Mike Gillis has been somewhat justifiably criticized for his drafting record as the Canucks’ GM, with not a single one of his draft picks currently in the lineup. Sure Jordan Schroeder is on the Injured Reserve list, Zack Kassian was acquired for a Gillis pick, and there are numerous promising prospects or more recent mintage on the way, but the fact remains: there are no Gillis draft picks in the current lineup.
Where Gillis has done well, however, is filling in gaps in the prospect pool with free agent signings and two of them made Gillis look good in this game, as Chris Tanev scored early in the first period and Eddie Lack made it stand up as the gamewinner by pitching his first career shutout. I saw a youth movement, of sorts, when I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 0 Hurricanes
- Eddie “The Stork” Lack was full value for the shutout, playing a sound game positionally so that he always seemed to be square to the shooter, forcing the Hurricanes to hit him in the chest again and again. Even better, he was swallowing everything like a Tendriculos, giving up few rebounds and covering up quickly any time there was a potential scramble in front of the net. He finished the game with more saves than a Seattle Mariners closing pitcher. On second thought, that sounds like a stealth insult. He had 31 saves, which was as many saves as there were shots on goal, so that’s pretty good.
- According to Sportsnet, Lack is the first Canucks goaltender to post a shutout in his first start at home since Johan Hedberg back in 2003. Hedberg only had to make 14 saves for his shutout, though, so we’ll assume that Lack will have a longer and more storied career with the Canucks.
- For the first time this season, Tom Sestito was a healthy scratch. No offence meant to him, but when he was re-signed by the Canucks, I thought he’d be a healthy scratch a lot more often. Jeremy Welsh dressed in his place and the fourth line managed to not be buried in their own end of the ice for extended periods of time, with all three members of that line — Welsh, Dale Weise, and Zac Dalpe — finishing with an even or better Fenwick rating in their limited minutes. I wouldn’t make too much of it, though. Like the spoons at a gelato place, this game is a small sample size.
- Manny Malhotra returned for his first game in Vancouver as a Hurricane and he did his usual Malhotrian thing, winning 10-of-15 faceoffs for a game-high 67% success rate. I don’t have a joke here, it was just great to see him back on the ice. I like that guy.
- As mentioned, Chris Tanev opened the scoring and was the only player to actually beat a goalie in this game other than John Shorthouse, who was busy slapping John Garrett in the press box to make up for not slapping him on Sunday. With Andrej Sekera defending without a stick, the Canucks moved the puck around the Hurricanes’ zone with impunity until Jeff Skinner passed his stick off to the defenceman. That opened up space for Tanev to step up to the top of the faceoff circle before releasing his wrist shot and it left Sekera screening his own goaltender while he was trying to figure out which way was up on his new stick.
- Late in the first, Ryan Kesler got cross-checked by Sekera, who seemed to think that Kesler went down like Miller Lite: super easy. The refs seemed to agree, giving Kesler a weak roughing call off the ensuing faceoff to balance things out. That call had makeup all over it, like the Wayans in White Chicks.
- This was the third game in four nights for the Canucks and it began to show in the second and third period, as the Canucks looked more fatigued than an Army Surplus store. After outshooting the Hurricanes 13-11 in the first period, the Canucks were out-shot 20-13 throughout the rest of the game.
- With Alex Burrows out indefinitely, John Tortorella has been auditioning David Booth and Jannik Hansen on the top line, with underwhelming results. Meanwhile, Zack Kassian has been working himself back into the coach’s good graces, earning himself a third period shift with the Sedins. It was a good one too, with some good time spent in the offensive zone and 2 shots on goal, but Hansen was back with the Sedins on their next shift. Like one of Luongo’s snack goals, it was a snack shift for Kassian, giving him a taste of the first line so he doesn’t get too hungry for more later.
- But really, Kassian has to get some time with the Sedins at some point, otherwise he spent all that time grooming an identical goatee for nothing. After the game, he all but admitted that’s why he grew the goatee, saying, “Maybe I’ll get a little Twin luck in me.” It doesn’t work that way, Kassian. Jeff Cowen already tried it.
- We didn’t hear much about it for some reason, but Jannik Hansen had gone 9 games without a goal and had just one in his last 19 games, so his empty net goal to seal the victory bumped a slump for the Honninggrævling. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t care (NSFW).
- We’ll leave the last word to John Garrett, who repeated it once it was safe to do so: “Shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout, shutout.”
, I Watched This Game