FYI: VanCityDan is still locked out of the NM posting palace by the tight-fisted gatekeepers at Vox Media and isn't able to login and post his usual sunny recap. If he had his way, his recap would be full of hope and happy hat tricks of Megnificant beauty. And the Canucks would win the game, Nucks Nation would be great again and Xmas cheer would flow like Tequila Beets in a bottomless glass on the streets of Miami.
But, I'm not here to praise Dan, just here to cover for him. So stop reading now. Looking for a story of great team effort that creates those sweet five goals of roadtrip cheer? This isn't it.
The hype (or the humidity) said this was the start a clean sweep in Florida, a feat not seen since the early 21st century by any Canucks team in the fragrant swamp lands of hockey. After the trouncing the Nucks gave T-bay on Thursday by the league's newest power forward super hero duo, it seemed a simple task to pounce on a sad cat team on a four game losing streak. We simply take advantage of a team with an owner that appears to have lost his mind. Simples.
So simple, in fact, that there was no need to play the initial 2 periods of hockey. Like me, the Nucks were focused on the 3rd. Win that period, by scoring 4 or more goals, the team gets a win. It is just that simple when you're playing ice hockey in the tropics.
The game started at 4 in the afternoon. On a Saturday. Pretty weird stuff. So weird that Sbisa had not finished reading all the gushing posts about his solid play and budding #1 D status on NM when the period started.
And then this happened:
After a face off win (The Canucks are now one of winningest facing-off teams in the league - thanks, Manny!) the pizza guy, obviously distracted by his smartphone going off the hook, took the puck back into his own end instead of sending it up the boards for a simple dump out. The ageless and still sneaky, Jagr, knocked the puck (and phone) away from Luca and the rest was...well...typical pizza delivery - road style. Expect Grapes will do a piece on Coach's Corner, telling the kids to keep their blood on the ice and their smartphones in the dressing room.
Down 1 zip three minutes into the first isn't so bad, right? Nah...the Panthers only have an old and stale goalie at the other end. So the Canucks applied a little pressure on their old buddy Lou. Not nearly enough pressure to make the one true Goalie Poet give up a softie, even for old times sake.
So we spotted the Panthers a pizza - not a big deal. We own the second period in Florida. On Thursdays. On Saturdays we make formerly great goalies great again.
Meanwhile in the hustle and bustle of blown coverage...
Biega and Hutton jostle with each other trying to protect Luca's phone while sending an emergency text to the NM Emergency Game Management Team (which even if the text got through - no on-duty contributor would be allowed to login and set in motion the game thread winning moment). Instead, some guy with a Scottish name from a small town in Ontario gets the first garbage goal of the second. For the sad losing streak home team.
What about our garbage goal needs? Two short days ago the Nucks puck luck truck was driving the net on rails. Tonight? Not so much. Despite our power play going oh for...ok, it wasn't going. Surprised? Me neither.
Doesn't matter. We've got a simple plan. Win the turd. By a yuuuge margin.
The thing about plans is that they often don't go to plan. Did Marky plan to give up a yuuge rebound from a Jagr shot in the first minute of the 3rd? I'm guessing no. Did Ekblad plan to start a rush up the ice and finish the play by sweeping the rebound past Marky? Probably.
So... down 3 to nothing in the bottom of the third with the
bases fans loaded, could a comeback take back the game for our never-quit team? Maybe. Do we have the Skille for that? Yes. Yes, we do.
Wow! Those are some power moves by
Jake Jack. If only he was permitted to make fools of four or five NHL players more than once per game on Saturdays.
No matter, only trailing by two, three easy peasy goals would make the long dark drinking night of Nucks fans pass more happily. And after all, the Nucks were playing in a country that has a slogan advocating the pursuit of happiness. And there is no more rare or greater fleeting happiness than the experience of a Canucks power play goal. Could it happen? Yes, yes, it could.
So...on the power play - no, not making this up - Stecher got a wrister through and Dank deflected it past his old buddy Lou. A power play goal! Just half way through the third. Again, just in case you were as startled as me, a power play goal got the Nucks within one of O/T or in the old money, within two of winning the game. And it's only half way through the third. Anything is possible.
And that's the problem with half measures and efforts - they usually require so much more effort (and luckie puckies) to make the possible more probable. And tonight the probability faeries were toe dragging for an empty net goal. I won't say for who. There are more objective sources for that sort of dispiriting information.
If only Dan could have gotten past the
insecurity grinches at Vox Media, we'd have a more positive, winning recap. It's possible. Not probable, but it would be too easy to blame the Canucks for waking up too late to smell the goal line.
Still...could be worse. Montreal Blue-Jacketed the Avs 10-1. Ouch! We didn't get embarrassed like that worst team in the
division league, so that's some cold, slushy consolation.
The win one - lose one binary binge of bingo bango five hundred hockey is back. So that means either one of two things - Nucks win tomorrow or lose to a real good team. Can they at least keep the binary bouncing balls in motion or will they end the road trip on a really sucky number?
Tune in at 2PM PST and find out. 2PM! OMG! Curfew in D.C. is already in effect. At least the Caps are on a 3 game win streak. We like to break streaks. It's the binary way. 50% of the time.