Clearly drawing some inspiration from the fact that the Grey Cup was in the building, the Canucks and Predators played to the first touchdown, giving us the most unexpected 6-5 game of the year. Seriously, hands up if you thought Nashville and Vancouver were going to combine for 11 goals.

How to explain this? It can only be the hand of God. One assumes that the good Lord was as sick of the Canucks’ goaltending controversy (such as it was), as we were, and perhaps just as tired of hearing about how Cory Schneider was the second coming of his beloved son. Thus, he intervened, rendering all goalies incapable of keeping the puck out, save Anders Lindback, whom he clearly prefers. For whatever reason, God made sure Lindback saw everything, much like I saw everything when I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 6 Predators

  • Cory Schneider, meet statistical regression. Statistical regression, Cory. After boasting the impenetrability of a chastity belt for six games, Schneider’s came back to Earth so hard he left a crater, giving up 3 goals on a measly 5 shots. He was definitely at fault on the first one, failing to get himself properly set for David Legwand’s one-timer, but  I didn’t think he was particularly culpable on the others. One ramped off Kevin Bieksa’s stick, one was a nigh-unstoppable Shea Weber blast from the circle. Still, it’s been six games since we’ve had to forgive the C-Wall for being human, so it was strange to see.
  • Good news for Scheider: Luongo came in to the game to start the second and didn’t fare much better. He made a great save on a Martin Erat breakaway, but he looked a little shaky on a few of the goals and it was all too familiar to see him on his belly at the end of a game in which he had relieved Cory Schneider. Still, let’s cut him some slack. The last time he went this long between playing games was the summer, so clearly, he’s probably reverted back to October mode. But don’t panic, Canuck fans: there’s a surefire way to convince the mind and body it’s December: the Boney M Christmas album.
  • The big story going into tonight’s game was the return of Mason Raymond, but that story was pushed back to Sunday when the Canucks failed to fax Raymond’s papers to the NHL head office in time. As a result, after waiting for Alain Vigneault to feel comfortable with removing Aaron Volpatti from the lineup for three games, Raymond was forced to sit while Volpatti played again. And scored. Amazing since, like Dante from Clerks, he wasn’t even supposed to be here today. (Stick tap to Cam Charron for that one.) Anyway, if it weren’t for the goal horn, you’d probably be able to hear Raymond groaning really loudly.
  • With Movember over, most of the Canucks shaved off their moustaches, but Andrew “Skinny Paul Blart” Alberts and Aaron “Wario” Rome continued to sport theirs. Do they know it’s Christmas? Do they need the Boney M Christmas album too? No. While there’s never a bad time for the Boney M Christmas album, both kept their moustaches for reasons of superstition. Not only did both unexpectedly transform into goal-scorers while sporting dusters, they scored game-winners.
  • I enjoyed the little back and forth between Alberts and Jordin Tootoo. It started in the first period, when Alberts absolutely levelled the Predators’ agitator. Then, in the third period, looking for his revenge, Tootoo took a sizable run at Alberts. Unfortunately, the ever-agile Alberts merely sidestepped the hit like horse droppings on a nature trail, leaving Tootoo to hit the glass all by his lonesome.
  • Speaking of Tootoo, it was also hilarious to see him go flying when Keith Ballard faked a shot and stepped around him in the first period. However, as John Garrett pointed out, Ballard was the last man back. If that doesn’t work, Tootoo’s going the other way on a breakaway. When we say Ballard is a high-risk player, that’s what we’re getting at. Also the fact that he plays a lot of Risk.
  • While Raymond may not have been able to make his season debut, there was no problem with the Green Men’s paperwork. They really seem to love annoying the Predators, so it wasn’t surprising to see them at their usual spot by the penalty box for the Canucks first game versus Nashville. Undoubtedly, their highlight was the giant naked Ryan Kesler cutout. Outstanding. Later, they did some quality Tebowing too, but no planking, which was disappointing.
  • Lucky for them, Ryan Kesler made up for the oversight by taking it upon himself to plank on top of the net in the second period. During play. In one of the strangest moments in a very strange game, Kesler took the puck to the crease and somehow wound up atop the goal. Then, not wanting to step on Lindback, he opted to climb over the backside of it in order to get back down. I tell you what, climbing over the mesh like that, he briefly looked like Spiderman.
  • Another great moment at the Predators’ net: just after Jannik Hansen scored the Canucks fifth goal on that blistering slapshot, the Sedins and Burrows came over the ice and played an entire shift in the Nashville end. At one point, Burrows was knocked into the goal and, hilariously, rather than get out, he tried to hook the puck into the goal with him. Can you believe people are still upset about Brett Hull’s foot being in the crease? 11 years later, teams are setting up a guy in the opponents’ goal to recruit the puck.
  • After going down 2-0 early, Cody Hodgson and Chris Higgins combined to cut the lead in half on a first period powerplay. It was a pretty give-and-go, as Hodgson sent the puck to Higgins below the goal line and then buried the return pass short side, catching Pekka Rinne unawares. Also unawares: the goal horn guy, because he forgot to turn it on. Either that, or we experienced the goal celebration from Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins’s perspective, as everything goes silent and the magic of the hug briefly takes you away.
  • I’m really impressed by Dale Weise’s dumps. Stop laughing. The Aaron Volpatti goal was the result of Weise chasing his own dump-in hard and getting to the puck way ahead of his man, but he stood out on a handful of other dump-ins as well, either by being the first one to the puck or by hitting the defenseman like a truck (5 hits tonight) for getting there before him. I guess you could say Weise had dumps like a truck.
  • Maxim Lapierre had 8 hits tonight, one more than Thriller. But this was a mistake. The fact that Epic didn’t release “Baby Be Mine” as a single grinds my gears to this day.
  • 16 hits and a goal for the fourth line tonight. Starting Roberto Luongo next game is a pretty easy decision, but breaking up this trio to get Mason Raymond back into the lineup is a tough sell. While I’d be surprised, I could understand if Raymond’s debut was put off yet again.
  • What a play by Burrows and Henrik on the Canucks’ fourth goal. In the past, we’ve discussed the way Burr goes about occupying a crease, which is less like the NHL’s prototypical unmovable tough guys and more like a squirrel darting back and forth in traffic. This was a great example. Kevin Klein had him completely tied up, but Squirrows made a sneaky little move to get his stick in there and deflect the puck home.
  • Strange exchange from John and John just after Dan Murphy pimped the Canucks iPhone app. Garrett: You have the Canucks App on your phone? (dismissively) You have every app. Shorty: I’m an app master. Not to be confused with an Ab Master.
  • David Booth looked good tonight. Also, he played well. While it didn’t translate into a single point tonight, I thought this was David Booth’s best game as a Canuck. He won seemingly every puck battle he was in, he was all around the puck, and he had four or five quality scoring chances, two of which came in the first five minutes.
  • After a period in which the Canucks pressed like crazy, the Predators scored the dagger with 1:16 to go. How could this have happened? Mainly because Jannik Hansen forgot Mike Fisher was good at hockey, and let him by as the Predators entered the zone. Hansen tried one of his patented stick lifts, but unfortunately for him, Fisher’s as strong with his stick as he is in his faith, and he was not ashamed to let it show.
  • Normally Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis is quiet contributor (he played a team-high 25:04 — did you notice?), but he quite nearly scored the goal of the year in the third period, making a crazy spin move to shake his man at the blueline, following that up with a mad deke to shake another, then taking the puck right to the net. After the game, he felt like such a badass he went out and bought himself a brand new leather-bound Bible. In red.
  • Cody Hodgson had a great game, but his faceoff skills have really fallen off. Only a few short games ago, Alain Vigneault was letting he and Malhotra split third line faceoff duty. Now it would appear Hodgson is hardly trusted in the circle. He only saw one even-strength faceoff tonight.
  • And finally, the Canucks had 21 shots in the second period. The Predators had 20 in the game. The fact that Vancouver lost tonight is kind of absurd, but that’s what happens when you fail to Win Da Turd. Amazing, since the term trended worldwide on Twitter during the last hour of the game. And then John Shorthouse said it on-air, which is the equivalent of your Dad saying he really likes the band you’re into. Not cool anymore.
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32 comments

  1. natevk
    December 2, 2011

    I clicked on the link to the Boney M Christmas Album and it has been playing as I read the rest of this post… awful, but sometimes I’m a bit masochistic apparently.
    Also, for the record, It takes me right around 5:38 to read a post on PiTB!

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  2. Cam Charron
    December 2, 2011

    Hey! I demand credit for the joke in the first paragraph!

    http://twitter.com/#!/camcharron/status/142449672110342146

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2011

      Ha! It would appear that great minds think alike. One day we’ll have to get you to write an IWTG, Cam, just so you can have a break from the stat sheet and be flippant. Clearly you’ve got what it takes, since my material resembles yours.

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  3. hadleyishawaii
    December 2, 2011

    “After boasting the impenetrability of a chastity belt for six games…” I LOLed!

    What a game it was. It’s sucks that we lost but my God, weren’t the Sedins just absolutely wizardous? Amazing.

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  4. Juice Iscariot
    December 2, 2011

    Is it a conscious plan to gradually transform your witty insightful hockey blog into a witty insightful Christian hockey blog?

    Nothing against your faith of course, but the increasingly frequent holy references are leaving some (me at least) cold.

    Superb work as always though.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2011

      Ha. Noted. It’s very rarely a conscious decision. Sometimes it just happens. Hard to shake one’s upbringing.

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    • J21
      December 2, 2011

      I was going to take offense on behalf of my coreligionist Cory Schneider for the Jesus reference, but then I realized Jesus was one of our guys too.

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  5. The Bookie
    December 2, 2011

    Nice to see the dude reprazentin with the EastVan t-shirt behind the bench.

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    • Harry
      December 2, 2011

      Hey thanks, that was me!
      Harry from EastVan.

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  6. Iron Man
    December 2, 2011

    Did anyone catch the inSANE pass from Henrik to Daniel? Must have been 10 feet in the air and traveled 80 feet!
    True Sedinery!

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    • Iron Man
      December 2, 2011

      Happens at exactly 14:00 left in the 2nd period. Check the highlights at NHL, can’t find it on youTube

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  7. tom selleck's moustache
    December 2, 2011

    “I’m really impressed by Dale Weise’s dumps. Stop laughing”

    Too late. Lol

    Loved the Squirrows moniker too.

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  8. Michael
    December 2, 2011

    “After boasting the impenetrability of a chastity belt for six games…”
    If, after three, it is time to move on.

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  9. Matt
    December 2, 2011

    On Burrows being in the net: am I the only one who thinks the NHL should change the rules so that if a player manages to worm his entire body into the opposing team’s net, it counts as a goal? It wouldn’t have helped here, but he was close.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2011

      Oh man, like when you get a pawn to the other end in chess. I’m in favour of this rule change, just for the comedy of it.

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  10. Zach Morris
    December 2, 2011

    That…was a fun game to watch.
    The Canucks should have won.

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  11. Nee
    December 2, 2011

    “we experienced the goal celebration from Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins’s perspective, as everything goes silent and the magic of the hug briefly takes you away.”

    Considering his affinity for hugs, I haven’t seen a post-goal hug worthy of your Hockey Hugs column on PD yet. : (

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2011

      Just you wait, Nee. I’m simply biding my time, then BAM! Kiss Huggins goes mainstream.

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  12. Zach Morris
    December 2, 2011

    Somewhere, Carrie Underwood is happy.
    “Mike Fisher did this!”

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  13. Cody
    December 2, 2011

    I think squirrows deserves a photoshop contest

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  14. whisky jack
    December 2, 2011

    Guess the Nucks were mediocre
    I don’t know I’s playing poker
    Turned out though that I lost too
    In both cases something new

    Mayhap it be tomorrow night
    Bobby Lu’ll remain upright
    For a diamond I did wish
    While he’s flopping like a fish

    Whisky Jack

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  15. bergberg
    December 2, 2011

    Hey guys – just a little constructive criticism here – I’m finding the time lines in the IWTG posts to be a little hard to follow. I’m sure if you had watched the game, it would be obvious, but since I can’t get most of the games here I rely on you guys to let me know. For instance – I didn’t know that the Canucks were up 5-3 when Rinne was pulled until I read the CBC article. It would be nice to know who scored the goals (for both teams), when, and on which goalie (and how good the goals were). As much as I appreciate all your witty puns and obscure references (and believe me, I do!) I also come here for the facts.

    Keep up the good work!

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 2, 2011

      Fair deuce. I did this one a little out of order. I’ll try to keep it more chronological going forward.

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  16. J21
    December 2, 2011

    The most frustrating thing about this game wasn’t the result — it was the secure knowledge that the entire discourse of its goings-on would be focused entirely and exclusively on goaltending.

    Not that it was particularly good, but reducing the game to nothing more than goaltending would be… a sport I wouldn’t watch.

    Having said that, while I think one has to be a true idiot to blame the goaltender for a back door tip-in (as was many a genius on HFBoards), I am worried that there may be some truth to the speculation there as to why Luongo ends up flopping forward so often — because his groin can’t take lateral movement the way it used to and he’s basically falling unintentionally. I had always assumed the Lu-unges were ill-timed poke-check attempts, but the fact that Melanson has been seemingly unable to coach this out of Luongo’s game, making him extremely predictable in one-on-one situations, leads me to agree that it might be a physical shortcoming. I mean, one-on-one has always been something of a weakness of his, but it’s definitely worse than it used to be, going back to last season — it’s gotten to the point where it’s damn near automatic that the Burrows-style shootout move will open up the entire top of the net.

    Sedins/Burrows goal was a thing of beauty. As the Predator D-man starts coming in after Henrik behind the net, you could just hear the proverbial man with the slide-whistle lifting that thing to his lips.

    “I tell you what, climbing over the mesh like that, he briefly looked like Spiderman.”

    So, Alain Vigneault, you mean…?

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  17. SteveB
    December 2, 2011

    Cody said, “I think squirrows deserves a photoshop contest”

    A quick ‘n’ dirty Squirrows template:
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v390/skb/misc%20stuff/random_stuff/PITB/Squirrowscopy.png

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    • Cody
      December 2, 2011

      Thank you so much. I can’t express how happy this makes me.

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  18. skinnyoldcoot
    December 2, 2011

    I think Shorty was going to say “I’m an app whore” but he caught himself just in time.

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  19. JS Topher
    December 2, 2011

    Every Christmas morning, Grandpa would crank “Rivers of Babylon” early in the morning. I used to loathe it in my teenage years. Now I miss it.

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  20. zak
    December 2, 2011

    When i saw a link to the ab master i was sure it would be strong bad. Oh well here is the link. http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail77.html.

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  21. DeepSteez
    December 2, 2011

    Perhaps Ballard occasionally indulges in some of BC’s finest during his Risk play…in other words, extremely high-risk.

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  22. Anonymous
    December 2, 2011

    I sure do appreciate the Christmas music in this post! It really feels like December now!

    The fact that Epic didn’t release “Baby Be Mine” as a single grinds my gears to this day.

    YES! I have always said this.

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  23. Rob
    December 3, 2011

    ‘was letting him and Malholtra…’

    http://www.thewalruslaughs.com/2011/06/28/extreme-nuts/

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