I Watched This Game: Canucks at Edmonton Oilers, February 4, 2013

There’s nothing worse than leading a hockey game by two goals (save perhaps trailing by seven, and even then, it’s a toss-up). As we know by now, opening up a two-goal lead is like reciting a passage from the Book of the Dead. It basically summons ill fortune. The Canucks have demonstrated this principle several times already this season, and they did so again on Monday night. The difference? This time, they were the team clawing their way back.

But there was another difference between this game and the two-goal collapses we’ve seen recently: this one ended in overtime, rather than the shootout. And speaking of things we’d never seen before, the game-winning goal was scored by none other than Chris Tanev, who will now haunt the Oilers like something out of Edgar Allan Poe. (Quoth the raven: Tanevermore.) I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 2 Oilers (OT)

  • Once in a great while, a man emerges, seemingly out of nowhere, to become a hero. Maybe he’s just in the right place at the right time. Maybe he was made for that time, and there’s simply nowhere else he could be. Maybe his greatness in that moment is written. We’ll never know. All we’ll know is that he was there, and his presence in that moment is something we will never forget. That happened tonight. I refer, of course, to horse-head man. He is the greatest of us.
  • But seriously, what a time for Chris Tanev to get his first NHL goal. You couldn’t have scripted a more satisfying finish than this. (Well, actually, that’s not true. In Inglourious Basterds, they killed Hitler. That was pretty satisfying. Still, this was excellent.) The goal was the result of the best Wizardous Sedinerie we’ve seen so far this year, with Daniel finding Henrik with a nifty little saucer pass in tight, then Henrik feeding the puck right back to Daniel on the backhand. From there, Daniel spotted Tanev streaking through the middle of the zone, and Tanev set to daggering the Oilers like Mr. Vegas.
  • Prior to the game-winning goal, the Sedins created some chances, but I didn’t really like their overall game Monday. They don’t look fully Sedin just yet. Granted, using their wizardry to orchestrate a massive goal for a defenceman that literally never scores is pretty Sedin. Just ask Lee Sweatt or Brad Lukowich.
  • Henrik Sedin almost scores his first of the season early in the game, but he was unable to get the puck up over the pad of Devan Dubnyk. He did manage to get on the scoresheet in the first, however: Henrik was called for boarding at 17:04 of the first period. Boarding! How is this act of malice possible? (Or was it an act of whimsy?) I fear that Henrik’s check on Duncan Keith last Friday awakened some darkness in him. Has he been the evil Sedin all this time? We’ll know if he trims his goatee down to a pencil moustache. Evil people always have pencil-thin moustaches.
  • He wasn’t named one of the three stars, but I thought Jannik Hansen was the best Canuck skater tonight. His effort level dwarfed everyone else’s like a lightning bolt in Mario Kart. His goal, a bank job that would have made Jason Statham proud, was all effort — with the exception of the part that was super lucky. You could tell Hansen knew it was a chintzy one when he chattered his teeth at the Canucks bench like a ventriloquist’s dummy.
  • The Canucks won 44 of 63 faceoffs in this contest, good for an absurd win rate of 70%. Henrik Sedin went 18-for-23. Manny Mahotra went 6-for-7. But the big winner was Alex Burrows, who went 7-for-7. How to explain this? Well, the Oilers have a lot of kids, and kids typically struggle in the faceoff circle, especially when you tell them the puck has cooties.
  • The only Canuck pivot to struggle in the faceoff circle: Jordan Schroeder, who went 3-for-9. I thought Schroeder had an up and down game. The good: he was working his tail off all night, and was rewarded for his hard work with an assist. He also posted 3 takeaways. On the flipside, he didn’t always make the best decisions. He threw the puck away a few times, he tried to force passes and shots through when there were better options, and he looked a little overeager and jittery on defence, most notably when he took a holding penalty trying to slow down Nail Yakupov in the third period. Still, he saw 18 minutes of icetime — 5 more than Zack Kassian — so Alain Vigneault must have liked what he was doing offensively.
  • Good luck getting upset about the Kassian/Schroeder icetime discrepancy. AV hates young players! … except for those that he doesn’t… or something….!
  • John Garrett claimed that Edmonton was starting to look like Puerto Vallerta in the summertime. John Shorthouse disagreed, because he isn’t completely insane.
  • Speaking of up and down games, Kevin Bieksa was all over the place this evening. Occasionally, he can be a bit nonchalant with the puck, and he was at times tonight. But he also had a team-high 5 shots on goal, a team-high 4 hits, 5 blocked shots, and he scored the all-important game-tying goal, so it’s hard to say he had a bad game. Like the Hansen goal, Bieksa’s was a bit chintzy, and also it involved Jannik Hansen. The Danish winger gained control of the puck in the Edmonton zone with his speed, then left it for Mason Raymond, who put the puck in front, only to have it drift to Bieksa. There was no nonchalance from Bieksa this time around. He was perfectly chalant, wiring the puck like it was Kanye West’s jaw.
  • While Devan Dubnyk was allowing two goals soft enough for the backsides of feral bears, Roberto Luongo continued to play the way that’s kept Cory Schneider on the bench for four straight. You could argue, I guess, that Luongo should have swatted away the puck on the Ales Hemsky goal, but that’s about the only criticism he deserved on the night. He was especially good in the third period and overtime, where Taylor Hall was awarded a penalty shot for a chance at the win. Fortunately, Luongo easily deflected the shot like it was a question about his future.
  • The Canucks really had the run of the play in this one, with 40 shots to the Oilers’ 25 and 73 attempted shots to the Oilers’ 48. But I felt like the Oilers had better quality chances. They weren’t in the offensive zone nearly as often, but they looked a little more dangerous when they were. Really, it’s a matter of quality vs. quantity, and since the game isn’t decided by judges, well, there you go. And besides, the Oilers’ chances weren’t that great. Not one was better than the Chance in “Homeward Bound”.
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34 comments

  1. Sonia
    February 4, 2013

    TANEV!

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    Rating: +27 (from 27 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      February 4, 2013

      Tanev, Tanev, he’s our manev

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      Rating: +35 (from 35 votes)
  2. The Bookie
    February 4, 2013

    I love Puerto Vallerta in the summertime!:
    http://i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/120/933/horse-with-cat-on-boat-in-storm-5907-1238034615-27.jpg

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  3. sarah
    February 4, 2013

    Tanev Tanev TANEV!! love that kid, so happy for him

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  4. gumby
    February 4, 2013

    Tanev — Woo!

    I’ve been liking his play, so was delighted to see him score that goal. That celebration was terrific. Clearly they like the guy. I like how the youngsters are providing some life while the Sedins and Ham-Juice grind through the doldrums.

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    Rating: +14 (from 14 votes)
  5. gumby
    February 4, 2013

    And, as an afterthought, Luongo was outstanding again…

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    Rating: +21 (from 21 votes)
  6. Shade of Blue
    February 5, 2013

    *Kassian got fewer minutes tonight because of a first period shift in which the Sedin line was trapped in the Vancouver end, and big number 9 just sort of drifted around after the Edmonton player, like a kite tail, only less effective.
    *I kept checking the face off stats to see if there hadn’t been a typo..ye gods the Canucks were good in the dot tonight.
    *The power play could use some help. The Canucks benefitted tremendously not so long ago when there top-five-ranked pp struck fear into their opponnents and guaranteed that any undisciplined team would quickly find these lives down three or more goals. (remember the game against Chicago where Eager single-handedly cost his team the game? ) A bottom quarter pp isn’t going to strike any fear, let alone steal us games.
    *the weak pp almost cost us the game when the Canucks couldn’t cash in on soft calls (Yakupov) and unfortunate bounces (the delay of game call).
    *I almost gave up on them after the short-handed goal and I’m glad I hung in there. What a great finish!
    *The only thing sweeter than Tanev’s goal is this blog, which is joy to read post-game. I’ve no idea how you crank out the funny and insightful musings so soon after the game, but if Henrik had your timing, that puck would have been in the net before Dubnyuk got his pad across.

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    Rating: +17 (from 23 votes)
  7. gumby
    February 5, 2013

    And you really must check out the Score’s “Zack Kassian is basically the best: a photo gallery”. (link at right). You just want to ruffle him on the head and go “Who’s my right winger! Who’s a great big right winger with the Sedins. Zacky, that’s who!” Then throw a stick.

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    Rating: +15 (from 17 votes)
  8. betty
    February 5, 2013

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Canucks WON, they Win, and Lose,
    as a TEAM. End of Story.

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  9. Barry
    February 5, 2013

    Great writeup as usual; loved the “Evil Sedin” bit. October 17th in 3 days!!!!!11111oneoneoneone

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  10. Josh D.
    February 5, 2013

    The best part of Tanev’s goal is not just him scoring it, but Henrik’s reaction when he does. Now THAT’s the kind of passion I like to see from my Captain!

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    Rating: +17 (from 17 votes)
  11. Kevin Zecchel
    February 5, 2013

    Every Sportsnet game I watch convinces me just a bit more that John Garrett has lost his mind. But it is immensely entertaining

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    Rating: +22 (from 22 votes)
    • Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
      February 5, 2013

      This is one reason I prefer it when Shorty & Garrett call a game. They’re the most fun duo to listen to.

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      Rating: +23 (from 25 votes)
      • Chicky
        February 5, 2013

        Especially when Garrett is hungry! LOL

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        Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  12. Mallick
    February 5, 2013

    That was a skate to tape pass by Keith Ballard on the game winning goal.

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • ZackMor
      February 5, 2013

      That Ballard pass was pretty Sedin-like. Too bad there wasn’t a third assist.

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      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  13. JimmyAAA
    February 5, 2013

    No mention of the “Community Man”? Who do you think went and got the puck from the back of the net after Tanev’s first goal.

    Thats right, Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis.

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    Rating: +32 (from 32 votes)
  14. James W.
    February 5, 2013

    If the Canucks can maintain a division lead until Kesler and Booth come back, they’ll be in great shape for the rest of the season. I’m a little surprised they’ve done this well, considering the lack of training camp, the lack of players who played in Europe, and three new(ish) players in prominent roles (Kassian, Garrison, and Schroeder). They’ll finally have a second line again, instead of this 3A, 3B business. Plus, the powerplay won’t feature Maxim Lapierre.

    As for the never ending story, it looks like Luongo is sticking around until the trade deadline at least. Maybe the offers Gillis has been receiving are low balled, and maybe he’s figuring that teams will be willing to pay more for an elite goalie when they’re desperate than when they’re able to collect their thoughts. Both are probably true, but the fact that both guys seem to be taking it extremely well, (not to mention the team itself) shows a great level of maturity.

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    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  15. cathylu
    February 5, 2013

    Wooo! What a way to win a game! I loved the celebration/face wash ceremony afterwards.

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    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
  16. jenny wren
    February 5, 2013

    Stay out the box!
    Get more shots.
    Delay of game by Yakupov:
    Not one shot while he was off.
    Oilers on a power play,
    Another on the penalty K
    (Luongo for a little skate
    Getting back a bit too late).
    Jannik a scrappy goal,
    (Pointed praise in order
    For one feisty Jordan Schroeder)
    And the offence began to roll…

    Finally the just reward
    With minutes left Bieksa scored!
    Dubnyk as good as Bobby Lu,
    Thus ended three all tied at two

    Crazy happenings in OT!
    How could such a finish be?
    A penalty shot for Taylor Hall
    Which Lui stopped while standing tall,
    And then a lovely twist of fate
    The winning goal by number eight!

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    Rating: +8 (from 24 votes)
    • Mo
      February 5, 2013

      Who “thumbs down” these poems? I love seeing them in the comments – they’re so well done – a different version of IWTG…

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      Rating: +7 (from 17 votes)
  17. tj
    February 5, 2013

    “Fortunately, Luongo easily deflected the shot like it was a question about his future.” The layers of truth & beauty in that one… Seriously, I actually clapped out loud.

    Great IWTG!

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    Rating: +26 (from 26 votes)
    • TeeJay
      February 5, 2013

      Why don’t you just sing it like this”Take me where my future’s lyin……….” Are you familar with that lyrics from a song that was sung in PNE last May 22.2012?

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  18. Kesler's Nose
    February 5, 2013

    Good win. However, Bieksa is a pylon and makes some of the dumbest plays typical of a Pee Wee D-man. Better off without him.

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    Rating: -20 (from 28 votes)
    • Brent
      February 5, 2013

      I don’t totally disagree with your comment, but it is a little extreme. The last couple of shift before he scored, he was exceptionally awful. I was wondering what the hell was up, he was just making so many bad plays in his own end. I mean if Keith Ballard had done that, AV would have sent him down to the Wolves (I know it is against the contract, waivers etc, but AV would have found a way!). Then Bieksa scores and makes me eat all those nasty words I said about him. What a jerk!

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      Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
      • TeeJay
        February 5, 2013

        Atleast we always know when a puck from nowhere landed in front of Bieksa and he slap it into the net he scores.

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        Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  19. Canuckfaninsf
    February 5, 2013

    That was a good hit from Malhotra to Tanev as they celebrated his first goal.

    Man, did I get misty eyed last night. So proud of Tanev. *sniffles*

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    Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
    • Kesler's Nose
      February 5, 2013

      “sniffles”????it was a goal not a birth.

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      Rating: -7 (from 13 votes)
  20. Edler's scarf
    February 5, 2013

    Shorty and Garrett had a pretty good discussion on putting sugar on cereal, and how it turns their crank?!

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  21. Chris the Curmudgeon
    February 5, 2013

    As much as Luongo was sharp, I think it’s time to put Schneider back in there for a game. The last while has been a roller coaster for him (backup to starter, new contract, high expectations and now back to the bench) and it’s probably not helping his confidence.

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    Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
    • Rituro
      February 5, 2013

      Heck, just put Schneider in to keep him warm for the rest of the season. We’re going to need both goalies.

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      Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  22. Nee
    February 5, 2013

    You made a Homeward Bound reference.

    I love you guys.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  23. TubaNat
    February 5, 2013

    Genuinely cracked up at the horse head man joke. Well played. Just like Tanev (oh see what I did there)

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  24. bihari
    February 5, 2013

    put it in slowly

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