It was clear that Roberto Luongo felt bad for his hometown Montreal Canadiens, who had only one win in their last six games going into their Thursday game against the Canucks, so he decided to spot them a three-goal lead. While charity in the NHL is appreciated when it’s the Sedins donating to BC Children’s Hospital or Paul Bissonnette taking homeless families to hockey games, it’s significantly less awesome when it’s helping out the already-privileged.

Fortunately, Luongo read some Ayn Rand during the second intermission and forswore charity in favour of the virtue of selfishness. I watched the Canucks come back like Dagny Taggart when I watched this game.

Canucks 4 – 3 Canadiens (SO)

  • Luongo didn’t look all that charitable on the Canadiens’ first goal as he immediately complained to the ref that he was interfered with as the puck went past. Sure enough, the replay showed Tomas Plekanec battling with Kevin Bieksa in front of the net and essentially punching Luongo in the chest as he was dropping into his butterfly, knocking him backwards into the net. But it was also Frederic St-Denis’s first ever NHL goal, and with Christmas around the corner, the referees couldn’t bear to see the look of disappointment that would have resulted if they called the goal back.
  • The goals on Luongo got progressively uglier as the game went on. While the first goal was blatant goaltender interference, the second was a well-placed wrist shot from the point with a screen in front, and the third was a wristshot on a 2-on-1 through his five-hole where Luongo should have had his stick down. The first wasn’t his fault, the second was a bit weak but excusable, and the third was so ugly that Daphne and Celeste received royalties.
  • Luongo owned up the awfulness of that goal, and was outstanding through the rest of the game, stopping all 14 shots through the rest of the game and all 3 shootout attempts, with his biggest save coming on Max Pacioretty in overtime. He went from goat to hero faster than Cecil Harvey.
  • Andrew Alberts, on the other hand, was a lot more like Edward Chris von Muir. Alain Vigneault chose to dress him as a forward on the fourth line, where he was functionally useless, much like a bard in Final Fantasy. He had a bad giveaway on his very first shift, then was on the ice for both of the Canadiens’ first two goals, looking like he had no idea what he was doing. It’s understandable that he looked that way, because he most likely didn’t.
  • The Canucks tend to thrive on open ice and this game was no exception: they scored three goals (plus one in the shootout) without scoring any at 5-on-5. They scored a shorthanded goal, a powerplay goal, and a goal at 4-on-4. Clearly, the Canucks need to start taking more penalties in order to open up more room on the ice. Then put the Sedins on penalty-killing duties to use that extra space on the cycle.
  • Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond got the comeback started after a Ryan Kesler penalty. The key to this shorthanded goal is Raymond not using his speed: instead of driving the net as defenceman Raphael Diaz expects, he hangs back, creating the perfect amount of space for him to corral the puck, toe drag it around the pokecheck, and wrist it past Carey Price. It showed a remarkable amount of cunning, lending credence to Harrison’s claim that Mason’s gone to the dark side.
  • Raymond had a fantastic game and was arguably the Canucks best forward. He had a whopping 11 attempted shots, although 7 of them were blocked. He had almost as many shots as a White Stripes music video.
  • One of those blocked shots found its way on to the stick of Cody “Silent G” Hodgson, who immediately whipped it stick side past Price. Since it wouldn’t be Cody Hodgson without a controversy (as well as some dark times), he had just one second more icetime than Andrew Alberts through two periods, reigniting the claims that “Vigneault hates Hodgson.” Of course, Alberts didn’t play a single shift after two periods and Hodgson was then the first shooter in the shootout. I, for one, am confused.
  • Jannik “Danish Ninja” Hansen was quietly superb, notching an assist on the Raymond goal to extend his point-streak to 4 games, drawing the penalty that lead to Hodgson’s 4-on-4 goal, and setting up Kesler for a glorious chance to tie the game. Hansen created a turnover on the forecheck, then smartly slipped it back to Kesler at the faceoff dot, who forced Price to make the best save of the game.
  • That could have been it for the Canucks, but fortunately, Lars Eller took an idiotic crosschecking penalty in the offensive zone, giving the Canucks a powerplay with five minutes remaining. Sami Salo drilled a rolling puck top corner. You could tell that Price had trouble seeing past Travis Moen, who was watching Salo on the point, as Price got down low in an attempt to see the shot. Unfortunately for him, the puck didn’t go low. Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite, it went high above.
  • The only time that Bob Cole’s infamous play call “Everything is happening” would be applicable is whenever Keith Ballard is on the ice. Ballard is, as Cam Charron would define him, a high-event player: lots of shots against and, hopefully, even more shots for. He’s also the kind of guy, however, who can make something happen out of nothing, like he did during overtime, rushing the puck up ice, awkwardly barging through almost the entire Canadiens’ roster before poking it through to Daniel who set up Henrik for the best scoring chance in the extra frame.
  • I’m often a bit put out when games go to the shootout; I generally prefer hockey games to be decided by hockey. This time I didn’t mind at all. This was an exhausting, tense game and the shootout, with it’s one-thing-happening-at-a-time-with-breaks-in-between was just the antidote.
  • Luongo gets frequently criticized for his work in shootouts, but he was stellar against the Canadiens: he snagged Desharnais’ attempt with a quick glove, then refused to bite on Pacioretty’s change of speed, giving him nothing to shoot at. Finally, with the chance to win the game, Luongo stayed right with Cammalleri and blockered away his wrist shot. Most importantly for his critics, he didn’t once end up on his belly.
  • Because of Luongo’s tending of the goal, we only saw two Canucks shooters and they really only needed one. Silent G sent Price to the ice with a nifty shoulder shimmy, then lodged the puck in the top of the net. Maybe next game he’ll get more than 11 minutes of ice time.
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19 comments

  1. John
    December 9, 2011

    Oh my god! You’re Final fantasy reference is A+!! And this is why passittobulis is my fav!

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  2. TubaNat
    December 9, 2011

    100 points for the Atlas Shrugged reference, which coincidentally I have been reading for the last month. Given that the american express line was finally complete and awesome, but then dismantled by the looters of injury, should it be renamed the John Galt line?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 9, 2011

      It absolutely should.

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      • madwag
        December 9, 2011

        Most definitely. My compliments for the reference and your astute use of it!

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    • also_ran
      December 9, 2011

      I was hoping the “Higg(in)s Bo(oth)-son Parti-Kesler” line would catch on.

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    • Marks
      December 9, 2011

      Oof. For a team sport where success depends on collective action and self-sacrifice, that just might be the worst name imaginable. Save it for the NBA…

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  3. Kitty
    December 9, 2011

    Nice work on the Tal Bachman reference! My only claim to fame is that we went to the same highschool.

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  4. Nee
    December 9, 2011

    We won in the shootout? I think I just saw a unicorn.

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  5. jenny wren
    December 9, 2011

    With only seven shots on goal
    The Habs were now ahead by two.
    Then from the point an unscreened shot,
    Another for the red and blue.

    But short-handed M. Raymond scored,
    And we had but to watch and wait.
    The second frame came to a close.
    There still was time; ’twas not too late.

    Into the third two goals down,
    ‘Til Cody cut the lead to one.
    Then Salo scored and in OT
    Lu stopped them all: the job was done.

    Just how it was as we all saw!
    Mayhap again in Ottawa.

    Jenny Wren

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  6. Drbl24
    December 9, 2011

    What a great way to spend my morning – latte and IWTG. I’m surprised that you didn’t mention John Garrett’s Jan Bulis reference though!

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  7. The Bookie
    December 9, 2011

    I think my favorite moment of the game was when they showed Salo on the bench after scoring. Dude just tied the game after an intense come-back, there’s only 5 minutes or so left in the regulation, and he looked absolutely bored, like he was contemplating where he should take himself out for poutine afterwards.

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  8. Matt Foulger
    December 9, 2011

    If Lu its reading Ayn Rand’s drivel in between periods I’m going to stop defending him in bar room arguments. And no the John Galt line would be a terrible name… Galt would consider his teammates parasites and pack up his gear and go home every time things didn’t go his way. Here’s a great quote (originally from a blogger named kung fu monkey, I think):

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 9, 2011

      I don’t disagree with that assessment of Atlas Shrugged, but have you ever considered that perhaps people here were making a joke? Y’know, for the purposes of humour?

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      • akidd
        December 9, 2011

        hey daniel, atlas shrugged eh. interesting thing about that book, if you simply read it it appears to be apologist writing for right-wing ideologies but if you look at the advanced statistics, particularly the corsi rating, it turns out that it’s really a left-wing book after all.:)

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    • The Bookie
      December 9, 2011

      meh. I read The Grapes Of Wrath when I was fourteen and I’m doing alright.

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  9. invisibleairwaves
    December 9, 2011

    Geez, apparently the Habs were so rattled by this loss that they thought acquiring Tomas Kaberle would be a good idea. Brutal.

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  10. Zach Morris
    December 9, 2011

    I was going to comment on this first thing this morning, but I took an arrow to the knee.

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    • invisibleairwaves
      December 9, 2011

      *steals your sweetroll*

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  11. Matt Foulger
    December 10, 2011

    My comment definitely sounded more indignant than I meant it to. Please continue being funny!

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