This is it. The last comeback game of the season. The last game of the season. The last recap of the season. The last chance of the season for LittleThings to change our little minds. So little chance to change our little bitter minds.
Oh well. All’s well that ends.
81 points from 82 games. That’s close enough to 500 hockey that the NM Fanny Math Club has decided to award the Half Full Cup of Half Assed Tribute to the new half-rebuilt Canucks.
Congrats, Nucks! You’ve Won the Cup!
Sorry we couldn’t save the contents for you though. Westy has strict rules about rum consumption during games. Or is it game threads? Or game nights? Or days? When we sober up we’ll let you know.
Anyhow, whatever happens in St Lois, we don’t really care. These last two games of the season, however intensely meaningless, is a subtle reminder of how mean the eastern-biased NHL Scheduling & Cruelty Department really is.
Because geography is not a forte of the NHL, we played our last two games against western conference opponents in their home rinks, located conveniently, in the east.
At least we won both games by a small margin. Some say that’s not exactly correct, but won/not-won are very close concepts when cheering for an almost 500 team - we will take conceptual liberties where needed or unneeded.
In that spirit of mis-configured team loyalty, let’s start with the first period where we outplayed and outscored the blue scourge of Missouri.
Game thread is ready and primed after their early lunch and earlier happy hour.
go team go…. <sarcasm font> i love afternoon games </sarcasm font> - bygfeete
While the Nucks started strong and undershot the Blues, we waited around 4 minutes for the first Nucks shot on goal.
With that out of the way, the Blues continued to play most of the period in the Nucks end. Which is both weird and greedy. Because it’s their home rink, they can play in it anytime. So why play in only one end? Makes no sense.
Past the half way point, the Blues were letting the Nucks get a little one and done time and then bored with that, Schenn tested Demko with a dirty little wrister. Not our Schenn. The other, unobstructed, unmolested Schenn who was left open to play his dirty little wrister thing on our young innocent goalie.
The thankfully, non-HNIC cover team claimed it was 1-0 for the Blues. We can claim it was a dirty wrister in the five-hole and it’s just the kind of play the league is trying to get out of the game. Why not now?
When the buzzer sounded the Nucks caught up and undershot the Blues 7-10.
As the final minutes of the period ticked us off, the Nucks went on a powerplay and scored 2 or 3 goals in a span of 2 or 3 milliseconds. Or faster. It was so fast that no one in the building saw or any slomo cam could capture. But, we did - with our minds. Because Quinn Power Play Quarterback Hughes.
In the game thread, not everyone was watching through the specially tinted blue and green lenses...
That first period was another example of a Canucks team that was a little slower and a little smaller, getting pushed around. - Westy
Strategy. The Draftists of April, not to be mistaken for the Draftists of March, who are hardcore loserists, were lobbying hard to let this game slide off the precipice of regulation.
Seems if the Nucks lose this game in regulation they would fall below the fowl of SoCal and therefore be eligible for a higher draft pick. That’s a plummet in plumage that no one on the Nucks could abide.
Other than the players on the ice. The shot-conservationists of NHL pre-playoff games were pushing and shoving hard for no-shot, clutch and shove hockey to prep the unwitting fans of the Stanley Puck Playoffs.
I hate playoff style hockey when your team isn’t in the playoffs - Westy
Someone added, might have been me, that playoff style hockey with your team in the playoffs isn’t any better. The NHL has the most flexible rulebook or 2. And worse officiating. But that’s a rant for another day or a hundred during the summer.
The Nucks and Blues were being hard on the puck and each other. Mainly each other. If this was an early season game, 25 penalties would be called. Instead, it was just the one on Eddie. For holding. It was a wimpy hold at best, since the Blues player was still breathing after the call.
To the box with Eddie where the 23rd best PP went hard to the net, but didn’t score any goals against the league’s 22nd best PK.
Again, despite the pre-playoff game prep by the officials and media, the Nuck fired off 5 shots in non-rapid succession to the Blues measly 10.
With his expressed permission granted, the Overlord of the Internet (former or current, we’re not sure), permitted use of his lordy lordy insights to summarise the 2nd period.
you can use it for the next one as well - Westy
That meant that the Nucks weren’t getting to the free pucks fast enough and weren’t skating fast enough to keep pressure in the Blues end again.
Which is weird, because the Blues end this period was the Nucks end in the 1st. But the Blues don’t like that end of the rink this period.
Weird and fickle team. No wonder they were the worst team in the NHL on January 1st. Can’t pick one side of the rink or the standings and stick with it.
Down 1-0 after 2 or up 3-1 after one, by game 82 you know what that means.
You do and the Nucks do too.
It’s the Comeback Kids Quarter Hour Show.
Sure, 20 minutes is actually one third of an hour, but quarter hour sounds better and we have to subtract 5 minutes for pre-playoff tuneup tedium.
Let the show begin!
Not even 4 minutes into the comeback and Maroon plays goon and drags Hutton down.
The 20 something ranked Nucks power play will make the Blues, the draftists pay.
Just not in the way you might expect.
The first unit is getting stopped by the world’s oldest rookie goalie, once the dozen drop wayback passes are made. That means it’s time for the second unit to get stopped too.
Or does it?
In a freak of undropped drop passes, Pearson takes a pass in his own zone from Hutton and Demko. He then skates past his own blueline. No drop pass.
He skates past center ice. No drop pass.
Blues are confused and looking to the refs for a call in this fragrant, nay, flatulent violation of PP etiquette. Pearson keeps skating - past the Blues blueline. Or is it the Bluesline?
Whatever. He’s past the final 2 Blues defenders. And no drop pass! Clearly something untoward is going to happen. Tanner skates on net and dekes Binnington and stuffs a puck five hole for the game winning tieing goal!
Woooooooooo! The game thread is going nuts. Pearson is a one man power play!
The cold, calculating hearts of the wet coast draftists skip a beat. If they were beating at all.
The Blues rink crowd, possibly at both ends, are impossibly upset with the travesty of drop pass PP protocol.
Goal stands. Comeback complete.
Or is it?
Not really. Minutes later, while the Nucks are leading 1-1, Special Ed takes another wimpy holding penalty. So wimpy that Tarasenko doesn’t even have to go to the breathing room to catch his breath.
Worse, the uncaring officials permit him to join the Blues 23rd ranked PP despite being oxygen-deprived.
Even worse, the Nucks 22nd rated PK permit the Terrorsenko to terrorise our young goalie.
If the Nucks re-sign Eddie in the off season, and Eddie continues to take bad holding penalties at good times or bad, he needs to work on his holding power. Preferably until the player loses consciousness. As opposed to the game thread participants who often lose consciousness, if not their minds, when Special Ed performs those special things.
The Blue rink is all happy happy joy joy. They think their fickle team has won the game and secured 1st overall in the central division of the west. Which as we know, isn’t in the real west. And as we know, the game isn’t won.
We know because Bortuzzo the Brute cross checks Pete. Before our D-Schenn can make Bortuzzo pudding, the refs call a penalty.
In the last recap of the season, when my personal credibility is serving time in a tropical gulag/sports bar, I might be tempted to make something up about 3 penalties and 3 PP goals. In a single period. Can’t confirm or deny.
All I will say is that the Nucks season ends where it began - in the hands of a higher power - an Alien power.
Super Pete! 28 goals! 66,000 points! If he isn’t granted the Calder tomorrow, we’ll know the eastern media cabal really does dislike the Nucks more than we can possibly imagine.
Period ends. Nucks have outshot the Blues 11-11. And outscored the Blues by a ridiculous number, so high that the league’s stingy scorekeeper steps in and calls it a tie.
Fine. Call it a tie. It’s already a Comeback Kids win in the discerning eyes and minds of the game thread.
There’s no OT footage available at the time of this tardy recap. So we must return live (in your mind) to the game thread for the stirring play-by-play action:
EP - Hughes - Boeser that is a sweet line - Westy
I could watch these 3 in OT all day long - bygfeete
they almost did that - Westy
There’s no footage available of no Nucks no scoring on the oldest rookie goalie in the world.
There is footage of O’Really and Perron scoring on our young rookie goalie, but the footage lost its footing, fell on the ice and didn’t return to the recap.
It was a close loss in a close season that was close to being a miracle season. That’s close enough for us.
In a twist of HNIC’s small mercies, the 2 Johns cover the last game of the season.
Last Stats of the Year (*sigh*)
|#||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|
The Nucks finish better than last year. 8 points better, to be exact. That’s almost a point per 10 games which doesn’t sound that impressive. Use your inner impressive voice and read it again. See? Much more impressive.
From a team predicted and/or destined to finish at the bottom of the league, the young Never-Quit Nucks finish 23rd out of
32 31 teams. Who could have predicted that, other than Neil?
Let’s hear from a couple of the kids.
Brock, our elder kid, gets to pick up the word baton first:
“We were right there for so long – probably longer than people expected. We lost some games there and lost our chance to make the playoffs. But (the season) shows the way we’re trending and it’s exciting, not just for us but the fans. We’ve got Quinn Hughes now and everyone can see how exciting that is. I think we’ve taken a lot of steps in the right direction this year. I’m already excited for next year.”
“We showed our compete level right down to the end. We never quit. I’m excited about next season. We’re going to work hard over the summer and be even better next season.” - Horvat— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 6, 2019
Bo also stated:
“We’ve got a bright future ahead us.”
Demko kept getting better - as bygfeete noted, finished his last 3 games with a .945 SV%
"I wanted to make the most of the opportunities I got and now I can evaluate my game heading into summer." - Thatcher Demko pic.twitter.com/3nPkvNF1Iv— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 6, 2019
Petey is excited for the future. And so are we. Finally.
"I'm really excited for the future." Petey discusses ending his season with a goal, Jordan Binnington and talks about what's ahead. pic.twitter.com/nFlFKy9IQf— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 6, 2019
Over in the road Green Room, the digital dicta-phones were waxing verbose on every twist of Travis phrase:
“Now we’ve got to keep improving. We just talked to the team, talked about how we’re trying to play and instil in our group the culture of competing. It’s a big summer, a big summer for everyone in our organization. We’ve got to push to get better and strive to be better next season again.
We talked at the beginning of the year of developing and winning, trying to play a fast, aggressive style. We made some improvements this year while adding some young players, which isn’t always easy. You look at our three centremen: Pettersson, Bo (Horvat) and (Adam) Gaudette. Those are three really young centremen down the middle for the NHL, and they’ve all hung tough. They’ve had good years, each of them in different ways.
We’ve got guys that want to win and I think they’re learning how to win in this league. And how hard it is to win.”
It’s not that hard, Trav. I’ve recapped at least 70 wins this season. In fact, check the hysterical record at NM - every recap title I’ve written begins with a NUCKS WIN!
It’s been a long short season. 82 games. Now the NHL will play out its fat TV revenue scheme with a mean-nothing 16-28 game series which features only 16 teams with each team only facing 4 different opponents. Weak sauce, NHL.
We played 30 different teams over 82 games and won over 70 tilts according to NM Recap Officials. That’s a
record lie to be envied and applauded.
Enjoy you summer hockey vacay and get your rabbit ears ready for the lotto scoop of the century.
Thank you #Canucks fans! pic.twitter.com/EqhGLoOOhE— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) April 3, 2019