I Watched This Game: Canucks at Calgary Flames, December 29, 2013

Like Johnny Galecki, the Canucks were a little rusty. The week-long break between games didn’t do the Canucks any favours, as they struggled to dispatch the lowly Flames. Don’t get me wrong, they were never in danger of losing this game, generally dominated puck possession, and were clearly the better team, but they couldn’t get the puck past the mediocre Reto Berra more than twice.

Frankly, this game had no business being as close as it was: the Canucks out-shot the Flames 30-to-18 and were about as smothering as a helicopter parent in the defensive zone, while Lack was perfect in his first game as the number one goaltender with Roberto Luongo injured. Aside from a strong push at the beginning of the third period, the Flames never looked competitive with the Canucks, which is why a 2-0 win is so underwhelming.

That said, the Canucks didn’t get sucked into playing down to the level of an inferior opponent and came away with a win, so it was still relatively satisfying when I watched this game.

Canucks 2 – 0 Flames

***

  • This was largely a boring game: the Canucks dominated the first two periods, but only scored one goal, so the Flames weren’t under any pressure to open up their game to come back. As a result, the Flames collapsed around their own net, forcing the Canucks to the perimeter, resulting in fewer opportunities to score than a conservative Christian college.
  • The Canucks were likely hoping to keep ice time down, with the Philadelphia Flyers already waiting in Vancouver for their game Monday night, but an ugly elbow to the head from Brian McGrattan on Andrew Alberts just a few minutes in threw a wrench into that plan. Alberts collapsed to the ice with what we might assume to be a concussion and left the game, leaving the remaining defencemen to eat up some extra minutes in his absence.
  • Thank goodness Tom Sestito was on the ice to prevent that dirty hit by fighting McGrattan after it happened. Wait…
  • McGrattan received a five-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct for the elbow, giving the Canucks a long power play early in the game. Unfortunately, it was the most disappointing five minutes since “We Built This City” by Starship, as the Canucks mustered just 3 shots, none from within 30 feet.
  • With the combination of the power play and the Canucks dominant play at even-strength, the Flames didn’t manage a shot on goal for the first 13 minutes of the game and didn’t even have a shot attempt until 11:45 into the game. In my expert opinion, the Flames are not particularly good.
  • After dominating the opening frame with the puck in Calgary’s end, the Canucks finally opened the scoring, ironically, with a counter-attack. After Dan Hamhuis blocked a Mark Giordano point shot, Henrik Sedin sprung Jannik Hansen on a breakaway with an absurd, four-foot high, two-line saucer pass that landed right on Hansen’s tape. Hansen bobbled the puck slightly before whipping a wrist shot far side on Reto Berra, then crashed hard into the boards because Honninggrævling don’t care.
  • Poor Henrik Sedin had a rough outing, taking a puck to the ear in warmup that needed stitches. His ear, I mean, not the puck. Then, later in the second period, his brother added to his suffering, chipping a puck straight into his face on a clearing attempt. Apparently the pucks overheard Henrik saying something really mean about their mother prior to the game. In this scenario, all of the pucks are siblings.
  • Eddie Lack was seriously fantastic in this game, which is astonishing, because Lack doesn’t seem to do anything seriously. His best stretch came when the Flames pushed hard early in the third period, as he robbed T.J. Galiardi on a spinning backhand attempt, then made a head save on a Lee Stempniak chance on the short side. “He headed that one over the bar, soccer goalie style,” explained John Garrett, who doesn’t seem to realize that soccer goalies are allowed to use their hands.
  • I just realized that the Flames have two players named T.J. on their team: Galiardi and Brodie. That’s one T.J. too many. Since Galiardi has seniority, he gets to keep the nickname, while Brodie will have to go by his real name, Thomas James. Either that or Broseph Brodie.
  • Mike Santorelli was the beneficiary of some hard work from Ryan Kesler, who poked the puck away from Mikael Backlund in the neutral zone, then beat him to the loose puck, feeding Santorelli for the 2-0 goal. It was the best insurance marker since the free Johnston Meier pen I got a couple weeks ago. It’s a pretty nice pen.
  • The biggest news coming out of this game is the Alberts injury, as it likely leaves the Canucks with just five defencemen heading into the second night of back-to-back games. If the Canucks call someone up from Utica, such as Frank Corrado, he’d have to leave soon, as it’s a five-hour flight from Syracuse (the nearest airport to Utica) to Vancouver.
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21 comments

  1. Brent
    December 29, 2013

    Lets hope Corrado can get here on time. I’m thinking 6 defencemen would be a good thing.

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  2. Brent
    December 29, 2013

    Lets hope Corrado can get here on time. I’m thinking 6 defencemen would be a good thing.

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  3. akidd
    December 29, 2013

    canucks had a nice bonus in the schedule there, getting the flames right after the break. lack had to be sharp there or this one could have gone differently. a few pretty good chances given up. still, overall this was one of those 2-pointers like back in the ol’ NW daze, when they grew on trees. those points are worth a ton when exchanged into pacific division dollars though…sweet.

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    • shoes
      December 31, 2013

      Hahahaha …..nice bonus in the schedule? Really play back to back and then get a full week off and then play back to back again. That is about as tough as it gets to keep mentally in the game. Nice job by the Canucks to give the finger to the NHL schedulers. Check out Bostons schedule if you want to talk about “lucky breaks” They catch the Canucks on the 2nd game of a back to back both times this year.

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  4. James W.
    December 29, 2013

    The masochist in me wants to see Tom Sestito play as a defenceman tomorrow. If that happens and the Canucks still beat the Flyers, it tells you how weak the east is.

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  5. chicken hawk
    December 29, 2013

    The Bears were beaten by the Pack
    As were the Flames by Eddie Lack
    When Hansen scored I’d little doubt
    The Stork would surely shut them out
    And so it is to my delight
    He faces Philly Monday night

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  6. Jaxsun
    December 29, 2013

    What about Weber? He isn’t on Utica right now right?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      December 30, 2013

      Weber is one of the five healthy defencemen.

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  7. planetracker
    December 29, 2013

    Flight from Syracuse wont arrive till 4,30pm tomorrow. Hope Corrado drove 3 hours to Ottawa tonight and got the early morning flight which gets him here at 1020am. Utica is a bad place for a West Coast farm team

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    • J21
      December 30, 2013

      Agreed, Ottawa is probably best just for the possibility of a direct flight to Vancouver. I hope they at least get someone to drive him, though… he’s a young kid, I doubt he knows the area, and the road conditions on Route 12 (the route up from Utica) may not be great this time of year.

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  8. TubaNat
    December 30, 2013

    That opening line, so good. How long have you been sitting on that one?

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  9. samzilla
    December 30, 2013

    you specifically call out the two TJ’s on the Flames, and yet not a single TJ Hooker reference? For shame.

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  10. Hodor
    December 30, 2013

    I grew up near Trinity Western. Your assessment of conservative Christian colleges is not correct.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 30, 2013

      We both went there and both of us got minimal action, so we’re quite confident of this assessment. Although Daniel did meet his wife there, I guess.

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    • Phileo99
      December 30, 2013

      I dunno, I’d consider Trinity Western as more like Amy Grant – more mainstream secular than conservative Christian

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  11. Casey Ydenberg (@CAYdenberg)
    December 30, 2013

    No, two T.J.’s is two too many.

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  12. Chinook
    December 30, 2013

    “then crashed hard into the boards because Honninggrævling don’t care” is my favourite line!

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  13. Paul from YT
    December 30, 2013

    If Corrado can’t make it in time for tonights game, but would be available for the game on Wednesday, who would be the best fill-in Dman?
    Weise: defensively responsible, can take and give a good hit and does have the wheels to get back into the play if pinching.
    Hansen: pretty much the same as Weise, but being moved to D would be a loss to the 1st line but might be the opportunity Kassian would need to play with the Sedins with Hansen on D.

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  14. DanD
    December 30, 2013

    Fittingly, one of the ways a conservative Christian college keeps scoring chances low is by restricting male and female contact to the perimeter of the campus, i.e. not inside the dorms. That joke worked on so many levels.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      December 30, 2013

      Yep. You spend a lot of time trying from outside, as in the woods behind the school.

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  15. tj
    December 30, 2013

    Let me just note, I take umbrage to all this TJ mockery. Umbrage, I tell ya.

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