I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, October 6, 2013

With the Canucks playing their first of 17 (!!!) back-to-backs Sunday night in Calgary, John Tortorella turned, as many coaches do in such situations, to his backup netminder. That meant a couple of firsts for Eddie Lack. His start was the first of any rookie netminder this season, and more importantly, it was also his first ever NHL start. Granted, after hearing Calgary’s in-arena announcer introduce the Scotiabank Saddledome to their 2013-14 Calgary Flames (Ben Street! Lance Bouma! Joe Colborne!), you can understand why it might not have felt like an NHL start.

Fortunately, the Canucks are a tight-knit group. Sensing Lack’s skepticism over the NHL-ness of the Flames’ roster, Henrik, Daniel and the gang committed themselves to making the Flames seem like a truly formidable foe, even placing the outcome of the game entirely in Lack’s hands, and all for his benefit. After two periods of well-meaning listlessness, once they certain Lack would cherish his first start forever, they stormed back and won it for him. It was sweet to see, and I did see, because I watched this game.

Canucks 5 – 4 Flames (OT)

  • On Saturday night, the Canucks played one of their first complete games in years. Vancouver was elated. But you can’t do that twice in a row, or people will expect it every night. This city’s entitled enough as it is. Wisely, the Canucks limited themselves to one good period this time out.
  • The Canucks actually had a good start in this one: David Booth — seriously, David Booth — opened the scoring just five minutes in. Discounting his empty-net gimme last year, it was Booth’s first goal since April of 2012, so you can understand why he seemed a little rusty on what to do. Rather than hugging his teammates after tipping Jason Garrison’s shot home, as one does, he cut off Joey MacDonald’s head and took a picture with it.
  • That was about it for Canuck positives for the next half hour and change. The Flames controlled the play for the majority of this game, which is downright embarrassing when you consider, if healthy, Calgary’s top four centres are Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, Joe Colborne, and Ben Street. The Oklahoma Thunder have better centres, and I mean for hockey. That depth chart is “The Room” bad.
  • You can’t really expect Calgary fans to get up for this team. Their first-line centre wasn’t playing and, again, their first-line centre is Matt Stajan. But even still: It was so quiet at the Saddledome for long stretches of this game that I started watching through my fingers. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies. I know what’s about to happen when it gets that quiet: something super scary.
  • I’ll be the first to admit I did not expect Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis to be the first defenceman in John Tortorella’s doghouse. But after a handful of blunders for the second straight night, Hamhuis was indeed the first to take up residence there, bumped to the third defence pairing with Chris Tanev. Unless that was Hamhuis’s plan all along. Ever generous, he may have just wanted to go in there and make sure the place was nice and tidy for the next guy. I saw him go in there with a mop and bucket.
  • Hamhuis made yet another error early in the third, allowing the puck and the Flames to get past him in the neutral zone, leading to the Sean Monahan goal that made it 3-1 Flames. Of course, it was also the moment the Canucks woke up, so he may have meant for that to happen. Always thinking of his teammates, this guy.
  • Most of the credit for waking the Canucks up, however, will go to John Tortorella, who chose to split the Sedins up for the third period and try some odd new combinations. His first combination was really outside the box, as Daniel skated on a line with Jannik Hansen and Flames’ winger Curtis Glencross. But it totally worked, with Daniel feeding Hansen for a point blank one-timer after a beautiful second assist by Glencross.
  • Tortorella’s other trio was even more inspired, as the coach deployed Henrik Sedin on a line with Mike Santorelli and Flames’ tough guy Brian McGrattan. But it worked, with McGrattan banking a puck off the skate of Chris Higgins and right to Henrik Sedin, who gave it to Santorelli for his first as a Canuck. With that goal, one was left to wonder if the Sedins were ever, ever, ever, ever getting back together. Like, ever.
  • After that, one of two things happened: either Dale Weise and Brad Richardson realized the Canucks weren’t the Canucks without a fancy passing duo and set to work orchestrating a beautiful give-and-go, or Dale Weise simply came alive upon realizing the Flames weren’t an NHL team. My money’s on the latter. This guy’s at his best when the competition isn’t NHL-calibre, as the lockout proved.
  • Unfortunately for Weise, his bid to be the hero was for naught, as the Canucks couldn’t hold the lead through regulation, and David Jones was able to send it to overtime. The hero’s cape instead landed on Mike Santorelli, who scored his second of the game after Kevin Bieksa squeezed by Dennis Wideman along the boards, then centred for Santorelli’s game-winning tap-in. Full credit to Bieksa, who took a lot of flak from his teammates when he greased himself up like Groundskeeper Willie during the third intermission. But man, did that pay off.
  • Finally, I’d like to thank the province of Alberta for this weekend. I’m still not used to the Pacific Division, and I’d been having some serious Northwest Division withdrawal after watching the Canucks lose to the Sharks so many times in the past few weeks. Thankfully, after this weekend, I feel a whole lot better.
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33 comments

  1. garyjewelry
    October 6, 2013

    Pretty crazy that all it took was a pail full of oranges and a couple motivation quotes in the second intermission to really turn this game around.

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  2. mac 'n cheese
    October 6, 2013

    Oh, good. Trolls.
    Great recap! Nice for Eddie Lack to take a win- and his smile walking off the ice was priceless!

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    • mac 'n cheese
      October 6, 2013

      wait, what? Cambo’s been shanabanned? what will we do for fun?

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      • Harrison Mooney
        October 6, 2013

        It felt great to do, man.

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        • peanutflower
          October 6, 2013

          what? that would be a first for PITB.

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          • Harrison Mooney
            October 6, 2013

            Nah, we’ve banned a few other people. You just don’t remember them because they came and went so quickly.

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        • Nee
          October 7, 2013

          But, it made my comment below make no sense! :, (

          Thanks though – that was one dedicated troll.

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          • John in Marpole
            October 7, 2013

            I didn’t see the deleted Cambo post, but if it was anything like the drek he posted in the previous PITB thread it as a bad troll. He was trying way too hard to get a negative reaction.

            Entertaining trolling requires a subtle touch that is well beyond the skill set of a low IQ, and from the evidence on hand, ‘Cambo’ could only dream of a triple digit IQ.

            On the bright side, he’ll be easy to spot when he returns with a new nym.

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  3. Dougster
    October 6, 2013

    TGFA…. great post as usual!

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  4. Nee
    October 6, 2013

    This, right here, is GOLD

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  5. zach
    October 6, 2013

    It’s nice to see the team scoring again if nothing else, at least they are somewhat able to win games as a result of their offense, even against mediocre teams.

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  6. jenny wren
    October 6, 2013

    Vancouver playing back to back
    Gave his first start to Eddie Lack
    A rookie now at twenty-five
    His hockey dream was now alive

    One hoped for him that things went well
    And left him with tall tales to tell
    Of how it was he doused the Flames
    In this the third of many games

    Thirty-six shots on Sunday night
    Thirty-two stops he looked alright
    He’ll analyze each of the four
    Then laugh about the final score

    For Santorelli in OT
    Brought joy to him a smile from me

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    • Chocoball
      October 7, 2013

      LOL….

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  7. Zach Morris
    October 6, 2013

    So…McGrattan and Glencross were suffering from Sedin-induced Stockholm Syndrome?

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  8. peanutflower
    October 6, 2013

    OT a bit — I see MayRay has taken his travelling spinorama act and caused all kinds of disturbance back east. At least he’s getting some mileage out of the move.

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  9. Lemming
    October 6, 2013

    Raymond will be back to the same mildly effective winger before ya know it. Keep the dream!

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  10. Mr. Purple
    October 7, 2013

    “Feaster, you’re tearing me apart!!”

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  11. akidd
    October 7, 2013

    hey, this pacific division ain’t so bad….

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  12. smj
    October 7, 2013

    ‘…after Kevin Bieksa squeezed by Dennis Wideman along the boards’ (who wasn’t quite wide enough)…
    Sorry, this was too easy to ignore.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 7, 2013

      Ha. I had that joke written in there originally, actually. Took it out because it was just so lame.

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      • akidd
        October 7, 2013

        lame? didn’t i see a greg louganis joke under the pitb banner just about a week ago? i thought the floodgates had been opened….:)

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        • Harrison Mooney
          October 7, 2013

          Hey man. Wasn’t MY Louganis joke. We love lame humour here, obviously, but the Wideman joke as I had constructed it was too lame even for me. So I took it out.

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  13. Chinook
    October 7, 2013

    Only Garrett and Shorthouse seemed not to be able to find peak form at any time during the game. Perhaps the long road trip next trip will help them find their magical chemistry.

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    • mac 'n cheese
      October 7, 2013

      They just need to spend more time together. During the Calgary game, they made plans to see Gravity together on the road! :)

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  14. cathylu
    October 7, 2013

    Thanks to the Canucks for pulling out in a win in OT! It was the best birthday present ever! (And I’m happy for Eddie – way to go Storken!).

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  15. DanD
    October 7, 2013

    The CAnucks may lose a step on these back to back nights, but you guys sure don’t!

    Although I could have used a “mature content” warning on that link to The Room. Not a great idea watching that video at work!

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  16. akidd
    October 7, 2013

    pretty quiet at the saddledome during ot. was that because the flames didn’t touch the puck? them sedins are looking good, eh? playing for a contract with the theme music from ‘the breakfast club’ running through their heads.

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    • akidd
      October 7, 2013

      “la, la, la…don’t you for-get about…darn it, daniel!//slams stick into boards// i did everything but push your bottom on that one!”

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  17. Prophet
    October 7, 2013

    And the goalie contraversy loving camp begins clearing their collective throats…

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    • akidd
      October 7, 2013

      not really. lou’s been looking pretty good. dare i say… confident?

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  18. Iceman
    October 7, 2013

    “Rather than hugging his teammates after tipping Jason Garrison’s shot home, as one does, he cut off Joey MacDonald’s head and took a picture with it.”

    Still can’t stop chuckling… I love you guys’ wicked sense of humor!

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  19. the real bob
    October 7, 2013

    Every time the Flames take a lead at the Saddledome, they should blare Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” over the PA

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  20. JM
    October 7, 2013

    Always love reading Harrison Mooney’s I Watched this Game! Harrison, you are the funniest! Amazing column!

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