Canucks 5 – 0 Coyotes

After rediscovering even-strength scoring like Josiah, the boy king, stumbling across the Talmud in the treasure room of the temple, the Canucks stormed into Phoenix intent on proving that they had truly dispensed with their wicked powerplay-idolizing ways, and returned to the righteous 5-on-5 domination for which they once lived. Five even-strength goals later, it was clear they had indeed repented, and thank God. Suffice it to say, the Canuck team that dominates at even-strength is a much more entertaining watch, and I should know, because I watched this game.

  • Though the parade of goals didn’t begin until the second period, it’s important to note that the shot differential was greatest in the first period, with the Canucks outshooting the Coyotes by a margin of 15-4. The goals don’t agree with me, but I felt it was their best period. The line of Chris Higgins, Ryan Kesler, and David Booth was especially chancey, and Chris Higgins was especially especially chancey. He was so chancey a group of Pokemon trainers tried to capture him during the first intermission.
  • Esoteric Pokemon references for the win.
  • That line was great tonight, generating 13 shots on goal. In the second period, they were rewarded for their strong effort, as Kesler set up Booth for his third goal of the season with a blind back pass at the goalmouth. Booth made no mistake, which was helpful in backing off those that feel Mike Gillis did in acquiring him. And let’s not overlook Higgins’ contribution to this play. He didn’t get an assist, but I thought he generated this opportunity with the power move he made off the boards, which caused Shane Doan to lose his stick, broke the Coyotes’ defensive posture and left Phoenix chasing like an unattractive suitor.
  • Kesler scored one of his own as well, proving he could still score even-strength goals on a goalie by intercepting a pass from Raffi Torres and going top shelf on Mike Smith. You had to feel for Raffi Torres, who has apparently still not unlearned the “Give Kesler the puck at all costs” mantra from his year in Vancouver.
  • I liked Kesler mugging for the Phoenix crowd after the goal. Multiple choice time: that was either a) him expressing his relief that the goals are beginning to flow, especially after being stoned on a breakaway in the first b) him acknowledging the pro-Canuck majority in the crowd, c) him being an ass, or d) all of the above. By all means, answer in the comments.
  • Speaking of former Canucks giving up quality chances, watch no. 14 on the Sami Salo goal. That’s Taylor Pyatt, briefly abandoning his defensive assignment up high to chase Daniel Sedin into the slot, which left Salo open to rip it. Pyatt has clearly also yet to unlearn his Canuck training, which was: the moment you’re on the ice with the Sedins, get to a scoring area.
  • Cory Schneider was strong again tonight, stifling the Coyotes at every opportunity and picking up his second consecutive shutout. He was a big, red wall, like the south face of the Kremlin.
  • Immediately following the game, however, talk quickly turned to the goaltending controversy this apparently causes, as Alain Vigneault is now torn between starting Roberto Luongo, who is currently slated to play, or riding Schneider’s hot hand (like a sock puppet). I suspect he’ll go with Schneider. Why? Two reasons. First, this was the exact same situation Vigneault found himself on Thursday, and he went with Schneider. Second, you reward a guy for stellar play, not bench him. If Schneider’s in goal on Saturday night, expect people to make it about Luongo, but the truth is that it has nothing to do with him whatsoever.
  • Speaking of Hodgson, he only played 10:59 tonight. Only Dale Weise and Paul Bissonnette saw fewer minutes. At this, some will soil themselves with rage because this obviously means AV hates Hodgson and he’s gonna be unfairly benched when Raymond comes back, but that’s not what’s going on here. I suspect it has more to do with easing Hodgson into regular NHL duty rather than overwhelming him or wearing him out in what will likely be the first 82-game season of his career. I also suspect that AV and Hodgson are on the same page about this, especially since his low usage totals were largely the result of Hodgson’s dedication to keeping his shifts short. His 21 shifts were only one fewer than Kesler, but their average length was a game-low 31 seconds.
  • If it wasn’t already apparent that the Coyotes weren’t getting the breaks, at least figuratively speaking, Kyle Chipchura illustrated it literally by twice attempting to break his stick in frustration after that goal, with no success. Alex Edler should ask him where he’s buying his lumber.
  • My favourite moment from the broadcast team tonight came when John Garrett said the folllowing: “Martin Hanzal, 6’6″, 236, that’s what he’s listed as.” On its own, it wasn’t hilarious, but he sort of sneered as though he were suspicious or jealous at the back half of the sentence.
  • Speaking of Hanzal, did you catch the beautiful diving shot block Keith Ballard made to stymie him on a second period scoring attempt in front of the Canucks’ goal? Consider that, if Ballard doesn’t fall completely asleep in the corner, Hanzal doesn’t beat him to the net at all. The statsheet awarded him with the blocked shot (1 of 3 on the night), but I assure you that Rick Bowness would prefer Ballard did things the easy way.
  • The Canucks may have scored five even-strength goals, but they went 0-for-5 on the powerplay. Good grief. For once, could they just be good at everything?
  • For the second game in a row, the Canucks, like a pediatric nurse, did a great job of getting shots through. They only had 9 attempts blocked.
  • And finally, leave it to the always shifty Maxim Lapierre to do something backhanded. Tonight, it was how he scored the Canucks’ fourth goal, the result of some aggressive forechecking as the Coyotes tried to break out of the zone. Lapierre generated two turnovers, the second spitting the puck right at Mike Smith, who knocked it down in front of his crease. The Canucks’ centre was the first one on it, at which time he spun right round (like a record) and finished strong.
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41 comments

  1. Mary
    November 25, 2011

    I am impressed by how QUICKLY the PiTB crew gets the “I Watched This Game” reports up onto the blog – good job guys!

    Also, on a shameless and personal note: SALLLLLLLLLLLLO! He’s playing some really strong hockey right now.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 25, 2011

      Ha. Normally it’s not this quick. The goal is to have them up about two hours after the game, but since neither Daniel nor I is boss over the other, there’s no one really holding us accountable. It’s pretty great, actually.

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  2. Mary
    November 25, 2011

    On another note, I have to leave this comment here because I do not have a Twitter account (only a Facebook account I barely use): huge congrats to Daniel Wagner and his wife on the arrival of their new kid!

    What are the odds of the Wagners naming the baby ‘Jan’ or ‘Bulis’?? :)

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    • Nee
      November 26, 2011

      Congrats to Daniel! I assume the little tyke is already being fitted for a Canucks jersey as I type. : )

      And may I take this moment to say how much I appreciate this blog, for it’s wit, random pop culture references, and excellent analysis. Keep up the great work guys. I look forward to visiting this blog each day.

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      • Nee
        November 26, 2011

        Just remembered Kesler did the exact same move when he scored that awesome goal vs. NSH during the playoffs. Good times!

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  3. Kit
    November 25, 2011

    Okay, when Kesler left the bench and was mysteriously gone for two minutes, the Phoenix commentators said he was dealing with a jockstrap issue. Is that actually true?

    I need to know for reasons. :|

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 25, 2011

      A jockstrap issue? Well, he did score his first non-empty-net even-strength goal of the year. That’s cause to be a little more excited than usual…

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    • Tom
      November 26, 2011

      That’s what I heard! I was listening to the phoenix broadcast too and I knew I heard something really strange, but I forgot what it was.

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  4. A Blueliner
    November 25, 2011

    As much as I want to say that its option D when Kesler did his celebration when he scored.. I honestly think its option A.. He’s just glad that he scored “on a goalie”! =)

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  5. DanD
    November 25, 2011

    Hooray for biblical references! I’m writing a paper on Acts 17 right now, so I don’t feel so bad taking a break because the reading is still quasi-biblical.

    Seriously, can you give a minus to a player even when his team gets a shutout? Keith Ballard should be about a minus 2 for the chances he gave up. It’s frustrating to watch, because he does make up for his mistakes. But man those are some boneheaded mistakes!

    My favourite broadcasting moment: John Shorthouse telling John Garrett that it’s okay to tell him he’s wrong (they were talking about the Coyotes playing their “first home game after a road trip” against Vancouver, when it was actually against the Ducks, which Garrett realized first).

    Oh, also, when the two of them were casually bantering about Safeway juice. John Garrett likes apple juice the best!

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    • A Blueliner
      November 25, 2011

      AND how you can always get deals like buy two juice cartons for one at safeway haha!

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  6. Winsy
    November 25, 2011

    Thanks for clearing up the Hodgson thing! Phew! What a relief! He’s been really impressive so far and can only get better!

    As for Kesler, I’ll go with D. Don’t love the cockiness, but somehow it just suits him. I like when he does “mugging” for the crowd. Love it!

    Cheers!

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  7. Just Sayin'
    November 25, 2011

    Is it noteworthy that Bieksa actively tried to get out of the way and not kill Mike Smith by running into him chasing that puck?

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  8. seethruhead
    November 25, 2011

    First – PITB is easily my favorite Canuck fix this season. I mean, I read it all, but this is the only one I get excited about when a new article is posted.

    As for Kesler, I’m going with b) with a twist. I think when he scored he heard the cheers and turned to the crowd, forgetting he wasn’t in Van for a sec. It looked to me like as he was facing them with his arms raised he realized what he was doing, saw no way out, and went with it.

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    • Rituro
      November 26, 2011

      Re: Kesler, I agree. Option B all the way. Regardless of reasoning, though, that and Lappy’s incredible backhand spin goal were easily my favourite moments of the night.

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  9. peanutflower
    November 25, 2011

    I’m disappointed — I thought there would be at least one reference to the continuous controversy about how puck handling goalies — especially ones who like to hang onto the puck and learned everything they know from Turco, as Cheech said, aren’t fair game when they’re out of their magic blue area. I’m not that disappointed, I guess.

    That was a pretty entertaining game and finally one like that of the Canucks of about a year ago. Here’s to it continuing.

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  10. beninvictoria
    November 25, 2011

    That’s davey booth’s third goal aint it?

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  11. Anon
    November 26, 2011

    d for sure!

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  12. Pyewacket
    November 26, 2011

    I third the congratulations to Daniel & his wife!! Does this mean he’s an official, real grown-up now though? Because I have to say, along with the excellent analysis and sterling wit, one of my favourite parts of this blog is that when a dirty joke worthy of a 10 year old stares you in the face, waiting to be made, you’ll make it. There’s no need to set a grown-up, mature example for the little one just yet, right?

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  13. chicken chick
    November 26, 2011

    It’s Schneider makes two stops of note:
    For All Star he has Jenny’s vote.
    Then in the second Nucks get three:
    It happens very suddenly!
    As Silo scores, Kesler and Booth,
    Within seconds I say forsooth.
    The shots are twenty-six to ten:
    Will Cory shut them out again?

    Then in the third! Well almost,
    As Daniel rings one off the post.
    And just before this game is through,
    It’s Lapierre and Burrows too!
    So now who starts in San Jose;
    Which one will Vigneault choose to play?

    Chicken Chick

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  14. Chinstrap Joe
    November 26, 2011

    Definitely “C” and I for one am glad as his “assiness” directly contributes to 41 goal seasons. Welcome back, Kes.

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  15. Origamirock
    November 26, 2011

    I’m going to go with option E, he was keslurking their view of the ice.

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  16. Cathylu
    November 26, 2011

    My two favorite moments from last night: first Lapy’s goal – what an effort! Second the lovefest after the game. It was great to see them giving Cory so much love (and face washes)! I thought Kiss Huggins was never gonna let go.

    P.S. Also congrats to Daniel W and his wife on the new baby! I don’t know if it’s baby #1 or not but if so prepare for your life to change (in a good way!).

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  17. Zach Morris
    November 26, 2011

    I love it when we win, we’re all so positive!

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  18. MelT
    November 26, 2011

    Hey I was watching the Kesler goal you posted, and there’s a lady in the crowd holding up a green sign asking the Canucks to make it 5-0 for her birthday (I assume it’s her 50th.) Talk about a great birthday present!

    Maybe we can get her to come to all our games.

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  19. cambo
    November 26, 2011

    Hey CHUMPS it looks good with your $10 mill bench warmer nailed to the pine! SUCKERS. Next start for Louser is a guaranteed loss.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 26, 2011

      Cambo is as dedicated to finding the negative as many are to finding the positive. Do you learn nothing from Dr. Ken Nedd’s one-minute spots? Such pessimism can only lead to needless medical problems.

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    • ablefish
      November 26, 2011

      Aw man, the only bad part of catching the IWTG this early in the day is all cambo’s posts haven’t been downvoted out of sight. :)

      Great game last night. In terms of Kes, I’m going to watch and see how he celebrates goals at home and on the road. Because the arms raised sure reminded me of some goals in Nashville last spring.

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    • Chinstrap Joe
      November 26, 2011

      Cambo probably bombs blogs like this with his Kindergarten-ish comments from his grandma’s basement to try to forget other “shortcomings” in his life. Probably drives a pickup truck jacked up three feet in the air and wears those elevator boots with buckles on the front that little guys wear.

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  20. Brentals
    November 26, 2011

    Loving this game, Kes getting his sweet goal after being stymied, Booth lighting the lamp, and Schneids being a superhero…again. Also the fact that Hodgson continues his solid play despite ice-time (though I am with PiTB on the “ease into the NHL like an old man into a hot bath” theory).

    One issue I did have was the interference call when Smith went out of the net to play the puck in the 1st period and got “brushed” by Juice. I’m pretty certain that the replay showed the puck still being in the “no-goalie” zone when Smith plays it (couldn’t find a youtube of it), and the Ref just forgot about this rule and only saw flashes of Lucic running Miller to get to the M&M, er puck. I would have liked to see the call go both ways, even though Juice let up well enough to avoid a collision while Smith won Oscar for Best Supporting Goaltender Interference.

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  21. Nth of the 49th
    November 26, 2011

    Nice to see Kesler smiling and relaxed in the interview after.
    I say ride Schneider until a loss, he just looks to me to be playing so much better than Luongo right now.
    I’m also really liking Silent G’s play.
    Keep it up guys you’ll renew this old fart’s interest in the game again after the despicable behavior of the eastern media, NHL disipliners and officiating last year.

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  22. Julia
    November 26, 2011

    Awesome work as always! Love the obscure Biblical references… One more reason to love this blog! Putting that Columbia Bible College education to work.

    As for the Kesler multiple choice: D and I love that he’s kind of an ass since he plays for my team! Probably would hate him on another team but then there’s that whole underwear model/Body issue thing…. I love the guy.

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  23. Superreggie
    November 26, 2011

    Lapy? Don’t get me wrong, I love ‘em n all, but is the naming convention for one’s favorite team’s players, regardless of how French-Canadian, just to slap whatever diminutive at the end willy-nilly? Don’t these cutie nicknames have at least derive from usage overheard from the players themselves?

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  24. Chris
    November 26, 2011

    Definitely b, that place was rocking with Canuck fans last night. Kesler does have a bit of an assy streak in him but I can’t see him doing that in a place like Phoenix, and in the second period, to be an ass.

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  25. Cody
    November 26, 2011

    “especially since since his low usage” MISTAKE! Was that too mean?

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 27, 2011

      You wound me, Cody.

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      • Cody
        November 28, 2011

        Someone on the internet pointing out a grammatical error when they have nothing to add to the conversation. Crazy huh?

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  26. J21
    November 27, 2011

    Oh, I can’t let the Josiah reference slide — the Talmud would not be redacted for some centuries after the time of the Davidic monarchy (recorded by rabbis after the destruction of the Second Temple). Josiah was a first-temple king, and the book of Kings describes him as finding a book of the Torah concealed in the sanctuary, popularly believed to be Deuteronomy.

    And go Canucks and Lions. :)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      November 27, 2011

      Hahaha. I honestly wondered if someone would find an error in that reference.

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      • J21
        November 27, 2011

        Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But a bit like claiming that Ghenghis Khan was ultimately stopped by Chairman Mao. :)

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  27. grumpiest
    November 27, 2011

    I learn something every time I read this blog. Some of it I can only use in the Sunday NYT crossword, but that’s alrite. Keep them cross-cultural refs coming… Will Short is watching you. Nice week to be a canucklehead.

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