Seems like it was just the other night the Rags were here to play just for the fun of burning up a scoresheet. And we liked it.
Tonight’s tussle was tweaked towards the serious side of center ice. Maybe not so much for us, but for the Nashville Playoff Predation hockey horde. Maybe not so much for them either. Sat their #1 goalie and probably their best D, Josi. But, they have so many good D it’s hard to tell.
What happens when the best team in the division plays the not even close to best in the division? The unexpected. Did you expect anything else?
It’s already two minutes in and neither Marky or the Nucks have let in the first goal. The gamethread was going nuts - claiming a morally-hollow victory. Some said in the GT...it might have been me...that we stop now, take the draw and move on.
Fortunately, I don’t run the bench. Instead about 6 minutes in it’s still a scoreless tie. Archie draws a penalty. The first of the game! How is that possible? Probabilities aside, the Nucks get an unexpected, probably unjustified power play.
And the Nucks Power Play scores! I know, it’s Alternate Reality Friday already. Hank wins the draw, puck goes to Eddie at the point, puts a shot on goal and Bo deflects it past the Pred’s backup. So easy. When the Nucks PP is on, it looks so easy you wonder why it has to be so hard so often.
It’s 1-0 for Nucks over the #1 team in the division!
Eddie’s assist ties him with Ohlund for the Nuck’s top D point prodigy. Of all time. Wow! That was quick. It was Eddie’s 741st game as a Canuck, and as an NHL player. He’s been ours all along. Keep the pithy one-liners to yourself.
Just to give your BS meter a quick recal - this is the only goal of the period and it’s from the Canucks - not making it up!
Still Nashville did outshoot our game leading heroes 13-11. But Marky stopped them all. Calling it now. It’s a 15 minute shutout for our hard puck luck puck stopper.
Leading after one against a very stacked team is enough, isn’t it? 1⁄3 of total victory is only 2⁄3 away from complete victory, but why get greedy?
Because we so Sutterly can. When Sutter scores, he sure makes it look pretty. If only it was more often in that still-haunting-us IR phase of the season.
The hyper-confident Preds have Sutter pinned on the boards, probably will clear the zone in a second. Or not. Brock scoops up the puck, passes to an unpinned Sutter who swings out front, drops to his knees and lifts a backhand into the top corner where the red lights light.
Very smooth. Looked almost effortless. Other than getting knocked around by the tight-checking, stingy Preds.
Archie gets an assist too. He’s racking up the points on the stretch run to the final 4. Going to be a little uncomfortable when we have to tell him that the Westy Cup of Destiny was just an allegory - a myth-building exercise for the NM Parable and Fiction Writers Guild.
Doesn’t matter now though - we’re winning the game!
2-0 Canucks! In the 2nd! Against the #1 team in the West. It really is Alternate Reality Friday.
And then to make the Alternate Reality complete...the creepiness creeps in.
The Preds get a goal from a former player who retired last year - but in this new alternate reality gets his first goal of the year off a rebound from a Forsberg shot.
Are you kidding me?!! No. Was it a...Softie? No, it wasn’t. It was a rebound and a lucky shot off the post by a guy who was getting coffee for his wife at a studio gig in Smashville two weeks ago. Yet was playing in this game and winning 80% of his draws. Even I can’t make that up.
No matter. The period ends with Nucks up 2-1. Which, technically, means they’ve won a two-thirds majority of the game. If hockey was more democratic, this game would be in the lonely win column at the Nucks Central Game Electoral Center.
For some inexplicable reason the NHL has decided that playoff games will be a best of seven series. But games? Oh..no... winning a simple majority of periods doesn’t count. Hypocrites.
Again the Preds outshot the Nucks, by a little more, 15-10. And again Marky stopped all the shots. But one. That weird one from a guy who, allegedly, came out of retirement just to screw with an otherwise enjoyable Nucks Alternate Reality Friday.
So...it’s the Nucks with the lead coming into the 3rd. This has worked out so well on so many occasions that I won’t bore you with the otherwise depressing stats.
Just a couple minutes in and the rough and tumble Eddie takes a penalty for cross-checking. The same play that in May will be called only by excited announcers, not refs.
I know, it’s another sign of Alternate Reality Friday - it’s only the 2nd Nucks penalty of the game. Went two full periods with only one penalty. Either I’m making up entire hockey worlds now or Gary B’s visit to the Green room for a little fair and balanced officiating chat, but something is very alternative in the zebra herd tonight. Was there a blueish tinge to the stripes?
As easily as the first kill, the Nucks PK push the Preds PP into extinction. The PK is perfect. When the PK is perfect, we win. Simple stat. When the game was clean and simple.
But it got ugly. Pitchfork ugly. Crotch-shot ugly. Guds was checking RJ pretty hard and maybe because he’s mad, Johansen goes full Ratchand. Gets Guddy in the goodies.
Sutter and Eddie jump Ryan who knows he just screwed up. While it was good that Sutter went after RJ, he got a penalty for defending Guds’ goods. RJ got a ‘spearing’ penalty and a game misconduct.
Edler going after Johansen after he gives Gudbranson a shot to the Gudbransons. He'll sit for five. Sutter sits for two. pic.twitter.com/AVpbsDORJ2— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 3, 2018
NM gamethread is going nutz! Which it is wont to do whenever the word ‘misconduct’ is used in a game. Zanny this miscon is for you, wherever you are.
On the resulting 4-on-4 a very bad thing happened to make Alternate Reality Friday seem like normal Nucks reality. The Preds score. From Fiala - who was serving RJ’s extended sinbin stint. But for a unFialabulous reason, the refs let him out. Put Solomaki in instead. Weird. Wrong. Who knows?
What we do know is that the freshly liberated Fiala scores shortside on Marky who was inconvenienced by being on the wrong side of the net on the play - made worse by waving at the puck as it zipped by under his arm.
In a complete affront to democratically won periods, the game is tied. But, the Nucks keep on rocking in the free and easy PP world. Since ‘spearing’ is a 5 minute offence in many countries and provinces, the Canucks get some extra time to restore the clearly won democratic victory.
In a fitting display of once great and noble death by 5-on-4 Sedinery, the Twins and Eddie combine to restore the lead, the hope, the win. Pretty much.
Brock to Eddie. Eddie to Hank. Hank to Dank. Dank to Ed. Ed to Hank. Hank to Dank. Shot. And Dank gets his own rebound for the winning goal. Sweet Georgia Straits!
The game is won. And Eddie is now the all-time points leader among Nucks Defencemen.
Not an attention hound, Eddie, has 2 points and a -2.
And just when we could kick back and savour the sweet alternate flavour of winning at home, the unthinkable was thought out by a bullet. An Ellis bullet from the point through traffic. Deflected off Hutton’s shotblocker-pad, which didn’t work as advertised. Not a real Softie®, but a Woe® goal for sure.
It’s a freakin’ tie game! Again. How this happened can’t be fully explained by a really great team never giving up and a future, someday soon (please!) good team sitting back. Ok, maybe it can. Preds outshot the Nucks 14-6 in this period of undemocratic undoing.
You don’t want to know what happens next. No, really. It’s enough to make you gag.
On the first shot of OT the Preds win. How they got that first shot...well...started by Gags not holding the blueline - instead playing Welcome Wagon free drop pass hockey. And because it’s that time of the night, Eddie screens Marky while not quite blocking the shot. And Marky is already staring at Preds butt, so extra screening not required. Jarnkrok rips a shot past the soon-to-be Woe® goalfull Marky.
Marky took the loss really well. Although his annual goalie stick quota is getting very low.
I’m glad the Marky was mad. To be a #1 NHL goalie you can’t just accept that you aren’t a #1 NHL goalie - you must despise losing so much you’ll break so many sticks that you can’t afford to be average ever again.
Why Mr. G had one of the slowest Nucks skaters on the ice for wide open 3-on-3, who knows. Doesn’t matter. Still would have been nice to get the alternate win on Alternate Reality Friday.
High points of the game.
The Nucks won most of the game - the first two periods. Had a tie in the third. By my special disenfranchised math, the Nucks won the game by simple periodical majority. Simple.
Dank has scored in 5 consecutive games for 4th time in his career. Hank picked up an assist. Brock and Archie had one point too.
The new guys still looked good. Would have looked even gooder if Leipsic had put the shot into the open net rather than near it.
Early in the 2nd the bad reality Injury Faeries return to claim one of our own. Sven and some uncouth Predatory player collided. Sven left the game with what appeared to be a nasty shoulder injury.
Oh well. This post-TDL Nucks team have played two entertaining games in row - with 2 points to show they aren’t the pre-TDL pushovers at home anymore.
In a display of Marky’s Woe® - he stopped more shots than Saros, had a better SV% and still wasn’t the winning goalie. It’s not fair. Marky stopped 39 shots for a .907 SV% - Saros was a weak .889 SV% and only stopped 24 shots. That the Preds outshot the Nucks 43-27 is not relevant to my Woe®full narrative.
Anyhow, that undemocratic display is history. How’d Hank feel about it?
“We played well, really well. Game we should have won. They played 60 minutes, that’s the difference. Tough to lose this one.” - H. Sedin— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 3, 2018
In the unspoken farewell season of Sedinery, looks like we need to savour the moment, even if it would be so much more savourable with some post season rounds of savoury salutes.
In the spotlight tonight (not just Marky’s), Eddie sets a new record for Canucks offensive defencemen.
Over in the Green room the mood is still bubbly, pretty much - like it was October in the ROG.
"He's a really great pro. He's a really good example for our young guys...it's a fitting accomplishment." - Coach Green on Alex Edler's milestone. pic.twitter.com/I8VMfSQgb0— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) March 3, 2018
So..moving on. Like we wanted to after the 2nd. Better late than never. Sort of.
We can enjoy an HNIC-free weekend for a change. However, we have to gird our girdles for the Rookie Battle of the Year on Monday. The Isles are in town to get their star rookie wasted at the Roxy on Sunday after losing to the Pens on Saturday. At least that’s what I heard.
Enjoy your weekend away from the rink and have a tremendous Monday.