Unbeknownst to most, Jannik Hansen is actually a wicked sorcerer, one of the oldest and most powerful in Denmark. He’s kept his magic hidden for seven centuries, quietly escaping the Warlock Hunters of the Jutland Peninsula by assuming the form of a hockey player and coming to North America, but Saturday night, he had occasion to dust off the ol’ witchcraft. Sensing that his wife was about to go into labour, Hansen conjured a powerful storm that would ground the Canucks for 15 hours, giving him enough time to be present for the birth of his twin sons before heading over to Calgary.
But Hansen knew that the team would be thrown awry by the odd travel schedule, so he used a second spell to give himself an in-game boost and propel his team to a victory.
He registered two points through the magic, but then, unfortunately, his magic ran out early. You see, playing a full hockey game, becoming a first-time father, and manipulating the dark arts to summon inclement weather a province away tends to wear a sorcerer out, and by the time the third period of this one rolled around, Hansen’s tank was on empty. Sadly, he could do little but watch as the rest of his team ran out of gas as well, and the Flames pulled ahead for good. Same goes for me — not because I’m a weary sorcerer, but because I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 4 Flames
The Canucks got off to a great start in this one, as Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins was sprung on a breakaway by the aforementioned Hansen just 10 minutes in, and made no mistake, beating Danny Taylor for the 1-0 lead. Hansen showed great awareness to get that puck to a streaking Higgins, but Higgins showed even better awareness. When he saw the turnover unfolding, he took off early. He was like the opposite of the Canucks’ charter flight in.
Steve Begin is slow. That’s him turning the puck over at the Canucks’ blueline and then coming back at about half-speed, or, as he calls it, turbo speed. Guarantee you the whole time Begin was coasting through the neutral zone, he was like, “Help! I’m out of control!”
I should say: while the Canucks got off to a great start in the sense that they got the first goal, they didn’t get off to a great start in the sense that they took the game’s first penalty. It was Daniel this time, who no doubt saw Henrik benefit from watching the play in the box for two minutes in the Kings game and decided to do the same. But it didn’t work in the first period, where the Sedins weren’t very good, so he tried it again in the second. This time it worked, so expect the Sedins to start every game from here on out in a race to take the first penalty.
Speaking of that second goal, it was lovely. After a Cam Barker point shot got through to the goal, Hansen pounced on a mid-air rebound, and batted it into the goal. It was the best batting I’ve seen since the fake snow in my wife’s tinytown Christmas village.
Yes. Cam Barker was in this game. I’m not sure how it happened. Maybe he’s a sorcerer too? Somehow, Barker drew into this affair when Kevin Bieksa drew out, even though Keith Ballard continues to exist, to the best of my knowledge. Granted, with Tom Sestito taking number 29, it’s possible that Alain Vigneault feels it’s time to move on from Aaron Rome, so he’s auditioning new love interests, like the widower in Audition? If so, he’d be wise to watch how Audition ends. Barker is capable of that, except instead of paralyzing and torturing him with needles, he’ll just put up a really bad scoring chance differential, which for Vigneault, is worse.
Not a stellar outing for Roberto Luongo, especially on the Flames’ second goal, which came on a Mike Cammalleri wrist shot from the blueline that somehow deflected in off of Luongo’s glove. Here’s what I think happened: Luongo was supposed to catch the puck. Instead, he zoned out and started doing Beyonce’s hand flip from the Single Ladies video, turning his catching his mitt away at the worst possible time. You laugh, but we have video evidence of Luongo doing that dance.
Another rough part of Luongo’s evening, according to the Flames broadcast, via Thomas Drance: ”Luongo backed into his net as he had a face full of Lee Stempniak.” Gross. A face full of Lee Stempniak sounds like a movie you could order in your hotel room on a business trip.
From the time the Canucks left Vancouver to the time they got back was only nine hours. “So this is what it must feel like to be in the Atlantic Division,” I imagine they said upon landing in YVR.
Unsurprisingly, Tom Sestito dropped the gloves for the second time in as many games, fighting with newly-acquired Flames tough guy Brian McGrattan. It was completely inconsequential to the game. It just sort of paused it for a second. It was evidence that enforcer fights are to ice hockey as shouting “Car!” is to road hockey.
Jordan Schroeder had a rough night in the faceoff circle, finishing 3-for-11. The worst part is that he lost one of the draws simply by not getting there in time. Annoyed, the official just dropped it without him. This is the problem with being 5’7″. The officials just assume you’re some snot-nosed child wasting their time. Although it probably didn’t help that Schroeder was eating a Go-Gurt.
Speaking of officials asserting their authority, perhaps needlessly, the Flames’ third goal came at the tail end of a penalty to, of all people, Alain Vigneault. Frustrated with what he believed was a missed elbow on Chris Tanev, Vigneault said something to the effect of, “Respectfully, I believe that my good friend Chris Tanev has been struck by the elbow of a fiend. Please employ your whistles to signal that the illegality of this incident has been recognized.” But the officials had no time for Vigneault’s polite words. They cackled like a pack of Skeksis and hit him with the bench minor.
Okay, I don’t know what, exactly, Vigneault said to the officials, but I have a hard time believing he really said anything that forced their hand into assessing a penalty in the final 10 minutes of a hockey game. For what it’s worth, however, the Canucks didn’t lose this game because the officials decided to puff out their chests. They lost because they couldn’t put Calgary away in the first two periods, when they were dominating play and they still had something left in the tank. It was their legs, not Vigneault’s mouth that cost them, which is also true literally, since the game-winning goal went in off of Jason Garrison’s calf.
David Booth has picked up a reputation as a guy that never hits the net, and while he had one backhand in this game that was so far to the right you’d have mistaken it for Booth himself, he actually led this game in shots on goal with 5. His problem is he’s used to aiming for the vitals. Shoot past the goalie, Booth.
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. […]