I Watched This Game: Canucks at Chicago Blackhawks, December 20, 2013

If you only watched the first period of this game, well, that was stupid of you, wasn’t it? That’s like watching Home Alone and shutting it off right around the time Kevin leaves the church after his heart-to-heat with Old Man Marley. I mean, granted, you’ll see the clip from Angels With Filthy Souls, which I guess could be analogous to Chris Higgins’ breakaway chance, but that’s pretty much it for early entertainment in this slow-building holiday classic.

Now, I can see why you might have wanted to turn it off after the first, since the Canucks didn’t turn it on until around then anyway. They were outshot 10-3 by Chicago in the opening twenty, and two of those shots were by Andrew Alberts and Tom Sestito, who are about as threatening a duo as Harry and Marv in Home Alone. But after that, this thing really picked up, with the Canucks turning the tables on the Blackhawks like Kevin turns the table on Harry and Marv in… okay, I’ll stop.

I decided I would be watching Home Alone tonight while I watched this game.

Canucks 3 – 2 Blackhawks (SO)

***

  • This win felt especially good if you remember how the last game versus Chicago went, and I know you do, since it was less than a month ago, and also it was exceedingly painful. After leading most of the game, the Canucks collapsed, allowing Chicago to come back in the third and steal the two points. It would appear that turnabout is fair play. Also fair play: riding a carousel.
  • Eddie Lack deserves a ton of credit for this win. He made more big saves than Microsoft Word’s document recovery software. He was especially good in that awful first period, where, despite the fact that the two teams are literally in the same league, Chicago looked as out of Vancouver’s league as Alice Eve in that Jay Baruchel movie about a guy who dates a woman that’s out of his league.
  • Fortunately, the Canucks came out stronger in the second, and if you’re wondering if it was the result of another impassioned John Tortorella speech, I have it on good authority that this one was just seven words long: Play better, or I’ll kill Jannik Hansen. We call that motivational approach “hitting the Jannik button.” Heyo!
  • Their humdrum first act behind them, the Canucks took over in the second, outshooting the Hawks 9-0 in the early going. And then Patrick Kane scored against the run of the play to make it 2-0. It’s tough to blame anyone on the Patrick Kane goal, except maybe God, for making Patrick Kane.
  • That’s Kassian’s seventh goal this season, which is impressive, since he’s not on the ice all that much. He’d be a great fit with the Sedins. It’d be nice if he’d get good enough at the rest of the game for John Tortorella to play him there.
  • The Sedins weren’t overly noticeable for much of this game, but they finally got on the board midway through the third, as Daniel Sedin scored the game-tying goal on with a truly impressive show of dexterity. In the time it took Antti Raanta to slide to his left, Daniel stopped a wide shot with his right foot, kicked it across to his stick, dragged it back from below the goal line, and shoveled it into the net. He dug deep for that one. Dig Dug deep.
  • Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis played 29:15 tonight, a game-high. He’s eating a lot of minutes right now. But not all the minutes. He put some minutes aside for the less fortunate, because it’s Christmas.
  • And then there was a shootout. Things were looking surprisingly good early, as Eddie Lack stopped the very formidable Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and Mike Santorelli scored for Vancouver. Suddenly, the Canucks had not one but two chances to win. And John “we suck in the shootout” Tortorella sent out Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Worse, he sent them out separately.
  • Daniel’s attempt wasn’t that terrible. You could see how it might go in, if, say, Raanta had scrambled out of the net about the time Daniel crossed the blue line. But Henrik’s was a special kind of bad. It’s amazing to me that the leading scorer in Canucks’ franchise history, not to mention their most potent offensive weapon in the shootout era, has never scored in the shootout. How did we get a superstar with an ironic Achilles heel? He’s like a schlocky, Spielbergian action movie hero. He’s Indiana Jones, and the shootout is snakes.
  • Zac Dalpe had another decent night in the faceoff circle, going 4-for-5. Last night, he went 8-for-9. That’s a decent weekend set. Winning draws is a good way to get on Torts’s good side. And survive in the old West. Another good way to survive in the Old West? Turn a train into a time machine.
  • Finally, after eight rounds, Ryan Kesler scored the shootout winner, much to the chagrin of Raanta. Here’s what he had to say about the shootout after the game: “Sometimes it feels like somebody is flipping the coin to decide who wins.” Hmm. Sounds like somebody is a sore coin flip loser.
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22 comments

  1. peanutflower
    December 20, 2013

    I am seriously laughing loud out loud right now: “hitting the Jannik button.” Heyo!

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    • Blueliner
      December 20, 2013

      HEYO!

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  2. cathylu
    December 20, 2013

    Wow, that feels good! Eddie had a great game and really kept calm in the shootout. I consider this game an early Christmas present!

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  3. Dan
    December 20, 2013

    Haha love the references/jokes in this IWTG, one of your best for sure. “Also fair play: riding a carousel.”

    Daniel’s goal move was incredible, someone needs to break it down via a slow gif of the Chicago feed. He had such quick backhand to forehand movement, it’s impressive.

    …I had more to say but I can’t say anything else really because Stronger is now stuck in my head, thanks a lot for that link guys.

    Youuuu
    might
    think that I can’t take it
    but you’re wrong
    ‘Cause now I’m…
    Strooooonger
    than yessssterday
    Now it’s nothing but myyyyy waaaay

    Aah someone get it out of my head

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  4. Blueliner
    December 20, 2013

    Daniel’s goal was so sick and silky smooth that I had to watch it on youtube after the game at half the speed to see exactly what he did

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    • peanutflower
      December 20, 2013

      how do you watch youtube at half the speed. I can never figure that out.

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      • peanutflower
        December 22, 2013

        serious question! no answers?

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        • madwag
          December 22, 2013

          google: “how do you watch youtube at half the speed?” there were answers, but i didn’t take the time to figure them out.

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  5. Andre
    December 20, 2013

    Eddy Lack made a number of key saves, but one of them, where he stretched his leg out to rob a sure goal, was pure stork save.

    It’s pretty clear why he got that name.

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    • Andre
      December 21, 2013

      Incidentally, that save on Smith settles once and for all the Schneider-Luongo argument. Compare their stats at this juncture: Lack is 5-2 with a .927 SV%, against Schneider’s 4-7, .915 SV%.

      Both are excellent, young goalkeepers. This means that Gillis (clumsily) resolved the goalie dilemma by getting Bo Horvat and promoting Lack to the NHL, with no loss in performance (if you consider last night’s game as the litmus test for Lack).

      Now, all we need is for the twins to find their mojo, maybe with Burrows’ return, and we can start dreaming again.

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  6. KevinZ
    December 20, 2013

    I absolutely lost it at the “play better or I’ll kill Jannik Hansen” joke. Bravo Harrison.

    I am still wondering why Sestito gets time. Seems like one of those mysterious phenomena of the unexplained.
    Also, I liked Weber’s game today, especially that great backcheck in overtime.

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  7. chicken hawk
    December 20, 2013

    Every man should have a goal!
    If you are one who wants to troll,
    Then choose a team that’s much maligned,
    And often finds itself behind,
    Which needs that one elusive score,
    But through the third just cannot score.
    With this advice a warning too:
    This team may just embarrass you!

    Vancouver proved this Friday night,
    And took two points to my delight!
    When this occurs just be a fan:
    To your surprise you’ll find you can.
    At times like these do not attack,
    But praise good folk like Eddie Lack!

    Chicken Hawk

    Or young Sedin who showed his class,
    To tie the game while on his ass,
    Or Dan Hamhuis or Mau Mau Kass,
    And Garrison who made the pass,
    Or better yet the team en masse!

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  8. Littlemissfab
    December 20, 2013

    Holy crap! A Dig Dug reference!!!!

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  9. akidd
    December 20, 2013

    “we tried different guys… that didn’t work but we tired him out and kes put one in.”

    tortorella got me chuckling there.

    but more importantly… which way to the eddie lack fan clubhouse? even if we have to chant and wear robes… i could be okay with it…..

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    • mac 'n cheese
      December 21, 2013

      Eddie Lack Fanclub Members are decked out in those “Believe” Santa sweatshirts. They’re required to get in ;)

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  10. Shade of Blue
    December 21, 2013

    * Lack was outstanding when he had to be. The toe save called out above was sensational.

    * Santorelli continues to impress. I love the compete level he brings to every shift. He was _pissed_ he didn’t manage to tuck the puck in late in OT — he clearly expects himself to make that play, whereas I was impressed he came close.

    * I was thinking we could use some Sedinery just about the time Daniel scored. What we could use even more is a power play goal (or two), which would have made for a very different game.

    * The penalty kill, in contrast, is pure awesomeness. The Hawks’ powerplay came in hot, but was held to just 2(!) shots (total!) in 4 chances. Unbelievable.

    * What a great performance, especially coming back from a 2-goal deficit late, on the second night of a back-to-back on the road.

    * ‘Jannick button’ (slow clap) bravo!

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    • Amor de Cosmos
      December 21, 2013

      Santorelli is convinced he’ll score every time he hits the ice. It’s wonderful to watch someone playing with that level of certainty. His stick isn’t a tool it’s an extension of his arm, the blade another hand. When he scored in the shoot out it was routinely inevitable. When he hit the post in OT, and raised his eyes heavenwards it wasn’t a plea, it was “How DARE you!”

      He’s the direct opposite to poor Burrows right now. Who, to be fair, has had his godlike streaks too. Now if they could both find the celestial mojo at the same time, wouldn’t that be something to see?

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  11. Brent
    December 21, 2013

    Well I am very happy they dug deep and got the two points. Great game after the sub-optimal first. Well sub-optimal for the Canucks anyway. They certainly deserved better in the second, seeing how they dominated the play so much. But Bieksa didn’t play Kane very well on that goal, thought Harrison would make one of his “gave him too much gap jokes”, instead he invoked god. Whatever.
    Hope someone sets up duelling gifs of Quenville after the too many men penalty and Torts after Kesler put it away. Would be a great contrast. Amazing how Kesler made it seem so easy after so many failed efforts.

    Great game for Lack. Nice to know that if Luongo gets injured, we have a solid guy as backup! Weber and Alberts were not as horrendous as I thought they would be. ANd that back check by Webber was awesome. All in all I am happy, happy, happy!

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  12. TubaNat
    December 21, 2013

    All in all an excellent night, and a big two points. And then to come here and be reminded of home alone, perfect. Think I might just have to watch that again…

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  13. shoes
    December 21, 2013

    I look into my crystal ball and I see the trolls and bashers…….. “dere dey are….gone!!”

    Great comeback win. Canucks have so many back to back games this year and have played so many lately, nobody comments at all. I remember a time when it was thought to be “lucky” if you could win the 2nd game of a back to back. Let alone both Chicago and Boston in one week, both on the 2nd game of a back to back.

    I hope Collie pulled his thinning hair out over those games.

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  14. peanutflower
    December 21, 2013

    What, no love for Tanev, PITB? I swear that “diminutive” guy gets better with every game. His stick is always in the right place. He takes huge hits and bounces back up.

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    • bluemoonjones
      December 21, 2013

      I think the fellas here have shown Tanev the love he deserves this year for certain, but even so, you’re right about last nights game – the dude was stinkin’ everywhere and doin’ everything right. Again.

      Please Gillis, for the love of buddha, get him signed long term now…

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