During the broadcast of this game, Dan Murphy pointed out that it’s been over a year since the Canucks last played the Predators, which is crazy. It had been 366 days since they last met, but there’s more alarming news. The Canucks haven’t beaten the Predators in regulation since 2011. That almost makes it seem like it’s been two years! We should definitely be concerned.
Fortunately, the Canucks finally broke the streak, by beating the Predators at their own game, namely hockey. Defensive and boring hockey, to be specific. I nearly fell asleep when I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 0 Predators
In retrospect, I’m guessing Alain Vigneault really regrets telling the team to “go full bore” in his pre-game speech, as he didn’t consider how it could be misinterpreted.
If you’re looking for someone to blame for this being a boring game, try Roberto Luongo. The Predators out-shot the Canucks 13-3 in the first period and, according to the beancounters at Canucks Army, out-chanced the Canucks 9-1. Luongo, selfishly, stopped them all. If the Predators had scored a goal in the first period, the Canucks would have had to open up their game, leading to more excitement, more scoring chances, and, potentially, more goals. Man, that Luongo. Never thinking of the fans.
An alternate explanation for that awful first period: on the second game of a back-to-back, they didn’t want to waste any energy and let the guys who didn’t play the night before do all the work. Hence, the Canucks leaned on the fresh-as-a-daisy Luongo and Jannik Hansen, who missed last game because he was suspended. Hansen was forced to take three faceoffs in the first period, which he lost, and Ryan Kesler, who was clearly tired of skating, sprung Hansen on a breakaway. That first period nap paid off, as the Canucks out-shot the Predators 21-10 through the rest of the game.
The story of the game, other than Luongo, was all about the two Canucks with the lowest ice time. Unfortunately, one of those was Kevin Bieksa, who left the game in the second period with a groin strain. The Sportsnet cameras caught him grimacing and swearing just before getting hit by Hal Gill, which is exactly what I would do just before getting hit by Gill, but apparently this was a sign that he was hurt prior to the hit.
The Canuck with the second lowest ice time was Dale “The Flying Dutchman” Weise, who scored the gamewinner off the kind of lucky bounce that warms the cockles of a PDO-proponent’s heart. I can attest to my cockles being nice and toasty.
Weise’s goal came off some nice work from Maxim Lapierre, who picked up the puck from Dan Hamhuis in the offensive zone, wheeled behind the net, spun, and fired the puck. Meanwhile, Weise took a wide arc across the top of the zone, losing his check, and picked up the deflected puck at the back door. The puck apologized to Weise for being such a jerk — he was just going through some stuff at work, y’know — and flung itself into the net.
Weise waited to score until halfway through the third period, which gave us about 10 minutes of somewhat exciting hockey as the Predators were forced out of their defensive shell. It would have been really nice to have 6o minutes of this kind of hockey, but nooooooo. Thanks a lot, Luongo.
Alex Burrows decided to make things really interesting by taking a bad penalty in the offensive zone with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Clearly, Burrows prefers his hockey to be exciting. A real man of the people. Not like that jerk, Luongo. Vote for Burrows!
Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis covered for his injured defence partner, playing a game-high 26:10 in his absence. Then he went to a local youth hotline and covered for an injured crisis councillor. It was his second assist of the night.
Poor Zack Kassian: in on a 2-on-1 with Daniel Sedin, he did his best to emulate Burrows, slipping the puck back to Daniel on the give-and-go instead of immediately shooting. Honestly, it was the right choice as it would have given Daniel a wide open net, but the pass back was blocked like Minecraft. Kassian had a lot of bounces go his way early in the season and, now that he’s not getting them, it seems to be affecting his confidence. Really, he just needs to be told to be himself. Burrows is great and all, but you are valuable for who you are, said Hamhuis over the phone later that night.
After Burrows took his penalty late in the game, someone threw a catfish on the ice. We’ve gone on the record as being against throwing fish on the ice, but what confused me the most was the timing. Was it in protest for the poor entertainment value? Was it meant to inspire the Predators to score and tie up the game? More likely, they were waiting for the Predators to score a goal before throwing it and, even with a powerplay and the possibility of going 6-on-4 with Pekka Rinne pulled, he had no confidence they could tie up the game in the final two minutes. So, once again, a truly joyful moment was stolen away by Luongo. Thanks a lot, you big meanie.
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. […]