This was a thoroughly enjoyable game for two very simple reasons: a lot of goals were scored and most of them were scored by the Canucks. Really, it’s the simple things in life that matter the most. Four different players recorded 2 goals in this game. One was Alexander Ovechkin, which is not unexpected. The other three were Chris Higgins, Maxim Lapierre, and Alexander Edler, which is a bit more surprising. Even more surprising, Luongo received a healthy dollop of praise, despite giving up four goals on 32 shots. Funny how everyone likes the goaltender when the team plays well in front of him. I watched this game.
With 11 goals scored, this IWTG will go on forever if we don’t dive right into them and, like David Booth, I have church in the morning. It’d be nice to get some sleep tonight. So, in honour of Halloween being right around the corner and the gaggle of Heath Ledger Joker costumes we’re bound to see, here…we…go.
Maxim Lapierre made like P!nk and got the party started early in the first, taking advantage of one of the stupidest rules in hockey: the trapezoid or “designated area.” Dale Weise tipped the puck into the Capitals zone and, since it appeared that Thomas Vokoun would play the puck, his defencemen stopped skating and prepared to receive the pass. Unfortunately for them, it never reached the trapezoid. The Pierre cut the puck off and his intended centring pass for Aaron Volpatti deflected in off Vokoun’s left skate. I love how even though he doesn’t have to he slashes Vokoun’s stick. The guy never has a soft touch, which is why everyone on the Canucks hates his massages.
While Raffi Torres was a bowling ball, Aaron “Ratburger” Volpatti is more of a brick wall on ice skates. He had 5 hits in this game, two of the genus Crunchulus on Mathieu Perreault and Dennis Wideman. The fourth line was stellar, and Volpatti was rewarded with 12 minutes of ice time, the first time this season he’s played over 10 minutes in a game.
Despite the win, Luongo was again victimized on a couple bad bounces, particularly Ovechkin’s first goal, which somehow ramped up his stick, over his head, off his back and in. Ovechkin was immediately called by McDonald’s to star in a new Big Mac commercial.
Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins put the Canucks back in front on a powerplay drawn by Cody Hodgson. The pass from Dan Hamhuis was absolutely incredible: it was a Sedin-esque tape-to-tape backhand saucer pass over two Washington sticks. Both Higgins and Vokoun tried to out-wait each other, with Vokoun making an impressive stop on the initial shot, but the puck deflected off a skate right back to Higgins, who buried it. Then he dug it up and shot it into the net, because he realized that burying the puck was a stupid idea.
Know what’s awesome about having two defencemen who can shoot the puck over 100 MPH on your powerplay? Everything. On the Canucks’ third goal, Sami Salo and Alex Edler switch sides, setting themselves up perfectly to attempt a one-timer. Clearly, the Capitals’ penalty killers realize this, but equally clearly, they have no idea which defenceman is going to take the shot. It ends up being Edler, whose shot has a contrail. Vokoun, unlike the Rebel Alliance, had no hope.
After giving up three goals on 17 shots, Vokoun was pulled in favour of Michael Neuvirth to start the second period. This was done solely to sink my fantasy hockey team. Thanks a lot, Boudreau.
The Capitals controlled the second period, partly thanks to a penalty taken by Dan Hamhuis 26 seconds in. In case anyone has forgotten, Ovechkin has an incredible shot: he found a soft spot on the ice and ripped a one-timer past Luongo. While Keith Ballard and the other penalty killers likely could have played the situation better, Ovechkin is kind of one of the best players in the league; that goal will happen.
Mike Knuble’s penalty shot goal looked oddly familiar. I recall a series of shootouts last season where it looked like Luongo had made the save, but the puck still trickled in. Similarly, Luongo got a quick glove on Knuble’s wristshot, but couldn’t get enough of it to keep it from bouncing over the line like a Tracy Morgan joke.
Edler matched the other Alex’s goal total, finishing off a sweet feed from Henrik Sedin and putting the Canucks back ahead by one. During a battle along the boards, the rest of the Capitals skaters drifted towards the puck. As soon as Burrows and Daniel freed the puck up for Henrik, Edler was heading for the slot and he one-timered the puck off Neuvirth’s collar bone and in.
The Capitals tied the game before the end of the second period on an odd goal. Keith Ballard went to the bench for a change at an inopportune time. Hamhuis jumped on the ice, but with the puck heading his way, immediately jumped back onto the bench. This meant that Ballard could play the puck, but he clearly didn’t realize it. Instead, Marcus Johansson carried the puck in on a 2-on-1 and beat Luongo cleanly on the short side with a Tambellini-esque snipe.
The third period belonged to the Canucks: Henrik Sedin scored his fourth of the season on a mad goal-mouth scramble on the powerplay after some slick passing. What’s key is Henrik’s patience: instead of attempting to jam the puck in as soon as Kesler chips it loose, he waits until the puck moves past Neuvirth’s pad. Henrik is legendary for his patience: not only did he wait in line for days for The Phantom Menace, he also managed to sit through the whole movie.
In case you didn’t notice, Jannik Hansen is back. On Chris Higgins’ second goal of the game, Hansen took advantage of the falling Sean Collins, then skated around the diving Ovechkin to feed Higgins in front, who spun like a ballerina while celebrating. But more importantly he was dogged on the forecheck in a way we hadn’t seen yet this season. Here’s hoping this is a good sign for the future, like a “Free Bird Seed” sign in the road. Those always turn out well for everyone involved.
Holy crap on a stick, Luongo’s third period save on Ovechkin was monkeyballs. That made no sense at all, but neither did that save. It apparently changed the game, but I believe it also changed the universe. Somewhere, there’s an alternate universe where Luongo did not make that save. It’s full of zombies.
The Pierre was all kinds of awesome tonight. He tied Edler and David Booth for the team-high in shots with 6, finished a game-high plus-3, again tying with Edler, scored 2 goals, also like Edler, and added 5 hits, way more than Edler had.
Unfortunately, The Pierre isn’t so much into sharing. With Higgins sitting on two goals, Bieksa sprung him and Lapierre on a 2-on-1. In that situation, you always try to set up the guy looking for a hattrick. Always. Instead, Lapierre pulled the puck around the defender and snapped it five-hole for his second of the game. He later made it up to Higgins with an extra-long hug.
The 7 Canucks goals and the bonkers Luongo save were certainly excellent, but the real highlight of the game was Fin dressed as banana. I love it when Fin wears costumes over his costume.
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