An oppourtunity squandered? Hey... it’s just a kid’s game played by millionaires. Kids love to squander. It’s part of the no-tomorrow, infinite season of fun.
However, we long-suffering Nucks fans... take the game and the winning of games much more seriously - especially on the best home game stretch oppourtunity of the stretch. Sure, we probably take the game, the Nucks, our rants too seriously. But that’s not the point.
The point is points. The Nucks had a 9 point buffer at 1st place in the Pacific after the buffet win in Brooklyn. For whatever reason - I know, looking for reasons in this part of the season is foolish. For reasons beyond our foolish comprehension, the Nucks now have a 1 point buffer. On 2nd.
They played pretty good in this one. But, not everyone played with playoff fever. Mottte did, even just fresh back from training time with the faeries.
What about the new guy? Toffoli played well. Pete, Huggy and Millsie played great. The 3rd line... well... let’s talk about that 4th line with sparkplug Motte making his impact on the PK, the scoresheet and the bruise-sheet.
The Nucks woulda/coulda/shoulda won this game.
But didn’t. Almost tho, so it was a big improvement over that last game vs the Ducks that we’ve forgotten so well that it didn’t happen.
Let’s move on. Until there’s no more moving on.
Until next year.
The key to the game, or at least the winning of a game in stretch season is to score first.
Then score often.
Put the game out of reach in the 1st and the other never-racking periods can take care of themselves.
That key was stolen, our winning strategy lock-picked on a sloppy line change just a minute in.
The Wild, who are without players or coaches, hopelessly adrift in the playoff race, yes this playerless team, manages to find a couple players to rush the Nucks and score top shelf on Marky. On the their 1st shot of the game, FFS!
I’m not making this up. It appears our trade for Dumba didn’t happen. Nor did the Wild trade Fiala. My fault. Need to watch those clickbait TDL Monster Moves headlines a little closer.
Oh well... it’s only a 1-0 lead for the most boring team in the West.
The Nucks were outshooting the semi-Wild 10-5, but the game thread was a little concerned about the quality.
Canucks getting plenty of shots
too bad they’re all soft enough that I could stop them — Twitchy
To add to the circus atmosphere in the game thread, late in the period, the Nucks also performed a ‘clownshoes’ power play live in the ROG.
Which was cut short by their own penalty. Small blessings.
Fine. Down by 1 against the team with a goalie who’s facing a buy-out. Doobie is not having a career season to end his career.
So... that’s good news, right?
Yes, it is.
The play starts in the Nucks end (where most of their play starts most games), with Motte taking a hard hit to make the pass to spring Huggy.
It’s a Nucks 2 on 1! With Beags as the 2nd of 2.
Doesn’t matter. Hughes is the best setup man in the building.
He’s a magic man
Anyone who can get Beagle to score has to be magic. — radivel
It’s Beag’s 2nd goal. Of the
Doobie didn’t look sharp on it. That’s a good sign, right?
Just create some havoc and let Doobie dribble. That could work.
But for those line changes. It’s another slack change and the Nucks offer easy entry to the zone.
Instead of taking the lead, the Nucks give up the tie. On a shot that Marky thought he had. 1.00 SV% Marky is not available this game.
So... it’s mid-way past the half way of the 2nd and the Nucks are down a goal.
Time to ramp up the intensity - find and grind that playoff-ready gear.
I think I saw a hit there in the 2nd period
but I may have been mistaken — radivel
Jake was grabbing some attention in the game thread, so that’s good, right?
How about lighting a fire there, sometime soon, under yer players’ butts
Virtanen already looks like he’s on the 18th…. overskating the puck in the slot, as per usual — copey
Jake didn’t have a good game. Is he sulking from his demotion from the 1st line to 3rd? Or just sulking around for fun? We don’t know. We just speculate. Badly.
But poor speculation is better than none at all.
And one goal is better than none at all. At least the Nucks won’t let Doobie shut them out.
Again the Nucks outshoot the barely-Wild visitors 11-9. But are down a goal for the 2nd consecutive period.
This means... TADA!
The Comeback Kids ROG Special Scoring Frenzy!
For at least 5 solid minutes!
The Nucks have urgency. The 1st line is buzzing.
Our new Cupcake takes a pass from Huggy and sets up a slapping pass to Millsie! Beats Doobie between the short sides. Or just the shorts.
We’re almost winning!
The kids are coming back strong.
The elder kids... well... missed the chance to put the game away. Loui gets a glorious open net to shoot the puck into. But declines the chance for 6 million inexplicable reasons.
The game thread understood at least a couple million of the reasons...
good lord erickson
YOU HAD AN OPEN NET AND NOBODY NEAR YOU! — Twitchy
Loui “Hands of Stone” Eriksson should have 2 goals this game. — radivel
The tweetleverse was thrilled too.
This is all you need to know for Loui to sit in the press-box or Utica. YOUR MOVE GREEN: pic.twitter.com/v3AF8GvYAV— Kevin Laf (@Kevin_lafs) February 20, 2020
Maybe the twittler has a point. Loui was great on Bo’s line for more games than thought possible. But... as smart as his defensive play is... his hands of stone would be giving Westy Gauncian flashbacks all night.
Anyhow, with so many sure goals squandered, it’s up to the 1st line to be the game winning line.
After Pete hustled to void an icing call, Nucks get a little lucky puck bounce off the linesman, the Nucks are set up to make Doobie look average again.
A little chaos, a snappy Millsie shot and the Nucks lead 3-2!
The Comeback is Complete!
With a mere 15 odd minutes to go, the Nucks have the game in the bag. With the safest lead in hockey.
What could go wrong?
Nothing. Except the Nucks, somehow feel the one goal lead really is safe.
They back off. Turtle-up. Or down. And worse.
Let Stetch near the net. I know, because of last game, I may have implied that Stetch had an ‘agreement’ with Marky’s agent. Either the agreement went sour or Stetch is playing an unlucky streak.
The maybe-Wild create their own chaos in front of Marky. A pass across the crease bounces off a skate, off of Stetch’s stick, off Stetch’s face and into the net.
It’s all tied up and the game thread is tieing up some lose ends. Looks like nerve endings.
goals off peoples faces should count as high sticking — radivel
There’s still 5 minutes for the Nucks to win in regulation. But that last minute, with out-of-net Marky making a weak pass in combo with the general not wanting to sacrifice the body enough (except Motte - he ate pucks and asked for more), the Nucks 2nd comeback never came.
Fine. We can win this the old fashioned puck-slinger way. 3 on 3.
Except we don’t. And neither do the Nucks.
It’s Pete, Millsie and Huggy vs Doobie. We expected it would be over in seconds.
It wasn’t. Instead, the possibly-Wild get more puck possession and run Marky over with impunity.
Game thread want to impale the refs. Gently, of course.
”lets not worry about protecting goalies, they don’t matter”: NHL refs — Twitchy
how is that not goalie interference?
If that isn’t goalie interference, then what is? Two handed slashing him over the head? — radevil
Ours is not to wonder why. Ours is to suck up to the worst officials in all of pro hockey.
At least, the visitors didn’t score and that means...
Ok. This is easy-peasy two pointy shooty.
Pete scores on Doobie. Millsie scores on Doobie.
It’s textbook stuff.
But... no other Canuck, new or old, can beat Doobie. And 3 Wilders can beat Marky.
Nucks lose a winnable game. But for bad puck luck and worse line changes.
Can the 2 Johns salvage a point for us?
GAME STATS (Sorta Improved)
PLAYER STATS (New and Improved!)
|#||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|
Sub 90 Marky is not the Marky we’ll want to swaddle in millions of gross American currency. He played pretty good, made some key saves. But with the stretch season pulling hard on our short hairs, we need the Marquis de Saving every game from now on.
Especially since this week’s Nucks can’t score their way out of trouble.
Oh well... can’t win them all. Hope the inverse is true as well.
I can’t resist, so... suck it up, Cupcake, welcome to a Vancouver media scrum.
"I thought we had a good game and made some really nice plays early on. The more we work together, the better we're going to feel." - Toffoli, after making his #Canucks debut. pic.twitter.com/Va9v0evaQO— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) February 20, 2020
Millsie scores 2 and the honorary hattie as well.
Over in the Green Room, Trav is playing the crowd with possibly his best performance in the last 6 scrums.
We’re not in the dressing room. We’re not in the pre-game hallway hi-jinks, so we don’t know if the Nucks are lacking confidence again. Or trying too hard. Or not trying hard enough.
Hockey is a game of motivational mysteries. Not even the snazziest analytical charts can fathom what goes on in the psyches of millionaire pro hockey players.
All we know is what goes on in our fragile fan psyches in this stretch of 2 wins in 8 games. It’s not pleasant. Not the stuff the winning Westy Destiny is made of.
Of course, this season the Westyrian wizard has been calling for a playoff miss since October. He’s been wrong before, so that’s some good news.
Good news, before the next game, the last game in the ROG for a long time, against that team. It’s a Saturday night in HNIC hell to boot. All I can suggest doing is booing early and often.
If you have any motivational tips or hockey coaching wisdom, please leave it in the comments where Nucks HQ will be sure to miss it.