Canucks 5 – 1 Predators

Vancouver scored five goals in four regular-season games versus the Nashville Predators last season, so it’s safe to say that nobody was expecting a blowout tonight. But that’s what we got. Rather than allow the visitors to showcase their superstar netminder for the second game in a row, the Canucks chased him in twenty minutes this time around, scoring four goals on sixteen shots and rendering the second and third period of the game a relative formality. And, like Pekka Rinne in the final forty minutes, I watched this game.

  • The play of the game tonight belonged to Alain Vigneault, and it happened just before puck drop when he decided to send the Sedins out for the opening faceoff. Far too often this season, the Canucks have taken a penalty (or two) before the Sedins’ first shift, and then it’s anywhere from two to four minutes before they get on the ice, and often as much as half a period before they’re really into the game. That couldn’t happen against the Predators, a team that seems to get harder to score on the longer the game goes scoreless. Vigneault played the Sedins early and often, and they rewarded his wise coaching decision by scoring on their second shift, only two minutes into the game. And then they rewarded it again with noogies at the bench.
  • The Canucks’ first goal comes off a won faceoff and two mistakes: Henrik wins the puck back to Daniel and heads to the net, hoping for a return pass. When his lane is cut off, he hovers there for half a second — just long enough to convince Blake Geoffrion he’s going to stay put — then, as soon as Geoffrion briefly looks away (the first mistake), Henrik darts behind the net. Daniel sends the puck to him. Geoffrion tries to cut it off, but it gets past him, and Henrik wraps the puck around the other side. He’s stopped, but Pekka Rinne loses his post in the ensuing melee (second mistake) as the puck comes to Daniel behind the goal. Daniel cleverly banks it in off Rinne’s back to open the scoring.
  • Unfortunately, Roberto Luongo misplays a puck off the end boards less than two minutes later, giving Matt Halischuk a tap-in to tie the game. No bones about it, this one’s his fault. Luongo needs to get back in his goal and let his defenders handle that puck. Instead, he takes a wild swipe at it like it’s some sort of evasive debit machine.
  • Lucky for Luongo, the Canucks would retake the lead less than two minutes after that, when, on a powerplay, Henrik Sedin’s slapshot deflects off of Kevin Klein. Hold on, slapshot? From Henrik? Not possible. Henrik must have briefly confused Klein with his brother and inadvertently incorporated him into a slap-pass.
  • Jannik Hansen hasn’t been playing all that well lately, but if anything is going to wake him up, the beating he took tonight seems reasonable. He got absolutely drilled with Colin Wilson’s stick in the first, cutting the bridge of his nose wide open, and then he took a rough hit from behind courtesy of Shea Weber in the third and went busted nose-first into the boards. I haven’t seen anyone give a Dane such a rough ride since the Internet caught wind that Dane Cook was stealing jokes from Louis C.K.
  • Sami Salo finished tonight a plus-2 with six shots on goal, two blocked, and three missing the net. He played just over 20 minutes, only 10 of which came at even-strength. It’s clear the Canucks have a plan for his deployment this season, and it primarily involves special teams work. Contrast his icetime with Keith Ballard’s, for instance: Ballard played just over 18 minutes tonight with 16 of those minutes coming at even-strength. Perhaps the Canucks feel Salo has a better chance of not getting hurt if there are less guys on the ice for him to get hurt with?
  • Keith Ballard had another solid game tonight. I especially liked a third period shift where he got into it with Chris McGrattan: First, McGrattan hit him up high (which is only slightly better than being hit up style), so Ballard sought revenge the only way he knows how — with a hipcheck. It’s odd for that to be kneejerk revenge tactic. One wonders how hard it was for him not to hipcheck Alain Vigneault when they passed each other in hallways last year.
  • Ballard also had seven blocked shots in the game. Seven. He was blockier than the cast of Reboot.
  • Dale Weise had his best game as a Canuck, scoring his first career NHL goal on a savvy Alex Edler tip and nearly setting up another on a 2-on-1 with Marco Sturm. He was grinning from ear to ear after the goal, and for good reason: he’s been in pro hockey since 2008-09. This was a long time coming.
  • Not long after the goal, Weise saw a shift with the Sedins that many probably saw that as a reward for his play, but that’s not really what it was. Weise was picked up on waivers precisely because the Canucks’ felt he could handle a shift with the twins here and there better than Victor Oreskovich. With Samuelsson out of the lineup, Weise got his first chance. He would have gotten it either way.
  • Marco Sturm had a goal disallowed after he directed it into the net with his skate. It was a call not unlike the one Daniel Sedin had waved off in the Los Angeles series in 2010, a goal that should have counted because, according to the letter of the law, there has to be a distinct kicking motion, and there wasn’t one. Still, the league can’t stand the clever veterans that know to turn their feet and come to a convenient stop just in front of the puck, creating goals that are legal in motion and illegal in intent. I’d imagine there will be some clarification to this rule in the new CBA, because the league is calling it different than it’s written out.
  • On the plus side, any bitterness towards the officials was erased when Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins scored on a 2-on-1 immediately after. He was initially trying to pass to Cody Hodgson, but the pass was blocked and the puck came right back onto his stick. And then, afterwards, everyone hugged, and Higgins briefly went to heaven.
  • Higgins’ goal was Rinne’s fourth allowed goal of the night, so obviously, he’s crap and overrated and should be traded for Vincent Lecavalier and the fans have every right to stick it to him. And maybe it’s not just tonight, it’s about the playoffs, okay? Because Rinne’s so bad he couldn’t even beat Roberto Luongo in a playoff series, and Luongo’s a huge, sucky choker. Couldn’t help but notice that Anders Lindback only let in one goal and Rinne let in four, so clearly, Rinne is four times worse. Why isn’t Lindback getting more starts? Too bad he’s stuck behind that loser Rinne.
  • The Canucks’ last goal was Ryan Kesler’s first, a one-timed wrister on the Canucks 5-on-3 in the third period. It was a bit of a lucky goal, as the pass from Daniel Sedin was an uncharacteristically wobbly saucer and Kesler sort of fanned on it, but it still beat Lindback.
  • And finally, it was interesting to see Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis go after Jordin Tootoo for a perfectly clean hit the Predators’ forward laid on Alex Edler. The hit was Hamhuis’s fault; he threw the puck back to Edler just as Tootoo was coming through. Part of me suspects Hamhuis went after Tootoo to show solidarity as a defensive pairing after throwing Edler a suicide pass. Hamhuis should know there are better ways to show solidarity. I’m sure Edler would have been just as happy with a bag of bubblegum cotton candy.
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23 comments

  1. Rituro
    October 21, 2011

    Just when I thought the nerd-cred in IWTG couldn’t climb any higher (the previous high-water mark being Rinne’s trapper containing Kara Thrace’s Viper), out comes the Reboot reference. Nicely done, PITB.

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    • Beantown Canuck
      October 21, 2011

      It’s not just nerd-cred, it’s vancouver-based nerd cred! Both Reboot and BSG were filmed/created/produced in Vancouver! PiTB Win!

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  2. Shand
    October 21, 2011

    Great game. Overheard the guys behind me talking about Pass it to Bulis and we discussed your greatness and Tony Gallagher’s awfulness.

    Keep up the good work!

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  3. The Bookie
    October 21, 2011

    Yeah, Lu totally tried to swipe when he should have chipped. He’s so livin’ in the past.

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    • immie_8
      October 21, 2011

      Ha! Maybe it’s just because I work at a bank, but that made me laugh!

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  4. invisibleairwaves
    October 21, 2011

    On Hansen: given the abuse he was recieving and the penalties he was drawing, I started to wonder if he was trying to pull off an agitator role and succeeding. Come to think of it, he should be a natural at throwing opposing players off their game; it would be pretty damned annoying to have someone going “MI MIII MI MI MIII” in your ear all night.

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    • Nlee
      October 21, 2011

      Are you making a Beaker reference? : )

      “And then, afterwards, everyone hugged, and Higgins briefly went to heaven.” That, and the Reboot reference, were gold. That show was amazing…I would watch it right now if I could find re-runs.

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  5. jim
    October 21, 2011

    Weise already has more goals as a Canuck than Oreskovich.

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  6. John
    October 21, 2011

    So how come no one is talking about the Shea Weber hit from behind? It’s not on any highlights, like people just want to pretend it didn’t happen. If that’s not a suspension but Letang’s is, I don’t know what the hell is going on anymore. Dude should get the same exact 2 games.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 21, 2011

      Yeah, he might. Apparently he has a hearing today at 11am.

      I’m just tired of speculating on every borderline hit.

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  7. Jenny Wren
    October 21, 2011

    Thirty-nine of Forty

    His having stopped* all those pucks
    Luongo now no longer sucks
    (And Boston beat the Maple Leafs
    Losing too the Chilliwack Chiefs)

    The truth is that Luongo’s good
    When playing like we think he should
    There though are times he’s not come through
    Thus causing fickle fans to boo

    One hundred grand he makes per game
    So when we lose he gets the blame
    But many times throughout the year
    He ‘ll give to us much cause to cheer

    And soon when fighting for the Cup
    We fondly hope he’ll measure up

    Jenny Wren

    *two syllables, please, as in Shakespear

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  8. SteveB
    October 21, 2011

    “The message of the “Occupy Luongo” signs is unclear. Fits with the rest of the Occupy Vancouver movement.”

    It’s clearly a reference to Roberto Luongo’s tendency to lose focus during the games when he faces a low number of shots.

    He does better when he is busy, so ‘Occupy Luongo’ means keep him occupied with lots of shots.

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    • Official Occupy Luongo
      October 21, 2011

      The list of demands will be posted soon.

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      • Official Occupy Luongo
        October 21, 2011

        Check our FB page for updates and don’t forget to show your support with a Like

        http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Luongo/166738946750824?sk=wall

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        • Daniel Wagner
          October 21, 2011

          Hate to be a stick in the mud, but…that’s really stupid.

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  9. George Stevens
    October 21, 2011

    I was so very much hoping that Sturm finished the 2 on 1 pass from Weise. If Weise got an assist after scoring a goal YOU JUST KNOW that he’d have been gunning for a Gordie Howe hat-trick.

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    • The Bookie
      October 21, 2011

      Lapierre came so close to a GHH when he hit the crossbar in the third!

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  10. jaspreet
    October 21, 2011

    “One wonders how hard it was for him not to hipcheck Alain Vigneault when they passed each other in hallways last year.” this made me lol so hard. Also, the LA series was in 2010, not 2009. ;)
    Keep up the great work!

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    • tom selleck's moustache
      October 21, 2011

      That had me laughing as well.

      Awesome stuff, Mooney. Looking forward to the next one.

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  11. Geoff
    October 21, 2011

    Higgins needs to sit down with the fourth line, it took them way too long to get the group hug together after Weise scored.

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  12. CanuckFanInSF
    October 21, 2011

    Finally, a win to satiate the angry mob wanting Lui’s head on a stick to be paraded around downtown Vancouver.

    I curiously poked into Predator territory earlier by browsing through their blogs. Surprisingly, the vitriol directed toward Pekka Rinne was nowhere to be found, and if found, it was merely a whimper not an all out call to arms. The anger was directed at 1) Lackluster defense 2) the manager, Barry Trotz and 3) The Nashville management for investing so much on defense that they are left penniless to spend for offense. Lui must envy Rinne.

    I have to admit, Lui played a solid game… BUT let’s be honest, he really didn’t face quality shots from the Preds. Really. He can do better.

    While I was watching the game last night, all I could think of was “this wasn’t the same team we faced during the playoffs, what the hell is wrong with them?” Shea Weber almost looked neutered and I would have not noticed that he was on ice if not for that boarding call. Same with Ryan Suter. Was I watching the game? I don’t know. But their MO of beating on the twins to prevent them from scoring sure wasn’t on ice. Please tell me I’m not crazy.

    The throwdown between Tootoo and Volpatti had me scared for a second. Anybody who wants to fight Tootoo must have some semblance of a death wish and although Aaron got some in early, Tootoo got some heavy ones landed on him. The squeamish girl in me came out for a sec.

    “Ryan Kesler scores!” awesome hearing that again. Yay!

    And omg, I almost snorted my morning coffee reading “One wonders how hard it was for him not to hipcheck Alain Vigneault when they passed each other in hallways last year.” (And yes, it was a busy Friday hence the very late comment on last night’s game)

    Always a pleasure.

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  13. Don_Rocko
    October 22, 2011

    Brilliant overall, as usual, but the following paragraph made me snort soda out of my nose:

    Higgins’ goal was Rinne’s fourth allowed goal of the night, so obviously, he’s crap and overrated and should be traded for Vincent Lecavalier and the fans have every right to stick it to him. And maybe it’s not just tonight, it’s about the playoffs, okay? Because Rinne’s so bad he couldn’t even beat Roberto Luongo in a playoff series, and Luongo’s a huge, sucky choker. Couldn’t help but notice that Anders Lindback only let in one goal and Rinne let in four, so clearly, Rinne is four times worse. Why isn’t Lindback getting more starts? Too bad he’s stuck behind that loser Rinne.

    Well-played, PITB, well-played.

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    • J21
      October 24, 2011

      Somewhere, in like 2016, someone is going to come across the page via Google and completely not understand the context of that paragraph. And possibly even post an angry comment here, notwithstanding the page is 5 years old.

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