We saw some changes this offseason, but one thing remains the same as it ever was: if the Canucks are the late game and the Leafs are the early game, the Leafs game is going to go to a shootout. Sure enough, we missed the Kypreos intro, the debut of the weird lightsaber stanchions, and the anthem as the Leafs and the Senators went to penalty shots to decide the second point. It never fails. Infuriating.
Finally, Hockey Night in Canada turned things over to Vancouver. Three minutes later, Ladislav Smid had bowled over both Sedins with one check, Jeff Petry had burned by Alex Edler then beaten Roberto Luongo with a bad angle shot, and Kevin Bieksa had lost an edge, inadvertently tripped David Perron as he was falling, and put the Oilers a powerplay goal from a two-goal lead. Go back, I screamed. Go back right now. Fortunately, the Canucks recovered from that rough start in a hurry, putting together a pretty decent first home game. And I watched this game.
Canucks 6 – 2 Oilers
- We have Jannik Hansen to thank for pulling this night from the railroad tracks like a damsel in distress. Out to kill Kevin Bieksa’s penalty, Hansen managed to get a stick on Ales Hemsky’s point pass, forcing the turnover that allowed Jason Garrison to spring Brad Richardson on a breakaway. Richardson did the rest, opening Devan Dubnyk up with a leg kick before sliding the puck five-hole. Only in hockey, by the way, does winding up for a kick make a man open his legs.
- We’ve spent several years wondering how the Canucks would fix the fourth line, but John Tortorella solved it in the first period: play them basically never. It worked! Not only did they do nothing to hurt the team in the first 10 minutes of this game, because they only played 10 seconds, but they made the most of those 10 seconds, drawing a penalty. Way to go, fellas!
- Dan Hamhuis had a rough first period. A few times, he was chased into his own zone, unsure of what to do with the puck (perhaps because of the new system), and wound up turning it over. It was unchsracteristic of The Community Man. Fortunately, he made up for his early struggles, scoring the Canucks’ second goal on a long shot that beat Devan Dubnyk after rising and falling like Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.
- (Hamhuis felt really bad about embarrassing Dubnyk like that though, which is why, once the Canucks were safely ahead he overplayed Ales Hemsky on the Oilers’ 2-on-1, allowing Hemsky to hit a trailing Boyd Gordon and get the goal back.)
- The real reason anybody comes to Rogers Arena for a Canucks game these days is to see some Sedinery, which is why Taylor Hall handed the puck over to Henrik Sedin shortly after the Hamhuis goal. “Do a neat trick!” he shouted, and the twins, unwilling to disappoint an obvious fan, obliged: Henrik found Daniel in front, Daniel fed Jannik Hansen, and Hansen put the puck home with a one-timer. It was neat. Even neater: if you trace the path of the puck from Taylor Hall’s stick to the goal, it forms the constellation Cassiopeia.
- But the twins weren’t done there. Sensing that Hall was unhappy with their neat trick for some reason, they did him one better, scoring one of the prettiest goals we’ve seen in years. With Hall in the box, where he had a great seat for the action, they morphed into Dark Sun world wizards, defiling the Oilers’ ecosystem with their wicked magic. It was a feat of Sedinery so wizardous that, while orchestrating this play, they fought the Balrog.
- Extra credit goes to Alex Edler on that goal. He sold the shot so hard that three Oilers — two defenders and goalie Devan Dubnyk — hit the deck in a bid to block it. Instead, it came to Henrik, who was impressed, yes, but can’t handle not making the prettiest pass on a play. So he did Edler one better, making a twirling, one-legged backpass that was a skate hold and a second rotation away from being a Biellmann.
- As fremesis of the blog Tyler Dellow noted, David Perron is dirty and dives. The Oilers are going to love him, because dudes like that are fun to have on your team. We would know.
- Speaking of Kesler, his goal in this game, the Canucks’ fifth, chased Devan Dubnyk from the contest. It was my favourite Kesler moment of the night. My least favourite was when he fought some guy named Will. Listen, Kesler, I know you want to do it all, but you’re a star. You fight stars. You let stars take you off the ice for five minutes. Stars. If you fight a guy named Will, his last name had better be Smith.
- The Canucks had an incredible first period in this one, outshooting the Oilers 22-8, and they were rewarded with a three-goal lead. Time to nurse it home, a frequent viewer of this team might think. But instead, the Canucks kept going right at Edmonton for all three periods, outshooting them in every frame and 44-21 overall and treating us to — dare I say it? — a complete game. I’m much more used to the Canucks taking a period or two off, even in victories, putting on shows that resemble the Backstreet Boys without you, girl, which is to say: iiiiiiiiiiiiiincoooooompleeeeeeeeete.
- Just 10 blocked shots for the Canucks in this one. Granted, that’s because if you play the whole game in the opposition end, there’s nothing to block, but still: John Tortorella is gonna be pissed.
- Finally, Jason Garrison scored his second of the season, showing a rare soft touch by sending a puck the length of the ice and into the empty net. Why was the goalie pulled with the Oilers down three? Because it still seemed like a better option than Devan Dubnyk.
, I Watched This Game
, Wizardous Sedinerie
, Wizardous Sedinery