I Watched This Game: Canucks at Los Angeles Kings, January 4, 2014

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.
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18 comments

  1. Brent
    January 5, 2014

    Well that was disappointing. Thought the first period was ok, being outchanced but not terrible, but in the second period it got ugly fast, with the fenwick flatlining near the end and continuing into the third. Surprised they did not come out with more jump after the period of death, Tort must be loosing his Mojo.

    But what pissed me off most was Glen Healy. You know when I saw Elliot F wasn’t at the desk I should have just fast forwarded though it, but no, i let it play. To say that the cheap hit by dustin Brown on Henrik was the turning point i the series just shows how much of an idiot he is. Can we replace him with Thomas Drance? MAybe start a petition or something? Actually somewhat happy that Ron M actually defended the Canucks after his bonehead comments. I think he almost likes us now??

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    • Taco
      January 5, 2014

      I so agree. Harrison, you need to up your game on this one because there are so many more lines here than “nucks play bad”. For one, how about the goaltender interference? I would like to see a mash up of how many times the kings accidentally fall on the goalie per game. To my eyes they really just look out to injure and the canucks are lucky they didn’t lose Lu again. I really liked Sestito’s comeback against quick but the only problem was it needed to be twice as fast and hard. Otherwise it is like,go ahead an run our goalie or maybe we might bump one of your guys sort of in the general area of your crease. Message received, continue on as before except more egregiously as we clearly have not reached an unacceptable level. Basically we are just seeing the result of a smaller team meeting a bigger one, or at least one which plays bigger. The Canucks just only have about 1 period of juice in the can at this level.

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      • Taco
        January 5, 2014

        Sorry, meant to attach previous to akidd below and not Brent above.

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        • Brent
          January 5, 2014

          No problem. I was happy to think that someone agreed with me! then I read what you said and I figured it wasn’t for me.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      January 5, 2014

      Ron treads a fine line with the Canucks now because there was genuine tension between the team and the network after the Burrows incident.

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  2. akidd
    January 5, 2014

    sure the canucks could’ve played better but how much better? they went hard at it in the first and it was good-looking hockey by both teams but those kings are a tough team. they imposed their will. i hate it but it’s true. they would chew the canucks up in a 7-game series at this point. so many good teams in the pacific. sure is nice of the oilers to suck though. imagine if they were the team they were projected to be? and were division rivals too? sure is nice of edmonton to give everyone a break.

    aside from the oilers and flames we’re basically looking at years of the most ferocious competition in the pacific division .and the animosity has barely started brewing. it would be nice if the canucks could hold their own a bit. not easy. it certainly didn’t look easy tonight anyways.

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    • Amor de Cosmos
      January 5, 2014

      Spot on. Kesler’s line ( and maybe (gasp!) the fourth) look to be the only ones to come close to matching the Kings line for line at this point. They’re able to take away our game without breaking sweat. Mind you — on the positive side — I can’t think of another team we match up as badly against.

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  3. mac 'n cheese
    January 5, 2014

    I get a little frustrated having to endure the CBC broadcast. They cut to Drew Doughty so many times it felt beyond a regular schoolboy crush.
    Is there a way to post a gif of “To Catch a Predator” here?

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  4. Chinook
    January 5, 2014

    Attended a local hockey game last night (AA Senior) instead of watching the Canucks-Kings. Our team won handily, scored some pretty goals. So even after reading PITB and first 3 comments I still feel pretty good.

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  5. smj
    January 5, 2014

    Shockingly Sestito’s career high point streak ended, although he had one good move close to the net. It concerns me that this is what I am focusing on.

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  6. chicken hawk
    January 5, 2014

    Somehow it seems no longer news:
    Canucks score first and then they lose.

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  7. GeezMoney
    January 5, 2014

    Any and all talk about David Booth’s anazing Corsi has all but disappeared. Jannik Hansen on the first line is a terrible idea. Gillis does need to find an actual scoring winger, but suffice to say this team is no contender and perhaps any trade to help this squad this year could be detrimental to the team’s long term health.

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  8. Old Guy
    January 5, 2014

    The Canucks shrunk … literally.

    A SoCal computer geek was commissioned to make a material reduction force machine to shrink the Kardashian’s fat a$$es but it didn’t work on non-biological material.

    The Lakers heard about it and knew they could only win if the other teams shrunk. They installed it in the visitors’ dressing room. They beat and shrunk Utah the night before. The machine was inadvertently left on.

    Now that Sutter knows, the Kings will never loose a home game.

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  9. bluemoonjones
    January 5, 2014

    Meh. Still don’t think the sky is falling. it’s a long season. I like this teams’ heart and grit, even when losing. Good D wins in the playoffs, the nucks just needs to get there. I’d rather not be an 8 seed, but any of the bottom 4 seeds are going to have a tough first round anyway, so what the heck. Stay healthy. Stay focused on playing Good D. Just get in the playoffs, anything can happen with a team like this…

    Oh, and Torts, love ya bro, but can we please let Kassian skate with the Sedin’s now. Please? What is there to lose? Burrows will be back soon, and, I think we’ve all seen enough of Hansen on that line. Plus, as weird as it sounds, Hansen is better when he’s not playing with the Sedin’s. Give Zack a shot.

    Of course I’m not a coach, I just play one while sitting on my couch…

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    • Naturalmystic
      January 5, 2014

      8 games against Cali teams
      12 goals scored

      1 game Vancouver scored 4 goals. Take out that game and Vancouver scored 8 goals in 7 games against Cali Teams. So Mr. Defense wins play off games, if you don’t score you don’t win a play off series. Vancouver can’t score, Vancouver gets eliminated in the post season.

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      • bluemoonjones
        January 5, 2014

        And 7 of those 8 games were in Oct/Nov with a brand new coach and system.
        You haven’t seen improvement since then? Then you haven’t really been watching.
        There’s way too much hockey left to make definitive negative pronouncements about this teams’ playoff chances here in early January. Not with the mix of good coaching and smart veterans on this team. Goals will come.

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  10. the real bob
    January 5, 2014

    The way Dustin Brown was flopping around the ice I would have assumed it was an audition for Olympic Diving or at least the San Jose Sharks

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  11. DanD
    January 6, 2014

    We all might have moved on to the more recent loss already, but curious what you guys thought about that late Sestito penalty. Obviously a mistimed hit. But was it one he should have been trying for in the first place, or was it a boneheaded play all around?

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