Don’t look at the results. Look at the process. Enjoy the process. Just not the powerplay process. Oh well...
The Nucks played a fast, fun game. EP and Bock and Bo make even a loss feel like a future win. Until the fun was killed by the 0 for 3 powerplay that was doing more damage to itself than a hungry Otter on a Koi pool rampage.
Despite a worse November this year than last year’s worst November in years, the battle of this younger, more depleted, road-ravaged roster have carried them through 1 win in the last 11 games. That’s pretty good, right?
Played possibly the best game of the year. So far. A better game awaits, because it will be played as well, but end with a big sweet W.
Let’s start with the fun. Possibly the most fun play of the night.
For the staggering 10th time this season, the Canucks opened the scoring. Not just any Canucks.
The spellbinder twins. Sneaky Pete dekes Schmidt and 88 retaliates with a hack job on Pete - the penalty will be delayed - but not for long. While prone and headed head-first to the boards, Pete sends a perfect pass to Brock who rocks a shot past Fleury. Penalty called off due to stunning goal.
Wow! Highlight Reel for EP. Again.
Horvat: "It was gross."— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 30, 2018
Boeser: "Did that surprise you? *laughs* It was tremendous... It's a great play, I'm not surprised though."
Pettersson: "I knew one of them would be around that area... I just made a guess. It worked out." pic.twitter.com/YPbpfc01ii
Nucks led on shots 8-1 in through the first 13 minutes. This was what we always wanted. Our home boys killing it in the first. Controlling the play - limiting shots.
However, on the 2nd shot from Vegas, bad things happened. Not for Vegas, but that’s not the point. The blade of the point was not pointing the correct way. And yet again, a deflection off the blade, makes the Nucks ample lead shrink to no lead at all.
Nucks outshoot Vegas 10-8 in the period. Although it would have been so much better to have the period end when the shots were 8-1 shots for the Nucks. But, who wants the easy win? Other than the win-deprived fans of NM. Possibly others too.
Let’s skip this period. There’s no official NHL record of it. Because Gamecenter was busticated.
Allegedly, the Nucks kept the pressure on and led in shots 14-12 and scored. But, the goal was on Marky and credited to Patches to extend his grotesque 7 game points streak. Worse, it was on the PP. Allegedly.
We won’t know for sure until we get to the video recap at the end of this long and twisted text recap. I know, I feel bad about it too. Just not as bad as you when you watch what happens late in the 3rd.
Oh...we love us some drama in the 3rd. As mentioned frequently in the November recaps of GA doom, the Nucks lead the league in GA in the 3rd.
Can the Nucks keep that stat streak alive? Can rhetorical questions have a non-obvious answer?
What if I told you, that not only was the Nucks prestigious GA streak extended, but that Patches help extend it while extending his own. What if?
What if we skip the part about being down 3-1 in the third with the game seemingly out of reach.
Why not? Instead let’s let Bo have a go at making the comeback kids narrative a happy slappy-shot off Fleury’s rebounding pads onto Eddie’s unbreakable stick that gives Eddie his 1st goal of the year. Yeah, let’s tell that story. Now, with pictures!
Could it be just one goal or maybe two from redemption?
It could. And here’s how. More great play from Bo. A smart pass from Gags and another goal for Brock! Wooooo!
It’s all tied up. We have a chance for a point. Maybe two.
But before we count all our chicken points, let’s take a break with some Vegas cheapshot flashbacks. Remember last month when we played in Vegas and Sven was taken out by a dirty hit from behind and there was no call?
Well...that cheapshot playbook is still on Vegas books. That’s why the NHL employs professional officials on the ice to keep the game fair and balanced.
Reaves takes out Eddie - lazy cheap interference penalty. Obviously. Yet, at the same time, Bulldog gets his stick held forever while the play goes up ice. Obvious penalty. Two obvious penalties, one play.
The hit from Reaves on Edler in case you missed it. pic.twitter.com/uXCobMqfOG— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) November 30, 2018
And no calls. Or a single call. Brutal. More video confirmation that the NHL considers the Nucks their little
But before that cheapshot, the Nucks had a powerplay. A chance to take the lead, win the game, change the current less than 10% win rate.
But, before that wonderful narrative could spread its little wings of fake hope across the ROG, the first unit would need to score. It didn’t.
Neither did the 2nd unit.
Instead... Granny and Leipsic lost the
check game along the boards. On the powerplay. Second world unit problems. Hutton thought he was safe for a change, but was caught on the 2-on-1 after already breaking up the 1st SH attempt, single-handed. Tip: When you’re tired, stop the pass by laying down on the ice - going booty shake limbo mode is not as effective.
To be fair, the entire PP unit underplayed two of of the most lethal PK gamblers on the Vegas strip.
Screams of Noooooooooooooooooo! And other foul words echo across the empty void of the NM Exhibition of Optimistic Game Endings. Attendance at that exhibition in the last 11 games has been lower than hoped. Ok, it’s been dismal too.
On the bright side, the Nucks put more shots on goal, 36 vs 31 from Vegas. On the not so bright side the powerplay was Oh (no!) for three. However, it could have been 2 for five, if only the refs would play by the rules. Or enforce them rather than micro-manage some sort of not affecting the game outcome by affecting the outcome of the game.
In order to appreciate this really fun game, except for the parts that weren’t fun, like when Eddie was blindsided in front of the blind refs, let’s absorb the great goals again that were almost enough.
Super Pete and Beaming Brock were pretty happy with their seeing ear play.
Over in the heated Green room...VQ will enjoy this presser much more than Travis enjoyed the cheap hit on Eddie.
The slow burn begins. Or continues.
While the loss could be pegged on the refs, the goaless powerplay, the actual reason this game had to be given away, was down to the gauntlet tossed into the gamethread taunt pool by Westy:
If the Canucks organization really thinks playoffs are achievable this year, then this is a must-win game. In fact all remaining games against Pacific division rivals are a must win. All the other teams in the division hold games in hand.
We’re not a playoff team. Even in the Pathetic division. And that’s okay. Pretty much.
Pretty soon, we won’t have to play another game in November. Pretty soon could be as soon as Saturday afternoon. Yes, it’s the dreaded road game timezone home game with the Nucks playing hard-to-play against goal-hogging hosts to the Stars.
Nucks are due for a win. Two game losing streaks morphing into 3 game ones to start a new, happier hockey month (it will be happier, right?) isn’t the first choice.
Enjoy your feckless Friday and a super-focused on winning, no-matter-what Saturday.