I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Washington Capitals, October 28, 2013

Here’s what some idiot had to say about this game when he was previewing it in last Wednesday’s Vancouver Sun: “If you skip just one game this year, I’d make it this one. Teams tend to be at their absolute worst right after they return from lengthy road trips, and with the Canucks facing the high-flying, Alex Ovechkin-led Washington Capitals, this is probably your most likely candidate for an embarrassing, early-season blowout.”

Well then. That is most definitely not what happened in this one. Instead, we got a dominant performance from the Canucks and one of the most entertaining games of the year. I sincerely hope you didn’t listen to this idiot, and what an idiot he is. Does he even watch the games? The answer is yes, because that idiot was me a week ago, and boy did I feel like an idiot when I watched this game.

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Twelve ways the Canucks can stop Alex Ovechkin from scoring, which is pretty important

While you’d expect a team to be at their worst at the end of a long road trip, the Canucks and their crew of sleep doctors have frequently pointed to the first game after the trip as the truly bad one. The experts have said it; the Canucks have shown it.

The infamous, 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in November of 2010? That was the first home game after five away, and after the debacle, we learned that the sleep doctor had tabbed that contest well in advance of the shellacking as likely the ugliest outing of the year. April 20th of last season, the Canucks returned from another five-game trip to muster an unacceptable 14 shots in a game versus the Detroit Red Wings. They won, unbelievably enough, thanks to Cory Schneider and some luck in the shootout.

That in mind, it will probably take a little more luck for the Canucks to escape Monday night’s visit from the Washington Capitals with both points. After seven games in the East, this one has all the trappings of a bad night out for the boys in blue.

But the Canucks can increase their luck by doing one very important thing: shutting down Alex Ovechkin. It’s easier said than done, of course. The Capitals’ sniper has 32 goals in his last 32 games, 15 more than the next guy. He’s got a league-best 10 in 11 games this year, and even has people talking about him scoring 50 in 50. So yeah, you want to beat the Capitals? Don’t let Ovechkin score. If the Canucks can get him to play like he tweets — which is to say, terribly — for just one night, their chances improve exponentially. Here are a few strategies for shutting him down:

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Big Numbers: 7-game road trip, powerplay shortage, and heading to the rafters

Every now and then we like to take a break from all the words and just post some numbers. And some words describing the numbers, as otherwise it would just be a whole bunch of numbers with no context, which would be really weird. Big Numbers is a weekly feature on Pass it to Bulis in which we identify the numbers and statistics that really matter or, frequently, the ones that don’t matter at all but are still pretty interesting.

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