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Predators Beat Canucks 2-1 In A Snoozefest

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I see no one is tackling the game review so I'm putting down several drinks and rolling with the punches....

The Canucks returned home to face the Predators after a 6-game road trip that spanned 10 days and the team amassed a 3-2-1 record. I always expect Canucks-Preds games to be very unpredictable in nature, more-so than many other foes-faced. This game was unpredictably boring. Brandon Sutter made his return after a 33 game absence from sports hernia surgery, plus the Preds play a more entertaining style under coach Peter Laviolette than they did under Barry Trotz. Surely we'd see some entertaining hackey. Nope. The most-entertaining parts of this game came in very sporadic moments. For example, Craig Smith scored the first goal of the game under 1:00 in:

(Dropped a flying elbow on Wyatt Arndt and stole that gif from him)

Poor Ben Hutton is the scapegoat there. The Province's Ben Kuzma is giving the kid a break (as am I, and anyone who has a heart):

Bent Hutton played 39 college games last season and in Game 43 of his rookie NHL season, the defenceman looked like the grind of the last six-game road trip caught up to him Tuesday. He lost position on opening goal when Craig Smith got behind him and his late stick work couldn’t prevent the opening goal on the first shot — a tip — after just 59 seconds had elapsed.

Bo Horvat is a beast. On this play about the 12:00 mark he uses his speed that we are accustomed to seeing split defenders and charge in to try and score. Unfortunately this time his carcass crossed the line but not the puck. It was an example of how the Canucks were pressing real damned hard after the Smith goal in the opening minute. By "pressing" I mean trying. By "trying" I mean skating. No real golden chances on Pekka Rinne until this magic happened at 8:22:

Sorry, who was bitching about Sutter getting placed on the top line in his first game back? Yea...Kudos to Ryan Miller who had made a huge blocker save on James Neal moments earlier. See the video highlights below. Less than 2:00 later Sutter missed on a shorthanded breakaway chance as he shot his backhander wide (and said post game that the puck had jumped on him.)

Just over 2:00 later, a Dorsett-Lance Bass staged fight!

That was entertaining to me. How about you?

What followed was snoozefest hockey. There's no nice way to put it. Besides a beauty hit by Luka Sbisa on Eric Nystrom and a one-timer stop by Rinne on Sven Baertschi not much happened, except Jake Virtanen almost got decapitated:

The Canucks mustered no shots for a prolonged period of time from the latter stages of the 2nd to the mid stages of the 3rd, which Sportsnet gladly tracked:

At about the 8:15 mark of the third period Horvat took me back in time with this crazy dangle:

Again, a beauty gif by Wyatt Arndt

About 4:00 later, with only about 4:44 left in da turd, the Canucks commit yet another line change from hell and pay for it:

What the hell happened there? Edler had lost his stick (broke it), was going to the bench, Tanev went off with him for a line change.....so did a couple other Canucks......Vrbata made a half-assed clearing attempt to give the Canucks a chance for a proper line change....did that James Neal shot deflect off Alex Biega's stick? Ryan Miller seemingly lost it as it went top cheese. The subject is up for debate, mostly. But Willie Desjardins and his team hated the shitty line change.

Heeeeeere's Willie:

"We’ve talked about it and it’s something we need to be better at. It always seems like it’s something. Edler loses his stick and that side changes and everybody still thinks he’s there and it ends up in our net. We have to be better on line changes. Last year, we had too many too-many-men-on-the-ice penalties and we’re better at that. Those are tough points to lose on something that could have been avoided."

Heeeeeere's Beaker:

"It’s the same mistakes. A line change in Pittsburgh (on Saturday) cost us a goal, too. A line change in overtime a couple of games cost us. . .last year I think we took 20 too many men penalties. That’s line changes, too. It’s obviously not something that is a rare occurrence. It happens to us fairly often and that is why we are in this situation more often than not."

It's a damned shame to say the least. This game could have gone to familiar territory for Vancouver: overtime(!) where the Canucks could have gotten the extra point., or not, as they have so many times this season. Instead, they go into the All-Star Break in this position:

Hey Tank Nation, suck it! The Canucks will get a phenomenal 8 days off for the AS Break. They will then play 19 of their final 32 games at home. Bah! The Province's Ed Willies can spin it better than me:

Of their next 14 games, 11 are at home. Of their final 32, 19 will be played at The Rog. The 13 road games feature just two in the Central time zone and no further games in the East.

The Canucks also have 17 games left against their Pacific brethren, and you may have noticed, but no one has nicknamed the Pacific the group of death.

So the schedule sets up nicely for the locals when they return from the All-Star break.

I don't believe in much schedule-favoring BS. I put no stock in it at all because I've seen seemingly schedule screw-jobs have no affect on the team at all. What really matters more in my opinion is that after the All-Star break the Canucks will have Henrik Sedin and Dan Hamhuis back, which makes for a very-healthy conversation on:

1: Where the hell does Sutter fit when Hank returns? A Hank-Horvat 1-2 punch at center is pretty gold I'd say. Does that move Sutter to a wing position or #3 center position?

2. Hammer time. I don't know how this guy can play without a full face mask after his upper jaw/face was shattered but you know he gets full seniority back into the lineup. So who gets sat down in this predicament? Hint: Ben Hutton. Only because he's playing more games than he is used to playing.

3. Jim Benning has made it clear that he wants to see what a fully-healthy Canucks lineup can do post All-Star Break before he explores trade options. I can't say I blame him. The Canucks have not been fully healthy for a long long time yet are still in a playoff race.

A Final Address To Team Tank

You have zero class. You have zero honor. When you pull your head out of your ass you will see a team right in front of you that is giving it's best shot to make the playoffs. It is a team with limited means that believes in fighting to win. Hardly something you can grasp the concept of. You are gutless. This Canucks team? NOT GUTLESS. It makes errors but is not f*cking gutless.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS