Perhaps you watched the last Vancouver Canucks game, a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators, and you said to yourself, “Well, they got the win, but goodness gracious, that was boring.” Perhaps you lamented a game where the Canucks kept their mistakes to a minimum, shelved the shenanigans, and nursed home a tidy little shutout victory for Roberto Luongo because it was bland.
If so, you are to blame for the karmic blowback that was this game. You wanted action? You got it. You wanted shenanigans? Have at you. You were saying something about the blandness of low-scoring games? This bad boy had 11 goals, and some of them were so, so stupid. The universe gave us this game for complaining about the last game. I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 8 Red Wings
As hard as this is to believe, the Canucks actually got out to a great start in this one. The Sedins were in fine form early, cycling the puck beautifully to orchestrate the game’s first goal a little over five minutes in. The real key to this play, however, was the pick set by Alex Burrows, who slid around behind the net and blocked Kent Huskins like a Twitter spammer.
Unfortunately, the great start was undone by two Red Wings goals in about the length of time is takes Nicolas Cage to steal a car. But the Sedins brought their team back to equal footing wizardously, as only they can, with one of their niftiest scoring plays of the year. Just outside the Vancouver blueline, Henrik iced the puck diagonally, banking it right off the end boards to a charging Daniel Sedin, who stayed onside, then pounced on the puck and beat Jimmy Howard over the shoulder. As soon as the play was over, the Sedins tore their shirts open to expose the NO TO NO-TOUCH ICING message written on their chests.
Someone photoshop that, please.
Clearly jealous that the game had already seen four hugs and he wasn’t in on any of them, Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins took it upon himself to kickstart the next one. In a great individual effort, he poked the puck off Justin Abdelkader’s stick, retrieved it behind the goal, came out the other side, and backhanded it into the Red Wings net. It was a nice wraparound, but the one that Alex Edler put on Higgins immediately after was even nicer.
Of note on the Higgins group hug: Jason Garrison nearly botches it. Higgins reaches out for a fist-bump, but Garrison nearly bowls him over botching the contact. It was the first of several blunders that Garrison would have on a rough night. It’s not that he was particularly bad tonight — it’s that every mistake he made was super noticeable. It’s as though he kept saying, “At least it can’t get any worse.” The secret is to say “at least it can’t get any better.” Then a butterfly will bring you a dollar.
But Garrison wasn’t the only one suffering from every-problem-results-in-a-catastrophe syndrome. The whole team had it tonight. You’d think it was a curse. Wait! The whole team watched game tape from the Nashville game! The tape must be cursed like in The Ring. If a sopping wet Pekka Rinne crawls out of a well and into their hotel room tonight, then we’ll know for sure.
Here’s a conundrum for you: in the second period, Jordin Tootoo took an unqualified run at Chris Tanev, cleaning out the Canuck defenceman in the corner. Immediately, Zack Kassian jumped in to avenge the dirty hit, and Tootoo turtled so hard in that red jersey, you’d have thought he was a Mario Kart weapon. If there were three of him, he’d be orbiting around a teammate. Seriously, he retracted like a Rolls Royce hood ornament. But gutless as it was, it worked brilliantly, as Kassian got two for roughing and Tootoo wound up negating the penalty he’d taken. So here’s the question: do you like what Kassian did there? I do not.
Speaking of nonsensical penalties, this game was filled with them. My favourite was Kassian’s goalie interference call earlier in the period. He high-sticked a defenceman, who slid into Jimmy Howard. He deserved a penalty for high-sticking, but it was clear that the officials missed the one he deserved and gave him one he didn’t. How do you argue that? I did nothing wrong… that you noticed.
Dale Weise was also given a penalty for an illegal hit to the head, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense because what he actually dished out was a legal hit to the shoulder. But in the officials’ defence, it’s hard to tell the head from the shoulders when they’re only separated by an ampersand.
The most touching moment in this game came in the first period, when Chris Tanev put the puck over the glass at the tail end of a Ryan Kesler penalty and joined Kesler in the box. Often times, teammates in the box don’t interact at all. This time, Kesler gave Tanev a consolatory pat on the knee, as if to say, “Don’t worry about it, kid.” Or maybe it was a pat on the toe. I’m having a hard time telling my knees from my toes ever since this game confused my heads and shoulders.
Congratulations to Ian White, who managed to finish this game minus-2 despite his team hanging 8 goals on the Canucks, earning the coveted “Katie Holmes in Batman Begins” award.
The Red Wings faithful were downright gleeful with their team’s performance. So gleeful they couldn’t refrain from a “USA! USA” chant in the dying seconds. The country of birth for their eight goal-scorers, in order: Canada, Sweden, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Switzerland, Sweden, Sweden. But Jimmy Howard was touched.
Poor Roberto Luongo, who picked up his first regulation loss tonight. He deserved to. In his defence, he actually wasn’t terrible, as he had a lot of bad luck. The whole team did. But when you let in 8, well, you’re gonna get blamed. If were Patrick Roy, now is when you’d blame the brass for leaving you in the net to get beaten that many times. Now is when you’d ask out. Unfortunately, he can’t do that, because he totally already did that. If he really wants to stick it to Gillis, he should demand to stay.
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. […]