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A "Thin Line" Game Recap ( 3-2 L s/o )

It is kind of funny when the Canucks play the Minnesota entry to the NHL discussion. Somehow, a playoff victory from a decade ago still has resonance. It's part of why the games in The State of Hockey always seem to have a rollicking tone. Too bad that they just couldn't close the deal. Maybe this "our biggest rival" for Minny has some credence. At least at home.

Hannah Foslien

With the AV edition, there was no thought to which goalie was going in.  It was #Not Luongo when it came to the Excel Energy Center. Not tonight. And while Roberto Luongo played well, sometimes you just need a little something to get over that line.


1st period

This one was no different.  There were chances early, a good pace, a couple goals. There were chances on the power play for the Wild more than the Canucks, a goal on a one of those innocent, "ah s*** " penalties that scored on the #1 penalty kill, and only some Luongo gymnastics on the second one ( on a definitely, inlight of Higgins hauled down with no call on the rush that preceded it, a weak call. This will be my one for tonight, but come on ref. Dude had one hand on the stick and let it go easy...#BahHumbug ) prevented a pretty decent Wild power play from breaking the #1 penalty kill.

- Big saves at big times, I believe is what the coach asked for.

- On the 1st goal of the game, we saw the Sedins getting Beaker in the right places.  Some guys, like Kesler and Burrows, pick it up faster, and some need a bit. The timing of when the trailer comes up and the shot that a perfectly timed Sedin pass will give him is smart hockey.  You need to matriculate your way through it at first.

- Not to deny Zach Parise his due, and the pass from the point was pretty as well, but that was a classic "sh!t happens" power play killing streak killer goal.  What was it, two, three blocks that could have bounced for a clear, and instead bounced to an opponent?  The Pominville shot that hit the post on the second one was slightly more troubling.  But maybe having a penalty kill playing at historic levels perhaps has given us impossibly high standards in Cup or Bust Paradise by the Pacific.

- I suggested, in a quick little suggestion pool in one of the threads, a name of "AllTheCorsiEvents", or "A.C.E" line. It seemed that one of them liked it, as Ryan Kesler had 3 shots, and a block in his first 7:41 TOI. Going 7 of 12 helped, against the #1 centre, mainly, while that matchup enabled Henrik Sedin to torch the 2nd line with a perfect 6 for 6 on draws in his 7:27 TOI.

- Now, the Sedins produced, and had their own Corsi events, as they generated 4 shots, 3 that forced a save, and seemed to be getting the occasional shift against the non Suter pairing, as Minny looked to put those guys more on the ACE's.  However, consider that every line was generating those "events". It makes the fact that the Corsi for % was a 68 % - 32 % advantage, while the F.F ( Fenwick for % ) was 70 % - 30 % in the road team's favor. I simply did not matter, at least in the opening period, who was out there against them. The Canucks drive possession and were the team pushing the play.

- That being said, a post away from being down 2-1, and that same Excel - Less feeling sneaking into the thinking.

2nd Stanza

- OK. One more.  That kind of play is pretty much in the timing. I'll give him the benefit, and he looked contrite, but Konopka's timing ensured that a very good defenseman might have to lose some time because he could have very well knew exactly what he was doing.  It's always hard ot guess intent for the refs, but that could have, and perhaps should have, been a major. Tough job they have, the refs!

- It didn't help that the power play, but for the Kes' shot at the end of it...was not good.

- Ryan Stanton tried one five second shift and went to the room.  Thanks Zenon. ( WTF kind of parent names their kid after a Noble Gas ? )

- The save at the 11:11 mark of the game was definitely an 11 / 10.

- David Booth.  That is what a hockey player just playing looks like. Drives the zone, drives the play, gets in front and outmuscles Ryan "30 Minutes a game" Suter for a rebound, and muscled the puck over a goalie playing insane that actually got a piece of it too.  A big part of a 3rd line that may have been the secret weapon tonight. ( ... )

- There was a shift or two that showed how well the guys are playing their roles. First, ( at about the 6 minutes left in the stanza mark ) Tom Sestito made two great pressure plays in the offensive zone that were smart.  Then, when the Kesler line ended up getting pressured by the Brodziak line, Roberto Luongo was tracking pucks like Spidey does danger.  He made a great save through traffic on on a high hard shot, and 2-3 others from all other areas.  Watching him in the crease, he is following the play, and puck, with preternatural accuracy.  He only faced 7 shots in the second, but there were a few that, in the past, would have been a "are you kidding me" goal in this building. Great focus by the STARTING goaltender for the 2014 Olympic Team. Book it. ( and I like the BC boy that will be # 2. Babcock et all must look at how Roberto is locked in and smile )

- Through forty, the Canucks, while it was a better period for the home team, had more shots ( 23 - 16 ). Won more draws  ( 23 - 19, with Kes' going 10 of 17, and Hank going 10 for 13 on draws ),and, after a first where they generated 2 giveaways and had a 2-2 saw off on the takeaway stat, they withstood the Wild coming a bit harder well in that puck possession stat as well, having a 3-0 ( that is right, zero giveaways after forty, on the Minny ) edge on giveaways, and trailing slightly on the takeaway stat 6-5.

- Perhaps that all had something to do with how one of the hottest home teams (13-3-2 ), against one of the better ( 10-5 -2 ) on the road teams, while giving up a tying goal, and taking a lead back, were 60.8% in Corsi For %, and 65 % on that Fenwick For %, in a rink they are supposed to suck in, with a goalie that is supposed to call it his "horror show rink". So far so good. Let's see if the third with only five defensemen was a good or bad thing.

Final Countdown  ( Do da Do Do...Do da do-do-do... )

- Execution. The Canucks executed so well, and should have had a third goal on a dominant shift. as the Kesler line was definitely miles better than who was on.  But for Harding. He made one great save, and then had a lucky one ( you get those when you are a brave MS guy ) when Higgings heeled the rebound with a wide open net into his pad. Wait even a. 01 of a sec there, and it's in anyhow, as Harding was sliding away. Living right man... ( ofh and stats guy only gave the Canucks one shot there )

- Harding again showed how well he was playing on a Daniel Sedin break from the blue line shortly afterwards as well.

- Two great chances to score, they had given up zip all period, and a rush by Koivu, an nice pass to Coyle, and a shot that leaked through Lui would tie this one up though, as is always the way in hockey.  That way the play by play guy ( and Shorty is a proud member of the Union , and promptly mentioned it ) can mention hos "big" the saves that preceded the goal were.  I'm surprised they didn't throw to kipper to say how much that goal hurt Lui's "chances" to make the Sochi team.

- The Kesler line almost got the lead again, with more buzzing, before a TV time out, and a great finish being in the offing with two games going. Is it weird I think of The Full Monty when they play "Hot Stuff' in the Panagopolous Pizza ads?

- One reason the Wild are a better team is the line of Koivu, Parise and Coyle. That shift with four minutes left is Exhibit A.The rush and shot from Coyle with 1:26 left might be Exhibit B.

- In the end, both goalies made the saves they needed to make to get the point.

The Drama Continues...Four on Four!

- Damn. How did Suter and Koivu not end it immediately? Great rush.  That Scandella chance was pure Lui robbery.  Back and forth the overtime goes. I thought this was a Conference game? Nice to see both teams go for it.

- Wild chances by the Two Danny's at one end, and Suter, Parise et al tried to end this one hockey style.  But no. Skils competition it is!



- Parise. The freakishly long legs win again!


- Santorelli. Beats the goalie, not the crossbar.


- Kouvu. Hit the cross bar AND maybe other post off the bounce. Lui wins again!


- Higgins. Off the side, doesn't matter. No movement prematurely by Harding = no chance


- Pominville. Great shot. High glove goal


- Kesler. Shot it wide.

Minny wins, but they certainly did not deserve to.  Well, except maybe the math said they did. They certainly came on strong at crunch time at home. Those numbers that once looked so dominant?  Well, the C.F %.actually fell into their favor, 51.3 % to 48.8 %, and the Canucks were only 52.5 % to 47.5 % on Fenwick For at the end as well. Credit to them for the effort.  But really, this game was a prime example of a goaltender having a game when it mattered.

Luongo played great. One shot got through, and it was a decent one off the rush. He'll say he should have had it,( and he probably should have )  but that is the thin line between winning and losing in this game sometime, no matter the math !

One point...on to Dallas.  I hear they think they are a "rival" too.

Such is the life of an elite team.