More Points! More Home wins!
It’s Xmas in the ROG! At least until the start of the next game.
Returning from their 5 point 3 game road trip, the best possible start to a holiday home stand is a started with a Nucks win.
Just to change up the comeback kids story line that almost didn’t comeback in Smashville, the home Canucks were determined to get a lead, keep a lead and have fewer turnovers.
2 out of 3 is pretty good. Especially when it’s the first two.
Let’s just jump out front and push the play. That’s was Philly’s strategy. And it almost worked. But for Marky. He stopped a four alarm breakaway 30 seconds in. He was awarded 1st star not just for his smooth HNIC interview skills.
Anyways the Nucks were saving their jump for later. Because they have a secret sniper hanging back on the blueline, picking his moments to dangle in the zenon spotlights.
Bo is dragged down. It’s a delayed penalty, but the opportunistic Nucks keep puck possession (because it’s better than going on the PP). Mr. Picks-His-Spots coolly picks a spot to dangle and score on the backhand. It’s Tanev’s first goal of the year! Told you he was picky about picking his spots.
Just as cool as that, it’s 1-0 Canucks.
Does this discourage the Flyers? No. That feeling is for later.
Philly keeps pressing, shooting and Marky keeps stopping.
And the Nucks keep rolling 4 lines and playing it cool. How cool? All lines were on the scoreboard in the game. In fact, all forwards but Virt and Roussel were in the points.
Despite not getting a point, Virt was doing all the little things all night. His hard working mojo made the next little thing possible. A Loui goal!
Bulldog with an assist and a Gaudy one was awarded too. Adam was back in the lineup after missing a few games, playing like he was happy to be back. Good Gaud!
Philly’s goalie, Stolarz is hurt after this goal. Or during. We’re not sure. What we’re sure of is he left the game with lower-upper body injury.
So, the Flyers, who have been going through goalies (5) this season like Westy goes through rum, have to insert Lyon for his 2nd game of the season.
And the Nucks have to welcome a new goalie to the game with a goal. It’s a local Vancouver custom. Or should be.
The Alien line puts some pressure in the O-zone and our new guy, Leivo shoots to pass and the lucky bouncers intercept and bounce the puck off the skate of an unlucky Philly skate and it crawls up Lyon’s shoulder and into the net. Welcome to the ROG.
Some say we’ve had quite a few lucky bounces in the past six games. Others say we suffered a month of unlucky bounces and the bouncers at bouncy hockey play HQ are required by law or fate or luck to ensure a streak of lucky pucky bounces to compensate or the wheels fall off the wheel of fortune. That’s what they say.
It’s 3-0 in the first. In the ROG. It’s 10 nothing in game thread when adjusted for inflationary language. Wooo!
Still the period isn’t over, even if we secretly know the game is.
Philly wants to keep the Nucks honest and the Nucks are turning over pucks at center ice, because they were told that’s where JB keeps the Xmas bonuses.
Starts from...yes.. a Nucks turnover at center ice. Without Laughton giving Bo a chance to look under the puck for the Xmas treat. Or Pouliot a chance to play defence, Laughton breaks in on Marky and spoils what was sure to be his 1.00 SV%
Oh well. Getting a shutout at home isn’t part of the holiday plans in the ROG. Dammit.
Philly outshot the Nucks 10-8. And are rewarded with a two goal deficit. That’s fair.
Fortunately, while Philly got a powerplay in the period, it’s as bad as the Nucks. And more good fortune for the game thread, the Nucks didn’t get any powerplays.
Since it worked so well for them in the first, the Flyers start the period sharper, faster than the Nucks. Will this same strategy help them pull even with the cool Canucks?
No. No it won’t.
Through half the period the Nucks had only a few shots. No point scaring the replacement goalie too much. Or worse, the emergency backup goalie sitting on-call in the hall in case Lyon has a mid-upper-lower injury.
Since the Nucks are getting tired of the two goal lead and aren’t keen to have it become a one goal one, they turn to the best alternative available - extending the lead.
Pete wins the faceoff back to Brock, who passes to Stetch. Who passes back to Brock, who lasers a shot past Lyon while Leivo is screening photons that could otherwise enter the Flyer goalie’s retina and no one wants that. Except the Flyer goalie.
Nuck lead 4-1. The period is almost over. And so is the game, but let’s not tell Philly just yet.
The Nucks finally caught up on the shot count and it was just 10-9 in favour of Philly. Not that they felt that favoured. Because Marky was not giving softy or hardy favours.
As you know, and the Flyers may have heard, the Nucks lead the league for goals against in the 3rd with 46. Fortunately, they ran that tab up last month. This month, they’ve only moderately extended it.
Still...the Flyers came out hard and fast, possibly furious, to see if they could help the Nucks extend that league lead.
And despite trying to out play the Nucks, the Flyers took a penalty. Uh-oh. You know what that means.
Canucks powerplay. It’s almost as bad as Philly’s. However it did manage to not get scored on, barely, so that made the breathing a little easier in the game thread.
And even better, Marky kept putting out 4 alarm shooting fires on his own. Even the little flame that Pouliot set near the net.
With five to go, the Nucks are back on the PK. And not only keep Philly off the scoreboard, but put more shots on the Philly shorthanded than when the Nucks are heavy-handed on the PP.
Then the desperate Hakstol, looking to keep his NHL coach gig, pulls his goalie and the Philly powerplay mans-up. It’s 6 on 4. Probably better if it was 3 on 2. But it wasn’t.
Mere seconds after the Nucks PK expired, Granny gets the EN to finish off any chance of a Philly comeback and probably Hakstol’s term as Flyer’s coach.
For the not manyeth time this season, the Nucks kept the lead and didn’t lose the game in the final five minutes. That’s progress.
While Philly shot another 13 shots at Marky vs the Nucks 9, it was that futility that we knew so well last month. Sorry Philly. We’re not helping your western road trip record. Go to LA and try your luck there. Avoid Vegas tho.
OT was not required. Yay! Keeping the lead through 3 means a win. Who knew?
Goals from all the lines. Turnovers from all the lines. Still... if Loui gets a goal, it’s pretty much a sure win.
Canucks were outshot 32-24. Didn’t matter, because the game’s first star was near perfect with a .969 SV%. Congrats, Marky! Kept the Nucks in the game, through the 1st and 2nd and 3rd.
Enjoy the less wordy video recap.
Let’s hear from our 1st star.
Here’s the guy who picks his time and place to score and speak.
Chris Tanev comments after scoring his first goal of the season against the Flyers. pic.twitter.com/3JT8SRLOUX— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 16, 2018
Over in the Green room the mood was feeling good and lucky.
It was great to see the other lines making the fog horn sound in the ROG. When hockey is played like a team game, it’s good for the team. And the fans.
Maybe it wasn’t Pete’s best game. While he was a not-too-good 29% in the dot, his key FO win setup a goal to keep his point streak soaring to six games. And Pete needs to save his best game for the next game.
Because the next game is already upon us. Just about. Before we can get over our post-game win euphoria (a Latin word for hangover), the other hottest team in the Pacific is looking to have their streak stopped in the ROG.
We hope the new coach glow is fading and the Oil wants a shot at 500 hockey again. So do we.
Have a super Sunday at 7.