At least in the first two games in Boston, the Canucks had the decency to have a good first period and give fans hope for a decent performance. No chance of that tonight, as the Canucks’ opening stanza was as painful as Vogon poetry. Everything fell apart faster than dominoes on a rowboat. Luongo ended up shot full of more holes than Daffy Duck. It was more depressing than Requiem for a Dream and had fewer enjoyable moments than Good Luck Chuck. In a word, it was awful. In two words, it was bloody awful. I hated watching it. But I did it for you. No, not you or you. But you. Yeah, you. For you, I watched this game.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mason Raymond, who was removed from the arena on a stretcher after being awkwardly hit into the boards by Johnny Boychuk. It was an ugly sight, which had all the hallmarks of a spine injury. He likely should have been carried off the ice on a stretcher instead of being helped off the ice on his skates. At this time there has been no report on his condition.
Shockingly, despite Raymond not even touching the puck, there was no penalty for interference on the play. It’s a mystifying non-call, but not as shameful as the response from the Boston crowd, who booed and jeered Raymond as he lay near-motionless on the ice. That’s about as classy as Calvin & Hobbes in the summer.
I just conducted a brief interview with Captain Obvious post-game and managed to get the following statements out of him: Roberto Luongo was awful in this game. Cory Schneider was good in relief. Luongo will be starting Game 7. Ice cream is delicious.
With Luongo’s disappointing performance, there will be plenty of people making the narrative of this game about his comments after Game 5, where he made the mistake of giving an interesting answer to a question. We didn’t have much to say about his comments, mainly because they were remarkably innocuous compared to the reaction they received. Somehow, pointing out the differences in the two goaltenders’ styles was interpreted as an insult. Luongo even said that Thomas will make saves that he won’t because of his different style. Funny thing is, the same media members that ripped Luongo for his comments likely bemoan the lack of personality in post-game interviews. They’re more clueless than Pigeon John.
In a surprising move, Don Cherry ended up being the voice of reason in regards to Luongo’s comments. It’s the most surprising heel face turn since Anton Ego.
On the opposite end of the ice from the 4-minute meltdown (which would be a great name for a ska band), it was a story of missed opportunities. Early on, Henrik missed an open net after the puck bounced over his stick. Late in the first, Burrows had an open net to convert a Henrik pass, but Daniel tipped it on the way through. Combine these missed chances with further outstanding goaltending from Tim Thomas, and it was a frustrating night for the Canucks’ forwards.
It was, however, a night full of good signs for the Canucks’ top line. The line showed a lot of jump early in the first period, dominated the offensive zone for an entire shift late in the first, and created two goals in the third period. The line combined for 11 shots and 7 hits. Like a teenaged fry cook, they look poised to breakout.
I hate to complain about the reffing in a game like this one, as the Canucks lost this game on their own merits, but does anyone have an explanation for Henrik Sedin getting called for embellishment for being mugged by Zdeno Chara? Anyone? Or how about Daniel Sedin getting called for a 10-minute misconduct for being punched in the face 6 times? How does that make sense?
Of course, somehow Brad Marchand punching Daniel Sedin gets spun as a negative for Daniel. He’s now being ripped for not responding. It’s a catch-22: either he responds in kind and gets ripped for losing control and getting sucked into the Bruins’ style of play, or he doesn’t respond and gets ripped for being gutless. No one’s talking about Marchand for being spineless for taking on a player he knows won’t respond. If Alex Burrows gives David Krejci similar treatment, guess what the response would be?
All that said, the Canucks took far too many dumb and undisciplined penalties. Edler’s boarding call on an icing play came with the score 2-0 and the game still in reach. Kesler took an extremely obvious holding call in the offensive zone halfway through the first period while the Canucks still had a chance to respond before the first intermission. Likewise, the too-many-men call late in the first was blatant and is the kind of penalty that has to be avoided. Even in the third period, after the Canucks had scored a goal and were building some momentum, Torres took a blatant tripping call in the offensive zone and Alberts followed it up with an even more blatant crosscheck. The Canucks had less discipline than Detective John Kimble’s Kindergarteners.
Joe Haggerty called Patrice Bergeron “one of the most gentlemanly players in the game.” I thought he was the picture of grace and chivalry when he drove Schneider into the net and got a goaltender interference penalty. It was very honourable the way he drove his shoulder into Cory’s head. And it was the height of gentlemanly conduct when he elbowed Christian Ehrhoff’s head in the boards. That Bergeron is a class act.
Manny Malhotra had a terrible night in the faceoff circle, going 5-for-17 for a 29% success rate. Despite his struggles, he still took the majority of the defensive zone faceoffs, going 4-for-12. The third and fourth goal for the Bruins came directly off faceoff losses for Malhotra. I haven’t seen such swift negative consequences since Larry Gopnik changed Clive Park’s grade.
With the way the crowd was razzing Luongo throughout the game, there may still be people who think Luongo is still on the ice. I’m concerned that they’re still in TD Gardens, chanting Luooonnnngooooo, Luoooonnnnnnggggooooo! Someone should tell them to go home. They probably have families that are worried about them.
For a brief, shining moment in this game, there was hope. Henrik Sedin scored an absolutely gorgeous goal just 21 seconds into the third period, cutting the lead to three. It was Henrik’s first point of the series, but hopefully won’t be his last. The key to this goal is Kesler going hard to the net, which takes away two Bruins defenders, opening up a lane through the slot for Henrik.
The hope continued as it appeared that Hansen scored shortly afterwards, as he threw his hands up in celebration, but had only hit the post. Of course, Hansen may have thought he was playing against his old rival, Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson, and thought hitting the post won the Canucks the game. It’s a shame, as Hansen might have had a chance to score on the rebound. Shortly after, the hope disappeared as the Canucks’ penalty problems took over.
Lapierre’s goal may have been meaningless, but it sure was pretty. Kind of like a Zack Snyder movie.
Beyond the obvious injury to Mason Raymond, the Canucks also appeared to lose Alex Edler and Andrew Alberts in the third period. Edler didn’t play at all in the final 14 minutes and Alberts appeared to injure his leg in a collision with Tomas Kaberle and missed the last 5 minutes. In their absence, Kevin Bieksa logged almost 26 minutes, with 8 shots and another 6 shots missed (some intentionally). Bieksa will be heavily relied upon if either Alberts or Edler misses Game 7, with Keith Ballard the likeliest candidate to draw back into the lineup. Hopefully both will recover in time for Wednesday.
Pass it to Bulis is the hockey blog that knows who needs the puck. Without spaces, it's also our e-mail address. Have stuff to say? We want to hear from you. Talk to us at passittobulis [at] gmail.com.