I Watched This Game: Canucks at New Jersey Devils, February 24, 2012

One night after accomplishing the nigh-impossible in Detroit, defeating the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, Vancouver set out to unlock an even more elusive achievement: winning a game with offence exclusively by Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond. It wasn’t easy, but after becoming the first road team in 24 tries to leave Michigan with two points, the Canucks were clearly feeling capable of anything.

Granted, it wasn’t exactly an exciting accomplishment to witness, especially after the high standard of entertainment set in the game prior. As sequels go, this was the Staying Alive to Thursday’s night’s Saturday Night Fever. Yes, I have seen both films. I have also seen this game, because I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 1 Devils

  • Aaron Rome opened the scoring for the Canucks, picking up a rebound on a Chris Tanev shot at the side of the net and beating an out-of-position Martin Brodeur. For the record, struggling to control a rebound on a Chris Tanev shot is evidence that your days as an NHL-caliber goaltender are numbered. I mean, I’m not saying that Tanev shots are soft, but sometimes they’re mistaken for Bon Iver songs.
  • Why was Rome so wide open? Because, rather than check anyone, Steve Bernier just stood there while Rome stepped around him and scored. Completely misplaying a loose puck at the side of the goal, you say? Why yes, Steve Bernier does remain the same player.
  • It was weird to hear Bernier’s name tonight. Early in the game, John Shorthouse said, “Steve Bernier controls the puck,” and my heart sank. Then I remembered it’s 2012 and he’s on the other team now and my heart immediately skipped a beat. Clearly, this was too much action for my heart, because I woke up in the hospital, surrounded by loved ones and balloons.
  • Early in the first, Bernier got into it with Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis. The two exchanged punches before the officials stepped in to break them up. What could Bernier have said to get Hamhuis so riled up? I heard he said, You know what’s dumb? Helping others. That’ll cause Hamhuis to snap faster than this guy.
  • Vancouver had a total of 16 shots in this game to New Jersey’s 31. The Devils’ line of Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Adam Henrique had 14 of those. That said, while the Canucks were drastically outshot, they were far from out-goaltended. Between Brodeur’s bad rebound on the Tanev shot and his whiff on the Mason Raymond wrister in the second, it’s clear that he’s no longer the goaltender he once was. Meanwhile, Cory Schneider maintained onto the Canucks lead, continuing to show why he’s as coveted a commodity as salt in the fourteenth century: like salt, he’s an invaluable preservative.
  • With Sami Salo scratched, Alex Edler was moved to the right side and paired with Andrew Alberts, a move we’ve seen before with disastrous results. Friday’s results were, unsurprisingly, disastrous. Edler spent the night scrambling to recover, even once chasing Adam Henrique for three full revolutions around the Vancouver net. Edler took a needless interference penalty, and he finished with a brutal Corsi rating of minus-12 (effectively, plus/minus for shots). Seriously, Alex Edler is an All-Star on the left side, but on the right side, he’s about on par with Andrew Alberts. Take it away, Remember the Titans.
  • Why did the Canucks make Edler shove over when they could have paired him with Chris Tanev in his natural position? My guess is they wanted one last look at him on his off-side before deciding what to do about their defensive situation at the deadline over the weekend. Since he was as bad as he’s ever been, I’d say Alex Edler just guaranteed Canuck fans some movement at the deadline. Since we’re running an eight-hour chat, that day, we can only thank him.
  • That said, Chris Tanev may very well have negated Edler’s yeomanly, trade-inducing awfulness with one of his best games as a Canuck. He finished plus-3 in Corsi. Consider: in a game where the Canucks were outshot 2-1, Tanev was on the ice for more shots on the New Jersey net than the Vancouver net. That’s shocking. He was as collected as Pogs, and as cool as the kid with the metal slammer.
  • He even picked up his second NHL point, the unfortunate side effect of which was that it earned him a date with Dan Murphy during the first intermission. He remains about as engaging an interview subject as a block of cheese, and I’m not talking about some interesting cheese, like roquefort or gorgonzola. I’m talking mild cheddar over here.
  • Let me again explain what I like about David Booth: he goes to the net with gusto, and it’s really all he does. Eventually, Canuck nation is going to turn on him, and he’ll begin to catch flack for his head down mentality, but the Canucks have more than enough guys who turn back and try to set up a halfcourt play. What they lack — or lacked, until Booth came along — is a winger that’s confident he can get to the crease with the puck, regardless of who or what’s in front of him. He goes harder into the blue than Jessica Alba.
  • Booth’s intense net-crashing paid dividends on the game-winning goal. After spending the first period going right at everyone, he entered the zone on a second period rush looking poised to do the same. Andy Greene backed way off of him, concerned about getting beat wide, and this time, Booth made a drop-pass to Mason Raymond, who suddenly had a lane so wide it could have been used for bowling. It hit something on the way through, so it clearly had bumpers, too.
  • While attempting to beat out an icing call in the second, Ryan Kesler caught an edge and hit the wall hard. He must have been upset, because he spent the rest of the night shooting at it.
  • Maxim Lapierre wanted to fight David Clarkson in the worst way. It makes sense. Lapierre is effectively trying to grow into a Clarkson-type player, one capable of reaching double digits in goals and fights each season. On one play in the second period, he looked poised to get the tilt, but the officials stood between them. Hilariously, Lapierre tried to gently move the official aside, like when someone is standing in the aisle at Save-On-Foods. He was like, Excuse me, sorry. I just need to get by. It didn’t work.
  • And finally, the Canucks won 42 of 61 faceoffs tonight, good for a .69 win rate. But, unlike that suggestive number, the action was hardly the same at both ends. There were only six faceoffs in the New Jersey zone through the entire game. Meanwhile, there were 32 faceoffs in the Vancouver end.
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40 comments

  1. Zach Morris
    February 24, 2012

    gotta be a record for IWTG, sweet!
    It was nice to see our offensive juggernaut Aaron Rome get back on track.
    still waiting to see the Canuck’s best hockey, though.

    As long as we keep winning it’s hard to complain.
    Well, there’s always the weather.

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    • Phileo99
      February 24, 2012

      One of these days, ….. BAM! and I shall post FIRST!

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      • Harrison Mooney
        February 24, 2012

        Oh man. What this blog needs is a guy that posts “first!” That’s the sign that you’ve made it.

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        • John in Marpole
          February 25, 2012

          Ask Kim Bolan if you can borrow one of the eleventeen hundred of them that post on her blog.

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  2. jenny wren
    February 24, 2012

    Despite their playing yesterday…
    With goals by Rome and Mason Ray
    The Nucks were good enough to win,
    While Cory Schneider held them in.

    When it was clear they were fatigued,
    He helped Vancouver to succeed.
    Stopping thirty of thirty-one
    He was the star when it was done.

    As for the rest they showed no quit:
    When all is gone there’s always grit.
    This most hated o’errated team
    Does truly warrant our esteem.

    All that remains is this to tell:
    The Canucks lead the NHL!

    Jenny Wren

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    • Phileo99
      February 24, 2012

      I dunno, I think it would be more poetic justice if you ended it this way:

      All that remains is this to tell:
      The Canucks stick it to the Bruins & Red Wings, Boo Yeah!

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  3. DanD
    February 24, 2012

    Me reading that last one: “Hahahaha . . . ewww.”

    Well done though sir. A delightful IWTG.

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    • akidd
      February 24, 2012

      that was quite the ingenious tangent indeed.

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    • TubaNat
      February 25, 2012

      Hahaha, I missed that, but now I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

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  4. hockeyispretty
    February 24, 2012

    I just went onto NHL.com to check the standings. I knew our position; I just wanted to see it. For those who haven’t been following, this game put us at the top of the league in terms of points (for now, by 1 over the wings and 4 over Rangers and 5 over Blues who we face on March 1st.) Pull up your stockings, PITB, and rejoice!

    Also, I did not know this but Team 1040 today said Canucks have more road wins than any NHL team has HOME wins, except Blues and Wings. Yay Canucks!

    Guys, your IWTG is so funny. Have you considered having a “thumbs up” or maybe “laffs” button next to each comment you make so that we can all show which comments made us LOL? Is lame to put a comment listing them… that said, I was into “elusive achievement: winning a game with offence exclusively by Aaron Rome and Mason Raymond” and “You know what’s dumb? Helping others.” and LaPierre at Save-On-Foods. Politeness never hurts, you know? Wish we had animated gif for that.

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    • hockeyispretty
      February 24, 2012

      Just went back to NHL.com to look at us at the top of the standings. Again. It doesn’t get old.

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  5. Kit
    February 24, 2012

    I fell asleep during the second period and woke up in the third, but I don’t see anything in this recap that I missed (including the Devils’ goal, even). I’m going to assume that the missing bits of the game were as thrilling as a Tanev interview, which is to say somewhere between a conversation with a houseplant and Minnesota vs Tampa Bay.

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  6. Shade of Blue
    February 24, 2012

    - The Canucks have dressed a lot of defensemen during Marty’s long career who have been far less adept than he is at clearing the zone and making a good outlet pass. Marty may not be as dominant as he was at his peak, but he still looks good handling the puck.

    - Schnieder looked great tonight. How amazing to have a back up who can step in and reliably deliver a performance like that in the second game of a back-to-back.

    - In the 3rd, Henrick stopped skating when chasing a puck into the Devil’s zone (maybe he thought it was offside) and seemingly went after the puck on the side boards as an after thought. His lack of effort seemed to beguile everyone else on the ice, such that once he finally through the puck in the middle, Daniel was all by himself in the high slot. He bobbled the pass and never got a decent shot away. Completely out of character sequence for the Sedins, who didn’t seem to get a bounce or a break all game.

    - The Johns made much a AV’s decision to swap CoHo and Kesler,

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    • Shade of Blue
      February 24, 2012

      And the resulting line combos looked good.

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  7. John Andress
    February 24, 2012

    Five games in seven nights. All of the energy and emotion of last night’s classic encounter in Detroit. Snow delayed arrival in New Jersey until 3 AM. I think I will give the Canucks a pass for a game that kept me on the edge of my seat for all the wrong reasons. Wasn’t Schneider the real deal? The Canucks are back at the top of the table. Looks good on them.

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    • Nick
      February 25, 2012

      Great quote about Schneider from Patrick Elias after the game:

      “This kid is a No. 1 goalie in this league,” Elias said. “He’s in a tough position there. I think there are going to be 29 teams in line to get him when his time comes. He is that good. We had traffic and shots and tonight it didn’t go in for us.”

      Elias has seen the very best of Martin Brodeur, and knows great goaltending.

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  8. Nick
    February 24, 2012

    Incredible game by Schneider. The kid is as cool as they come, is one of the best at smothering pucks and not giving up rebounds, and is just going to get better and better. He’s going to haunt the Canucks for a long time.

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    • hockeyispretty
      February 24, 2012

      Eddie Lack might surprise us, though… anyone else been watching him? I give it 18 months tops before every journalist is berating every other journalist and fan and dog in the street for not having noticed his great play & potential to be heir apparent of Luongo.

      Schneids is tops, but can I get any thumbs up to say he needs some development in playing the puck? I know it isn’t fashionable to say it, but cripes, he came out tonight to play an icing call, and his biggest save of 2012 so far was on a jaw-dropping giveaway of his own from behind the net. He’s great, he’ll be a great #1, but man-crush aside, that guy is good at everything in the paint and needs to work a bit on… painting outside the lines, I guess. :)

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      • Nee
        February 25, 2012

        He is apprentice to the master puck mis-handler in Roberto. Just kidding…sort of ; )

        They’re just trying to keep their team mates on their toes.

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    • Matt
      February 25, 2012

      He’s good, but not as good as “Snyder”.

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  9. peanutflower
    February 24, 2012

    Yawwwn. Thanks for not making me wait for IWTG though. Tanev had that deer in the headlights look that I clearly remember Alex Burrows had on his first ever TV interview. He thought he should just keep staring at the camera until the light went off or they walked away or something.

    What, nothing about Schneider’s majestic stick twirling stick toss? Someone else made a comment in another post about the Canucks goalies needing to have their sticks held on by that little bit of wool that goes up your sleeve. Like mittens.

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    • hockeyispretty
      February 25, 2012

      Animated gif or it didn’t happen!

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    • TubaNat
      February 25, 2012

      I saw that stick toss! Didn’t he nearly drop it, remember where he was and try to sneak back to the goals – that’s what I remember, but I was very tired, and playing Skyrim at the same time, so that could all be in my head…

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      • peanutflower
        February 25, 2012

        it was after he cleared it, sort of,in the first period i think. The stick actually twirled around right out of his hands. Seriously, they need stickum

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  10. sarah
    February 24, 2012

    This game was….not as exciting as last game. Looking ahead on the schedule, there really isn’t a game I’m excited about until the 8th [the Jets!]. Hopefully the next few games aren’t as uninspired as this one though. I’m attributing the dullness to the fact that it was the second of a back-to-back on the road and one that came the day after a really exciting game that the team was obviously really up for. Fingers crossed for some upcoming enjoyable hockey and hockey that keeps the boys at the top of the NHL.

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  11. Canuck in Oz
    February 24, 2012

    A good road game – get the lead, hang on to it desperately. You could tell they were thinnking defensively in the third – get puck, shoot it in the neutral zone, repeat. I scoff at those that think this team is soft.

    Which brings me to my point: Can PITB or anyone out there, tell me if there’s any other team that has had to play 5 games in 7 night – either on the road, at home or both – this year? Enquiring minds (mine) want to know. I’m going out for a few hours otherwise I’d do it myself…

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  12. Phileo99
    February 24, 2012

    Great post, not so great offensive effort by the Canucks. They pretty much played a “chip it out and change” defense after Rome opened the scoring. Watching Bernier stand there like he’s waiting for the next skyTrain makes me feel glad that he is someone else’s problem now. AV mixed up the lines again, with more emphasis on shutdown and defensive checking.
    Great strategy on luring me back by overtly advertising SEX in your post, but then covertly sneaking in your sexual “humour” at the very end to make sure the reader read every single last word of your post.
    While we’re on this topic, they should play this song every time Kesler scores:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39YUXIKrOFk

    Here’s one they should play when Tanev scores his first ever NHL Goal :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqGA6do3dYI

    Bieksa already has his song:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVTPrv-2scI

    Aaron Rome, if he wants to, could have had this song played when he scored :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWEfmCvu8R8

    And while I understand the need for a more effective shutdown line, I do lament how AV decided to split up the TripleH line, I really thought they could have used this as their theme song:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_JF8oSxXtM

    I’ll remember to circle the date of the next Canucks game vs. Minnesota, so that I can be sure to read your IWTG for entertainment instead of actually watching the game hoping to be entertained.

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  13. akidd
    February 25, 2012

    some good jokes tonight, harrison. not a bad road game for the tail end of a back-to-back either. the canucks ares such opportunists. point-greedy calculators. they never seem to lift a finger more than they have to. ruthlessly efficient.

    after the joe, newark comes across like a high school assembly in the gym. maybe it was the long pre-game speeches in the full light but it seemed like the only possible crowd-thrilling tonight could come by dismissing everyone early. conclusion: detroit likes the hockey more the new jersey does.

    but the game. interesting how AV figured he’d better shake up the 2nd line before the “Puck Hog Line” handle stuck. raymond in his post-game interview(apporximately): “booth and i had a talk and said we needed to start using each other better.” i bet they did. like i said last iwtg by the 3rd raymond was refusing to make even the most obvious pass to booth anymore, such was booth’s puck hoggishness up til then.

    booth finally clenched his teeth and dropped off a pass for raymond and raymond made his usual wrister to the logo from the boards but this time it hit greene and went in(which btw effectively cancels out, ” and his whiff on the Mason Raymond wrister in the second, it’s clear that he’s no longer the goaltender he once was. “) that was the ‘one’ in ‘ one in a hundred’ which describes the chance of scoring on an nhl goalie with wristshot from from the boards.

    but the next good rush that line got(mid 2nd) hodgson made a nice pass to booth and booth ignored raymond coming unchecked to the net on the far side for another useless, 0-chance, half-whiffed desperation shot. i think it’s going to take more than just putting them with a playmaking centre to get these guys seeing the ice better. they needs slaps. booth at least.

    and i wonder if the 2nd line really felt like a promotion for hansen and higgins. my bet is that at this point wingers who’d like to put up some numbers might prefer playing with hodgson over kesler.

    there remains issues to be sorted out on the 2nd line. the boys need to learn to play nice with each other. booth sure gives’ er and makes good plays in fits and starts but it’s been almost 3/4 of a season with him playing with kesler. kesler’s points are way down. that has more to do with just booth but still, it can hardly be thought of as a match made in heaven. not yet anyway.

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    • akidd
      February 25, 2012

      i think that the only winger kesler seems to truly trust is burrows and he’s already spoken for. pretty valuable commodity that burrows. he may be the glue on this team.

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  14. Melissa
    February 25, 2012

    “But, unlike that suggestive number, the action was hardly the same at both ends”

    LITERALLY SPIT OUT MY WATER.

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    • Brent
      February 25, 2012

      Actually, in my heterosexual world, the action is different at both ends. Not that there is anything wrong with is being the same at both ends!

      Anther classic IWTG, that as other people have said, was actually better than watching the game.

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  15. shoes
    February 25, 2012

    I’d take that type of win anytime against a Lemaire team on the 2nd night of a back-to-back, especially if you won the first against detroit. We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty and a single point would have been fine, but it was an excellent way to use up the game in hand on Detroit and move into 1st.

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  16. obituary mambo
    February 25, 2012

    WARNING: Do not taunt Community Man about the uselessness/stupidity of helping others. Unless, of course, you enjoy being slapped around.

    I love the personalities on this team. I watch a lot of games on ESPN America and to their credit they don’t show ads for anything non-ESPN related (having said that, the vast majority of their original programming seems to have been deliberately designed with the sole purpose of alienating viewers: PTI, Around the Horn, Sports Nation… horrifying all, at least based on the commercials). The point of this tangent being that they have a series of ads for the channel featuring the most bewildering line-up of NHLers. There are at least 5 or 6 ads a piece featuring Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith as well as a handful for each the following players: Patrice Bergeron, Mike Cammalleri, Dion Phanuef, Eric Staal, and Henrik Lundqvist. The vast majority of these guys are completely devoid of anything resembling charisma or personality. Keith is the worst of the bunch; the man looks and sounds like a Neanderthal. Luckily for him he’s not bad at the whole hockey thing, ’cause the guy is hardly a razor wit. ESPN America needs Juice!

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    • obituary mambo
      February 26, 2012

      If you disagree, I’d like to know if it’s because:

      a) you think the personalities on this team are also boring
      b) you enjoy ESPN’s original programming
      c) you think the players I listed above are engaging men with animalistic magnetism and if so, which ones?
      d) you think Duncan Keith is a razor wit
      e) (for some unfathomable reason) ESPN America doesn’t need Juice

      I don’t mind if you disagree with me; I’d just like to know what it is you disagree with. Perhaps you just enjoy those spots or prefer standard advertising. I don’t think I mentioned any other opinions above. That said, they’re one thing I don’t lack, so I suppose anything is possible.

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  17. MelT
    February 25, 2012

    I’m losing my touch, I had to read twice to find the crude sexual humour, I’ll have to work on that. I thought you were going to mention the Johns discussing how Marty Brodeur “spent the All Star Break increasing the size of his equipment,” which caused me chortle happily. I guess those spam emails are for real.

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  18. Cris
    February 25, 2012

    Can you guys please get the full game highlights on here, instead of one goal highlights?

    I really enjoy your blogs, and I really dislike other website’s articles, it would be awesome having to only come here for my daily Canucks news.

    Other than that, keep up the good work!

    Cheers.

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  19. Mike H.
    February 25, 2012

    Harrison, didn’t you grow up in Abby? We don’t condone talk like that here! Or lingerie football.

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  20. JanBanan
    February 25, 2012

    I have a lot of faith in Luongo, but it’s games like these that make me wish that his contract was a little bit easier to trade. Schneider played fantastically last night, and it makes me nervous for when we do have to finally trade him.

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    • Nick
      February 25, 2012

      If both Luongo’s and Schneider’s contracts were up this summer, who would it make more sense to keep?

      Both seem about equal now, but soon Roberto will be in his mid 30s and on the downside.

      Schneider’s going to get several RFA offer sheets in the summer that the Canucks won’t have the cap room to match, they’ll lose him for a couple of picks, and then the Cory vs. Roberto comparisons will haunt Gillis for the next decade.

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