I Watched This Game: Canucks vs Dallas Stars, March 30, 2012

After two-straight 1-0 shutouts, Canucks fans and media were starting to wonder if the team had completely forgotten how to score. Not me. I was worried that they had forgotten how to allow goals. Fact: no team has won the Stanley Cup without allowing a single goal.

Fortunately, the Canucks eased my concerns by giving up 2 goals to the visiting Dallas Stars. I was relieved when I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 2 Stars

  • Cory “Gingerbricks” Schneider got the surprise start, as Roberto Luongo apparently had a stiff neck that refused to loosen. I had a catastrophic chiropractic appointment this morning, so I know that feel, bro. Also, we both have partners who consistently outperform us. It’s still undecided who will get the first IWTG of the playoffs.
  • Schneider was stunning, making 25 saves on 26 shots in the first two periods alone, with some of his finest moments coming on the Canucks powerplay, as the Canucks gave up a series of shorthanded scoring chances. At one point, Gord Miller commented that “Cory Schneider has been the best part of the Vancouver powerplay.” He made his most impressive save when Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson combined on a shorthanded 2-on-1, sliding across to get his left toe on Eriksson’s one-timer. That’s right: Schneider has just one toe on his left foot.
  • Looking for a first line combination that will work in Daniel Sedin’s absence, Alain Vigneault made the odd choice of sandwiching Henrik with two French-Canadian pests, Maxim Lapierre and Alex Burrows. This raised some eyebrows, but it’s a little more palatable if you think of it this way: Lapierre isn’t replacing Daniel on the top line. Instead, Lapierre is replacing Burrows. Burrows is replacing Daniel.
  • Of course, Lapierre immediately made Vigneault look like a genius by tallying 3 points in his top line debut. Expect Daniel to play with Malhotra and Kassian on the fourth line once he’s healthy.
  • The opening goal wasn’t scored by that new-look first line; instead, it was the third line, which has essentially been the Canucks’ first line recently. Jannik Hansen hustled and bustled the puck into the zone, before losing it in his skates. He found the puck in time to swing it into the slot to Chris Higgins, who quickly directed it between Kari Lehtonen’s legs. Unexpectedly, both teams decided to continue playing the game and score more goals.
  • The early highlight of the game was the Rogers Arena organist playing the Violent Femmes classic “Blister in the Sun.” I’ll take that over “MAKE SOME NOY-OYSE!” any day of the week.
  • Dale Weise has just 4 goals this season, so when he was tripped on a breakaway halfway through the second period, he was thrilled, thinking he was sure to get a penalty shot. Instead, it was just a regular penalty and Weise doesn’t get any powerplay time. Sami Salo, on the other hand, does. After a feckless man advantage, Salo blasted a point shot past Lehtonen to regain the lead. To paraphrase Don Taylor, any time you get a chance to say “feckless” you take it.
  • After his lazy icing led to the Stars’ first goal, Andrew Alberts made up for it by banking a slap shot off Stephane Robidas for his second goal of the season. The real star of the goal, however, was Henrik Sedin, who made a stellar move at the Canucks’ blue line to get past Ryan Garbutt and rush the puck into the Dallas zone. Lapierre returned the puck to Henrik with some strong work on the boards, then the Canucks captain picked out Alberts like a kid picking out 5 cent candies.
  • Henrik continued his wizardry in the third period, wheeling out from behind the net, shaking off two defenders, then feeding a wide-open Burrows in front of the net. Burrows kicked the puck up to his stick, and snapped it past Lehtonen. It was Henrik’s third assist of the night, but the hosts on the Team 1040 are sure to point out that he still hasn’t scored a goal since February 19th. Because, y’know, that’s what Henrik’s known for: scoring goals.
  • It has been disappointing to see the Sedins return to their pre-Art-Ross, point-per-game ways, but getting on Henrik for not scoring goals is disingenuous. His assist-less streaks are far more concerning: you don’t want the Sedins to become assist-less chaps.
  • After Burrows’ goal, Lehtonen was pulled in favour of Richard Bachman, whose name requires a Guess Who or BTO joke. It’s in the Canadian hockey blogger bylaws. Shortly after he came into the game, Maxim Lapierre took what he could get and snapped the puck top corner over Bachman’s glove after an alert feed from Marc-Andre Gragnani. There, now the union won’t get on my case.
  • It wasn’t that long ago that Sami Salo was the steadiest of Canucks defencemen, sure to make the smart, savvy play at both ends of the ice. Unfortunately, his decision-making isn’t quite what it used to be. Late in the third period, when it admittedly didn’t matter much, Salo overplayed a puck along the boards, leaving Jake Dowell with more space than the solar system to whip a shot past Schneider. Admittedly, Andrew Alberts was caught standing still as well, but it’s hard to blame Alberts for expecting Salo to make the right play.
  • When Kyle Wellwood left the Canucks a couple years ago, I was distraught: who was going to be the sad sack Eeyore of the team? Thankfully, Mason Raymond has stepped up to fill the void. He played a pretty decent game, but all he got to show for it was an uncalled stick in the chops from Alex Goligoski and a minus-two rating.
  • At the end of the game, Raymond had a golden scoring opportunity and showed great patience, but put the puck off the side of the goal. As time ran out, he lifted the puck on the blade of his stick, looking to score a lacrosse-style goal from behind the net. Considering the Canucks were up by 3 and the game was over, the Stars took exception to his hot-dogging and swarmed him with punches. Poor Raymond. Poor, poor Evil Raymond.
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36 comments

  1. Thomas Drance
    March 31, 2012

    Ha! The Canadian Hockey Blogger Union, failing to get most of their members paid since forever.

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  2. CthulhuBob
    March 31, 2012

    Richard Bachman? I was expecting a Running Man or Long Walk reference esp with Hunger Games in theaters.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 31, 2012

      Ha, completely didn’t think of that. Missed opportunity. Maybe the Canucks will face the Stars in the playoffs and chase Lehtonen again.

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      • CthulhuBob
        March 31, 2012

        Yeah, then he’s taking the Long Walk to the bench. Hmmm, maybe I should leave the funny to the pros.

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        • Andre
          March 31, 2012

          Hmm, I thought the Canadian metaphor was a Long Walk in the Snow.

          Sigh…I’m too old for you guys and feel like no more than a cultural artifact….

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          • Matt
            March 31, 2012

            Mats Sundin took a months-long walk in the Swedish snow, contemplating his career. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Sundin–unlike Trudeau–decided not to retire.

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          • tj
            March 31, 2012

            Andre, it’s nothing to do with age, at all: Richard Bachman (pen name for Stephen King) wrote The Long Walk in 1979. PET’s long walk was in 1982.

            I don’t always catch every reference on PITB, but that’s what’s great about it. Something for everyone :)

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            • Andre
              March 31, 2012

              I felt that Long Walk was a cultural reference with but one meaning, one that resonates with my generation, dominated by Trudeau. The Trudeau influence waned in subsequent generations (except, maybe, for this [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/brazeau-trudeau-enter-the-ring-tonight/article2388135/], which I find exceptionally refreshing), allowing for other references to be recognized (even ones that pre-date PET).

              So, if Sarah McLachlan or Feist had a popular song titled Long Walk, most readers here would know if right away, whereas I’d be fumbling for my reading glasses and try to Google the new meaning.

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  3. Kit
    March 31, 2012

    I was not aware that there is a Ryan Garbutt in the league. I find myself suddenly envious of the kids he went to Elementary school with. That there is some low-hanging fruit.

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  4. Anonymous
    March 31, 2012

    It was Henrik’s third assist of the night, but the hosts on the Team 1040 are sure to point out that he still hasn’t scored a goal since February 19th. Because, y’know, that’s what Henrik’s known for: scoring goals.

    Haha yep this always bugs me. Jeff Patterson has been on this little kick for awhile now, the ” stat-about-how-little-we’re-scoring e.g. Henrik’s last goal was like 20 games ago!!! Random-fourth-liner on the CBJ has more goals than him in that span!!!!!!” It just reeks of spinning facts to get people reacting and panicking and that bugs me so much. Especially since his goal totals are like the least indicative of his play out of all the big offensive-minded stars. He could have a five assist night and the TEAM would bring up the fact he still hasn’t scored a goal. This media I swear. And they never actually talk about his actual play, it’s just stuff coming from stat sheets

    Regardless of that tangent, I was shocked we actually managed to #WinDaSecondPeriod! Now was this an anomaly or an indication of how our play is improving? One of the most frightening things for me was how atrocious our second periods have been all season, and I do NOT want to experience that in the playoffs.

    It’s still undecided who will get the first IWTG of the playoffs.

    I always wonder what is the deciding process? Do you guys just rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock it out?

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    • Mrs.Kesler
      March 31, 2012

      love, love, love the rock-paper-scissor-lizard-Spock

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  5. Brent
    March 31, 2012

    Nice IWTG!

    Really happy with Danieless Hendrik’s game, Higgin’s who is in major playoff mode (can we have two players in :”Beastmode”?) and the annoying French guys. Nice to score a bunch of goals to calm the worried fan base, even one on the power play! But some brutal defensive play on the power play as you mentioned. Yikes!

    So nothing about how Schneider looked really bad on Dallas’ second goal. (Well I didn’t see the reply, but it looked stoppable) Good thing it wasn’t Lou in net for that one or everyone would have forgotten how well he played up until then and focused on that!

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    • Andre
      March 31, 2012

      Somebody needs to photoshop checkered red and black on Burrows and Lapierre’s jerseys, to better reflect their playstyle. It isn’t Daytsuk-pretty, but it is honest ‘ard work and gets the job done.

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    • Nick
      March 31, 2012

      Schneider played well. But framing every one of his games in terms of Luongo being a victim is getting old. I’m just enjoying watching him while he’s still here.

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  6. Daniel W.
    March 31, 2012

    ha, I watched the Higgins goal and thought, hey, haven’t I seen that one already, until Shorty said ‘He loves playing Colorado this week!’, that was the wrong 1-0

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 31, 2012

      Oh gosh, you’re totally right. I was depending on CanucksHD, which had a video for every other goal. I clicked on the goal against the Avs by accident. Let me fix that…

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  7. akidd
    March 31, 2012

    the canucks won because the stars’ goalie was Lehtonen…goals.

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  8. Shand
    March 31, 2012

    Oh lawdy. “assist-less chaps”

    I see what you did there and I don’t like it one bit.

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  9. Josh D.
    March 31, 2012

    “At one point, Chris Cuthbert commented that “Cory Schneider has been the best part of the Vancouver powerplay.’ ”

    Chris Cuthbert? Wasn’t the game called by Miller and Ferraro?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 31, 2012

      Definitely was. Batting 1.000 on this one…sheesh…

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  10. Spencer
    March 31, 2012

    Alex Burrows after he scored: DO A BARREL ROLL!

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  11. hockeyispretty
    March 31, 2012

    So hard to pick a favourite part of this game, or of this IWTG. All of you guys are on fire. Biggest LOL moment though was: “Unexpectedly, both teams decided to continue playing the game and score more goals.” HA.

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  12. Canuck In Oz
    March 31, 2012

    I didn’t get to see this game, only got to follow it through updates via the TSN app on my phone, since it was my daughters’ 10th birthday party and apparently THAT was the priority, so allow me to thank you for the succinct summary.

    But I’ve been thinking the past few days whether the way the Canucks were playing during that stretch where performances were not considered up to scratch – you remember that period – whether that the Canucks were just doing the best foxing job on someone since Verbal Kint left Agent Kujan muttering to himself on the steps of the police station. I mean, there’s no switch that a team can flip, right? But they seem to have done it. I’m not complaining, I’m just wondering is all.

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  13. Andrew
    March 31, 2012

    I already knew of Schneiders single toe from my lengthy review of “The Complete Compendium of PITB Tru Fakts” whose existence is itself a Tru Fakt.

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  14. Chris B
    March 31, 2012

    My favourite commentator moment was when they pointed out that Kesler was riding a 6 game pointless streak .. 2 minutes after he assisted on Salo’s goal. Of course, I was half asleep (living in the east, yo) so maybe I just misheard

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  15. jenny wren
    March 31, 2012

    For a while we were outshot.
    But outscored? No we were not!
    (Just in case I need explain
    Higgins scored from The Great Dane)
    Although the game was tied by Ott.

    Then Weise on a breakaway
    Was tripped and, “What? Come on, eh!”
    (Salo scored on the PP
    Assists to Kess and Thirty-Three)
    The ref’s weak call turned out okay.

    Alberts from Hank and Lapierre,
    Filling in for Daniel there!
    (End of two a three-one lead
    Which proved all that we would need)
    I think the Blues had best beware.

    If playoffs began today,
    It is Dallas we would play,
    (Burrows got another one
    The Maxim added to the fun)
    The team we beat five two today.

    Jenny Wren

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  16. Zach Morris
    March 31, 2012

    Vintage Canucks game!
    It’s nice to win by three, isn’t it?

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  17. Justin
    March 31, 2012

    Slow golf clap for the “assist-less chaps” line. Bravo.

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  18. Nick
    March 31, 2012

    “Assist-less Chaps”. That’s gold, Jerry! Gold!

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  19. sarah
    March 31, 2012

    I ended up going to see the Jr. Canucks play last night and then came home and IWTG on PVR. All in all a pretty great night of hockey.

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    • tj
      March 31, 2012

      It was a game that just sort of got better the farther into it we went. Much like this IWTG.

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  20. cathylu
    March 31, 2012

    It was so nice to watch a game where we were ahead the whole time and really in no danger of losing. It’s been awhile. I thought the team looked very motivated. I liked that we got goals from a wide variety of players (yay Alberts!). Cory was excellent again. Henrik seems to have figured out the assist thing since he’s number one in the NHL with 63. The only problem with the game is that they ruined my chance to win the @CanucksGame HP contest (my prediction was a 3-1 win with Burr scoring the GWG).

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  21. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 31, 2012

    I enjoyed Gord Miller’s quip about Alex Edler talking to his stick rep before the game. Now if only he could have a few words with his not-making-silly-drop-passes-everytime-he-comes-up-the-ice-on-the-power-play rep, he’d be all set.

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    • peanutflower
      March 31, 2012

      And apparently it was a “polite quiet conversation” which you’d expect Edler to have.

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  22. josiahbc
    March 31, 2012

    awesome opening fact brilliant.

    as for who starts the playoffs, you should go old school and both post an iwtg.

    it’s the playoffs!

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  23. Dave
    March 31, 2012

    Two french-canadian poets..

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