Welcome back, NM, to 500 Hockeytown.
In case you missed the Boxing Day wholesale goals sale over in ROG by Team Canada last night, the other Rogers Arena was open for quick sales on opening goals tonight in Edmonton.
The key to a good road game is to get out to an early lead. The other key to a good road game is to finish with the lead. The Nucks were all keyed up and had a good road game. Textbook. Open strong and finish strong enough.
After that grim display before Xmas by the NHLOA during the 3rd of the last game, it was good to play a first period rather than a whistle-free playoff tune-up 3rd.
Especially good when the game is won in the 1st. All the heavy goal scoring completed with a minimum number of shots. That’s road hockey efficient.
Not even 4 minutes in and the Oil are tired. (3 minutes wearing that tone of terrible orange can tire out anyone). The Pesky Nucks 4th line penned in the Oil — who were tired, already. Because orange is the new tired.
Looch tries to clear the puck, which is a really tough thing to do when tired and Motte is harassing him like a young professional energy player is wont to do. The tired clear is thwarted by Motte, he moves up to receive a pass from Roussel and walks in to score off the post and in.
That’s how you play road hockey, kids. Sure...we had many lessons from other road teams in our barn last month, but somehow, it feels better learning from a successful road game than a bad home game. Ok, maybe both ways are effective ways to learn, but isn’t the point of learning - to learn to be more successful?
But wait! There’s more successful learning oppourtunities. Let’s learn about them now.
This time the road learning department is turning its winning focus to the young A+ students of the game.
Looks like an innocent play through center - if you’re a tired Orange team. But with Einsteinien levels of passing IQ on the ice, the physics learning curve just got very steep for Koskinen. Nice work at the line by Goldy, Super Pete corals the pass and sends the lesson tape-to-tape to Brock for the 2nd successful learning moment. Sweet!
2-0 Nucks. This is turning out to be a rout. If the scoring pace would only keep up. Which it didn’t. Oh well.
At least the Nucks didn’t take any stupid penalties. Ok, maybe one or two. But the Nucks PK is running a streak of success of its own. Pretty close to infinity at last count.
I know, I was as disappointed as you to discover that infinity is a number just over 20 when the Nucks PK is the base number unit.
Nucks caught with a little too much right leaning and not enough coverage left.
Oh well. Still have the lead and as you may heard, keeping the lead on the road is key to a good road game.
If you want to keep the lead on the road, the bestest way of all, is to extend it. Are you taking notes? I can stop here until you get it all written down.
The Nucks were ready for the bestest way - with their bestest rookie making the bestest shot on a soon-to-be (re)tired goalie. Almost decent pass from Goldy (good clearing pass from Pouliot - that stung Westy’s sensibilities for a few minutes).
Pete settles the bouncy Goldy pass - in the micro-second between settling and shooting a micro-second passed. And the snappy shot was Pete perfect top corner goalology.
Pete knows more ways to beat a goalie than NM knows how to cheer a goal.
It’s 3-1 road hockey larceny...um.. lessony. We’re here to learn. About the keys to a good road game.
What about object lessons... do you object to them? Hope not. Because, here’s a key play that leads to the object of a good road game. Winning it.
More hard forechecking by the mighty 4th and the Oil are losing puck battles like they lose coaches. Rou with the goal, Beags with A. The 4th with their second of the game.
And that’s it. The game is over. No, really.
It’s already a good road game. Ok, it’s probably the best Nucks road game since Dec. 27, 2009, with a 5-1 win at the Calgary Flames, where they scored 4 goals in the first. Yes, I had to look that up on the internet. First periods aren’t our best road periods. Until tonight.
Again on Dec. 27th. A coincidence? You decide.
Oils outshoot the good road gameers 11-6. But the game is over. For Koskinen. Not coming back for more. Too bad. 4 goals on 6 shots would be a very nice Nucks pattern to continue for 2 more periods.
Seriously. The game is over. Why waste the resources pretending it isn’t?
Sure, the Nucks take another penalty, but the Nucks PK have a 1 kill streak going now. And now... it’s over.
Despite Eddie using the proven “I’ve lost my footing and I can’t back up” checking method, Drais snaps a wrister past Marky.
The Oil homer play-by-players are getting hyped up on their false hope of a comeback. We know the bowels of false hope. It’s crappy in there. No point describing it.
No point in continuing the game. The final score is 4-1 Canucks. In the 2nd.
What is the point of another goaless 20 minutes of orange futility? I don’t know.
What I do know is that the Nucks failed in the 3rd to extend their league lead in 3rd period GA stats. However, since this was such a good road game where the good keys were chosen and the good locks on victory were picked or locked tighter or something, won’t berate the Nucks for not extending that GA league lead.
What other thing we know is, the NHLOA is using 3rd periods to prep for their massive late spring workload. A workload so massive, there’s not only no point in trying to call it all, there’s no point in calling anything.
It was getting chippy without official interventions. The NM game thread was happy to let the refs off with a just a verbal warning. I’m not letting them off at all. They get paid for 3 periods, but only want to work two. Since I’m signing their cheques, through an obtuse indirect network of TV networks and insider code signalling, it is my right. It’s yours too. We can discuss the economics of it at next year’s NM Vicarious Dismal Science Conference.
Until then, let’s just enjoy a good road win.
The stats? Yes, there were stats.
The stats say that the Nucks were outshot 32-20. The stats say the Nucks PK was 33.33% effective (similar to Koskinen’s SV%). A discouraging drop from the lofty peak of 100% perfection. We’re hoping it’s a statistical anomaly. If not, then we take it out on the statisticians. Or 78.9% of them.
Pete had his 6th GWG as a rookie, which ties him with Bure. Who only played the one season as a rookie.
Points were spread around the Mighty 4th like rum toddies at a Westy pagan points festival.
Marky stopped all 30 shots of 32. So that’s grants him a .938 SV%. That’s a nice grant. He made some key stops on McJ - when the Nucks weren’t hounding Connor into a whining pile of elite hockey frustration.
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You might be asking...how do the players feel about this good road game?
“Our start was good. We made the most of our chances, which was important coming off the Christmas break. This is a huge road trip for us and this is how we needed to start it off.” - @j_markstrom— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) December 28, 2018
Marky also said: “This is how it should feel,” Markstrom said. “Winning shouldn’t be something you celebrate. It should be normal … and in this organization we had that for a long time. That’s what we’re working to get back.”
Happily still in the lineup after the cheapshot in the face last game, Motte was happy to talk about the Mighty 4th.
Pete was happy about 1⁄3 of the good road game. Maybe a little more.
Since it’s a road game, even a good one, the Green room only sets up for the exceptional ones. However, Travis was reporting as saying...
“From Day 1 we’ve talked about how we want to play. We want to be faster and harder to play against, and we wanted to play meaningful games down the stretch. For us it’s about developing our young guys and, obviously, winning. We want to win, and we’re preaching it. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves — we’re at .500 right now and we have a long way to go.”
Although... if you can’t get ahead of yourself, whose head would you use?
1 down and 5 more gruelling road games to go. That’s doesn’t sound so bad. It sounds terrible. Oh well. It’s not like the Nucks are stuck in hAlberta to play another road game on Saturday on Hockey Night In Calgary - staunch supporters of the red hypermiling.
No, it’s very much like that. The hockey-media-darlings of the Pacific are the next road kill for the fast driving/flying/scoring Nucks. At least we hope so.
Until the weekend, enjoy the rest of the year. What’s left of it.