The Canucks haven’t had much luck this season holding on to 1-0 leads in the third period. They’ve been in that situation twice, and they’ve lost both times, surrendering two quick goals to the San Jose Sharks, then surrendering two quicker goals to the Chicago Blackhawks a week later. “I wonder who’s going to score for Colorado”, I found myself thinking when the third period began, “And I wonder who’s going to score for Colorado 10 seconds after that.”
Sure enough, there were two goals scored in the first 10 minutes of the third. But here’s the wacky part: the Canucks scored them both. With the trauma of the worst homestand ever still fresh in my mind, I was pleasantly surprised when I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 1 Avalanche
- In another refreshing rarity, rather than allowing a goal on their first shot against, which the Canucks have done umpteen times this season, the team scored on their first shot. It was weird. After Chris Higgins stole a puck from Erik “the defensive Patrick Stefan” Johnson, he centered for Mike Santorelli, who beat Jean-Sebastien Giguere with the second-best drag play I’ve seen in Vancouver this year. The best remains Twelfth Night.
- Small observation: midway through the first, Ryan Stanton looked to be closed in behind the net by two Avalanche forecheckers. He beat them both by making a pass between his legs to a teammate out front, and the Canucks started the breakout. He’s the best waiver pickup in a decade. I challenge you to find a Vancouverite who disagrees, and no, you’re not allowed to ask Dale Weise.
- Jannik Hansen skated alongside the Sedins in this one, taking over from David Booth, who simply didn’t look good there. But Hansen didn’t look good either, and one has to wonder if Zack Kassian’s about to get another shot. He really helped his chances in this one, playing a decent game that saw him get bumped up from the fourth to the third line, and sporting a new Sedin-style goatee that made him look like he fit with the Sedins. It’s possible John Tortorella will confuse him for one and send him over the boards with Henrik. Good call. As T-Shirt Gandhi (no relation to actual Gandhi) once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
- Ryan Kesler doubled the Canucks’ lead early in the third with his 15th goal of the season. It was a pretty easy one. After Giguere got a little aggressive challenging a Santorelli shot, the puck came to Kesler behind Giguere and he casually put it away like laundry. You had to feel bad for Giguere on that one. When you’re trying to grab the shooter from behind, you know you’re out of position.
- Weird choice by John Tortorella: immediately following the Kesler goal, he put his 4th line on the ice. They proceeded to get hemmed in their own zone and were fortunate not to surrender a Colorado goal. That would have been a huge momentum shifter and I’m not sure what the point of it was. I understand that you want the line to get a shift, but that’s a pretty strange time. If I could recommend a better time: during the TV timeout. An even better time: these guys.
- Here’s another thing the Canucks have struggled to do of late: score on 2-on-1 chances. But they did in this game, courtesy Mike Santorelli, who got his second of the night by keeping rather than passing and then going to the far side like a young Gary Larson. What a revelation Santorelli’s been on Kesler’s line. As wingers go, he’s looked about as good as Jeff.
- Two theories on why Patrick Roy pulled his goaltender with five minutes to go in this game. Theory 1: Roberto Luongo is just one shutout behind him on the all-time list, and Roy refused to relinquish his spot without a fight. Plausible. Roy’s a petty dude. Theory 2: Studies have shown that coaches tend to wait too long to pull the goalie. And really, what’s the worst that can happen with the goalie out when you’re down three? You lose? That’s pretty likely anyway.
- Loved this exchange between John and John as the Avalanche pushed with the net empty. Shorty: “You surprised they’re leaving the net empty down three?” Garrett: “No.” Ladies and gentlemen, your colour commentator.
- Garrett’s finest moment, however, was when he said shutout multiple times, then after being chided by Shorty for jinxing Luongo’s bid for one, said, “you can slap me on the side of the head” if the Avs score. Then they did. Unfortunately, Shortly missed his chance to say, “Hey John, what did the five fingers say to the face?”
- But listen: we can be upset about Luongo losing the shutout, or we can look on the bright side: this was the first snack goal of the season. Snack goals, we remind you, are shutout-erasing goals allowed late in blowouts just to ensure the opponent isn’t too hungry next time. Sure, they’re frustrating, but if you’re in a position to give up snack goals, you’re doing something right. The Canucks first snack goal of 2013-14 is a good sign.
, I Watched This Game