And make no mistake, that is one hell of an accomplishment for Alexandre Burrows. Regardless of the #CanuckTeaParty and their views on his contract. When an undrafted player that toiled in such environs as Greensville and Columbia, South Carolina, and Baton Rouge Louisiana makes the NHL, that is something. You know you want it bad when you wear the Growwl, Inferno and Kingfish uniforms and make a relative pittance for doing so. I respect ( and so should you ) the drive and passion for the game that got him from there to here.
In his 1000th game, Burrows played in the arena where he played his first game, and where he was first put together with the Twins. Poutine and Meatballs was born in St Louis. He played hard and skated his ass off, because that is just what he does. In this season of painful renewal, however, it was just not enough again.
The broadcast threw out a stat that blew my mind tonight. I know it has been Death Valley as far as scoring goes this year, but I did not know that this was the 47th game where the Canucks have scored two or less goals. That is a pretty slim margin of error.
- Let's check the boxes. ( see stats here, thanks ESPN ) Lot's of rookies starting ? Well, not as many as some nights, but six were in the lineup tonight. Outshot ? Yep, 37-15, including a third period where the gap was 16-2. Hits ? 35-14 against. The only number where they came out on top was at the face off circle, where ( without looking it up, I am going to go ahead and say it is a career high ) powered by Bo Horvat's very impressive 16 of 21 draws won. they came out on top by a 32-25 tally.
- It is tough to keep up the positive thought when faced with near relentless losing, but it is understandable. I know, cerebrally, that this is what happens when you have a team full of youth at first. That, and the way parity works it's math on the results means that a team at the point in it's "cycle" that this one is is going to lose more than win. Yep, we know that this is a part of the process...but damn, losing sucks.
- So, set that aside. Burrows had 12:21 TOI, and was a -1, with 1 block and a takeaway. Big Whoop, right ? Well, yeah, maybe. But he also was one of the guys that was engaged most of the night. Not everyone was. He tried to bring his team along motivationally ( or, maybe he was just pissed off by the slash ), and fought Shattenkirk halfway through the opening period. And his penalty killing, especially on the two man disadvantage, was great tonight. Anyone can bring it on a team that is doing well. It is the real pros that "bring it" on a night where the team has their fourth shutout against in five games. Thanks for the effort Mr Everything, as always.
- Of course, being the Canucks this year, they took that power play Burrows earned and proceeded to give up their 7th shorty of the season. Linden Vey was the culprit here.
You can see that there was a Canuck in the area, but you don't do drop passes at the line in that much traffic unless you are sure Linden.
- Or course, there was plenty of blame to go around. On the second one, it was a combination of the thing that ailed them all night ( chasing the puck, chasing the game, chasing their checks, chasing, chasing, chasing ). and Ben Hutton missing a check in the slot, but credit Fabbri for a great shot to go top cheese.
- The third one, it was something that has killed them lately, the inability to clear the zone. The other team keeps it in multiple times, you get behind your check as you are running around trying to defend ( with increasing desperation ), and soon the goaltender is hung out to dry. Troy Brouwer was allowed to setup a lemonade stand in front of Markstrom, and the big goaltender just did not see the point shot from Gunnarrson.
- That third one came in the second, and basically put the game out of reach, but the Canucks did have their chances. The Sedins and Hansen had some good shifts, and just before the third goal, Hansen tipped a heavy point shot from Hamhuis that went off both posts and out. Daniel Sedin was robbed in the slot too. But, when you have to score and can't. sometimes the Puck Gods play with your head for a while. Watch them host the Hawks on Sunday and pop in 4 or something ( hey, it could happen ! )
- The two rookie defensemen had, ahem, uneven nights. Ben Hutton was a -3 ( as was Higgins and Tryamkin ) , and lookec to be fighting the puck all night. Nikita Tryamkin had a slightly better ( both struggled, but Hutton had a worse game ) night, with 2 big hits and 3 blocks, but he also got ( so strong by Tarasenko ) knocked down trying to check his countryman on the fourth and final goal. Tarasenko stood him up, and made a perfect pass to Edmundson, for his first NHL goal. Overall though, I like the Big Russian and his game. Tonight, he had not a lot of help. But you can see the game he has. There were times tonight, ( OK, a couple chances at the net on one shift, but still ! ) where he seamlessly found the right spot to be to give the Twins a target to pass to. Put him in front on the power play Willie. Because, why not ?
- There were a lot of Blues that had a good game tonight, but Troy Brouwer should get singled out. Fabbri, Tarasenko, Upshall, and others all had great games. But Brouwer played a 200' game all night, and had two breakaways. Without Markstrom and his glove hand, Troy would have had 2 goals to go with his 2 assists. The Blues were simply the better team tonight.
- The special teams are often a reason for winning or losing, and tonight, it was no different. The PK was very good, and prevented this game from being a total blowout. They were disciplined, and kept it to the outside, and Markstrom was good too. The power play was freaking clownshoes, however. The Blues scored a shorty, and also held the puck for about 30 seconds on the hapless power play. The Blues and Canucks always play hard games, and this one, the visitors did give a decent effort. Just not enough. Tank Nation wins out again...
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday ! Another Hometown Hockey game against the Hawks. They can win that one, right ?