After a truly terrible effort against he Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, many predicted a strong start from the Canucks in this game against the Kings. Boy, were they wrong. The Canucks were absolutely awful in the first period, getting out-shot, out-chanced, and out-scored. It could have been a lot worse, but Roberto Luongo was phenomenal.
Just like in Luongo’s first season with the team, he stole a point for the Canucks, making 39 saves on 41 shots through regulation and overtime. Like Harrison from the press box, I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 3 Kings (SO)
According to Jeff Paterson, Alain Vigneault had some choice words for the team after their poor performance during the first period. I like to think those words were “fugacious,” “asseverate,” and “malapert.” Those are some choice words.
Luongo couldn’t do much about the Kings’ first goal, however, as Dustin Penner was left alone in front to tip in Drew Doughty’s point shot. Canucks’ defencemen have been frequently employing “fronting,” where they will stand in front of the forward to block shots from getting through rather than getting tangled with a forward in a battle in front of the net. On this occasion, Rome was unable to get across to the shooting lane; it would have been far more effective for him to tie up Penner’s stick to prevent the tip-in.
For much of this game, the canucks’ breakout looked broken. The Kings forced a lot of turnovers with an aggressive forecheck and clogging up the neutral zone. The Canucks had 13 turnovers: 4 from Keith Ballard and 3 from Kevin Bieksa. A big issue was Bieksa’s nonchalant play. His passes, like old celery, lacked crispness. Pro-tip: wrap your celery in tinfoil.
The Canucks tied up the game just a couple minutes into the second period while on the powerplay. Daniel Sedin whipped a wristshot just inside the post with Ryan Kesler screening in front. I’m not entirely sure how Daniel managed to get his shot past Drew Doughty, who went down to one knee either so Daniel could knight him or so he could block the shot. Neither occurred, which is for the best: Sir Doughty sounds like the worst member of the Round Table. Pfft, like Merlin actually levitated that book. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
After a confrontation in a first period scrum, Keith Ballard and Colin Fraser squared off in a pretty tame fight. Fraser tried to fight Greco-Roman style, with the only actual punches being thrown by Ballard, even as he got jerseyed. It’s been a while since I’ve actually seen someone get jerseyed in a fight, however, and they removed their helmets pre-fight, so it seemed very old-school.
Also old-school: Darryl Sutter’s suit. And his face.
The Kings got a powerplay goal of their own late in the second on a controversial play. Dustin Brown pretty blatantly interfered with Alex Burrows, preventing him from getting into Willie Mitchell’s shooting lane. Still, Luongo should not have given up an ugly rebound on Mitchell’s weak point shot right to Justin Williams, who roofed it like a poorly thrown frisbee.
Wait a second, the Kings have Willie Mitchell on the powerplay? What?
Alain Vigneault shook up the lines every so slightly going into the third, busting David Booth down to sergeant the third line to start the third period. It immediately paid off as he finished off a great play by Cody “Silent G” Hodgson and Jannik “Danish Ninja” Hansen to tie the game. While Hodgson quietly impeded Mitchell, Hansen threw a cross-crease pass from the corner with the precision of a throwing star. Booth scored. He gets a boring verb because we don’t have a fun nickname for him.
Not long after, Booth fired a shot off Quick’s mask, knocking it clean off his head, inspiring the following tongue twister: Booth’s quick snap shot snapped off Quick’s cap.
The finish of this game will provide more fuel for the Luongo-is-terrible-in-shootouts fire. Thing is, the story was previously that Luongo could stop players who decided to shoot, but was helpless against the deke. In this game, he stopped Jack Johnson’s backhand deke easily, but was beaten cleanly by two nice wristshots from Justin Williams and Mike Richards. Like an actor who can’t read his lines, he flipped the script. It’s almost like it wasn’t true in the first place.
Meanwhile, only one Canucks shooter managed to score, which is rarely enough to win a shootout. Burrows scored by weaving in slowly, taking wide arcs left and right. The approach threw off Quick’s angle, so his shot blew past Quick on the blocker side, destroying the angels in Quick’s angles.
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