Like Richard Loney sprinting through the Star Spangled Banner, the Sharks came out flying tonight. Not literally, of course, as flying sharks would be absolutely terrifying, but metaphorically. After an initial push by the Canucks, an early penalty gave the Sharks a chance to find their feet (sharks with feet would also be terrifying), getting a powerplay goal and hitting a post on a near-open net shortly after. Unfortunately for them, that increased speed and intensity barely matched where the Canucks already were. The Canucks responded by becoming even faster and more intense. And while it is tempting to make this game all about Ben Eager’s lack of discipline that then spread to the rest of his team, that would do a disservice to how the Canucks outplayed the Sharks throughout the entire game. Yes, the score became awfully silly once the Sharks began parading to the penalty box (sharks on parade being the most terrifying mental image yet), but the Canucks earned the victory by being the better team, not just by taking advantage of the Sharks’ silliness. I should know: I watched this game.

  • After two first period penalties led to two San Jose goals, the Canucks quickly smartened up and avoided giving the Sharks any further opportunities. The Canucks also scored on their first powerplay, but the Sharks plugged their ears, and began yelling at the top of their lungs (particularly Eager) to avoid learning any lessons. Like a school marm whacking a student’s fingers with a ruler, the Canucks punished the Sharks with two more goals on their next three powerplay opportunities.
  • Ben Eager did his absolute best to become the story of this game via nastiness: he managed to take a full period’s worth of penalty minutes, including an ugly boarding penalty on Daniel Sedin. Eager could, and perhaps should, get a suspension for intent to injure, but since Daniel wasn’t actually injured on the play, he won’t. The NHL trusts hockey players to make good on their intentions, so he couldn’t have intended to injure Daniel or Daniel would have been injured. QED.
  • Another reason Eager won’t be suspended: Colin Campbell is clearly a Sharks fan. He showed up to the game wearing a teal shirt with an orange and black tie. #GetOutYourTinfoilHatsEveryone
  • If the hit was meant to be revenge for Kevin Bieksa pummeling Patrick Marleau, then it’s particularly dumb as Marleau was first to drop the gloves. While we couldn’t hear exactly what Eager was yelling at the Canucks’ bench post-fight, it’s easy to guess: How dare you respond to a fight invitation with punches! How dare you! I am so upset right now!
  • Of course, this won’t help Bieksa’s unfortunate reputation as a guy who tends to fight non-fighters. Maybe he’ll stop once the non-fighters figure out how much pain his fists cause to faces.
  • There was more to Bieksa’s game than just his fight with Marleau, of course. He also scored a beautiful breakaway goal in the second period that gave the Canucks the lead and was, in spirit if not in truth, the gamewinning goal. Remember Bieksa’s interview with Scott Oake last game where he described himself as a stay-at-home defenseman? Yeah, that’s not true. Stay-at-home defensemen don’t score goals like that. Just look at Aaron Rome, a true stay-at-home defenseman. On second thought…
  • Aaron Rome had an eventful game, which is usually a bad thing. Rome is normally at his best when he’s completely unnoticeable. At first, it was, as a bad early penalty turned into the opening goal of the game for the Sharks. To his credit, he managed to turn things around, first with some strong physical play, particularly one sequence against Joe Pavelski, then providing a fine finish to a superb Sedin shift for his first career playoff goal, as seen above. So…he wasn’t exactly stay-at-home on that goal. Stay-at-home defensemen don’t skate behind the opponent’s net for seemingly no reason.
  • You have to love Jim Hughson’s call on Rome’s goal. In the midst of describing the awesomeness of the Sedin’s slick cycle, Hughson takes the time to say In comes Aaron Rome, as if that was the most exciting part of what was happening on the ice. A moment later, his set up pays off big time: Rome scores! It’s a savvy call from a veteran play-by-play man.
  • One more point about Rome’s goal: as amazing as it was to see the Sedins dominate an entire shift with their cycle game, particularly since they hadn’t been able to do so thus far in the playoffs, keep in mind who they’re victimizing. The defensemen are Douglas Murray and Ian White, which is fine, but the forwards are Scott Nichol, Ben Eager, and Benn Ferriero, the fourth line. It’s not a match-up they’re likely to see again, as Todd Mclellan will avoid it like Eager avoids classiness.
  • Shockingly, Eager actually played after that debacle of a shift. He even managed to score a goal. A meaningless goal from a meaningless player. He then stood over Roberto Luongo and began trash-talking him. Listen, Ben, your team is being embarrassed at that point in the game and you are the main source of embarrassment. You should have nothing to say.
  • As a demonstration of how seldom the Sedins draw penalties, notice that Daniel needed to be tripped twice in succession in order to get the Canucks their first man advantage. As a demonstration of how often the Sedins make one more pass than is expected, notice the quick give-and-give (there is no “go”) that sets up Daniel for his first goal of the game. It came on the tail-end of a remarkably ineffective powerplay, which is one of the reasons the Sedins are so dangerous. Like a Cuttlefish, they seem so safe and harmless until they strike.
  • The Canucks’ second goal is all about Ehrhoff activating from the point. He and Hansen cycle at the blueline, but Ehrhoff’s check, Ryane Clowe, notices too late. Ehrhoff skates hard down the boards with Clowe never able to catch him, leaving a clear passing lane to Raffi Torres in front, who pushes off his check at exactly the right time to create the space necessary to tip the puck in. The Canucks’ first two goals came 39 seconds apart. According to Nicolas Cage, that is insufficient time to steal a car.
  • With the goal, Torres has 4 points in 4 games, as he hits a bit of a hot streak. Perhaps his beard is actually made of fire?
  • Chris Higgins had an impressive game, notching a goal and 2 assists. One of the assists was the gorgeous pass that sprung Bieksa on his breakaway. His goal provided the punishment for an undisciplined Eager tripping penalty, as he wins the faceoff, then curls into the slot where Raymond finds him with a needle-threading pass for the one-timer. Niemi has no chance to see it, because Alex Burrows is opaque.
  • The Sedins combined for 2 goals and 3 assists in a combined 40:29 of icetime. Unfortunately, two of the goals came on the powerplay, like Daniel’s second of the game, so their combined plus/minus was only +2. Obviously, they both need step up their combined even-strength play.
  • The Canucks finished 3-for-7 on the powerplay, but only because Niemi got just enough of Mason Raymond’s goal that it technically went into the net 1 second after the powerplay ended. Essentially, the powerplay was 4-for-7, with two goals from each unit. Was the powerplay that good or was the Sharks’ penalty kill just that bad? Yes.
  • The Sharks did manage to score 3 goals tonight, which is only the second time in 9 games that Luongo has let in more than 2 goals in a game. As much as there are a lot of positives about this game, the penalty kill certainly wasn’t one of them. The Sharks scored on their only two powerplays. One of them came on a beautiful move by Logan Couture, although one of either Raymond or Salo needs to pick him up as he comes through the middle. Whose man was it? I don’t know. Unfortunately, neither did they.
  • The Sharks’ second goal was scored by Marleau from in front of the net. Someone please tell Glenn Healy that goals scored from in front of the net are not goals scored from behind the goal line. He needs to know.
  • I hate talking about Ben Eager so much, but he scraped the bottom of the barrel so hard in this game that he wore right through and started digging a hole in the ground. Not knowing when to stop, he called Kevin Bieksa “a phoney” in a post-game interview. Yes, Eager, the guy who just had a Gordie Howe hat-trick in an NHL playoff game is a phoney. The guy who responded to Marleau dropping his gloves and punching him in the face by responding in kind is a phoney. Well done.
  • Alex Burrows won’t be mentioned much, only tallying 1 assist in the blowout, but he had a great game, tying Edler with the team-high in shots with 5 and adding a whopping 8 hits, a game-high. Another player who was quietly effective was Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis. His actions speak a bit louder on the scoresheet, as he tallied 3 assists, but he also added 4 hits and was neat and tidy in his own end. He’s also neat and tidy when he picks-up his Little Brother for weekly outings; it always pays to make a good impression.
  • I completely missed it, but a woman evidently flashed Ben Eager when he was in the penalty box. She should know that Rogers Arena rules specifically prohibit flash photography, but I’m not sure why this is such a big deal.

 


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15 comments

  1. Qris Johnson
    May 19, 2011

    I’m pretty sure, at 31 seconds into the Aaron Rome goal video, that I see Ann Coulter cheering for the Canucks.

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  2. Erik
    May 19, 2011

    It’s always good when the twins show up.

    Bazinga!

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  3. Tyler Dixon
    May 19, 2011

    Please start calling him Firebeard.

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    • Erik
      May 19, 2011

      I approve of this message!

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  4. chicken chick
    May 19, 2011

    It was too nice to stay inside
    And watch the Nucks and Sharks at six
    The hockey season is too long
    A simple fact someone should fix

    We went and watched a baseball game
    Young boys were playing at the park
    It was the Blues against the Greens
    I sat with Wren and Meadow Lark

    The final score was thirteen twelve
    Someone yelled out, “The Nucks just won!”
    I found I did not really care
    Because the boys were having fun

    It was the boys were having fun
    Clay Pigeon scored the winning run

    Chicken Chick

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  5. cardinal sin
    May 19, 2011

    Unlike the rest I watched this game;
    I watched the Nucks waltz to a win,
    With the Olde Coot and Whisky Jack
    While drinking mugs of bathtub gin.

    Though Lui let a soft one in,
    The Nucks continue to impress.
    With all four lines on the attack
    They’re very good I must confess.

    Sharks’ play is lacking discipline.
    One wonders if they can come back,
    But in the Tank they may begin
    To show the drive they seem to lack.

    For they have but themselves to blame,
    If Stanley’s Cup they fail to claim.

    Cardinal Sin

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  6. J21
    May 19, 2011

    The appearance of the ‘other twins’ (to paraphrase BizNasty) occurred while Eager was sitting in the box right after scoring his goal of questionable cleanliness. I’m pretty sure that the chance at seeing a pair of boobs in an NHL playoff game was the entire reason that the hockey gods allowed that distinctly unkarmic sequence of events to take place.

    The Canucks finished 3-for-7 on the powerplay, but only because Niemi got just enough of Mason Raymond’s goal that it technically went into the net 1 second after the powerplay ended.

    Don’t forget that the Canucks also got awarded a two-man advantage with 4 seconds left. So the PP was that much better than the numbers suggest. (Undoubtedly the officials did that just to give fodder to the good folks at HFBoards who look at the stat line and think Vancouver has gotten favored these playoffs).

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  7. Nat
    May 19, 2011

    That was an odd game…seemed pretty even in the first, and then the Sharks completely unraveled.

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  8. caj
    May 19, 2011

    Doesn’t Eager’s ranting on the bench prior to the hit prove intent to injure?

    And it might just have been the adrenaline but in his post-game interview he looks like a teddy bear on the verge of tears: eyes doe-y and chin quivering.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 19, 2011

      I personally felt Eager’s ranting supported the notion of intent. But I’d probably be bristling at that suggestion if it were a Canuck player, because support =/= proof.

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  9. Nuck4224
    May 19, 2011

    I knew it wouldnt take long for these guys to pounce on the Eager “situation” lol

    http://distinctkickingmotion.com/2011/05/19/sight-of-spectacular-breasts-sends-ben-eager-into-maniacal-frenzy/

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  10. vancityt
    May 19, 2011

    I had an event I had to go to last night (work) and missed this game. Now I can’t find it on the CBC. Did they removed it b/c of the boobs? Couldn’t care less about that bit, but I’d like to watch the game of the playoffs (so far). If anyone knows how to do this, tweet me? @squidishly

    Btw, didn’t the Wellwoods say they were going to be there? I’m going to presume it wasn’t one of them.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 19, 2011

      They did, actually. On Twitter, the Wellwoods said they were two rows back of the flasher and that she was double-fisting beers all night. She may not remember what happened.

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      • vancityt
        May 19, 2011

        Did their signs get on TV, at least? I do believe the ‘shots shots’ sign would have been particularly a propos of Bieksa’s shenanigans.

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  11. beninvictoria
    May 19, 2011

    Hey did you guys and gals hear? In honour of Aaron Rome’s goal (and his all-together-better than Ryan Keslerness) Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi just released a CD about him! Jack White is on it!

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