Here was the last home game of this loserous streak - just one more loss to end our misery of 4 home miseries. And yet, if there was one game we dreaded most, this was it. Sure, the Preds have not won a game on this current road trip - but you know what team helps other teams break their slumping streaks. Yes, you do. Starts with C and ends with FFS!
And yet, if there was a single game to be won that would be boost team spirits, make the ROG rock again with chants of Gino and Marky, this was it.
Who could have predicted a big win over the best team in the west? Other than the pre-coggers from the SPW dimension of fan fiction.
This was a game where the Nucks, all of them, even the littlethinging $6M man contributed. They played that fast speed killz style that won them some games in the happy streak of October.
The Nucks were the better team on the night - who worked harder and won more pucks and bounces. And the game! Woooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Right from the start, or was it left... whatever... from the start the Nucks were buzzing. And the Preds having read about the zero or sub-zero effective Nucks Powerplay, decided to give take some pressure off themselves by drawing a penalty.
And then the Nucks scored a PP Goal! I’m not making this up! It’s a miracle before Xmas!
Surprise! It was a night of surprises. Goldy is back on PP unit one. And sets up Eddie for slapper through a screen that renders Rinne irrelevant.
Not even half time into the 1st and the Nucks have the lead. On the powerplay!
And just after Eddie makes a miracle on ice moment, he takes it away with a penalty.
It’s the Nucks on the PK! OMG! Everyone in the ROG, look away!
No worries. This isn’t Tuesday’s 0% Nucks PK, this is the new improved 100% effective Nucks PK. I know. More miracles.
A power play goal. A successful penalty kill. You can’t ask for anymore than that. No, you can’t.
But, the Canucks can.
Bo sets up Virt for a breakout and they break in on a 2 on 1.8. Virt sends a flying saucer pass to Bo and Bo goes upstairs on Rinne, who is downstairs still looking for Virt’s shot.
Woooooo! TWO goal lead! In the first! It’s even more miraculous than the last miracle, because the Nucks score in the last 30 seconds of the period. On the hockey-weighting scale this is a really big heavy momentum thing. In a good way. Unlike those other momentum swings that we are more familiar with.
Nucks outshot the Preds 14-9. And more importantly - yes, this time it is important, more importantly led 2-0 after the 1st.
Can you recall any game this season at home where the Nucks were up 2-zip after one? Me neither.
Nothing can spoil the moment now. Leading by two in the 2nd just feels so good.
So the Nucks let us keep that feeling. For seven minutes or so. Then as is their generous nature towards former players, they let Weber (no, the other Weber) take a shot on net that is tipped by Hartman with an indeterminate high stick. Or was it high?
Officials on the ice called it a good goal. Official post-play call deemed it a good goal.
Ugh. It’s a 2-1 game. Going into the third with a slim one goal lead, what kind of NHL team do the Nucks not want to play? Correct. Any kind.
And since the Nucks young guns learn from past mistakes, even if it takes 8-12 games, decide to keep the pressure on and do something more miraculous than the previous miraculous moment. Score another goal.
A Shotgun goal! Wooo! Nice pass by Roussel. Nice rush. It’s really nice on ice.
TWO goal lead! Is it enough? Is it?
Time to cue the teenage phenom who is playing a phenomenal game.
Pete competes. We knew that. But, he took it to alien levels tonight. Goes in alone on Rinne and knows that Ekholm would try to destroy him. And Ekholm did. Nasty crosscheck crashes Elias into Rinne and the net. (Gasps across the ROG about Pete’s leg slamming the goal post).
But, Pete gets up. A little slowly. And he needs to because it’s a penalty. Shot.
And you know what that penalty shot memes...er means.... it’s....
Amazing Alien moves! Against one of the best goalies in the league. Dekey Pete put dekey dekes on Rinne who bit on the backhand, but was bit by the forehand.
Let’s watch the Pete Deke again. Pekka says no, but tough luck, we’re watching it again.
Wow! Pete’s first penalty shot is his first penalty shot goal.
It’s a 3 goal lead. 4-1 Nucks after 2. And Rinne is getting a one period penalty. Or break.
Nucks, again outshoot the Preds 11-7 and even more important, and no kidding around this time, more importantly take a 3 goal lead out of the 2nd. Would they need the big cushion?
How many games this year have the Nucks had a commanding lead going into the 3rd? Look it up. Take your time.
Yeah, I couldn’t find any commanding lead events either. It’s been the one goal game adventure series this season.
But what if I told you, the Nucks would not only not give up the lead in the first few minutes of the period, but extend it. Yes, it could extend my dubious truth-in-sports reporting record at the same time.
But it doesn’t matter, because at 1:27 of the 3rd, the fifth miracle of the night was witnessed by all in the ROG. A Loui goal. First one in 11 games. Happy cap budget watchers will be happy to note that the Loui cost per goal just dropped to a paltry $1.2M (USD) each.
Not making it up. The 4th line was pressing the Preds. And off a Beagle faceoff win and some pressure in front of the net, Loui puts the puck past Soros for more Preds sorrow.
Wooooo! 5-1 Nucks. This game is over before it’s finished.
Or is it?
With the deliciously decisive victory in hand, the Nucks take a little break from the speed killz zone and play the preserve-the-tie game.
However, if you recall, some...ok... most of the Nucks 3rd periods in the past month, letting up only works if both teams go up with the letting.
Coming into the third the Nucks were leading on the shot sheet 25 - 16. By the mid-third, the Preds were outshooting the Nucks over 2 to 1.
However, there’s some league leading stats that are worth preserving. Yes, that Nucks 3rd period GA lead just keeps on leading.
No chance for Marky. Not on him. Let’s not put that wide open net on the Nucks D. Or we could.
No matter, it’s still a 3 goal lead. Nucks up 5-2 with less than 15 to play. Yikes! We’re doomed!
And because that 3rd period GA glory must be fed... thank the Preds for making a deflected shot look like a Marky blocker deflection.
But, wait. Take a close look. Was that a Littlethinging hand pass to Marky?
Doesn’t matter. Despite the Preds outshooting the Nucks 13-5 in the period, the 3rd period GA stat monster is fed and the Nucks lock it down.
Nucks win 5-3! Losing streak busted! ONE Game WINNING Streak re-ignited! We’re saved!
Stats? You want stats? Normally we don’t publish in-game stats, because, bad news is best told with words and pictures. But, full team play on stats sheet can be a nice change. Look at Pete’s FO stats - 62% on the draw - best on the team. (Just skip the Pouliot section).
|#||Forwards||GP||G||A||P||P||+/-||S||PIM||PIM||SOG||HITS||BLKS||GVA||TKA||FO%||TOI||PP TOI||SH TOI||PP||GW|
|#||Defense||GP||G||A||P||P||+/-||S||PIM||PIM||SOG||HITS||BLKS||GVA||TKA||FO%||TOI||PP TOI||SH TOI||PP||GW|
Marky was pitching .924 SV% into the last minutes of the game, but was rewarded with a .897 SV% - so that’s not a happy goalie stat. But still it’s a happy win!
Let’s move on from numbers and make some contact with our fav Alien.
Shotgunning it with a goal and an assist, Virt is sticking to sticking with the system story.
And over in the bright ‘n bouncy Green room, the good vibes are dialed in.
“Not many guys I didn’t like tonight”
Other than the press corp and say... [insert coach doghouse residents here]
Good team win. Finally. Although... some would say a few bad wins last month would have been pretty good too.
The Nucks can keep the dial on speed dial at least until Sunday. Have to go back on the road to a weird timezone - the city of the Blues. With the 12PM PST start, this will cut into our usual NM Sunday all-day rum lunch and wine festivities.
Have a fantastic fan Friday (You earned it!) and smooth weekend doubling up the win streak wishlist.