Even before this game started, the Canucks had already had the most successful 7-game road trip in franchise history, with a 4-1-1 record. Sure, two of those games came after regulation, but it’s still an impressive record, considering the 7 games of the trip came in the space of just 11 days.
As a result, a loss against the Blues wouldn’t just be unsurprising, it would be borderline acceptable. This was the second game of a back-to-back, with significant travel in-between those two games, while facing several injuries, with the backup goaltender in net, and multiple AHL-level players in the lineup. To top it off, the Blues are a very good team, off to a 5-1-1 start, and were well-rested to boot, as it had been a week since their last game.
Even getting a point out of this game would have been an accomplishment. Somehow, the Canucks managed to extract two. I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 2 Blues (OT)
- The Canucks understandably got off to a slow start, not getting their first shot until over eight-and-a-half minutes into the game. Fortunately, the Blues got off to a slow start as well, only getting two shots in that time. That kind of slow-paced, low-event hockey suited the Canucks just fine, as they got their legs under them. Prior to that, they had their legs just waving willy-nilly over their heads.
- Zack Kassian and Tom Sestito helped their teammates out with a couple timely fights that gave the rest of the Canucks a breather. At least, I assume that’s why they fought, as there was literally no possible other reason for them to fight when they did.
- With minimal actual scoring chances in the early going, it took a lucky bounce to open the scoring for the Canucks. Chris Higgins, who started the season on an unlucky streak with 21 shots without a goal through the first six games, was the benefactor, as his shot from well out deflected off Roman Polak, who laid himself out for the shot block. From Polak’s leg in, it was a perfect shot, beating Jaroslav Halak top corner over his glove. It looked so pretty that Higgins asked Polak if he would lie down in front of him for the accuracy portion of the Canucks Superskills Competition.
- Ryan Kesler was at his beastly best against the Blues, leading all skaters with 8 shots on goal. No other Canuck had more than two, mainly because they spent most of the game desperately searching for Kesler’s enchanted rose so they could rip all the petals off.
- “Kesler’s enchanted rose” is not a euphemism, you perverts.
- Kesler extended the Canucks’ lead halfway through the second period, after a great shift by Higgins, Mike Santorelli, and Zack Kassian. That line cycled the puck effectively, then started a change with the puck still deep in the offensive zone. Kesler and Daniel Sedin came on and Santorelli freed up the puck below the goal line. While Kesler created some separation in the slot, Daniel cut to the front of the net and drew two defenders. Santorelli found the wide open Kesler, who fired it past Halak.
- Eddie “The Stork” Lack was superb in net for the Canucks, making 22 saves on 24 shots, with the only two goals coming on the powerplay. Well, technically the second goal came just after the powerplay ended, but still. He had little chance on either goal, as he was completely screened on the first, which came at 5-on-3, and got his stick caught in Chris Stewart’s skates on the second, preventing him from making a blocker save on Vladimir Sobotka’s knuckler. He was a far more effective stork than the one tasked to deliver Baby Mario and Baby Luigi.
- The Blues were on a 5-on-3 powerplay thanks to a questionable charging call on Zack Kassian. It appeared for all the world like a clean hit and Tortorella agreed, calling it a “body check.” It was a game-changing penalty, particularly after Backes may have embellished a hook by Kevin Bieksa. Also a game-changing penalty: 1920′s silent gangster movie The Penalty, which helped establish Lon Chaney as one of early Hollywood’s great character actors.
- After the Blues tied up the game, the Canucks devoted the rest of the game to wasting as much time as possible to get it to overtime. At one point, Alex Edler literally just sat on the puck. That’s not a joke. He actually did that.
- In overtime, Daniel Sedin drew a late penalty with a strong cut to the net, then set up the gamewinning goal on the subsequent powerplay with a shot from the slot that deflected up to Kesler, who viciously shoulder-checked the puck down to his stick and scored. This somehow led to a scrum as David Backes attacked Daniel and started throwing inexplicable gloved punches. It was one of the most childish things I’ve ever seen in a hockey game and I like to stick around to watch the Timbits hockey between periods.
- Both Backes and Daniel got two minute minors and 10-minute game misconducts, which is hilarious. Enough of that you two, you have to sit out the next non-existent 10 minutes of this game. Let that be a lesson to you.
- With both Dale Weise and David Booth injured during the Canucks’ last game against the New Jersey Devils, the Canucks called up Pascal Pelletier and Darren Archibald from the Utica Comets. For Archibald, it was the first NHL game of his career and he acquitted himself fairly well, getting two shots on goal and a hit in 8 minutes of playing time; the Canucks actually out-shot the Blues 3-1 when he was on the ice. With the Canucks short-staffed, getting some unexpected competence from a call-up like Archibald was essential to help keep the minutes of the Canucks’ top forwards under 25 minutes.
- Well, almost all of the Canucks’ top forwards. Henrik Sedin broke the 25-minute barrier by 4 seconds to lead all forwards in this game, one second more than David “Sore Loser” Backes. Backes, upon hearing this, threw himself facedown on the floor and started flailing, kicking, and screaming “It’s not right! Not fair! I wanted to have the most ice time!”
, David Backes is a sore loser
, I Watched This Game