With the New York Rangers’ loss in Pittsburgh, the Canucks found themselves in a position to take a stranglehold on the Presidents’ Trophy race with a single point. And, after the second period ended with the boys in blue up one, it looked like they had it in the bag. The last time this team failed to collect at least one point when leading after two periods was in October of 2009.
But the Canucks let the cat out of the bag, allowing three third-period goals and watching their stranglehold evaporate. On the bright side, what were the Canucks doing trying to strangle a cat in a bag? How incredibly inhumane. Gosh, thank goodness the Canucks blew this lead. I’d hate for them to be responsible for the death of a cat. I love cats. I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 3 Flames
Would have been pretty clutch if Cory Schneider could have held on in the third, huh? Instead, he clutched up, and it wouldn’t be the first time. In his only playoff start, Schneider left the game in the third period with cramps. You know who has neither left a game with cramps nor failed to convert a third period lead into points in the two years since Schneider’s been here? Roberto Luongo. Also, Andrew Raycroft. #BringBackRaycroft
On two separate occasions, when a Canuck was escorted to the penalty box, a fan behind the glass taunted him with a creepy, plastic, purple baby. Why was this baby purple? Did this baby need oxygen? My concern was that the infant was one of those simulator babies high-schoolers are given in home economics, and the man had taken his son or daughter’s class project to the game and inadvertently killed it. Every time I saw it, I found myself yelling for the man to attempt to dislodge the blockage with back blows.
We’re only a short ways in and already we’ve discussed the suffocation of babies and cats. Did I wake up evil or something?
Sidenote: A Glengarry Glen Ross reference is especially pertinent in a game where the Canucks showed they can’t be trusted with the leads. (NSFW: Language)
Ryan Kesler had a game-high 6 shots in this game but he continues to struggle to score. I wouldn’t worry too much just yet. Kesler may look like he’s playing hard, but he isn’t playing midsection-explodingly hard just yet. For example, he completely looked off Jarome Iginla’s second period invitation to fight, something you know he’s not doing if the game matters a little more. Let’s wait this one out. Playoff Kesler, like the jeep in Jurassic Park, has a higher gear.
With his 2-assist performance, Dan Hamhuis finished the night one off his career-high. But, in typical Community Man fashion, he did set a new career-high in assists with 33. And that number is twice as high if you count friends he’s helped move.
With so many assists, you wonder when Hamhuis will be given a shot on the first-unit powerplay, which needs a serious boost right now. He should be pretty good at directing traffic, especially since he does it all the time during power outages.
Byron Bitz was a bit of a nonentity in his return to the Canucks’ lineup. He played the game on Kesler’s wing, but was disappointingly ineffective. On the bright side, this means he didn’t look out of place.
One of the reasons the Canucks typically don’t blow third-period leads is that they don’t make brutal defensive mistakes late in games. Such was the Kevin Bieksa gaffe that allowed Michael Cammalleri to tie the game early in the third. Bieksa simply stopped defending Cammalleri at the half-wall to watch the play, and Cammalleri darted to the net to score. Poor Bieksa. This is what happens when you spend a week in the press box; you get used to watching. Somewhere, Keith Ballard is banging his head against a wall, which is unfortunate since that’s how he got his concussion.
But Bieksa wasn’t the only one feeling generous, as Henrik Sedin made a giveaway to Curtis Glencross in front of Cory Schneider that was behind Schneider in less than a second. I loved Henrik’s frustrated but understated kick of the puck after the goal. He was like, Aw, fiddlesticks.
Not long after the Flames made it 3-1 in a goalmouth scramble, Jannik Hansen made it 3-2 on a goalmouth scramble. It was a typical Hansen goal, as the Danish Ninja camped out stealthily at the side of the goal then pounced on a loose puck and nunchucked it into the net. Stealth ninja rebound goals are where Hansen excels. Two-on-ones are not. The guy is an underrated passer, so far be it from me to suggest that he shoot for once, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen keep on the odd-man rush, and he telegraphs every single centring pass. Seriously, who telegraphs anything anymore? It’s 2012. Communication is so last decade.
Marc-Gragnani finished the night a minus-2 and was probably the biggest culprit on the Flames’ third goal. First, he tripped over Schneider. Then he failed to clear the zone, flipping the puck right into the glove of Mark Giordano. Then he lost his man in front of the goal, then he got outworked by the goal-scorer Cammalleri. Okay, probably may not have been a strong enough adverb. I meant abso-flippin-lutely. That’s a benchable shift, and with Gragnani having reached the 80 games necessary to qualify as a restricted free agent, it only seems appropriate to end this writeup with Three Degrees classic, When Will I See You Again.
After a win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Canucks are sitting in second in the Pacific and boast the division's best goal differential. That said, a big part of that goal differential comes from the Canucks' league-leading 10 empty net goals. […]