Roberto Luongo wasn’t overly concerned about being rusty in his return versus the Los Angeles Kings, and now we know why: the Canucks had a plan — a plan to put the proverbial white vinegar to Funny Bob right away: get outplayed. Simply put, be awful. By being ineffective with the puck and sloppy enough defensively for the Kings to register a season-high 49 shots, they allowed Luongo to see enough action that, by the second period, he was basically playing his second game back. Clever, clever.
Of course, once it became clear that Luongo was back in form, the Canucks probably should have joined him. But by then they may have just been enjoying the show. Is it their fault that Luongo was the best Canuck tonight? Wait. Actually, it is. My mistake. Like all the guys wearing white sweaters in the Staples Center this evening, I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 3 Kings
- In fact, I watched this game back in November, when it originally took place at Rogers Arena. You may recall a November 25th game where the Canucks led by a goal in the third period, only to let the Kings tie it up and then steal the game out from under them. The difference: the Canucks outplayed the Kings soundly that night. Not so this night. The Kings outplayed the Canucks like William Shakespeare on Christopher Marlowe. That’s a little free literary humour for you. Verily, I i hast nail’d it.
- The good: Roberto Luongo, who really was incredible, making 46 saves and looking, through two periods, like he might never be scored on again. You can see why the Canucks thought they might be able to take the rest of the night off. The bad: the rest of the team, and Luongo knew it. “It’s disappointing,” he said of the loss. “I want to at least get that game to overtime.” In other words: the team was a big bag of wet garbage, and I was just trying to hold my nose and get it to the curb before it broke.
- The Canucks are now 0-2 in January. Is it too late to go back to December? Let’s go back. You guys get the DeLorean. I’ll go lie to the Libyans.
- If I may get technical for a second: when the Canucks are on their game, the third forward stays high enough on the cycle to be able to get back and pressure the puck-carrier on what would otherwise be odd-man rushes the other way. But when they’re not on their game, and they haven’t been for the last two games, that third forward drops too low, so when they lose puck battles — and they’ve lost far too many in 2014 — it means dangerous rushes coming back. To the third forward I say, in the words of the immortal words of James Brown: Get uppa. Get on up. Get uppa. Stay on the scene. Like a backchecks machine.
- If you really want to point fingers, though, the pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Chris Tanev were abysmal in this one. They finished with corsi percentages of 26.3 and 22.9, respectively. They were the engine of the Canucks in November, and I mean the search engine. Imagine how lost we’d be without Google.
- The Sedins were quiet in this one, but they had a moment of Sedinery midway through the first, setting up Ryan Kesler for the game’s opening goal with a nice little give-and-go along the far wall. After making some space, Daniel fed Ryan Kesler, who hesitated just long enough for Jonathan Quick to go down before going upstairs like Kenny and Denise in Can’t Hardly Wait.
- One reason the Sedins were so quiet: the Kings got a great shutdown performance out of Jannik Hansen. As I said after the game versus the Lightning, Hansen has had his moments versus the Sedins, but he’d have far more moments if the puck didn’t die on his stick so often. He stops more cycles than pregnancy.
- The Canucks debuted a new powerplay versus LA, with Chris Higgins as the net-front presence, Henrik and Ryan Kesler along the walls, and Daniel Sedin and Jason Garrison at the points. It was a bit of a head-scratcher, as we sort of thought that Ryan Kesler would be the point guy, since he has a much better one-timer, and Daniel is a better down-low passer, not to mention a little more in tune with his twin brother down below the goal line. Seems to me if you’re going to replace Daniel with Kesler, the only way to do it right is to build a giant womb and then have Henrik and Kesler spend nine months in it, and that should probably wait until the offseason.
- We all know that’s what the mind room really is, by the way.
- I liked nothing about the Dustin Brown goal. I didn’t like Luongo’s rebound. I didn’t like the fact that he was an unchecked as the “Yes” box on all my “Do you like me” notes in elementary school. I didn’t like the fact that he Chun-Li’d his way through the crease after scoring the goal. This is a controversial opinion, but you shouldn’t be allowed to roundhouse kick goalies in the neck.
- My actual favourite moment of this game: when Tom Sestito’s helmet broke, and he tried to hide it by tucking the loose strap into his jersey. That’s a guy who doesn’t get a lot of ice right there. Oh no! My strap broke! I’ll have to leave the ice! I might never get back on. Maybe if I…. Unfortunately, the officials noticed that he was busted, and he had to go to the bench for a new bucket. While he was getting it, David Booth hopped over the bench to take his place, and Sestito sad-walked back to the bench like someone ate his hard-boiled eggs.
, I Watched This Game