Often the locals will pore over the results for portents of what might happen, or how in the hell they keep losing more than winning, when they are playing a pretty similar game as they were before.
Whether it is Alexander Edler struggling again, whose in the lineup from day to day, or how has a team that only a couple years ago was smoking teams with an offense varied and glorious struggling to score now, where did the power play go man, or the everlasting question of how the goalie is doing, there is never not something to be positive, or negative about, as is your wont.
We make no apologies for how much we care about the team and how it is doing. That is all part of fandom, and the yin of the winning has to be balanced at times with the yang of losing. Yes, it's a bit more manic because there has been no Cup yet. But the canucks are still one of the best teams over the last five years or so when you check the records. So, expectations SHOULD be high.
Fans will remember that it was a game against the Carolina Hurricanes that broke another streak even uglier than the current malaise, when Alexandre Burrows snapped a streak and turned a corner for the entire thing. Perhaps this was the team to give them the impetus to get back on track? It always helps when your top two way centre ( Kesler ) outplays their top two way centre ( E Staal ). Staal got him, and Kes' got him back. This was THE battle of this game, and the KesLord emerged the better.
The goaltending question was answered by Torts with Eddie Lack, getting his scheduled start after the good fill in performance. The other queries? Well, another was answered when Zack Kassian drew the "did not play, coach's decision" straw, with Zac Dalpe replacing him.
A good one. Playing angry seemed to be a theme. Guess who got THAT thing going? ( We all know Torts probably had something to do with that as well ! )
- Kevin Bieksa was at the start of it, drawing a penalty while STILL getting to fight! His only contribution on the stat sheet after 20 minutes in his 1st period 5:34 TOI. The whole team took the "screw this ####" attitude to this one.
- Ryan Kesler. It took the Canes getting the "automatic penalty", scoring on the 2 man advantage that resulted from it with the most basic of power play goals. There for the rebound. Took a shot up high in the neck area, and still led the team with 8:00 TOI in 12 1st period shifts.
- S#it. Jannik Hansen was responding OK as well. His stumble into the boards looked like it hurt a lot, and was a re-injury of the same shoulder that had him sidelined. Let's hope he rehabs quick... he aready had 2 shot attempts ( 1 on net ) and a hit in his 3 shifts and 2:12 TOI before he hurt himself. And guess what? Playing a "####" this" game means you just pop that shoulder back in! In and out of the game trying to still play is a Honey Badger thing to do Jannik.)
- Hey look, a Tom Sestito goal again? Big guy goes to net, get's a tip. Tough to move the big fellas. Glove tip to Ryan Kesler for the 4th line fill in shift that got it going too.
- Honorable mentions to Jason Garrison ( 2 assists in 1st period ), Alexandre Burrows with the 2 blocks in his 6:02 TOI, Zac Dalpe for a point in his return to Carolina, and even Eddie Lack, who handled only 4 shots (a 9-4 advantage in the first for the Canucks ) like a champ.
Two goals in HOW long?
- When there is 2 quick goals, it's never good, but FTR, that looked a little fishy on the first one. The second one shouldn't have happened though. Eddie Lack moved awkwardly on the rebound, but Dan Hamhuis should have played that a bit better from the blue line in. Two goals in 10 seconds will get Mt Torts going too.
- Will you look at that. Here I was hoping for Alexandre Burrows to break the stick over his knee, and here comes KesLord getting a greasy one. Good, he could have handled Eric Staal better on the tying goal anyhow.
- Zac Dalpe. Still only averaging 2 minutes a period or so, he was noticeable. Mostly for good things.
- The PK. Daniel Sedin getting a 4 minute call, then having Burrows get a puck in the head ( ear ) off of a clear, and shrugging off the loss of one of your best PK guys is definitely "Screw this". Brad Richardson got punked by Komisarek, with some sleazy stick work and then declining the retribution ( come on Komisarek, you play your style and refuse! ? ) The PK took your insult and threw it right back atcha. I can't really remember more than the Ruutu shot and the bit at the end where Eddie Lack made his best save to that point on another Ruutu shot and the rebound. In almost 6 minutes of PK time that included a bit of 5 on 3.
- Eddie Lack was busier this period, with the Hurricanes outshooting the Nucks 17-10 in this period. The two goals in 10 seconds thing aside, he did his job well.
- Alright Alexandre Burrows, you're just screwing with us now, right? Three chances in one shift late in the second ( given 2 shots on it though ) without results. Snake bite still smarting, I suppose.
- David Booth. Led the team with 4 hits after 40 minutes, had 2 shots, and was still keeping the good vibe going through two periods, with mostly good things in his 12 shifts and 9:35 TOI.
Bring It Home
Yes, please do bring it home. Please?
- You really shouldn't take an early penalty in a game you're trying to get home successfully, even when the guy ( Ruutu ) does the same thing you would have Mr Kesler. Good thing you have the best PK in the NHL !
- Cam Ward has been getting some pub' for a possible Olympic spot. While that is one I'll leave to the "experts", he does make some nice saves behind that defense. He made a couple on the Santorelli line 5 minutes in that were almost casual in execution. The Canes came right back with a shift against the Canuck 4th line where Ryan Stanton and Eddie Lack both made nice plays to keep the score where it was.
- That questioning look on Ryan Stanton's face when he took his penalty was funny. It probably would have been interference anyhow. Maybe. There was just no doubt after the Dwyer fell like a house of cards. It was weak Stats, I agree. But you were still probably getting called for interference anyhow. 6th straight PK though? Best PP for the home team. After Richardson looked like his attempt to clear checked Burrows, Eddie Lack got lucky with the post saving a tip, and Burrows gets the glove tap for the help. After that chance, the PK got back to it's almost arrogant dismissal of what should be a pretty good power play. The last 30 seconds of Twins vs Brothers was fun for broadcasters everywhere as well.
- Finally a chance for the Canuck power play. You had to know that was coming Radek Dvorak. Cheap grab man... too bad the power play was all zone time and no goal. Get that boomer on net Eddie!
- How about that stick lift on Tlusty by Kevin Bieksa? Picture perfect. Keep that on the video and flag it for all the kids to see exactly how that is done.
- It's fun when the OTHER team doesn't execute. Jordan Staal going offsides on a stretch pass made Ward go back into the empty net again, and a Hansen play at centre sprung Kesler for a good chance that kept him there. The Sedins made a couple smart board plays instead of going for that empty net, the Canes made another stretch pass offsides to seal it, and Eddie Lack did a little victory dance in the crease just for fun.
Kesler. Two Goals.
Eddie Lack. Except for 10 seconds there, he had a wonderful game.
Jason Garrison. Two assists, a hit, a block, a solid game,
OK boys, let's keep this "screw this" attitude going in Smashville. No going out to the clubs until AFTER a second win in a row!
( how's THAT guys? Under 1500 words AGAIN! ;-)