Earlier in the day while the NM SPW fan fiction department was drooling over a for sure four game win streak, Coach Green was busy lowering expectations.
That’s the Nuck ethos at work. At cross purposes. Fans feeling a streak running right through the hockey-sauced South and the coach trying to keep the media righted on the good ship 500 hockey.
Both sides of ethos were almost correct. It’s like a compromise. In sports it’s called a tie. In the NHL, it’s called OT.
And tonight we’re calling it a road check point that we had no business getting. Until it was too late to believe it.
But, we believe. In the young guns of Nucktitude. They don’t give up at the end. Even if they give up at the start and most of the middle.
It was a pretty good start for a road game deep in the eardrum of Tennessee. Over two minutes passed without the Nucks getting scored on. That’s a slim moral victory right there.
Then, Rinne misplayed the puck behind the net and Sneaky Pete stole the puck and could of
A) Popped it in the gaping wide unattended net
B) Pass it out front to give Rinne time to make a save
Thoughtful Pete selected Option B and the game continued scoreless. For at least another two minutes.
But, as is customary on the road, Nillie gave up a softie to light up the Nashvegas crowd.
Using Goldy as a partial involuntary screen Hartman puts a soft shot on net.
It’s almost six minutes in and the Nucks are only behind by one goal. Good start!
And just 3 minutes later, it’s not. A good start.
Our old and slow hands Bones puffs a shot past Nillie like it was a softie.
There was some debate in the gamethread of which of the two goals were real softies. Or possibly both.
While we were trying to get our consternations in order, the Nucks were busy taking penalties and giving Smashville fits.
Fits of disbelief. First because they were told by reliable sources that the Nucks have a miserable PK. And second, because only the Nucks 2nd PP unit gets shorthanded goals against. Or is it overhanded? Doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that we have the big PK dog on patrol. No, not Bulldog, but he did play instead of Guds. I’m talking about the Beagle. You know, the stray FA we picked up in the summer, who played a few games with us before being sent to the Faery pound for six weeks.
No matter. Tonight we witnessed history. Beagle’s first goal as a Canuck. And it’s a shortie!
GMJB’s FA signing plan validated. And only 34 games in.
Still down by a goal, but the the dogged Nucks PK has pulled the Nucks into their fav game plan - the one goal down game plan.
Shots were 8-7 for the Cashville Predators. That’s not so bad. And even better, as the period went on Nillie started to make key saves which is part of his job description. Just not the first 10 minutes of his job description.
One goal game. Eezzee Peezee comeback time for the comeback kids.
Except when it’s not so easy and the Preds pressure like it’s their barn and they’re a top team in the west. So presumptuous. So predatory.
Nucks keep the Preds at bay until mid way through the period. Then known Nuck-killer, Jarnkrok tips a Turris shot. The 2nd game that our old Weber got 2nd assist points against his old team. That’s not the ‘Always A Canuck’ spirit.
We want to cry out ‘softie’ in the game thread, because we’re lazy and want to take out our laziness on the backup. But we’ve got Schaller to take our lazy blame to the bench and sit on it.
Not a good Nucks road period - outshot 9-5 by Nashville and worse, outscored too.
It’s that most familiar feeling... staring a goal (or two) deficit in the face - off we go again chasing the game around the rink. Especially when Eddie takes an early penalty and Beagle doesn’t get another shortie.
And these southern hockey Parthenons are filled with predatory hockey monsters that enjoy chasing Orca hockey avatars as much as, or probably more, than having their own netminders chased while travelling to the western provinces in search of easy game.
Probably not making this clear enough. There was a big chase. The big game chase. It was a trophy hunt. No, not that silver one. That was so last game’s fantasy. The Nucks were trying to chase the game while the Preds were intent on imposing their will on the game.
And their will holder would have another notch on the handle. Preds break in on the rush with a quick cross ice pass, Fiala scores. Nucks are roasted, toasted, barbecued southern style, it’s 4-1 Preds.
Or is it? After some challenging from coach Green, the play was reviewed by the oft lofty authorities of off-siding (And Aluminium Door Company). After review the side of the play that scored the goal was off. The side that was ticked off by the goal was given another chance to chase the game around.
The poor game didn’t stand a chance of preserving some simple hockey dignity. It was clear the Preds would win this at home. In regulation.
Or so it seemed.
Seemed the comeback kids motif was spray-painted like an indecipherable tag by grunge artists and was only made legible in the Nucks offensive literature after 3⁄4 of the period had passed.
A period where the Preds were outshooting the Nucks almost 2 to 1. This is where Nillie was earning his goalkeeper bonus. He was keeping goals in his glove and pads, not in his net.
While the physicality was ramping up on the boards, Josi ramped Bo into the boards. It was a nasty crosscheck. So nasty that Virt wanted to cross punches with Josi, but while a scrum got quite scrummy, only Josi went to the post-scrum box.
Despite the Nucks going nothing for 3 so far in the great power playing game chase, the first unit was game to try again. There’s that old adage, “
3rd 4th time’s a charm”.
And so it was. On a great setup from EP to Eddie, Brock unleashed a Brocket that launched past a startled Rinne.
Wooo! What a goal. What a timely goal. Time of goal: 15:55.
Plenty of time to take the time to push this game into overtime. The game has been pushed, prodded and chased in so many directions, why not?
Just need another Nucks powerplay since it’s been so effective, going 1 for 4. And, our ‘Always A Canuck’, Hammer takes a penalty for Music City USA. That gives his old buddies some time and space to complete the chase.
But wait. That’s too easy. And simple.
It would be so much more dramatic if say...Eddie took a penalty while on the power play to offset the balance of power playing. It would, wouldn’t it?
And then to ratchet up the game thread drinking tension a little more, in the final minute, pull the goalie and go on the attack for the shortie.
It sounds confusing, I know. Watching it unfold, more so.
It didn’t look even possible on paper. On ice, no better. Until Petey took the puck the long way round the Parthenon of Predation and setup this beautiful Bo Tie!
Boom! The Nucks take the game.
They chase the game all the way into OT. Where they gave the game back to the Preds, who according to common law, possessed 9/10 of the game anyhow. Better to settle in OT than drag the tie through the courts of fan opinion for years.
Watch the video recap and wonder...
It felt like a game lost. Typical Nucks road game. And then it didn’t.
Instead of playing the full 55 minutes and losing the game in the last 5, the Nuck played the full final 5 minutes and won. A point.
To have won in OT would have chased the game into metaphoric hypoglycemia. And our game thread blood
alcohol sugar levels were already at critical levels for this dinner time disruption.
Nillie started soft and finished hard, with a .882 SV%, stopping 30 of 34 shots. Didn’t allow a single 3rd period goal. That counted.
Rinne, despite winning, was even more sub-.90 with a .864 SV%, since he only faced 22 Nuckled shots. If only the Nucks could have put 30+ shots on him, this game would have much less chasing and more romping.
Oh well. 5 of 6 points on this road trip is nothing less than total 83% victory. Maybe shorter road trips with more former Faeried players is the secret to success. Although even without Guds, the Nucks D didn’t look horrible. More horrible than normal.
Schaller though...only played 4:12 and if he saw a single shift in the 3rd, it was during the commercials. Maybe the Nucks ought to consider recalling Leipsic. Too soon? Too late?
Anyhow, it was a great game. If you joined it late in the third.
Bo Tied it and we want to hear about it.
Bo Horvat says it's great the team came back, showed resiliency and battled right until the end to salvage a point. pic.twitter.com/K0MjnuhzKy— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 14, 2018
Brock was happy to shift the special teams momentum.
"For us to stick with it and compete hard in the third period and get a point... it shows our character." - Brock Boeser pic.twitter.com/MPP0JDaX3D— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 14, 2018
Game Grade: B+++ Beagle, Brock & Bo. And Elias kept his point streak on the board.
It was fun to watch, in the final minutes. Need to work on some OT strategy. But, small steps.
The next big step is on Saturday when the Flyers jet into the ROG for some west coast inhospitable hockey weather. The Nucks could help to extend the Philly western swing loss streak with a full 60 minute ice court press. Or just win in the final five of reg.
Have a fab Friday and superlative-filled Saturday.