Canucks 3 – 1 Flames
The Canucks showed why they’re first in the NHL with a calm, easy-going win against the regrettably terrible Flames. As I’ve mentioned before, I miss the days when these games were bitter battles against a legitimate rival. Instead, the Flames are a sad-sack team that bears no threat. The Canucks were content to allow the Flames to set the pace and control the puck, confident that Luongo and the defense could contend with the Flames’ efforts and confident that the forwards could capitalize on their opportunities.
They were absolutely right. The Flames outshot the Canucks 44-21 but never once threatened to win the game as the Canucks took the lead early and calmly repelled the Flames offense time and time again. Unlike Team Canada, the Canucks made their 3-0 lead going into the third period last, coming just 11 seconds short of giving Luongo the shutout. The game featured two milestones: Raffi Torres notched his 200th point and Daniel Sedin scored the 10,000th goal in franchise history. That, my friends, is over 9000. I watched this game.
  • Luongo made 43 saves for his 3rd win in a row. He’s 12-1-1 in his last 14 starts. After a rough start statistically, he’s 11th in the league in GAA and save percentage. Don’t listen to anyone who suggests that there’s a goaltending controversy. Unless they’re telling you to call 911 because there’s a fire in the house. Then you should listen.
  • The Canucks’ first goal came just 1:10 into the first period (above). Mason Raymond makes Olli Jokinen look dumber than normal before feeding Kesler in front. Neither Tanguay nor Bouwmeester show much interest in taking Kesler, who now has 20 goals, putting him on pace for 42. Clearly, Kesler is a Douglas Adams fan. It’s marvelous to see Raymond and Kesler together again, like when Andy Richter came back to join Conan O’Brien when he took over The Tonight Show.
  • Kevin Bieksa had a stellar game tonight, with a goal and an assist in his near 22 minutes of time-on-ice. Juice has 7 points in his last 6 games and looks like he might actually manage 30+ points this season. There are many things to like about his goal: the patience he shows to allow traffic to pile up between him and the net, his ability to get the shot through said traffic, and the delightful grin on his face as Torres comes up to congratulate him. But the best part comes after the goal, as the camera finds an excited fan in a classic yellow V jersey holding a sign saying “WE ARE ALL BIEKSA” on it. And with that a ridiculous Twitter hashtag began and the Bieksa bandwagon filled up immediately.
  • The Sedins and Burrows were the best forwards on the ice tonight. Burrows ended up with 2 assists (but only finished +1 because he was off the ice before Kesler could score), Daniel had a goal on 4 shots, and Henrik constantly made beautiful passes, the best of which had Shorty quit doing the play-by-play for a moment just to say “Oh my goodness.” It was that good. Astonishingly, like “Dude, Where’s My Car?” Henrik ended without a point.
  • Daniel Sedin’s 22nd goal of the year featured some great work by Burrows to gain the zone, a purposeful shot wide by Bieksa, and a perfect tip by Daniel to beat Kiprusoff. John Garrett instead insinuated that the puck only went in because Kiprusoff didn’t have his stick and without it was like Linus without his security blanket. I am instead going to blame Jokinen for standing three feet in front of Daniel, carefully defending the completely empty slot.
  • Dan Hamhuis did his best Olli Jokinen impression on the goal that broke Luongo’s shutout, as he too decided to defend the empty slot instead of picking up Tim Jackman in front of the net. Hamhuis had a bit of a rough game, as this giveaway earlier in the third led to a flurry of chances for the Flames. The fourth line had the misfortune of being on the ice for his mental error, dropping each of their plus/minus columns by one.
  • That said, Bolduc is the one who lost the faceoff: he actually lost all 8 of his faceoff attempts, dropping his faceoff percentage for the season below 50% for the first time. Kesler and Malhotra were both solid at 67% and 79%, including going a combined 15-for-17 in the defensive zone. Unfortunately, Henrik was not as good at 38%, with Olli Jokinen being his main antagonist. It was the only good thing Jokinen did all night and the only flaw in Henrik’s game.
  • Christian Ehrhoff was stellar defensively, once again using his stick effectively in the defensive zone to take away passing lanes and sweep pucks off sticks. I suspect that Ehrhoff has heard all the rumblings that he’s more likely to be traded now than Bieksa as he seems intent on proving that he’s not one-dimensional. In case anyone’s forgotten, Ehrhoff is good at hockey.
  • Jeff Tambellini throws his tiny body around as if he was a borderline NHLer on what might potentially be his last chance to prove he belongs in the big leagues. Which makes sense. He had 4 hits tonight. He now has 34 hits on the season, putting him third amongst Canuck forwards despite playing 13 fewer games. Also very hitty, Andrew Alberts and Jannik Hansen, who both had 5 hits tonight and lead all Canucks players with 83 and 82 respectively. Not very hitty: Harvey Danger. Despite three fantastic albums, they only had one hit, “Flagpole Sitta.” Now that, Evander Kane, is a national travesty.
  • And finally, my wife would like to let everyone know that Alain Vigneault’s tie was very nice. Good work, AV.
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28 comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 6, 2011

    not gonna lie I was sitting here pressing F5 since quarter to 11 waiting for the IWtG

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  2. Anonymous
    January 6, 2011

    ^lol me too

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  3. Harrison Mooney
    January 6, 2011

    You guys are crazy. You know sometimes we post them in the morning, right?

    Daniel, job well done. The Dragonball Z reference is one of PITB's finest obscure references to date. I mean, it's no Guy Maddin reference, but it's up there.

    Also, way to not link to anything on the Douglas Adams reference, you elitist.

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  4. The Belgian Canucks Fan
    January 6, 2011

    Yes, thank you soooo very much!
    And of course, We're All Bieksa!

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  5. Sacha Michel
    January 6, 2011

    Haha liked the parting comment XD

    Entertaining recap as usual… You should write a column in the paper like Vinay Menon does for the Leafs in the TO Star. Your style reminds me a lot of his XD

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  6. By-Tor
    January 6, 2011

    Does anyone else think that when Shorty said Kesler's name after the goal, he sounded like a game show host announcing a contestant?

    Over 9000 reference on PiTB? That's it! Now I've seen everything.

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  7. Onymous
    January 6, 2011

    My favorite part of this post was the tags at the bottom. "I barely Knowkinen" – beautiful.

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  8. Qris Johnson
    January 6, 2011

    Over 9000 reference is obscure? I must spend more time on 4chan than the rest of hockey fans.

    I love how small the "We Are All Bieksa" words were on that sign. Huge paper, tiny letters.

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  9. Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
    January 6, 2011

    Qris, Harrison doesn't understand the internet. In my opinion, "Over 9000" is one of the least obscure references I have ever used, but that's because I'm a giant nerd.

    And @Onymous. Love the name. Thanks for noticing that tag. It amused me when I wrote it.

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  10. Harrison Mooney
    January 6, 2011

    *Sigh* I guess I just assume most people aren't huge Dragonball Z fans, like I was. I thought I was special.

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  11. Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
    January 6, 2011

    Don't get me wrong, Harrison, most people are not huge Dragonball Z fans like you or me. But "over 9000" is a massive internet meme.

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  12. Qris Johnson
    January 6, 2011

    Maybe more obscure would be… "Goals! Thousands of them!"

    But that's still fairly well-known.

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  13. Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
    January 6, 2011

    In that case, it would be "Suddenly goals! Thousands of them!" which would be a good reference for a surprise goal off a turnover.

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  14. Qris Johnson
    January 6, 2011

    Quick! Delete these comments. No one will know you planned it in advance!

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  15. Anonymous
    January 6, 2011

    i listened to this game

    three-nothing after two
    deja vu?

    (my word
    absurd
    canada’s collapse
    in the third:

    players relax
    not over yet!
    defensive naps
    russians get
    all they need
    and more
    gold in deed
    with a five-three score.

    what to do?
    tip your caps
    to
    russian refusal to lose!
    drink more booze
    sing the blues
    go shoot craps
    or
    buy a cruze?

    it doesn’t matter
    it’s now just news
    commentator chatter
    ch raps)

    dallas four
    chicago two
    last year is all
    so long ago
    perhaps
    canucks too
    will fall

    no!
    i bleed
    somewhere i hear “taps”

    chickenhawk

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  16. Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
    January 6, 2011

    And to that, I snap my fingers. I think this one needs to be read aloud in a smoky coffee shop with bongo accompaniment.

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  17. Jeremy
    January 6, 2011

    Although I was a Canucks fan in '05-08, I was also a fan of several Oilers blogs at the time. Mostly Covered in Oil and Battle of Alberta, because the writing was so damn good — clever, critical (of their own team and others), and often hilarious. There have been some passionate Canucks bloggers over the years too, but PITB is on a higher plane of literacy and humour. Keep it up!

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  18. Wisp
    January 6, 2011

    I was at that game last night with my dad and had fun. :)

    Bieksa was lol. "We love beating Calgary at home, don't we?" he says to the crowd. We are all Bieksa, indeed.

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  19. By-Tor
    January 6, 2011

    Gotta love it when a post about hockey breaks down into talks about internet memes. What is this I don't even.

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  20. ryan
    January 6, 2011

    also of note-

    the 'calgary sucks' chant, while loud and catchy and true, has too many sylables to really work.

    and best part of the game-

    the guy beside me deadpanning 'the flames really suck' as if he just figured it out

    honourable mention-

    the super hot girl in the iginla jersey by the stairs during the intermission. i don't like to give calgary any kind of win, but wow.

    lowlight of the night-

    lou getting first star and not giving his stick to a kid like he usually does. i understand being upset at letting in a goal after 44 shots and in the last 10 seconds, but don't be a pouty baby about it

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  21. Anonymous
    January 6, 2011

    and with the reveal that a few writers from pass it to bulis spend time on 4chan of all places, I feel like I've found kindred spirits.

    although /sp/ is a terrible place to discuss the Canucks. There's a terrible stigma attached to our fanbase and now that the Canucks are top of the league it's even worse, they are very clearly jelly.

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  22. By-Tor
    January 6, 2011

    12:52 Anon:
    agreed. I went to /sp/ during the Dallas game just to check it out, and the thread for the game was awful. CDC has more intelligence then that.

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  23. J21
    January 6, 2011

    One thing I love about the Internet: it makes me feel so much less nerdy by seeing who else is out there.

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  24. Daniel "Skeeter" Wagner
    January 6, 2011

    To be honest, I stay as far away from 4chan as humanly possible. My memery comes second-hand.

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  25. Harrison Mooney
    January 6, 2011

    Same. 4chan is the devil. A couple hours ago, I googled "what is this I don't even", wound up briefly at 4chan, and narrowly escaped with my innocence.

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  26. kenny-blankenship
    January 6, 2011

    Ever since Chicken Hawk announced that he has taken to watching "Da Bears" instead of the Blackhawks his poetry has lost it's edge

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  27. Anonymous
    January 7, 2011

    kenny-b
    just wait until the 'nucks lose one
    ch

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  28. kenny-blankenship
    January 7, 2011

    And sooner or later that day will come…

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