Another road game, another road loss. We all saw the pattern in the past two road games. Get scored on the first shot in the first and play almost catch up for two periods.
Greene saw the pattern too. And took evasive goalie action to confuse the goalie gods. It worked. After a strong home game, Marky had a fluke shot flutter by him just 12 seconds into Cowtown saddle time. And the next game in Carolina... yup... first shot dings off Tanev and in the net.
Neither goals were traditional McSofties, but Greene wasn’t waiting for tradition to follow bad bounces into the Floridian panhandle. Nilsson gets to play his first regular season game. Yet we still didn’t know which Nilsson would be in net - the pre-season Nilly or the World beating Stilsson. Happily it was the stingy guy.
Despite the alternate reality setup for the game, the Nucks were following their proven road game strategy. Get out shot by a huge margin and get on the PK early and often.
It’s a clever feint to start a road game. If it gives the home team a false sense of superiority. Tampa fell for it. Fools!
The Nucks took two penalties and the PK & Nilly were, of course, perfect. The Nucks put an amazing single digit number of shots on the dozing Tampa goalie. 5 shots in 20 minutes for the Nucks. That’s almost like 1 shot every 4 minutes. No wonder Vasilevskiy didn’t get a full nap.
Meanwhile, the super confident Bolts put 17 shots on net. And Nilly was perfect. Except for that 16th shot late in the period. The Nucks defensive coverage was playing fire drill in a tropical ice storm and Nilsson was burned by a Point shot. At close range.
Bolts 1 Nucks 0. Shots: Bolts 17 Nucks 5. No matter. This fake lead can’t last long.
Let’s just say the Nucks were so confident on lulling Tampa into feeling like winners that they kept the pressure on. By taking two more penalties. Backed up with two more perfect PKs.
Feels a little early in the season to be speaking of shot quotas, so I’ll just silently mention that by the mid point in the 2nd, the Nucks had 8 SOG and 8 penalty minutes. Maybe not a quota thing - just the yin yang balance of all stat things or something.
To be fair to the refs who pretend to like being fair to us, they gave Tampa 3 penalties versus the Nucks 3 penalties and no harm was recorded at either end.
Bruising Factoid: The Canucks are leading the league. In the most penalty minutes. Thugs.
Anyhow, Tampa held the edge in 5-v-5 play, just as the Nucks mapped it out. Although the Nucks out shot Tampa 10-8 in the period.
A period where the scoring was limited. To nothing. For either team.
And here we arrive at the decisive period. Unless it goes to OT, then it’s indecisive and after the spectacular play of Nilsson so far, that would be decidedly unfair.
The Bolts are pushing. The Nucks are pushing. The goalies are saving. Nothing is getting decided. Early in the period.
But just past half way through, Sneaky Pete was dekeing the D of Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy made a good save on Elias, undeterred by that or a smack into the boards, EP passed back to the point to Stetch and passed to Pouliot, who put a shot on net. Deflected by Alien jersey powers and past Vasilevskiy.
Being in the right place at the right time is a special knack. Elias is very knacky. Leads the Nucks in points. And is at the top of the scoring list for Swedish rookies at the 4 game point - according to the two Johns - which is as close to hockey facts as we like to get.
What could be better than Elias keeping the streak alive? Not much. But there is one little big thing that would be really nice just now.
A Brock goal to take the lead is want we want. And we
always get what we want.
The 1st(ish) line is putting pressure on the Tampa D and Killorn makes a sweet clearing pass. To Brock. Who blasts a rocket past Vasilevskiy. Woooo!
That’s the GWG by Brock. Just as everyone in the SPW predicted. Or, like me, will claim to have predicted if only the NM auto-score-correct didn’t mess with us.
No matter. The sandbag for 50+ minute strategy worked exactly as planned. World Champ Nilsson made spectacular saves all night - just like he planned. A beauty glove stop in the final minutes too.
Virt and Granny added empty netters to keep the game so frustratingly out of reach for the high powered Bolts who have only won one game so far. We know what that feels like. Or did.
Not anymore. We’re back on the .500 Express to Middle Way play.
First road win of the season too. We only had to wade through two losses. That’s not bad.
As the Nucks picked up the pace through the game, the shot count ended 34-28 in Tampa’s favour. Not that it favoured them where it counts.
Nilsson made 33 saves for a lofty .971 SV% and the game’s first star.
“I felt confident all night. I was eager to play and it was a good night for us. They had two power plays early, but our PK was great tonight, huge credit to those guys.” - Nilsson— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 12, 2018
What about Brock? His timing may have been off to start the season. He may have had a few defensive lapses, but his confidence is doing fine, thanks.
“He said earlier he was going to get the winner tonight, we could have the assists. Then he scored the winner and we didn’t have the assists, but whatever. He was great tonight.” - @BoHorvat, on @BBoeser16— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 12, 2018
Best Game of the Year! Now that’s what we call...hey...it’s only the 4th game...best game so far, for sure.
Over in the Alien goal room, it was not how they go in, but that they do.
Note that EP was 50% in the dot. Better than even the eager Beagle. And both teams recorded 50 FO% which is only fair. The Nucks power play went 0/5 and T-Bay 0/6. Yes, the Nucks PK was that good. Again. And needed to be.
It’s all smiles in the NM post-game locker room too. Because, there might be something to the theory that you only have to win the last period to win the game. It’s just a theory. Proven correct for once.
What’s next on the road trip of forever? More Floridan hockey. The Nucks are playing the Lu-less Panthers on Saturday. He’s on the IR, which means we don’t have to watch our 3rd goalie on the Nucks payroll play.
Will Nilsson be back to defend his peerless rep this deep in the season? Will Brock get the hattie I predicted he would two games ago? Will MDZ slide in to replace Poolie? Can Hutton keep up his improved play? Can Tanev and Edler keep logging 500 minutes a game?
We have questions. So do you. And you can ask them in NM Podcast thread. The NM podcast team will carefully consider your most pressing hockey questions and probably answer them in riddles. Or enigmas. Or rum.
Until Saturday, have the best Friday you’ve ever had since the last one.