What do I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, American Psycho 2, Son of the Mask, Home Alone 4, Return to Oz, S. Darko, Roadhouse 2: Last Call, and this game have in common? They were all sequels that absolutely nobody asked for. But, unlike those movies, the complete cast from last Tuesday’s snoozefest versus Columbus returned for another non-adventure (save Keith Ballard, who wisely hurt his foot).
You may have thought the Canucks’ actionless affair with Columbus was a one-off. Not so. The Canucks returned Thursday with [the complete absence of] a vengeance, perhaps realizing about eight minutes in that Cory Schneider was going to be nigh unbeatable and taking the rest of the night off. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do the same, because there is no Cory Schneider equivalent for blogging (except for, like, the spam blocker, maybe). I watched this game.
Canucks 4 – 1 Avalanche
Cory Schneider was the story in this one, spending the whole night throwing himself in front of pucks like each shot had been coated with Axe Body Spray and Schneider was one of the weird, mindless women from those horrible, cynical, sexist commercials. He was the goaltending equivalent of classic NES game Battletoads, which is to say he was basically unbeatable. It’s not to say that he was a giant anthropomorphic toad or a blatant Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ripoff, because he wasn’t, okay?
Schneider made 32 saves in the contest, many of them more amazing than Spider-man, more incredible than the Hulk, and more Fantastic than, uh, the Four. He was so incredible in this one that Matt Duchene seized the occasion of Colorado’s lone goal for the most demonstrative fist pump I’ve seen in ages. It was basically a Shoryuken.
But, to be fair, Schneider wasn’t the only Canuck on his game in this game. The Sedins were working it as well. They got the Canucks on the board early, connecting with Alex Burrows for a little Wizardous Sedinerie to make it 1-0. After a Dan Hamhuis wrist shot was blocked in the slot and came to a stop right on Daniel’s stick, Daniel made a no-look back pass to Henrik, who looked off a great shooting angle to find Alex Burrows all alone in front for the tap-in. What’s most incredible to me on this one is where Semyon Varlamov fully isn’t when the goal is scored: in the blue paint. Far out, man.
Second most incredible: the moment Henrik realizes Daniel has this puck, he slides into an open area and sets up shop for a pass that can only reach him via no-look backhand. When he gets it, he moves it to Burrows immediately. I cannot fathom how good you have to be at hockey to see this puck on Daniel Sedin’s stick and think okay, if I go here, Daniel can hit me with a no-look backhand pass and then I can put it across to Burrows for a tap-in. That kind of foresight is beyond me, especially since I have spent up to ten minutes looking for glasses I turned out to be wearing several times.
It was good to see Burrows back with the Sedins. Reunited, Burrows led the Canucks in shots on goal with four, but really, his impact goes beyond shot totals. The return of Burrows to the Sedin line meant, as it always does, a reinvigorated, healthy and effective cycle. Compared to him, other guys are like Lybrel.
Andrew Ebbett went 1-for-11 in the faceoff tonight. Fortunately, Maxim Lapierre was on fire, winning 7 of 8. Those are surprising numbers, but they’re not that surprising given how inconsistent both guys are in the circle. It must drive Alain Vigneault nuts never knowing what sort of performance he’s going to get from his faceoff guys this year. He’s just rolling the dice every time, like Seth Rogen at the club.
The Avalanche tied this game up early in the third, which jolted the Sedins back to life. Just seven minutes later they responded with a set faceoff play that led to Daniel Sedin’s game-winner. Again, it was Dan Hamhuis starting the play, taking the puck after a clean faceoff win by Henrik and throwing the puck down low to Alex Burrows. Burrows found Daniel parked at the edge of the circle like a compass pencil and Daniel buried the shot. “That shot had eyes,” said John Shorthouse, in what I can only assume was a subtle horror movie reference.
You may not have noticed, but Steven Pinizzotto returned in this game. You really should have noticed. He’s the sort of guy that should make you notice. Pinizzotto is a much better player than we’ve seen from him so far, and I suspect it’s the chronic injuries that have kept him from getting into any sort of playing groove. Here’s hoping he gets a little more time this year to step into the groove.
“The team is worse than ever,” Jason Botchford said after the game. That seems a bit much, and not just because the team is currently riding a six-game win streak. But don’t be too hard on him. He only joined The Province in June 2005. He doesn’t remember the 80s.
Jordan Schroeder saw another demotion to the fourth line in this game, and if you’re wondering why, your answer lies in the Canucks Army chance data. Schroeder’s line was on the ice for 6 Colorado scoring chances and 1 Vancouver scoring chance. That’s an easy way to start on the fourth line. Another easy way: read a quatrain in reverse.
Daniel’s goal really should have been it, but after treating us to a hockey game that resembled the Columbus game in many ways, the Canucks decided to run up the score just to confuse us. Henrik Sedin put the game out of reach with an empty-netter, gaining the red line before taking the shot.
Then Chris “Kiss Huggins” Higgins added another empty-netter to make it 4-1. Considering he couldn’t even wait to get across the red line, it’s pretty obvious he did it to satisfy his insatiable need for hugs, That in mind, he was no doubt disappointed when all he got was a helmet rub from Maxim Lapierre. If he just wanted his helmet rubbed, he’d… you know what? I’m not going to finish that.
Speaking of cheap junk jokes for the immature, at some point this evening, the spotlights on the ice coalesced to resemble a penis. This was the highlight of the night.
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