Some losses hurt just a little: a tiny pinch that lasts a split second, then is gone. Other losses, the blowouts, are more of a dull ache that can be pushed aside with a little effort. But then there are the truly painful losses: the ones that never should have happened. That was this one, as the Canucks were the better team for the vast majority of the game, but uncaring fate snatched the game out of their hands.
This game was more painful than a window factory. It was more painful than that pun. Trips to the dentist hurt less, because they at least give you a sticker, a toothbrush, and your pick from the treasure chest at the end of your visit. Johnny Cash’s cover of “Hurt” hurt more — because, dude, it’s the man in black — but this game came close. I put on “Someone Like You” by Adele and cried after I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 2 Sharks (OT)
- He has his fair (or unfair) number of detractors, but it was good to see David Booth back out on the ice for the Canucks. He had a reasonable game in his return from a conditioning stint in Utica, but could have had an incredible return, as he regrettably missed the net on a great scoring chance on his first shift after a gorgeous feed by Zack “Passin’” Kassian. Sure, the puck was a bit on edge and he was on his backhand, but it’s not going to help his reputation for having less finish than cheap Ikea furniture.
- At even-strength, the Canucks dominated this game; their unblocked shot attempts (Fenwick) were 44 to 29. That doesn’t even adequately sum up their territorial advantage, as the Canucks had long shifts in the offensive zone, controlling possession on the boards without shot attempts. As an example, at one point in the first period, the Canucks penned the Sharks in their zone so effectively that the Sharks were forced to ice the puck four times in the space of four minutes. Even bros thought they were icing too much.
- The Canucks’ second period was even more dominant, as they out-shot the Sharks 20-9, which is astounding. That’s nearly as many shots as the Buffalo Sabres average per game. The final five minutes of that period were an absolute shooting gallery, as the Canucks fired 11 shots on goal. Unfortunately, Niemi was as unbeatable as Ghouls ‘N Ghosts.
- This picture isn’t from this game, but I happened across it while looking for pictures of Logan Couture’s absurd moustache and had to share it. But man, how about that moustache?
- The Canucks finally moved away from the four-forward set on the first unit on the powerplay, putting another defenceman alongside Dan Hamhuis. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Alex Edler or Jason Garrison. It was Kevin Bieksa. This is just a reminder that Edler has 26 powerplay goals in his career (6th most in franchise history among defencemen) and has one of the hardest shots in the league. Meanwhile, Garrison was second among defencemen in the NHL with 9 powerplay goals in 2011-12. The wheel has already been invented, Tortorella, you don’t need to do it again.
- With that said, it became apparent why the Sedins like having a right-handed shot at the point when Henrik Sedin found the right-hand shooting Kevin Bieksa at the point on the Canucks’ second powerplay. He was perfectly set up for the one-timer, which somehow meandered its way through Daniel Sedin’s wild, flailing screen in front of Antti Niemi. It looked like it might have actually deflected in off Daniel’s buttocks, but Bieksa told the scorekeepers, “If you take away my first goal of the season, I will cut you.” Then he laughed maniacally and they weren’t sure if he was serious or not, so just decided to play it safe and let him keep the goal.
- Bieksa was the best player in this game, and it wasn’t just because he scored the Canucks’ only goal. The Canucks out-shot the Sharks by a whopping 12-1 margin when he was on the ice. That’s why it was regrettable that he chose to fight Andrew Desjardins with 5 minutes remaining in the third period, removing the Canucks’ best defender from the game. It was the most ill-conceived fight since the frisbee fight in Hard Ticket to Hawaii.
- With Niemi pulled for the extra attacker, the Sharks tied the game in the final minute thanks to a fantastic play by Joe Thornton, an over-commitment by the Canucks, and an absurd amount of luck. Thornton slipped behind the net, but had the presence of mind to centre the puck while on his belly, hitting the tape of Dan Boyle, the Sharks’ best player in this game. Boyle fanned on his one-timer, somehow sending the puck perfectly to a wide open Tomas Hertl at the back door. He filled the net like he had thrown it on the right side of the boat.
- Key to that goal, however, is how poorly the Canucks played it. Mike Santorelli was marking Hertl, but he inexplicably ;eft him to go around the other side of the net, where Edler was already in place. Kesler and Higgins both went down to block Boyle’s shot and Tanev was about to do the same until he noticed that they beat him to it and, by that point, he’s more out of it than Rob Ford. Either Tanev or Santorelli could have marked Hertl, preventing him from getting a clean shot on goal, but didn’t.
- After that unfortunate turn of events, the end result was predictable: a bad penalty call on a Sedin and a power play goal in overtime. Yep, this game ended the same way the playoffs did last season. The usually stoic Henrik went as far as saying the hooking penalty on him was a “terrible call” after the game, as he had only one hand on his stick and seemed to barely make contact with Jason Demers’ hands. Some great passing and an over-aggressive play from both the Canucks’ skaters and Roberto Luongo led to Boyle having all sorts of time and space to pick his spot. The spot he picked happened to be in the net.
- Luongo deserved better in this game, as he was solid throughout the game and would be hard to blame on either goal, though some will certainly give it the ol’ college try. His glove save on James Sheppard had a certain amount of flair to it, but he made the rest of the game look easy with his positioning, which was more sound than vibrations that travel through the air.
, I Watched This Game