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A "Snowed Under" Game Recap ( 7-3 L )

There was no quit in the visitors tonight, and this game was there for the winning. But when you are playing three games in four nights, and at elevation, well, sometimes you make some mistakes. Tired body, tired mind...

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It was not all bad.  The Sedin line continued to pile up the points, and Daniel got his first of the year.  The Canucks had their chances, and Varlemov looked beatable at times tonight.  But too many tired plays under pressure, too many mistakes, and allowing too many shots was the undoing of the team on this night.

This is certainly not an excuse for the team, nor is it to denigrate the great effort from the best players on the home team tonight. But sometimes in professional sports, the players have to earn those millions, and play when they are not at their best.

It looked like Willie Desjardins had set himself up to be able to play a third in four nights, and at a Mile High.  The Sedins played less than 15 min last night, and no one really was overtaxed.

And the start was certainly a perfect one.  Just ten seconds in, a dump in was handled shakily by Varlemov, under pressure from Vrbata.  The Brothers Sedin then did the role switching thing that they seem to have going this year, and Daniel Sedin set up his elder brother for a nice one timer to make it 1-0.

They had a power play after that, and a chance to really pull the perfect road game scenario.  But credit the Avalanche.  With no wins on home ice to this point, they were hungry, and after killing off the too many men penalty, they continued to push the play more and more.

It was almost inevitable then, after a Zack Kassian penalty was killed off, but while he was still on the ice, that when he failed to clear, the pressure was going to be too much against the rest of men under siege.  Jarome Iginla made one of those backhands a 500+ goal scorer can, off the post and in, high glove, and this one was tied.

We were then treated to the obligatory Patrick Roy blow up ( drink ! ) when Alexandre Burrows directed a puck from his stick towards the net, and then seemed to get the stick on it between the goalie's legs.  The puck definitely sped up as it went in, as Shorty pointed out.  The referee did not help with the arms flailing wildly ( and he then puzzled the crowd afterwards with the "it was called a good goal on the ice" explanation. ) but it seemed the right call.

It was a period where they were outshot 2 to 1, and where they were actually pushing the play in the last five minutes, where they got 4 of their 8 shots.  That makes it even more amazing when you realize that the Avs were not credited with a shot in about the first six minutes , and they ended up with 15 of them at the end of the period.  They had a lot of pressure in a short time.

Willie had the short shifts going, and the Canucks were obviously looking to just grind it and see what happened.  But then the same affliction that got Kassian on the first goal infected Lucas Sbisa on the tying goal from McGinn.  Sure, it was a nice setup by Matt Duchene, and Dutch had a great game ( 1 goal, 2 assists, 6 of his 7 shot attempts on net, and flying all night ), but when a defender like Sbisa comes out of the box, and looks as lost as he did, and McGinn just blows by him to the spot for another roof goal, it is disheartening to watch. Imagine how he bench feels.

The continued penalty problem that has shown up lately for the Canucks then blew any "ice time management plan" that Coach Willie had in mind out of the water.  After a first where the only PK time had Matthias as the SH TOI leader for the forwards at 1:22, the Canucks went on a parade to the box that saw Bonino swipe at a puck and hit Talbot's face then saw Matthias get a somewhat cheap one ( and most the calls were deserved tonight.  The stick was in there on this one too, but usually a bit more is needed... ), and  by the end of it all, Edler, Hamhuis and Bieksa were all hovering around 3 minutes of PK time, and Tanev was at 3:43 by the end of the second all by himself !   All the forwards ( but for,Burrows, Bonino and Dorsett at around 30 seconds ) had at least a minute, and most of your depth forwards were at over 2 minutes. ( Higgins Richardson and Hansen ) were around a couple minutes.

It was all hard time too.  It wears a team down. The Avalanche took the lead for good on a power play marker by Eric Johnson that Lack never saw, and he got it with 3 seconds to go in a 5 on 3 advantage.  The rest of that kill was successful, but any reserves the tired team had in the tank were probably depleted at that point.

Plus. you simply cannot give up that many opportunities against an NHL team.  The shots were now 31 - 17 after two, and the Avalanche looked to put this one away.  After a Daniel Briere tip was saved, he got his own rebound, and then Duchene made the classic "move the goalie and slip it five hole" cheeky move on a breakaway, after a Bieksa jump into the rush gone wrong left Hamhuis in no man's land.  Daniel Sedin got his first of the season a nice set up that must have been tipped ( conspiracy ! Denied more Sedin and Vrmazing points ), as it turned out to be called unassisted.

Landeskog ( a one timer on a play where both Bonino and Weber were beaten in the corner, and Burrows screened his hapless goaltender ) got the 6th, and Iggy made a nice spinning tip to go off post and in to complete the rout.

Could've Been Different

Yeah, I know, probably not.  the shots ended up 48 to 29, and the Avs probably would have gotten the two points anyhow,  But the home team survived a huge PK  with about 6 minutes left, after Varlemov covered the puck in the restricted area.  The first unit was extremely dangerous. Vrbata had 3 shot attempts and a post ( why those don't count as a shot is beyond me. You literally "hit the net" ! ) and if he scores there...  perhaps the shutdown, grind it out mentality gets some energy into their tired game tonight.  Probably not, but you never know.

Too Bad His 500th Was Not a Win

You know who was a beast in a losing effort, and has been showing more and more of the "good" part of his game lately ? Alexander Edler.  His partner was a +1 on the night, but he led his team with a +2, on a night where the opposition scored 6 even strength goals.  He had 3 of 4 shot attempts on net, and looked dangerous from the point on the power play.  He had a block and 4 hits, many of the thunderous variety.  He was all over my notes tonight, led his team with 23 :21 TOI ( 4:31 PP, 3 :15 PK  )and was making good plays under pressure all night. Yes, he had a couple turnovers.  It was a night where the Avs were all over the less fresh team.  But Alexander Edler was not to be blamed.  He made some mistakes, but few, and way more good ones tonight.

Now, You On The Other Hand...

Lucas Sbisa though ? Ugh.  He was lost on the decisive goal by McGinn that started the landslide, after his team battled hard to kill his stupid slashing call.  With only 1 shot and 1 block, most of his minutes were spent in his own end, and most of them were bad.  He was a -4, worse than anyone on the ice by far, even with that simple stat.   There were a couple plays where he did OK, but for most of the night it was a struggle.  After a night where he had one of his best games of the season against St Louis, this one was a stark contrast.

And You Too !

Poor Zack Kassian.  After being less than helpful on a goal that could have been prevented with a smarter play by himself.  He only got on the ice for 10:10, and was shuffled through the 3rd and 4th lines, and that was mostly on himself.  He just did not have a good game.  He was not the only one, and this is certainly not to pile on the young man.  But his talents are still there.  Whether he can express them better is a bit of a concern, and I am sure he will have better nights.  But after being kicked out ( he got frustrated by a jam play in front of Lack late, and tried to get at the offenders a bit too strenuously ) early, it was a fitting end to a disappointing night.

Sedins Are Good At Hockey.

Another goal for each, and Vrbata had 5 shot attempts ( seemed like more on that PP alone, and then, of course, the uncounted post ), while Daniel Sedin led the team with 8 shot attempts ( 6 on net ).  They were buzzing on that "almost" power play, and out for a whole two minutes and more, buzzing all over the ice.

A Burrows Update

Not sure on the math, but my charity bet looks better after a goal for Mr. Everything.  He was working hard as always, and now has 2 goals and 3 assists in 7 games.  That gets me way past 20 goals and 50 points, with room to spare. Stay healthy Burr !

Next up is the Capitals at Rogers Arena on Sunday night.  They will be the team playing the night after playing the night before, with a flight from Calgary thrown in.  Perhaps the pendulum swings back. It is what it is in professional sports, as I mentioned at the outset, and every team has to go through these things. Your Canucks went one and two, on a taxing road trip through the Central division.  They looked bad i one, good in the second, and battled in the third one.  Let us not make too many judgements just seven games in.

Who am I kidding. To the Fortress of Bitchy Solitude Tony G !  Man the panic stations !

Lastly...

I love Willie's pressers though. Refeshing, and not a lot of "I know better than you, so STFU, and TURN OFF THAT CELLPHONE DAMNIT".  He just tells it like it is.  Good or bad.

Honesty...who knew !?