You’d think we wouldn’t have to shout it out. But we do.
WE WON! A GAME! A HOCKEY GAME! In the NHL!
In case you missed the past two weeks (lucky you) the younger faster skilleder, more entertaining Nucks had lost 8 straight games before taking on the prestigious (cellar-dwelling) Kings in LA.
After last night’s no show on the scoresheet, the final cylinder of 8 rough games, wasn’t sparking the mood in the game preview. Many predicted horrible things - like Pouliot playing again. And worse, the Nucks extending the streak to 9.
Fortunately for us, the Nucks while bummed about not winning in 480 minutes of trying not to lose, were ready to scale back up the stinking slippery walls of the Pacific basement.
Coach Green listened to the poignant Pouliot-free advise given by NM pundits and Westy. Coach changed up the lines. Pulled out Pouliot and Stech. Inserted the Bulldog.
And with some timely assistance from the fluffy faeries...
Edler returned from a Vegas Faery Parlour and skated with the Canucks. For the first time in over a month. I know, when Eddie returns from the faeries his first game can be eddieventful. And there were a couple of excursions tonight, but it doesn’t matter.
Because this is our faery tale come good. In case you missed the intro, we won! Really.
Gaunce and Archie were sent back to the A, Boucher was called up and Schaller was sat to be just as effective as when he wasn’t sitting.
With some new energy in the lineup and an old foe to beat. And I mean old. Did you know Dion Phaneuf is still playing in the NHL at the age of 103? Not only that, but senior forward, Kovalchuk, is back in the NHL after a couple decades in the hockey gulags.
In the warmup, Virt was chirping Phaneuf - aside from the obvious ageist remarks, Virt was getting Dion riled up.
It foreshadowed or fore-chirped an exciting game that would unleash unconstrained excitement.
So...this pre-game excitement is unfolding. Unravelling even. This do or die buildup was manifest almost instantly with... dullness.
The Nucks were playing against their old coach Willie - he was fired after an 8 game Nucks losing streak - under the ruthless Linden regime. Lucky for Green that Linden was disappeared before he could send Travis to an ignoble career-ending stint in LA.
Since we’re facing Willie - and Travis knows Willie - but doesn’t want to follow Willie’s Nucks coaching arc... I know, too complicated. Anyhow...sometimes the psychological part of the game is just as important as the physical entertaining part of the game. Ah...yes... the game.
The game plan for Willie was to play it safe. The game plan for Travis was to play it safer. In the last 8 games, 1st periods were not our friends. Sure, they more friendly than 2nd and particularly, 3rd periods, but the key thing for this shameful streak of 8 team was to not make too many mistakes.
The first half of the low event period passed without any event. The gamethread was ecstatic! 10 minutes into a road game and it’s a 0-0 tie.
And Virt’s chirps were getting heard by Dion. Loud and clear.
HEADS UP - 2nd period starts now! pic.twitter.com/hpkbla2lxB— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) November 25, 2018
Keen observer of the game, canuck89, observed this riveting exchange of move and counter moves:
Dump. Chase. Turnover. Clear. Rinse & repeat. Such exciting hockey from these teams tonight.
But, just when the excitement was about to hit a crescendo - that some thoughtless LA fan tossed on the ice - the Nucks bench made a fateful mistake.
For those of you who recall Willie’s free reign of game terrors, the most frequent terror was sloppy changes and refs who could count.
In, I assume, a tribute from the Nucks bench to their former free Willie, the Canucks took a too many men penalty in the last minute of the period. Gasps were grimaced across the gamethread. A Nucks PK!
That’s excitement pushed out of a pressbox at 200 feet over a tank of hungry sharks. And we know how that turns out.
However, it’s only a minute - even the Nucks extremely former legendary PK can withstand 60 seconds of pressure by the league’s worst powerplay. Surely.
Scoreless. One of the most wonderful and yet dreaded two syllable words in the Nucks lexicon. But a scoreless 1st on the road, is so close to winning that the gamethread was nearly not comatose from the nearly no event hockey.
He who scores first wins. This is a road hockey rule that extends pretty much back before the Nucks last long loserly eastern block road trip.
Finally, in LA of all weird places, the Hockey Gauds called and said:
“Adam, this is your G-letter day. Or night. We’re timeless semi-deities, so we don’t work the clock - but take the shot!”
And Adam did. And then we learned...
He was so happy. We were so happy. Virt was happy to mine Adam’s 1st NHL puck from the net of destiny.
G is also for Giddy! That’s the horse NucksNation was ridding up the ice to the rum and raisin’ ruckus bar.
For about 4 minutes. Getting a lead and keeping a lead are two different things. Many teams, having recently endured a straight 8 loss streak can confuse the two things.
But they’re very different things. To keep a lead, you need to keep a short leash on the sort of plays that the refs frown on. Tripping is one of those. Now Gags fresh from the AHL, might have not received the full this-is-allowed, this-is-not NHL refresher. Either way, he did take a tripping penalty.
And the league’s worst powerplay went to work. And the league’s pretty much worst PK went to beyond pretty. It went to into unlucky bounce mode. Unlucky bounce mode is not a suggested PK strategy. Because bad bounces sink pucks. Or goalies.
Without any Doughty about it, Marky’s shutout bid is over before the 1.00 SV% auction had barely started.
And that’s the end of leading in the 2nd phase of the game. Or is it?
Redemption. It’s one of the most desirable states a player can find. And Gags found it. On the Nucks #1 powerplay. Some brilliant setup work from Sneaky Pete and Brilliant Bo and Sam the Man scores!
The Lead and Hope are restored. In recent gamethreads hope was not only missing, but no one could find it outside of the Fraser Canyon - or inside.
With the lead secured again. We only had to play smart, not pinch too much and get caught too deep.
So... the Nucks pinched and were caught shallow. So that’s not so bad. Other than the getting caught part. And the lead pass, the dirty deke by Luff and Marky getting beat.
Again the game is hopelessly tied. The Kings are back in the game and the gamethread is tied in knotty thoughts. Again.
Vancouver has outshot LA 14-6 in the period. That stat alone should deliver a clear victory. They only had 19 shots in SJ in the entire game. Huge improvement. The shot police are not on target to providing proper goal enforcement. The NM Department of Justice For Our Scoreboard will be hearing about this travesty at their next board game meeting.
Still... tie game on the road is like a win. Just slightly unfulfilled.
Unfulfilled. We know that feeling. The Nucks have known that feeling for weeks. Is it not time for a Sneaky Pete steal from Virt’s new chirping buddy, Phaneuf? Pete thinks it is.
What a great read. What a sneaky steal. What a wicked shot! Wow!
Did you know that Pete only took one shot in the game? And that shot was the GWG? No, not you, pre-cogs, the other lost souls from the 8 loss streak SPW thread.
Petey leads the league with a 28.3% shooting percentage. That’s better than Crosby. Or McJ. Or any other sniper in the entire NHL. Wow!
I know. Would this be a great time to keep a lead or what. And that’s what the Canucks did. And yet, not just keep it.
Instead they played Toffolian roulette with the scoresheet. Special Eddie took two penalties while trying to keep our attention. It worked. His first penalty against Toffoli was killed with ruthless (and lucky) Nucks PK precision.
But Eddie’s over the glass and out for 2 minutes in the last 3 minutes of the game amp’d the gamethread adrenaline level to 11. Welcome back, Eddie!
You can’t make this stuff up. I can, but only on Saturdays. In November.
Uncle Willie pulls his goalie early. Not only is it a penalty, it’s what they call a 6-on-4 with the always 3-on-2 deployment. It can be scary. But we’re not scared. Because...
Motte scores the EN on the PK. It’s like Xmas in the game. And Boxing Day in the gamethread.
The game is out of reach for the league cellar dwellers with the short sticks.
The 8 game streak of shame is shunted away to the dark places where we will never see it again. Pretty much. 8 game losing streaks only happen once a season. Pretty much.
And that’s a relief. Busting a losing streak is more fun than extending it. Make a note for the next gamethread that extending a winning streak could be even better.
Let’s sit back and enjoy the enjoyable bits all over again.
Let’s hear from Gaud himself.
And his sharp passing chirper.
This was the winnable game that was won. So good to end the skid on this trip. The Nucks are home game bound for the next five. Finally some respite from bad 5 star hotel food and cramped charter jets and stuff.
Next Tuesday the freshly one game win streaking Cancuks re-take-on the fallen Kings. Can the win streak continue? Don’t care.
Just gonna kick back and enjoy this 1 because...
Enjoy the rest of your one day cookie festival of the consuming arts and have a wonderful next week.