For the fourth straight game, the Canucks struggled with their defensive play in the third period, surrendering two goals. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that, for the first time since Nashville, it didn’t affect the final score. Vancouver’s issues closing out games were relatively inconsequential by the time the third rolled around, thanks in large part to strong individual performances in the first and second.
In the first, it was Cory Schneider and only Cory Schneider, who was unbeatable, despite seeing more rubber than Tate Langdon in American Horror Story. In the second, it was Dale mother-flipping Weise. The Flying Dutchman stepped on the clutch and shifted into high gear Tuesday, scoring a highlight-reel goal that turned out to be the game-winner. That’s right: thanks to Weise, the Canucks won this game. And thanks to the innovations of Philo Farnsworth, I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 2 Blues
I’m not trying to say Cory Schneider was a one-man show in the first period, but on top of his excellent play during the Blues onslaught, he also played an acoustic guitar, a tambourine tied to his elbow, a hands-free harmonica, and worked a bass drum mounted on his back with his right foot. The Canucks have really suffered from mediocre play from both Schneider and Luongo of late, but this time, while the rest of the team slept, Schneider appeared to be in a groove and he showed serious heart, which makes sense, since groove is in the heart.
The first period also featured a spirited scrap between Zack Kassian, back in the lineup after missing time with a bad back, and the red-hot Chris Stewart. Kassian held his own in the tilt, but the strain of doing so apparently re-aggravated his back. He didn’t return to the game. That’s not good, but if it makes you feel any better, the Canucks are traditionally very, very good at handling recurring back injuries to their top forward prospect.
Best part of the Kassian fight: when he bumps into Max Lapierre clearing the sticks and jumps like he just saw a spider. Intimidating.
Tom Sestito and Ryan Reaves fought later, if you care. But if watching two giants halfheartedly struggling with one another really floats your boat, I recommend Godzilla vs. Gigan instead. More backstory.
Perhaps the Canucks were merely conserving their energy in the first for a firecracker second period, because they went off in a big way, hanging three goals on Jake Allen. Jannik Hansen made like Pink and got the party started, taking a fantastic feed from Mason Raymond and beating Jake Allen with a laserblast right under the bar, where Moe Syzlak keeps the pickled eggs.
Shortly after that, the Sedins cooked up something positively wizardous, connecting for a 2-0 goal that featured one of Henrik’s best passes of the season. I cannot for the life of me figure out how he thought to do this. If you watch the video closely, he takes a look over his shoulder as he moves to the edge of the trapezoid. At that moment, Daniel Sedin is at the top of the offensive zone. That’s Henrik’s last look. How he knows Daniel is going to cut into the middle, and how he manages to get Daniel the puck once there is beyond me. It’s beyond us all, I think. I’m pretty sure this pass takes place in the fourth dimension.
We’ll have to break this one down tomorrow or Thursday, because I don’t think I can fully explain how absurd this pass is from conception to execution without additional graphics. It has a draw weight, for goodness’ sake, to allow Daniel the time to get to a place no rational hockey player would ever assume he was going to be. It’s amazing. I know Dale Weise was a TSN highlight of the night candidate for his move, and I hate to take that rare moment away from him, but they picked the wrong goal. Forgive me for gushing, but this one’s a gusher. Also a gusher: these classic fruit snacks.
The goal was Daniel’s first in eight games, and you could see the confidence in his play instantly return. He spent the rest of the night dangling like Michael Fassbender in Shame.
About that Dale Weise goal: I found it patently hilarious that, after Jordan Schroeder finally got the promotion back to the second line people have been demanding for weeks, he hooked up with Weise instead. I really wanted a quick cut to a smug Alain Vigneault at that moment, but no luck. The goal was incredible, with Schroeder making a lovely spin-o-rama feed to Weise, who went backhand and beat Allen. It was a nice bit of poise and patience from Weise, no doubt, but the feed from Schroeder was monkey-in-Outbreak sick.
That wasn’t the only thing Vigneault got to feel smug about in this game. Not only did Schroeder and Weise yield a goal, but Weise had a great game despite a head-scratcher of a move to centre. Plus, while the Canucks are bound to come under fire for sitting back in the third period of this one, I think everybody was entertained by the way they killed a minute late in the game by playing keepaway on a delayed penalty. I’ve honestly never seen that before, and the fact that the Canucks managed to turn it into a sudden two-on-one made it even more hilarious.
The Canucks’ second line of Raymond, Hansen, and Schroeder looked really dangerous tonight, which is a strange thing to say considering the line is made up of a babyface, a tiny guy, and a guy with a squeaky voice. Really, they seem less like a scoring line and more like members of The Fellowship of the Ring.
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