The Canucks closed out the 48-game 2013 regular season the same way it began: by surrendering seven goals in a humiliating loss. Now, granted, this one isn’t quite as concerning as the season-opener against the Anaheim Ducks, which featured the full Canucks lineup, save Ryan Kesler. This time around, the Canucks flipped the script, icing a lineup that featured Ryan Kesler and little else. Jason Garrison, Dan Hamhuis, Alex Edler, Alex Burrows, and Daniel Sedin all sat this one out.
So did Henrik Sedin, although not officially. The Canucks’ captain started this game between Steve Pinizzotto and Dale Weise, and we were excited to watch him spend the whole game there before demanding a trade to Buffalo, as one does after such deployment. But instead, Henrik just left the game. As it turned out, he was only dressed so as to protect his iron man streak, and once he had done what he needed with one shift, he promptly suited up and called it a night. Like Henrik Sedin, I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 7 Oilers
Some people were upset with the little stunt Henrik and Vigneault pulled in order to keep the streak intact, which was weird, since nobody seemed to mind when Cory Schneider got 28 seconds in a game in 2011 to become Jennings eligible. This time around, however, it was seen as disrespectful in some way. I’ll admit it was a little cheeky, but I don’t know how much more meaningful it would have been for Henrik to watch the game from the bench, really. And if he’d played the whole game, that would have drawn a lot of criticism too. Far more disrespectful to the iron man would have been stealing Tony Stark’s arc reactor and using it to power a reverse-engineered replica armor suit.
How can you tell Henrik missed his brother? His shift was 22 seconds. What a creep.
Henrik wasn’t the only one to leave early. The rest of the Canucks did the same after the second period. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell Roberto Luongo they were going, hanging him out to dry for six goals in the third. He was reportedly furious after the game, leaving without media comment, and he had every right to be upset. There was no reason to leave him in once this one got out of hand. Joe Cannata would have relished the opportunity to jump in. Luongo was the only one who seemed engaged for much of this game and he was effectively punished for it. That was a crap move by a checked out Alain Vigneault.
That said, there’s really no reason to be worried about the Canucks’ goaltending situation if Cory Schneider isn’t ready for Game 1. Sure, Luongo was beaten seven times, but I would remind you that the guys in front of him checked out completely. Furthermore, speaking of the guys in front of him, Derek Joslin, Andrew Alberts, Cam Barker, Frank Corrado and Keith Ballard all played over 18 minutes tonight. Barker played 19:46, and I remind you that if Cam Barker plays over 19 minutes, you lose automatically. It’s in the Bible.
The thing that bothered me most about the goal-heavy third-period was that every goal made the clock stop. That was cruel. When Yakupov scored the hat trick goal and the ice crew came out to clean up the hat shower, I found myself shouting, “Play around them! Drop the puck!”
Comedy: Edmonton’s goal outburst in the third may have cost the Oilers about $5 million in bonuses. Daryl Katz was probably almost as mad as Luongo.
Derek Roy scored the game’s first goal on the powerplay, finishing off a pretty passing play by Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen. I liked Hansen’s work the best, as he caught Corey Potter napping in the crease and backed away unnoticed to get open for a pass. Once Raymond found him, Hansen immediately move the puck to Roy, and Roy fed the net like it was a giant blood-sucking plant.
Nail Yakupov put the Oilers ahead early in the third, and if this game was completely meaningless, nobody told him. His running man celebration was a little over the top. You’d have thought he just escaped from Shawshank.
But I’m glad he did it, because it made for the funniest moment of the night, when Tom Sestito, of all people, tied the game up with his first goal as a Canuck. After burying the rebound, Sestito mimicked Yakupov’s exuberant celebration perfectly. At least, that’s what I assume he was trying to do. It’s possible that he scores so rarely he forgot how to celebrate, so he just copied the last guy he saw do it.
Maxim Lapierre finished with a plus/minus rating of minus-4 and a game-worst Corsi rating of minus-11. I know he’s been hitting a lot, but his possession game has fallen off completely of late. He has a tendency to sort of re-appear during the playoffs, and let’s hope he does. If not, don’t expect Alain Vigneault to use him much.
It’s hard to say you liked anybody’s game after a debacle like that, but all things considered, I liked what I saw from Frank Corrado. He made some nice hits, and he finished with a team-high seven shots attempted. Plus we found out he plays the guitar. That’s important. If D2: The Mighty Ducks taught me anything, it’s that you need a guy who can play the guitar so you can sing “We are the Champions” around a campfire during the closing credits.
And thus ends the 2013 regular season. It’s been weird. Portland weird. Weird newscasters weird. Mats Sundin as a Canuck weird. See you in the playoffs.
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