Video credit: @GregBalloch
- Twins do fly-bys past the Panthers bench. Singling out the unnamed player (assuming it was Thornton)
- Daniel gets squirted with a water bottle and Dorsett take exception and chirps the bench
- Montoya takes a swing at Dorsett and then Dorsett retaliates
- Canucks come in from centre ice to intervene
- Luongo still in full gear shoved his stick in Dorsett’s face and then later leaves the bench to stand next to Markstrom
- Prust caught at the Panther bench with no backup, until Hockey Wives co-star, Ryan Miller separates some Panthers away from Prust
- This went on for a good few minutes after the game ended
- Commentary from both broadcast crews had something to say, especially Florida’s Denis Potvin about the twins and mainly Daniel Sedin ( I will address this later on)
It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, so here we go! Three Up, Three Down: Sniper Spotted in St. Paul.
Canucks came home from a seven game road trip for only two home games, back to back last weekend. Only to hit the road again for a four game Western Conference trip. First stop, St. Paul, MN to visit the Minnesota Wild. The Wild ] just happen to be the best team at home in the NHL currently. Prior to this Canucks visit, only the Nashville Predators, have won at the Xcel Energy Center so far this season. The Canucks have had much difficulty winning on Wild home ice for as long as I could remember. The Canucks had a hard time winning there even during this famous stare down…
However, the Canucks managed to win 3-2 in St. Paul, MN, with a few veteran players making a big difference.
- Radim Vrbata: For the Canucks leading goal scorer last season, Vrbata has been battling get to his production going this year. Radim had only four goals prior to this game. A far cry from how they were all going on this time last year. However he scored a couple of beauties, included the first one from a sweet pass by Jared McCann. He then added a PPG from Henrik to give the Canucks the lead. Perhaps we can bring back the famous “Mean Mug” picture from an old press conference.
- Ryan Miller: A well rested Ryan Miller looked like All- Star goalie, Ryan Miller. Mid-way through the 1st period, the Canucks’ netminder made six very good saves, until he was beaten by a puck that deflected off Alex Edler’s leg during a Wild PP. Miller was still right there and squared to the puck. Unfortunately, Edler’s attempted block inadvertently put the puck into the net. Miller’s sharp play inspired the team to come back the rest of the game and for the most part, control it. (Minus about a minute and half to go in the 3rd period) .
- Daniel Sedin: Daniel has been a different player, or should I say he is back to being a familiar player this season. This is the first time in a few years, Daniel is once again, Daniel. He’s shooting 4 or more shots on goal and has scored 10 goals in 22 games. He is also No.4 in the NHL in points. He’s only behind Seguin, Benn and Patrick Kane but Daniel is doing at 35 years of age. Henrik is 12th in points but only two less tallied behind his brother.
- Penalty Kill: What has usually been a great part of the Canucks’ specials teams in recent years and even the beginning of this season, the PK has looked less than stellar and at times down right ugly. The Canucks penalty killing has allowed 10 goals in 11 games when they are a man down. Its effectiveness has dropped below 70% and needs to vastly improve if they wish to have more success in the near future.
- Late 3rd Period Goals Against: Far too many times this year, we’ve seen the Canucks allow goals in with the dying minutes of a game, whether it is tied or the Canucks are up by a goal or two. The Buffalo game, the Canucks fought back to tie the game and lost in regulation with 17 seconds left due a late goal. The Wild came back with one goal and almost scored the tying goal if Miller and his team did not receive a lucky bounce off the crossbar.
- 200 Foot Game: The Canucks have looked like scrambling clowns in their own zone defending. When they are without the puck, their game drops a level. This game wasn’t a bad example of defensive breakdowns in their own zone with the exception of the first period and the last minute and half of the game. It’s time to help the goalies and out clear the zone and play smart hockey when defending.
- Jannik Hansen: When Jannik just plays simple hockey, it’s when his game is most effective. Today he scored a breakaway goal and made it look effortless. As a friend was saying, when Hansen just shoots on a breakaway instead of deke’ing, it usually goes in. Well, he shot, he scored.
- Jared McCann: McCann has looked very good this season. He has matured and developed a lot faster than many anticipated. McCann versus the Wild has shown some cohesiveness and chemistry with Radim Vrbata. McCann helped with this first goal and later in the game almost helped on another, if the puck didn’t fly past Vrbata.
- Bo Horvat: With all the struggles in his sophomore year so far, Bo Horvat skated hard, played a good 2-way game and tried to create some offense with his linemates. I’m not going to be too hard on Bo. He has been asked to be a 2nd line centre on this team and taking more minutes as Brandon Sutter is still out with injury.
Goal of the Game:
So the Canucks went into Wild Country looking shaky in the 1st period. There was a sniper sighting for the Canucks in the slot and tied the game before going into the 1st intermission. The sniper also showed up on the power play, notching his second. A Honey Badger put the Canucks up by two. Untimely penalties and a barrage of pressure from the Wild got the game to within one. However, the Hockey Gods decided to grace Ryan Miller and the Canucks with a couple of lucky bounces, they knew they owed them some from the last road trip and just like that, road trip starts off with a win.
Nice effort boys, now go enjoy some Thanksgiving football in Dallas!
Happy Thanksgiving to our American neighbours!
The Canucks look alright, if you look at their record. They are second in the Pacific Division, attained seven out of 10 possible points and have a 3-1-1 record. It’s only 5 games but it’s enough to give us a sense of where a few questions that need to brought to attention about Willie Desjardins’ nightly lineup. Willie doesn’t have the rookie coach excuse this year, he’s a sophomore now, there is no need for weird line juggles that don’t make sense. Willie needs to start utilizing his talent properly.
WTF #3 Vrbata-Horvat-Baertschi
When the “Lindenning” signed Radim Vrbata last year, the idea was to put him with the twins. Have a first line guy who loves to shoot and can work with the Sedin cycle game. Bring him onto the 2nd line with some idea to get that line going. Not a problem if that line is Vrbata -Horvat- Baertschi. A line that was throwing more shots on net than any other line but just weren’t going in. That’s when the law of averages takes over and eventually something is going go in with the amount of shots that line is producing.
So the game against the Blues, Sven sits, but Dorsett is the guy who takes his place? Derek Dorsett? A 4th line energy guy? Sure Sven hasn’t been great, but he hasn’t been bad either. The fact that he, Vrbata and Bo were producing so many shots is a sign of good things to come. Willie showing a tinge of impatience with some of his young guys who just need a little more time (Sven) . At the same time giving a message to a first line player in Vrbata that he’s not worthy of playing with the Sedins. That’s inexcusable, and frankly just dumb of Willie to not have a thought process. Either put Burrows back with the twins, or Vrbata but never bring up Dorsett or Hansen in these situations, you’re asking them to play way too much out of their elements.
WTF #2 Alex Burrows’ Role
When a guys is making $4+million on your team, has been a 1st line winger with arguably the two best play makers in the last 8 years, why doesn’t he have a permanent home on a permanent line? Willie needs to either play Burrows with the twins or give him some time with Sutter and Virtanen on the other wing. Sutter doesn’t belong with the Sedins, it should be either Burrows or Vrbata or maybe Virtanen. As stated above, I like Vrbata-Horvat-Baertschi together. So putting Burrows on a viable third line isn’t such a bad ask, but he works well with the twins, knows their rhythm, their cycle and can no look drop pass with them like was a triplet. Why punish the guy who could keep the twins consistent throughout the season? Willie again puzzles me with his lack of vision for putting together two top lines. He better figure it out soon or some players will just stop caring where they are in the lineup.
WTF #1 The Power Play Without Yannick Weber
The PP has now gone 1 for 17. For some reason, Willie Desjardins won’t put the guy who has shown that he can put pucks to net in special teams situations. Yannick Weber has played a total of one game since the beginning of the regular season. Putting Alex Edler on the first PP unit instead of Weber who has shown results in the recent past to be a good guy to have on the point with the Sedins.
If Willie wants to continue to be stubborn and leave Edler on the first unit, than put Weber on the 2nd unit PP because Chris Tanev’s shot scares no one. Not you, not me, not big bad NHL penalty killers either. I am not sure when Willie will put Weber back into the line up, but 1 for 17 should be more than enough ‘encouragement’ for a change on special teams PP units. Don’t you think?
These have been a few things bugging many Canucks fans over the first five games. It would be “real good” if Coach Willie can give us a lineup that makes sense from time to time.
Canucks played a pretty good Game 1 and lost it in the last minute due to very good screens by Bieksa and Sbisa, now known as SBieksa. Unfortunately for them, the screen was on Eddie Lack. Fast forward to Game 2 vs the Calgary Flames and the atmosphere at Rogers Arena was electric! It doesn’t hurt you have this guy leading #TowelPower
Just like the previous game, the Canucks had jump, this time, they added their execution. They win 4-1 with Daniel scoring first; Higgins breaks the net cam with his PPG and the Latvian Locomotive Ronnie Kenins scores his first ever NHL Playoff goal. Vrbata seals the deal with an empty netter late in the third.
Eddie Lack is probably the most social media interactive player in the NHL, but definitely on the Canucks. We’ve gotten to know his mom, Mia Lack and his dad, Willie. Either through the tweets of Mia Lack (@mammamialack) or Hockey Night in Canada panning over to Eddie’s dad, Will as often as they panned over to Ryan Miller’s mom earlier in the season. I guess the Canucks goalies have very likable parents. I’m starting to think the Lacks are the Swedish hockey celebrity family the NHL has been waiting for.
So there were a lot of things that happened in last night’s game. But the biggest thing everyone is talking about this morning is…
- Matt Stajan throws down the gloves with Richardson and then all of sudden an MMA fighter was born. If B-Rad ever wanted to get a new career going, I’m sure Dana White is looking for a novelty fight on his card.
- Best twitter reaction to the melee:
- Best Teammate: Ryan Miller for chirping back at Michael Ferland as he is escorted to the Flames bench. Miller the often quiet guy wins points with the Canucks fan base with this:
- Best Contradition: Dan Hamhuis has now become Public Enemy #1 for the Calgary Flames and their fans. Yes, you read right, Dan Hamhuis. He’s probably even more mild-mannered than the Sedins, combined! But I guess owning Johnny Hockey all night long does that for you. Not to mention, manhandling both Gaudreau and Monahan simultaneously with one arm each.
- 7 home game losses streak in the playoffs since 2011 has been broken with this win. The Canucks could have set the new record with 8 in a row had they given up this one to the Flames.
- 42 minutes is what was charged to Derek Engelland of the Flames in penalty minutes.
- 9 hits from Edler (4) and Dorsett (5) combined. The Flames were out-muscled all over the ice tonight, mostly from these two.
- .957 Eddie Lack’s save percentage for this game. More often than not, that’s going to be a notch in the win column.
- 24 goals has Daniel Sedin tying Cliff Ronning as third on the all-time club list for playoff goals.
- 15, the number of wins left to get to Lord Stanley. The first one means everything.
Kevin Bieksa was being interviewed about the happenings in the third and his best response to it all…“…I’m not sure what happened with the penalties but hopefully we’ll see Mason Raymond next game.” Bieksa is one of those players I love and hate all at once and I am not the only one:
- The Canucks didn’t back down from the Flames when challenged. It was not always so. The push-back has been shown a few times this year, and that’s one character asset this team has over past teams. Everyone truly seems to want to play and stand-up for one another, and what a perfect time for it.
- If there are suspensions given out, I see Engelland and Hamhuis being the guys gone for a game, but that’s up the NHL and no word yet.
- @TheStanchion‘s tweet might push to get Russell in the suspension mix too. Side by side views of the Byfuglien cross-check with Russell’s from last night:
What a game! I was having such an intense and not so good day at work and we didn’t buy playoff tickets this year (yeah, I know, I know) but did this game ever make me forget. Off to Calgary now in what I know will be a very boisterous Saddledome. The Flames fans haven’t seen playoff hockey in 5 seasons. It should make for a great atmosphere! Glad to know there will be a good number of Canucks fan transplants in Calgary so wave those towels proud and Go Canucks go!
Funny Post-script: A guy name Ronalds Kenins scored an NHL playoff goal before guys named Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Couldn’t resist, Oilers miss their 9th straight post-season and some 24 year old rookie from Latvia sniped a beautiful pass from another rookie, Bo Horvat.
PPS: Luca Sbisa, for as much as the Canucks fans and media alike get on him, makes a great heads-up play to keep the puck in the attacking zone and passes it deep to Horvat.