Benchmarks. Benchmarks are great for measuring where you are in relation to...well...the benchmark.
Everyone Many say in today’s NHL, the ideal team has small, fast, skilled forwards with a big, skilled, mobile defence and a Vezniac goalie. Tampa Bay might be the best endorsement for that model. Some say they created that model to serve their own selfish needs and like Vegas are cheating somehow.
The league’s benchmark model is the best team in the NHL. How’d we measure up?
We measured up down 4-2. But, it’s worse than it looks. At first. And second. At third tho, it was not real bad. So that’s something.
But first, let’s get the worst 5 minutes out of the way.
When you’re playing the best team in the league, you do not want to let that team have a strong start. So how did the Nucks do?
They did great. Then the first faceoff happened and within a dollar twenty-six the Bolts scored off a tip from Kunitz from a Stralman point shot.
Because it would not be wise to spot the league’s best team a 2 goal lead, the Nucks battled back to tie, right?
Right. But the Nucks don’t want to beat one of the best goalies too early. But the Bolts did want to beat our best goalie early. And often.
With 4 Nucks on one side of the ice, Stamkos feeds Hedman who comes down mainstreet while the street is deserted. It’s Mano-A-Marky. Marky stood tall. With his pads apart. And...well...the 2 goal lead not to be spotted is fully spotted up.
Marky was real good on most of the 12 shots he faced. Vasilveskiy was perfect on the 10 he received.
Can’t score on Vasilvesectomy...at least Virt can score some hurt.
Virt had 3 hits in the game in just 8:54 on the ice. That’s like a hit every 3 minutes.
And 2 more hits than Guds.
Remember last game where Marky shutout the Hawks for the entire 2nd period. Vasilveskiy did that. Bastard. He’s really good at puck stopping. Bastard.
“He makes everything look easy,” Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said about Vasilveskiy. “We come down the slot and there’s no panic. He just took away the angles. It was impressive.”
Not Marky tho. He got burned on a pretty (no, it was ugly for us) passing play that small, fast, skilled forwards are famous for. Don’t tell Westy, but the goal was over Marky’s shoulder as he slumped down to get across on the shot. If Marky could move and stay upright like Tampa’s young goalie...well...Marky might be Tampa’s young goalie. And still could, Stevie. Make the call.
3-0 LightFreakin’ Bolts. Damn it.
Shots are 7-6 Bolts and all hope is lost.
Down 3 nothing against the best team in the league (take that Vegas!) coming into the third is the recipe for a good drubbing or a bad blowout. Or a full house of cards collapse where Kevin is fired from the series and the series is cancelled, but then it’s not. Or something. No matter. Something else was at play in the 3rd.
Remember those comeback kids Canucks of the early season? It’s like they put the band back together and they can still play Never Give Up with an uptempo shot barrage from our Boest player.
The Nucks got a 5 on 3 to start the 3rd. That’s a nice primer for a 3rd period comeback. Unfortunately, the penalty wasn’t served by the Tampa goalie. And the primer failed to ignite the scoresheet.
Since Brock admitted his last game wasn’t his Boest one and he knew from last weekend that Vasilveskiy can’t stop ‘em all, he decided to prove it.
First, Brock gets the A. He feeds Stetch who dangles and bolts a pass through startled Bolts to Vanek who pulls a vasectomy far to one side and scoots behind the net and puts a wraparound around the over-stretched V....
Six minutes to play. Down two goals. Score a goal every three minutes. Easy! pic.twitter.com/qJawdafQ7C— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 4, 2018
Great high risk/high reward play by Stetch. Points in consecutive games.
Yay Youth Movement!
Saving the Boest for last, Brock takes a pass from Sutter in his own zone, flows into the O-zone fooling Strawlman and fooling Vasilveskiy with a rubber bullet.
That’s #25 on the Brockscore.
Within one, five to go, game on!
Until it wasn’t. An uncharacteristic bobble at the blueline by Tanev led to a breakaway by Conacher. That led to an uncharacteristic high sticking penalty to Tanev as he tried to lift the stick. Double minor on the play. And a partridge in a penalty shot.
But first! A word from our sponsors. Because the network had only taken a single commercial break in the period, they had to pay the man - I mean they had to take the money from the man who paid to make us endure the dreck that is commercial TV.
So....during the break, the ice gets cleaned in front of Marky. He’s pissed. Felt the penalty shot should have been taken before the commercial and ice cleaning.
Of course, with Nucks luck on Conacher’s side, he scores and the game is out of even Brock’s reach.
Still....could be worse. The network could have called the game after the 2nd and made us watch banal commercials for 20 minutes after getting blown out 3-zip.
Lesson learned. Always start better than your opponent. The Canucks know this is a very important lesson. That’s why they have needed to learn it so many times this season at home.
The Nucks outshot the Bolts 17-9 in the 3rd and 33-28 in the game.
Highlights reel. The real good highlights start at the 3:01 mark.
After getting the tieing goal, Brock wins the hattie and the game. The world goes crazy and another alternate reality is shutdown because we were having too much fun.
This was Hank’s 1300th NHL game. Impressive. Not as impressive as winning it might have been. Game 1301 will be better.
“In the second period, we have a good period and we give up the third goal,” Sedin lamented. “That can’t happen; it cost us the game. But we did a lot of good things.
“We just played a really good team.”
Markstrom was pretty angry after the game - if you heard his post game comments on the radio, his accent gets a good edge to it when he’s pissed.
“We gave them a 2-0 lead right away and that can’t happen. We did well to fight back and it just wasn’t enough tonight. It’s frustrating.” - Markstrom— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 4, 2018
Marky finished with a .857 SV% and bad bout of Refallergies.
Not unhappy to have some pushback, but unhappy not to have a bigger push all the way back.
“In the 2nd and 3rd we played well. Felt good to get a few in the 3rd and match their quickness, but that’s a good team. We need a bigger push.” - Horvat— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 4, 2018
Boeser led the team with shot attempts at 8 and 5 that got through. And 1 that got fully through.
Here’s the game’s 1st star, our All-Star and Flowrious sniper.
The Nucks out-hit the Bolts 20-11 - just like they did against the Hawks. So that’s a good thing. MDZ was credited with 9 hits of his own. Expect the NM hitccountants will want to double check those numbers in the numbers.
Over in the Green room, the mood was really pretty good...considering.
"We played a really good hockey game against a really good team. We just came out on the wrong side of it." - Coach Green pic.twitter.com/CGI6VlkytT— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 4, 2018
Few expected the Nucks to beat the Bolts. Even fewer after the 1st. And less after the 2nd. But, they did make it a game in the 3rd. T-bay sat back a little or just maybe, the determined Nucks were harder to play against than the standings might indicate.
At least we don’t have to play Tampa again. Until next week. After we visit Miami on Tuesday to play the team with a goalie poet we’re still paying to rhyme for a long time.
Those who like crass expressions of a one game winner-take-all series, enjoy the Superbowl. The real winner-take-all is determined on Feb 26th.
Enjoy yourself and have a tremendous next week.