While the new schedule may have dealt the killing stroke to the Canucks / Hawks rivalry, there is still enough left in it to make every game that this core will play against that one entertaining. This one was no different. ]Some think it is stale, and they used to only play a game or two more in a season, so why ? Because the playoffs mean that the only way these two can meet is in a Conference Final. Let us cross our fingers. They are fun to watch ! Did you see that smirk from JT when Murph asked him about it ? He was like "of course it is more fun to play in these games" look on his face. Of course it is...
So, how did they do in this, Daniel Sedin's 1000th game ? Only two others have done that. His Bro, and Trevor Linden ( call me Boss boys ! ).
2 - Make no mistake, the Canuck fans have not forgotten about Duncan Keith in Daniel Sedin's 1000th game. He was booed at every puck touch, and was a little shaky at the end of the Hawk's power play, under pressure from Horvat and Hansen, and eventually, on the same sequence, giving it up at his own line to the Sedins, who almost got Richardson a garbage goal for hanging on the ice with them.
13:13 - Technically, the first goal of the night was a power play goal, as it was scored exactly two minutes after the Versteeg minor ( for going to Kane's aid on a pretty clean hit. Kane turned for the puck at the last second, and what is Sbisa supposed to do, just give him the puck ? ) at 11:13. Derek Dorsett and Bo Horvat did some nice work along the baords to keep the puck moving deep, and the Hawks forgot that Jannik Hansen ( 3 in 3 games now ) is a goal scorer now. # 36 made a confident shot, back over the blocker on a helpless Crawford.
4 / 5 - Bo Horvat was 80 % on faceoffs in his 6 shifts and 3:57 TOI. In his 8th game, you ahve to think he is staying, don't you ?
The Corsi Events ( From our good friends at hockeystats.ca... )
77 and 89 % - On the blue line, Kevin Bieksa and Lucas Sbisa had solid first periods, as the had a positive even strength Corsi performances. Both were very solid, with Kevin having 10 Corsi Events for to 3 against, ( a 77 % Corsi For), and Sbisa had an even better 8 for and 1 against, for an impressive 89 % Corsi For...which was great, but....
100 % - Was what Daniel and Henrik Sedin had ( 5 for and 0 against on Corsi Events, ), as they came out strong. while the impressive fourth line that got the goal, and was 4 for and 0 against each. Seems like they got the memo about "setting a tone" too ! Six players going at that rate in the first against a team that counters as aggressively as the Hawks was a definite good start.
Shots, 13 - 11 Canucks, Face Offs 11 - 8 Hawks ( Bo won half of our first period draws ! ) Hits just 3- 3 each.
The Canucks were pushing the play, and while they outshot the Hawks early in the second, they took two penalties. Alexander Edler got the stick up on Saad, that is fine. But Derek Dorsett hit Clendening hard and clean, and his stick was broken on the pay. It can really only be called a "break" ( literally ) , in that Clendening was about to drop his stick, and it came apart as Dorsett was checking the puck. Shit Happens.
12 - As in the seconds that it took the Hawks to take advantage of the break they got. Off of a scrambled face off win, they got it to Keith on the far point just ahead of the onrushing forechecker, and Versteeg was in a perfect position quicker than either one of the defensemen who had taken responsibility for him off the draw. It was a great tip, and Miller had no chance at making the save.
4 - As in the Fourth Line. Bo's Boys, 51 - 53 and 36 need a nickname. Maybe next week. ( Let's wait until it is official, but Bo Horvat sure looked like a confident young man who was enjoying contributing at the NHL level tonight ) . They were the best line on the ice for the home team, in a period where all the lines seemed to be pushing the play. Put it this way. By the end of the second period, of the while Daniel and Henrik had regressed to 56 % Corsi For ) albeit against tougher matchups, but the 4th line seemed to be Willie's go to in the second. Bo going 8 of 11 through 40 minutes will do that for a coach making those kind of decisions. Bo had 8:15 TOI, and Honey Badger was in at 9:05, with Dorsett in at 8:39.
5 - and 3 . Lucas Sbisa had a 79 % Corsi For at even strength through two periods. Juice clocked in at 75%. The other Top 4 minutes pair was in at 59 and 55 % for Tanev and Edler. They were playing well against tough competition, but the "money quote" was the other duo through two periods.
Shots were now 23 to 17 ( a 10 - 6 edge in the 2nd period ) for the Canucks, the Face Offs were almost even at 22-22 Hawks, and the Hits were now 9-7 visitors.
The Final Twenty
The Canucks were the better team in this one, for large stretches of the game, and in the third, they sensed the moment. They were so solid at pushing the play tonight through all four lines, and while all the third line had some dominant shifts, and the first line got a well deserved goal, I feel that I should give some love to the 2nd line of Bonino, Higgins and Vey.
They played against the big boys in a lot of that final minute and at regular strength. A lot of guys finished in and around the the 50 % + area, and of course it was the Sedins who actually increased their Corsi For %, with Daniel Sedin leading the team at 62 % at even strength, and with his brother clocking in at 59 %. Neither one could touch the 71 % even strength Corsi For Kevin Bieksa finished up with, slightly ahead of Lucas Sbisa at 69 % But a ot of guys finished on the good side in a close game against a very good team.
!!! - Let's face it though, the only number tonight is Number Thirty Six. The Honey Badger. The Great Dane, Beaker ( my favorite nickname for Jannik Hansen around here. ) Three goals on 4 shots, with his speed and finish a perfect compliment to his linemates and their hard work. He had perfect timing on the second one, and it was just his speed on the empty netter to get the hats flying...
14:27 TOI - Bo Horvat arrived on a big stage tonight, ready to play. He was a huge part of the fact that JT was only 8 for 21 on the dot, going 13 for 16. 81.3 % on F/O's. Several of those were Bo winning draws cleanly, against a top NHL face off guy. It was the clean own zone face off win with a little less than 13 minutes left that was decisive, winning it clean to Derek Dorsett, who out skated a bunch of Hawks before feeding the puck perfectly to Hansen's stick for the 2nd goal. On a play Hossa could have gotten the Great Dane on, but looked to let up a bit. Oh the humanity ! Bonus Horvat number. 3, as in assists.
8 - points for the Fourth Line ( who actually were the third tonight, with the so called "3rd" line the ones that were clocking in at around 11 - 12 minutes. ) 3 goals for 36, 3 assists for 53, and 2 more for 51.
0 / 1 - JT had the one missed shot. The only thing more impressive is the Canucks limited PK to 0 / 0 shots.
The Shots ended up 30 - 25 in the home team's favor, as were the Hits at 12 - 10. Canucks smoked em on the faceoffs, going 36 wins and 27 losses as a team.
Oh yeah, the Sedins were magical on the third goal, and Daniel didn't even get an assist on it, and neither did Hank. Tanev and Sbisa got those, with Vrbata getting in the way of the Tanev shot just enough on the tip try, so that Crow could not get it, and it was 3-1. A Honey Badger and an empty net ensued, and two minutes later it was over.
All that was great on the 1000 game milestone for Daniel. But come on. Our 4th line dominated against the Hawks,and the Honey Badger got 75 % of he goals himself.
That is it... See you next Friday for the Blue Jackets...
Willie Says... ( he like his lines, likes Bo a lot, and hopes he stays. That was why he talked about that line for most of the clip ! ;-)