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A "Wanting To Be Here" Game Recap ( 2-1 W s/o )

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To be honest, the result of this one really did not matter to this scribe. With a 10-5 record going in, and with it being the fourth game in five nights for the team on a so called "road trip from Hell", I just wanted the team to get out of Dodge without anyone else getting banged up ! I got much more than that, as the Canucks pulled off what might be their most impressive win of the season to date.

Harry How

The media sure had their narrative all warmed up.  Whenever a big trade happens, it is inevitable that the first game the two teams play will be called "personal".

Probably because it is. Ryan Kesler was here for eleven years.  NIck Bonino and Lucas Sbisa may not have had as much time in, but it was probably personal for them too.

Bottom line ? Ryan Kesler did not want to play in Vancouver anymore.  Plus, for all the coy B.S around the Olympics, and the cryptic messages he threw around at last year's trade deadline, he screwed this team hard on the way out the door.

Now, Luongo used humour, and the best dame sports twitter account around to soften the blow, but he did the same damn thing.  So, while we may thank them for the service, blood, sweat and tears they put in during the good times, never forget that both abused their no trade clauses to screw the team, and, by extension, you, the fans.

So, screw them.  Ryan Kesler is a great player, but #@$% him.  He is the enemy now, and does not deserve any soft sell nostalgia, nor should he be able to trade on any residual feelings some may have.  Maybe if he was a stand up guy like Jason Garrison, who also had a NTC, but was not an asshole about it on the way out.

The Canucks, with the pull of Miller last night, had some, including me, thinking that he would get the start in this one.  But it was Eddie Lack in the crease for this one.  ( he was excellent. Good call Willie ) Also in the line up ? Recent call up Brandon Defazio, replacing Derek Dorsett.  With Kassian still out ( after what Kerry Fraser called a "good hit", and I called an obvious attempt to injure ), Niklas Jensen was in on the 3rd line, with Richardson and Matthias, replacing Radim Vrbata in the line up.

Bo Horvat was in for his third NHL game, centring Defazio and Linden Vey on a fourth line that I am sure Boudreau was thinking "I get last change, right ?"  With Sbisa missing his return to Orange County, Yannick Weber drew into the blue line corps as well.

At least Corey Perry was not in the line up for the Ducks.

( Check the page here though. Ryan Kesler was the best Duck player tonight, even in a loss. He Corsied the hell out of this game ! Enjoy Cali mi amigo... you may have been a dick at the end, but you are a talented dick. )


Kevin Bieksa decided that there would be no slow, non emotional start, as he got into a fight with Maroon at the drop of the first puck.  It seemed to work, as the Canucks came out with a good degree of "jump", as did Kesler.  His line was matched all night against the Sedin line.  The Twins' line seemed to have the offensive edge early, but Kesler had an early chance too.

It came after the first T.V time out, as Kesler won a defensive zone draw, and then had a great chance off of an Allen point shot rebound.  Eddie Lack stoned his one time teammate.

The game went back and forth, with the home team having a slight edge in play, before Bo Horvat showed his "rookieness", trying to stickhandle through two guys in the neutral zone.  It led to a 2-0 from the blue line, but Eddie Lack handled the shot well, and the Canucks would get a power play shortly thereafter, as Nate Thompson got the stick up on Bonino.

Edler had a hard point shot,( blocked ) Weber a decent one from the circle, ( saved ) and then the second unit actually got more than a minute.  They had some good zone time, but did not get any good chances, and the power play was 0-1 early.

The second line almost scored off of a rebound, off of some nice work by Bonino along the boards, with Burrows prevented from getting a rebound off of a Higgins slot shot.  It was an entertaining first period, even without a goal either way, and the Canucks effort was already much better than the night before, with far better defensive structure, and much better decisions.

- I thought Henrik Sedin had won several draws against his one time teammate, and was truly surprised to read that the stats guy had the tally at 6 of 7 for Kesler.  The play by play guys agreed with me at the time as well.  Some of them were saw offs and winger wins, but it sure did not look like 6 out of 7. Kesler was definitely the better man on the draws tonight, ending at 67 %.

- Shots are shots though, and after the Ducks were ahead 9-4 through the first 15 minutes, the shots ended up 11-9 for the home team after the first period.


With there being no goals in the first, both teams came out with intensity.  On some zone time for the Ducks, Hamhuis lost position on the play along the boards, and took a penalty.  It took the Ducks all of two seconds to cash it in, as Kesler won ( he really did win this one ) and Vatanen's point shot beat Lack for the game's first goal.

Chris Higgins took a hit to make a play soon after ( and it was an illegal hit, as Manson got an interference penalty ) and Ryan Stanton immediately, and rightly, jumped in and fought him for doing so.

The ensuing power play looked pretty again, but a back door play was denied by Allen to prevent a Weber tap in, and the second unit just could not get going, leaving the man advantage zero for two.

The Ducks were going for the big hit all night, and Clark almost got burned as a result.  He went for it near the blue line, and Edler deftly shifted around him and had a great chance to score, but Anderson made the save.  The Canucks were definitely trying to respond to the goal though, and Bonino really should have evened the score soon after, but fanned on a chance on a rebound.

Willie then made a change on the first line, putting Vey up with The Twins, on the first shift that Kesler was not out with them.  They were not able to take advantage of the matchup this time, however.

The pressure that the Canucks were putting on after the first goal was finally rewarded, when a Hanhuis shot from the point was tipped by Alexandre Burrows to tie the score.  It was the Ducks turn to put pressure on after a goal now, and the Kesler line had some good pressure, without success ,against the Sedin line.

A perfect example of how the face offs matter less than some would have them was a shift with about 6 minutes left.  The Ducks won the draw, but the third line for the Canucks ground, checked, and pressured them for almost a minute after turning the puck over.

It was a won draw and chance that drew the Canucks third power play, as Allen crosschecked Bonino.  The first unit had 1:40 of complete and total pressure, and probably should have cashed it in, again.  The Ducks were able to withstand the pressure, and the penalty kill was still perfect for the home team.  The dominance of the Canucks as definitely on display in the second period.

The Canucks really should have taken the lead too, with Hansen having a breakaway ( albeit, under pressure all the way ), and Vey having to settle a puck on a two on one ( after the Ducks best pressure of the period ), giving the goalie time to get across and make a great save on him.  It was the Ducks on the back heel now though, as the visiting team was the one that had all the jump.

- The face offs were now even, at 20 apiece, and after a dominant period, the Canucks had a 14- 6 edge in shots in the period.


Kesler came out with a great first shift, and had a dangerous shot, and then Tanev caught a break on the same shift, as his stick grazed Silverberg's visor ( who really fell dramatically.  The ref was right there though, and decided it was more drama then penalty...whew ! Maybe it was the "drama", or maybe the camera made it look worse, and the ref saw there was no real contact on the play. He was in perfect position to see it, FWIW )

The Ducks were whining like crazy at the refs as a result, and when Jackman literally jumped at his check Weber, his whine convinced the refs to call it the self preservation as "roughing". At the same time,  Defazio was getting interfered with by Manson. The rare "two calls on the same shift" resulted in offsetting penalties.

The game settled into a back and forth.  The Canucks were playing a very solid road game.  They were doing a great job of causing turnovers by the Duck defense, and had some solid chances that were denied by Anderson, while being solid in their own end, and structured ( for the most part. The Ducks are a big, heavy team that goes for the hit at every opportunity, and that puts pressure on a team in their own end ) on their breakouts.  They were also learning, and avoiding some of those big hits with deft moves, and quick passes.

The second line had the best chance to score, against the Getzlaf line, with a Weber slapper from the slot being saved, and then a Daniel Sedin shot on the next shift forcing another great save.  Bonino's line clearly got the better of the Getzlaf line tonight.

The Ducks had a few shifts in the offensive zone, and the Kesler line might have been their best, but it was the Canucks that had the edge in play in the third in this one.  The Ducks came on a bit late, but the Canucks were the better team through three, although this one would go to overtime.

- 11 to 5 was the edge in shots in the third for the Canucks. Well done boys.  Even more impressive, considering the Canucks played the third as a three line team, more or less.

Horas Extraordinarias

With the one point in the bank, against a divisional opponent, the O/T could have gone either way. Open and chances exchanged, or "let's just get it to the shootout and take our chances".  One had to be happy with the effort of the Canucks in this one regardless of how it turned out.

Both teams looked to want to go for it though, and a nice play by Hamhuis denied the first good chance, as Smith-Pelley was in front and in good position for a rebound.  A Burrows rush the other ay was saved, and it was Richardsons chance to miss the rebound.

Henrik Sedin had a wonderful chance on a rush, but his backhand went wide ( Daniel contacted the goalie too, so it would have been a controversial winner ). Kesler had a chance off the rush that looked dangerous, but Lack's glove was there to calmly make the save.

Lack made two wonderful saves on Smith Pelley in the last 30 seconds to get it to the shootout, and deny the Ducks the late winner


- Getlaf went first, but could not open up Lack enough.

- Bonino made a move in close, and JUST got it through the pad to draw first blood. 1-0

- Silverberg raced in, but his wrister beat the goalie, but not the crossbar.

- Higgins went wide, but Anderson was able to keep the pad there.

- Kesler.  His wrister beat the goalie, but not the post ! Eddie Lack had some help from his thin red friends, but he got the win.

Canucks win !  Three wins out of four on a four game "road trip from Hell", and all those pundits that are talking about being outplayed, and not deserving this or that can stick it.  That was a very, very impressive win for the Canucks.  Missing one of their snipers in Vrbata, against a "power" in the West, the Canucks showed tons of character to get the two points tonight.

Tied for first in the Pacific after sixteen games looks pretty impressive too.