Trick or Treat: The Nucks Can’t Be Beat. In the Pacific division. Pretty much. So far.
And this new roster-rotating ragtag #relentless team has ended October at the top of Pacific for the first time since... way way back in 2005. The year of the Auld.
It’s not been the first month of hockey we expected. After the preseason, our expectations were so low that they could only be visualised using a flat 2D line. Instead, the sandbaggers from the pre went from zero to 40 goals in 14 games.
Despite the non-threatening faeries fine footwear shopping assistance that took our #1D, 2 of 4 centers and a winger to the mall, the Nucks have found a way to win more games than lose. Remarkable. Surprising.
And Tonight’s surprise was this: The Nucks had 5 first round picks playing, but it was Gaunce and Roussel who won the game for us. Virt, of course, made the win possible. With his first multi-goal game of his NHL career.
Nothing makes sense anymore. And it’s best to not over-think it. Just hang on for the ride.
The game started with the Nucks starting slowly. And playing not that good against an old opponent, that does not play slow, even at their old age.
And worse, Saad (not a ROG fav player) made Guds look old and slow and Marky had a 2017 Marky Moment. Uh-oh.
Yet in this new season of seeming missteps, slipping on the banana peel of adversity is a just a steely step to oppourtunity.
Because... it helped Virt get the Nucks first goal. No kidding. Jake had a braking moment in the offensive end - when the play went up the ice - he was nowhere. Except in the right place at the right time when the Hawks bobbled a pass and Jake was on the breakaway.
Wooo! Jake breaks Crawford. And the Hawks lead.
Back to even. Fresh start ahead. Sure, the Hawks had outplayed the Nucks through one - out shooting us 11-9 - but doesn’t matter because the worst of the first is over.
Except for that little penalty hangover from the last minute of the first where MDZ was caught being a little too cross with his checking.
No worries. The Nucks PK is invulnerable. When Sutter and Beagle can take some heat. Now they’re getting their heat in the nonthreatening shoe faeries pressbox of well-healed healthcare.
The Nucks fresh-for-tonight invulnerable PK strategy is to not take any penalties. Great strategy. It involves some strict tactics and well...too late for perfectionism.
Our old nemesis, Captain Serious Towels, took a toll on Marky’s unscreenable puck sonar with a seeing-net wrister. Ugh. Pretty shot. But ugh.
The Hawks have restored their commanding lead and looked like they were ready to take over the game, the ROG and the treats in the cheap seats.
But looks can be deceiving. We know that this new style Nucks roster doesn’t care about commanding leads unless it’s their own.
Who better to demonstrate this than Dekey Pete. Or Brock. Or...hey...he’s in the zone, let’s pick Virt.
What a great setup by Guds. You wanted to see clean passes from the D. This it what clean passes from the D look like. And how they can lead to almost a powerplay goal. Inside the blueline Granny is dragged down.
Obvious penalty. While feeling the pull from deep in the Earth’s core, Granny sends a pass to Jake. Virt winds up and his stick says “Screw the Penalty, Get the Goal” and why not?
Jake’s second of the night. The ROG is loving this new confident Jake. The game thread is loving the tie. Because from ties, wins are often won with this division leading shoe faery feeding ferocious fiends of All Hallows Eve.
The Nucks are swinging that big momentous moment of momentum right through the windy streets of Hawkey.
Just like the 1st chance for the 2nd chance in the first, the feisty Nucks have broken the commanding lead all over again. Still the Hawks edged the shots 10-8, but we know something they don’t.
Something of Gauncian proportions. No one expects Gauncian portions, not even at an all-you-can-tweet Westy buffet.
To say the Nucks were a forechecking monster wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration. The Gaunce/Roussel/Motte line were tenacious in the Hawk end.
Like patience, tenacious can be very rewarding. Especially for just called up to play today, Brendan Gaunce. He scores! On Crawford. Corey is Brendan’s fav goalie so far this season.
It was listed as unassisted, but it was the pressure from the whole MGR-line line that caused the misplay by Captain Towels. He gets the A. But Gaunce gets the goal. Wow!
Many believed, probably incited by Westy’s gaunt fanaticism, that Gaunce was due for a breakout season. Why not start in the first NHL game of the year.
And that was the game winning goal. By Gaunce. GWG. Let that sink in, those of you who watched over a hundred G-games where a G-winning goal was a myth that promised nothing and delivered less.
While the gamethread was rattling around the NM incredulity chamber with their pants on fire, the Nucks were winning the game. Not making it up. At least the fire pants part.
However, thus far in the shockingly shattered season, for every win there’s a price to pay. In a nonthreatening extended shoe therapy sort of way.
The Hawking Brandon Manning was skating hard looking down waiting for a pass when he crashed into Stecher’s pre-concussed noggin.
And... then this happened.
Stech isn’t stretchered off the ice, but play is stopped as Concussion Spotting took the play and the player away. Stech goes for a stroll to the quiet room where he can quietly discuss the latest Milan shoe fashion styles in a nonthreatening fashion statement environment.
He doesn’t return to the game. The gamethread that was rattling around the NM incredulity chamber with their pants on fire only a few minutes ago, are feeling bummed and burned. “Not again??!” cried the gnashing toothed fans. Seems like.
No matter. No nonthreatening moves of faery dance shoes can deter this team of the 5D.
(Editorial Note: The events depicted here happened as depicted - de order is slightly modified for de dramatic effect).
So... after/before the nonthreatening faery shoes event, the G-line is pressing hard again. Because a one goal lead just isn’t enough anymore. They want more.
And they get it - with a rocking Roussel goal. It was meant to be the 2nd goal of the night for Gaunce - pretty much how it was written and crumpled up in an early draft of last year’s Westy Destiny that we can’t talk about this year. If you’re reading this Westy - you’re not reading it, right?
No, not a Gaunce goal, because the Shoe Faeries have played a little trick on the lumbering Manning. He moves his stick to block the pass and the Faeries move the stick to deflect it past Crawford. Nonthreatening poetic justice is served. Roussel gets the goal - Gaunce and Bulldog get the assists. And the Nucks get the win!
Sure the Hawks tried to push back - but the new super cool, pretty much always ready Marky was turning aside their shots.
As the last minutes tricked away from Chicago, there was an EN chance for either Virt or quiet-on-the-scoreboard, Pete. Not to be. Pretty sure pointless Pete is something I won’t repeat often. In fact, I vow not to use the term the rest of the recap. That’s confidence you can hope to believe in.
The Nucks are not greedy. They’re gracious in victory. The second victory in this long and noble two game home win streak. A streak that has lifted the Nucks to the very tipsy top of that lofty peak in the Pacific division.
Let’s enjoy the view again.
Didn’t look to be a good game at the start, but finished like a good game looks. And finishing with a win against a fabled frenemy is a great look.
The Nucks, for once, finished ahead on the shot clock 28-26. And waaaay ahead on the hit counter, 28 to 12. The only dent in the freshly refurbed roster’s armour was the 50% PK. It was a good thing they only took 2 penalties, rather than the usual ref-wrapped 4 or 5. Still... the PK was better than the PP that went 0 for 3. Oh well...something to perfect later. Or sooner. The sooner the better.
Hard fought, gutsy never-give-up win. Again. Is this the new Nucks mantra? Could be.
The ROG was getting down right Virtagious in the game. How’d Jake feel about that?
"I felt pretty confident tonight...and to beat Chicago, it showed our team identity." - @Jake_Virtanen talks after a two-goal performance on Halloween. pic.twitter.com/vIR6fYuiq9— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 1, 2018
Tonight’s game winning goal scorer and Westy’s pick for the Art Ross, with 2 points tonight, Brenden Gaunce talks about his incredible full 60 minute NHL season.
"You come in here with the mentality that you're going to make a difference...and tonight it was a good start for me. I'm going to try and keep that going." - @BrendanGaunce16 pic.twitter.com/2nVCsMAvN4— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 1, 2018
This Halloween, Green is the new orange. And no pumpkin for Stech. Coach says he’ll be fine. Whew. I like the new nonthreatening shoe faeries better than that last group of bone clutchers.
Hear from Coach Green following a #Canucks 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks, live from @RogersArena. https://t.co/kkpYq3yvC9— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 1, 2018
The last time the Canucks won this many games in October was when Torts was coach. And I’m sorry I mentioned it.
The Nucks 8-6 record through 14 would put them in the middle of most divisions, but the Pacific is more special. Doesn’t matter. If you told me in the preseason that the IR’d up the wazoo Nucks would be Top Ten in the league at the end of October, I would have claimed temporary amnesia.
No matter. Can’t look back. Or down. Only ahead. The league’s worst, most deadly top line is coming to make TGIF in the ROG an iffy date. When I say the league’s worst line, I mean it’s the NHL’s freakin’ highest scoring line.
Who cares. Not the ROG’s renegade roster of relentless rogues.
Have a terrific Thursday and a fab Friday.