Don’t despair just because the Canucks didn’t win this game. In fact, it’s good that they didn’t. Hear me out: In 2010, the Canucks were blown out by a Central Division team — the Chicago Blackhawks, in a 7-1 debacle — then went on to face the Phoenix Coyotes in their next game. They played much better, but still lost. But then they got their act together and immediately went on a run that culminated in a Stanley Cup Final appearance!
Wouldn’t you know it, just two nights ago the Canucks were blown out by another Central Division team — the Detroit Red Wings, 8-3. And here they are in their next game, versus the Phoenix Coyotes. Again, they lost. But this can only mean that history is repeating itself and they’re definitely going on another Cup run this spring. There’s no other conclusion to reach. Rejoice, friends, just as I did when I watched this game!
Canucks 2 – 4 Coyotes
More good news: in the Canucks’ last game, they gave up eight goals. In this game, they only surrendered four goals. That’s a 50% reduction. Moral victory.
Speaking of moral victories, as the Canucks emerged from the tunnel tonight, we learned that Nickelback had been defeated in the entrance music voting thing, and Japandroids reigned supreme, just as we requested. As it turns out, Japandroids finished well ahead of Nickelback in the results. We take full credit for this. I know Pitchfork jumped on board too, but that was, like, a week later. We were Team Japandroids before it was cool. IN this instance, we’re Pitchfork, and Pitchfork is Rolling Stone.
Cory Schneider was upset with himself after the game. “I am tired of being an average goalie,” he said. It’s tough to blame for him for this loss, really, but you could see how he might be especially down on himself for surrendering Antoine Vermette’s 3-2 goal that turned out to be the game-winner. He got a piece of it, but the puck slowly trickled through his pads. On the bright side, there have been more unfortunates trickles. Auto racer Dick comes to mind, since his parents knew exactly what his last name was going to be.
And really, Schneider doesn’t even have to make that save if Alex Edler doesn’t fall asleep at the blue line, allowing Mikkel Boedker to step around him. Or if Jason Garrison doesn’t overplay Boedker, leaving Vermette all alone in the middle of the defensive zone. It’s funny that it was this duo making the error, because Garrison had been strong enough in his first game on the right side for the coaching staff to give the pair a third-period shift together, but with Edler on the left this time. This shift likely set that eventuality back a few games.
The real reason Garrison was out there is that he was shooting the lights out like Homer Simpson in this game. He had five shots, one of which went in for his third goal in 19 games as a Canuck. That would put him on pace for 13 in an 82-game season, which is pretty all right. Garrison’s goal came on a point shot after Ryan Kesler won a battle down-low and feed him the puck up high. But Garrison didn’t one-time it. Instead, he took his time and sneaked one past Smith, which was easy, since this one time, he sneaked six people out of Iran.
Dave Tippett’s entire coaching strategy is to take away ice. If he managed Rob Van Winkle, the guy’s stage name would just be “Vanilla” and the title of his signature hit would just be two commas and then the word baby. If he worked for Nintendo in the 80s, my favourite video game growing up would have been called “Climber“.
Maxim Lapierre had a rough night. You don’t beat the Phoenix Coyotes by outscoring them. You beat them by making fewer mistakes that lead to goals against, and unfortunately, Lapierre had two of those. On Kyle Chipchura’s goal, Lapierre got tangled up with Andrew Alberts and another Coyote at the side of the goal, leaving a wide open lane for Chipchura to walk out in front. On Mikkel Boedker’s goal, Lapierre kicked the puck right to him. Then he deflected the shot. When you deserve a goal and a second assist when an opponent scores once, something has gone wrong.
Is Kyle Chipchura the NHL’s most delicious-sounding name, by the way? A chip-churo sounds like a mouth-watering carnival treat. In my mind, you can buy chip-churos next to the Dippin’ Dots stand.
The Canucks kept this one close all night, responding quickly both times the Coyotes opened up a two-goal lead. After the Vermette goal, the Sedins went to work, on the cycle, eventually forcing another puck through Mike Smith on a shot by Daniel Sedin that Henrik Sedin may have tipped. Either way, it was one of those guys that looks like that.
Some evidence that Raffi Torres is a changed man: he had an opportunity in the third period of this game to take Andrew Alberts’ head off. Right behind the Canucks’ net, Alberts got knocked to his knees, but he still had control of the puck. He was in the official Raffi Torres hitting zone and completely vulnerable. Old Raffi would have smashed Alberts to bits, Gallagher-style. Alberts even winced. But new Raffi came flying through the trapezoid and avoided contact.
Mike Smith plays the puck a lot. I think, given the opportunity, he’d rush the puck himself. Next game, here’s what the Canucks should try: Skate up to him when he’s got the puck, but rather than pressure him, just shout, “You go! I’ll stay here!” The moment he takes off, have a second forechecker pressure him into giving up the puck at the blueline, then feed the open man in front.
Some questionable officiating in this one, most notably when the Phoenix Coyotes did all the penalties to Alex Burrows and didn’t get whistled for anything. Burrows took a crosscheck to the face and a punch to the face in this one. No call. In the referees’ defence, they didn’t actually see either foul, as Burrows had just been in God’s presence and his face was shining too brightly to look at. Really, it’s his fault for not putting on a veil.
Speaking of embellishment, Daniel Sedin’s diving call was abysmal officiating. It’s clear the official missed what happened, since he gave Michael Stone two minutes for slashing when that’s not what it was. Handing out a diving call when it’s apparent you didn’t see anything is pretty low. Daniel was tripped, and you can’t blame a guy for gravity. If you could, I’d win every game of Simon Says by ordering, “Simon says jump up,” then quickly saying, “Come down”.
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. […]