This may come as a surprise, but Tuesday’s game at Rogers Arena was not a actually a battle between Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider. Unexpectedly, the two goaltenders brought teams with them. Given the hype heading into the game, I was expecting Luongo and Schneider to engage in some sort of 1-on-1 competition. Basketball, maybe?
Instead, they played hockey. And I watched them do so when I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 2 Devils
- The real story of tonight’s game? Chris Tanev looked good after looking terrible in his first three games. Because he cut his horrible, horrible hair. Also, he had an assist, 3 shots on goal, and finished plus-1. But it was mostly the hair.
- Okay, that wasn’t the real story. This game was all about Jaromir Jagr, who played what is entirely likely to be his final game in Vancouver. He looked a little bit like his old self, scoring the Devils’ opening goal and adding an assist on their second. All he was missing was the mullet, which he could have made out of the scraps of Tanev’s hair.
- Fine, let’s talk about the real real story: Mike Santorelli. The free agent signee joined the Sedins on the top line during the second and third period and (maybe) scored the gamewinning goal in overtime for the second-straight game. It’s pretty clear that he’s going to be one of John Tortorella’s favourite players, particularly after he was the only player, other than the Sedins, to successfully complete his 2 miles in 12 minutes challenge during training camp.
- All right, all right, the real story heading into this game was Cory Schneider’s return to Vancouver. Fans gave him a standing ovation prior to puck drop and he was superb, making 29 saves on 32 shots and ensuring that an outplayed Devils team earned at least one point. He was even better than that, really, as two of the three goals that beat him deflected off his own defencemen in front of him. And, in the battle of the goaltenders, he made 8 more saves than Luongo. Schneider wins!
- My favourite Schneider moment came when the Rogers Arena fans inexplicably started taunting him by chanting his name like he was Darryl Strawberry, only to see him stone Jannik Hansen on a breakaway a moment later. It was a bizarre sequence: Ryan Kesler broke his stick on a shot, so Hansen gave his stick to Kesler, who used it to lift Jagr’s stick to break up a Devils’ rush. Meanwhile, Hansen had picked up Yannick Weber’s stick from the bench, which he used on the breakaway.
- Roberto Luongo was full value for the win, only getting beat by a wide open Jagr and a deflection off Dale Weise’s skate. His performance was only slightly diminished by his biggest save coming on a shot by noted logo-hunter Steve Bernier.
- More frustrating than the deflection off Weise’s skate on the Devils’ second goal was how the puck deflected off the referee’s skate past Dan Hamhuis to Patrick Elias to set up the shot. It’s hard to blame either Hamhuis or Weise for that goal, though you can for the Devils’ first goal, where Hamhuis over-pressured the puck-carrier, creating a 2-on-1 from the hashmarks in for the Devils, while Weise stopped skating on the back check and couldn’t catch Jagr. You’d think Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis wouldn’t be so kind to a bunch of Devils.
- After that lucky break for the Devils, the Canucks got one of their own to tie the game when Daniel Sedin’s point shot deflected off Anton Volchenkov in front of the net. Or, perhaps, it wasn’t a lucky break at all and Daniel hit Volchenkov with the third-level Wizard spell Suggestion. We had previously concluded that Daniel is, at minimum, a third-level Wizard, but using Suggestion means that Daniel is at least a fifth-level Wizard at this point. That means that he could conceivably cast Summon Monster III, so I look forward to seeing him summon a bison or hippogriff next game.
- Alex Edler tied the game by first hobbling Ryane Clowe with a shot off the inside of his foot, then taking advantage of Clowe’s inability to get off the ice to jump up in the play and finish off a pass from Daniel Sedin. He kicked the puck up to his stick, then made a quick deke and elevated the puck like it was an anthropomorphic fox.
- When Henrik Sedin took a hooking penalty in the third period, colour commentator Ray Ferraro said that he was an unlikely candidate for that penalty. Yeah, not so much. In the last full season, 2011-12, Henrik led the league in hooking penalties with 13. There’s a reason we call him Captain Hook and it’s not because he’s terrified of crocodiles and clocks.
- Under Alain Vigneault, the Canucks rarely used their timeouts unless it was to give tired players a rest after an icing. Essentially, it was used defensively. In the third period of this game, Tortorella used a timeout offensively, giving the first powerplay unit a rest in an attempt to get the go-ahead goal. It will be interesting to see how Tortorella uses timeouts throughout the season.
- Speaking of special teams, the Canucks killed their 15th straight penalty to start the season and have now gone four straight games without allowing a powerplay goal. The Canucks have actually out-scored their opponents 2-0 while a man down.
- David Booth had a solid game: the Canucks out-shot the Devils 10-1 when he was on the ice. Sure, he takes some bad angle shots that skew his numbers a bit, but the only other Canuck to allow just one shot against while on the ice was Yannick Weber, who only played 2:23. Booth played over 18 minutes. Only allowing one shot against in that time is outstanding.
- One of those shots came from Jason Garrison at the point on the game-winning goal in overtime. After some nice work by Booth and Santorelli on the forecheck, Garrison wristed the puck towards the net. It deflected off both Marek Zidlicky and Bryce Salvador with Santorelli screening in front and, according to Santorelli after the game, the puck hit him before going in. Garrison is still credited with the goal for now, his third of the season to lead all Canucks, but it would also be Santorelli’s third, making him the goal-scoring leader. There’s only one possible way to solve this: slacklining contest. There is literally no other way to decide who gets the goal.
, Cory Schneider
, I Watched This Game