As the playoff light dims, and the race for the bottom heats up, it might become tough for fans used to a team that has, by and large the past decade, given them competitive hockey that at least included the promise of playoff success, even without the actual, you know, getting out of the first round since 2011.
Like I have been saying, teams go in cycles. The current path of the Canucks is to reload, get better,and, if they can do it right, maybe give the Sedins a thrill to look forward to in their last year ( or get them to sign for one more because, damn guys, the kids look really good now... we can do it !) , perhaps.
But those things are years away, and right now, the kids and Twins have a roster diminished by injuries that is just on the wrong side of the thin line between winning and losing that is life in the NHL today. They seem to be playing hard most times, even if that is not enough ( an aside, I still believe all these close games this year, and youth being forced into bigger roles by injuries will have payoffs in the next couple years, regardless of the way they seemed to lose more of them than not ) most night.
The Avs though, surely they could kick those guys asses, on home ice ! Oh yeah, Rogers is not a fortress anymore. OK boys, do your best...how'd they do in this one ? Does the light still flicker ?
- For this night, the Canucks were very entertaining for their home fans, but it very well could have went the other way. The Avs came out pretty good, trying to jump on a 2-7-1 team in their own barn ( Avs had one 3 of 5 coming in ). Ryan Miller was having none of it.
- After the Sedins had a good shift, the other line that was ( arguably the best in the first period, anyhow ) having a dynamite shift went to work. Emerson Etem, Adam Cracknell and Derek Dorsett can all motor, and it turns out the can also do this...
...note the shenanigans after the goal. Francois Beauchemin and Dorsett had a thing all night, and it eventually cost the Canucks #15 for who knows how long. I missed who got him with the cross check, but after seeing how heated up Beauchemin was, my money is on him.
- Out of a TV time out, the 4th line was out defensively ( it's OK though, really ! ), lost the faceoff but won the winger battle, rushed it out, and spent the rest of their time in the offensive zone. The Sedins came out right after it ( another defensive zone draw, and they had some zone time too, before Daniel Sedin was guilty of hapving his stick up and slightly contacting Gabriel Landeskog, who sold it hard to get the call. Don't worry though, the PK was solid tonight ( 0 for 2, Miller was there on the few chances it had ), as they were aggressive and hitting in their own end on the PK.
- Ryan Miller ROBBED Soderberg and then ROBBED Mitchell. He was ROBBING people more than #SurreyGuy in a flannel.
- The return of Sedinery. Just watch and enjoy. Yeah, sure, they were off the scoreboard a bit during that run of four 5-2 losses ( an NHL record, FWIW. seems a pretty "mathematical anomaly" type of record. ) . That saucer pass from Daniel Sedin from behind the net is so pretty. So hard to do when it is a short one too.
All Jannik Hansen had to do was swing at that saucer pass, but he also started the play by chipping and getting the puck to Daniel. I see you twitterati and media bobbleheads talking up his trade value. SHUT UP ! Some of us like our 9th round pick from Denmark. Hell, he has multiple nicknames. Beaker, Honey Badger, Great Dane. Don't trade him JB!
after one ( stats here )
- Shots were 11-8 for the visitors after one, but 6-7 of those were saves of the "ZOMG" variety by Miller. And he was just getting started.
- Love that 4th line. In around 4 minutes of time, Dorsett and Cracknell each had a shot and 2 hits. Cracknell had the goal that both Double D' and Double E' assisted on, and AC went 1 of 2 ( Bo knew draws, going 5 of 7, Captain Hank was 3 of 6, McCann 0 of 3 , the teams were 9-9 after twenty ) on draws after so far as well. They impacted things.
- The Sedins were pretty good too. Daniel Sedin had 3 shots to lead everyone after one.
- How good was it going for the 4th line ? Etem made an iffy pass to Tanev, and it draws a too many men penalty instead of leading to a break the other way. ( PP sucked on that one, but was 1 for 2 tonight )
- Another line that was solid ( hey, it was a 5-1 win, they al had their moments ! ) was the Kid Line. Bo Horvat went from having 1 shot to 3 after the middle stanza, and Virtanen had a good chance in the second as well.
- It was a pretty wide open period, as both teams had chances, with the shots 16-11 in the 2nd alone.
- The Canucks almost made it 3-0 on another powerful shift my AC, Double D' and Double E' but the review went against them ( good call, it went off his glove ) after a power move to the net by Dorsett.
- Ryan Miller made a "Big Toe" save at full stretch on Eric Johnson that was absolutely ridiculous. He had Hamhuis almost in his lap in the crease, and stretches out his leg like that...just amazing. Could not find the clip by itself, ( 3:30 mark at bottom ) but don't worry, you'll see that one on the highlights. Maybe all week on TSN !
- After Hansen's speed forced Varlamov to play the puck in a non proscribed by the rules kind of way, the Canucks got a power play in the final minute ( 19:06 ). This one looked pretty good, with pressure, and then the Sedins finally got Radim Vrbata off the schneid, with his 2nd in 25 games after a Henrik Shot forces the rebound.
To show even Shorty and Cheech get confused, Shorty credits Daniel with Henrik's shot, and then I think Cheech gives the shot to both on the replay... lol.
- The giveaways and takeaways are a different stat, as they vary, like hits sometimes do, with "arena biases" involved. Still, the Canucks went from a 2-0 deficit on giveaways after 20 to an 8-1 one after 40 minutes played. Ouch.
- The shots ended up 27-19, but the hits were 19-8 for the home team, with Cracknell leading the way with 5. Draws were 20-19 for the visitors, but Bo Horvat was now getting all the draws, as he was 10 of 15 to this point ( Hank 6 of 13, AC 2 of 5, McCann 0 of 4 )
- After the lines started rolling through ( quickly, Willie was keeping them around 45 seconds or less ), we noticed that Derek Dorsett was not on the bench ( he did play in the early third, so maybe the cross check happened here, or it exacerbated something from one earlier. The guy was in front of the net "paying the price" all game long ) at about the same time as Vrbata took an awkward spill ( maybe Tyson Barrie's stick got him on the leg, maybe not ) in the offensive corner. Both did not return, and the Canucks had to go with 10 forwards the rest of the way.
- The Sedinery hits just keep on coming. The sauce in once again perfect from Daniel...
...but how about that play from Henrik to start the play at his own end? Nice steal on Johnson. Wizardous Sedinerie comes in many different styles.
- Patrick Roy, ever the innovator. Down 4-0 in the 3rd, he pulls the goalie with a little over 10 minutes to go. It led to a Chris Tanev empty netter ( assists from Daniel and Henrik ) a couple minutes later, but what the hell, right ? Don't know until you try.
- Jake Virtanen was the "Hometown Hockey" poster boy, as it was from Abbotsford tonight, and he had a pretty good game at both ends. He had 2 of three shot attempts on net, and had 3 hits, including a big one on Mitchell at the bench. I liked his game in his own end too.
- You decide, the game highlights are here ( the "Big Toe" save is at about 3:30, whereas the play in question is at just under six minutes )
I say that it was a veteran move from Iginla to take the nominal contact from McCann and use it to pin Miller so Duchene could get the puck over the line on the scramble. That is a pretty "meh" way to lose a shutout you probably deserved, with a video replay going against you to boot, but, like I said, vet move...
- The giveaways that were so bad after two periods? They were only 9-2 at the end, as the Canucks tightened up. The Avs outshot the home team 11-10 to lead that stat 38-29 at the end ( they had a couple posts, as did Vrbata, and Horvat had one going for the corner but for Varly's knob...does that sound dirty? )
- Nathan MacKinnon was 11 of 17 on draws, but Bo Horvat went 14 of 21 on the game to lead his team to a 31-29 edge in that puck possession stat. Hank ended 8 for 17, Cracknell 4 for 9, and McCann went 4-3 in the third to go 4 for 11 on the night. Emerson Etem was credited with zero hits after two, and had 3 in the third. Cracknell led with his 5 hits, and the Canucks dominated that stat 23-10.
- Cracknells line was fine. A goal, those 5 hits and 3 shots in 11:48 TOI, but the Wonder Twins...kaboom. Daniel Sedin had 3 shots and 3 assists, and Henrik 4 assists. That will help the guys break their slump.
- Your #1 pairing had 7 blocks ( Tanev 4, Hutton 3 ), after each having 1 of those each after two periods. They played 23:22 and 24:15 TOI respectively, and Hutton had an assist while Tanev got the empty netter. Both were +3 as well.
So, who knows what will come. Perhaps it will be a turtle derby to the end ( a likelihood greater than "going on a run" at this point ), but at least they did not lose 5-2 tonight ! ( Calgary did, to the Ducks though, and they are still behind the Canucks at least ! ;-) I'm back for the first of many versus San Jose ( after a tilt with the Senators on Thursday ) but I am kind of looking forward to the game on Tuesday, although who knows if Dorsett will be in to "exact revenge", or even if the team will want to do that to the team from Brooklyn,
As promised. I love, love , love this video "hey dude, I think we're the band...."
See you next week