Vancouver led this game 4-2 with only a few minutes to play. They looked on their way to a comfortable victory. And then Daniel Sedin was hit in the genitals with a slapshot.
Let it be henceforth known that hitting Daniel Sedin in the genitals is painfully unlucky — and not just for Daniel Sedin, and his genitals. The entire team looked shell-shocked by the junk shot, and while Daniel would recover, the team never did. Shortly thereafter, the game was tied.
It was impossible not to feel this one. Never has the phrase “We are all Canucks” seemed more apt. We all took one in the beanbags tonight, Vancouver. I watched this game.
Canucks 4 – 5 Penguins (SO)
- Henrik Sedin took zero faceoffs in this game, which is suspicious, since he normally takes more than that. Mike Santorelli took all of his draws, and if Santorelli was waved out, Daniel came in. I’m going to go out on a limb and assume he has an injury. Best guess: strained faceoff muscle. That’s a thing, right?
- The three stars of this game: Zack Kassian, Chris Higgins, and Kris Letang, and those are the right choices — based on the 55 minutes of play after which the three stars were selected. Granted, the honoured trio underscores the fatal flaw in this system, which is that it doesn’t make allowances for Sidney Crosby practically transfiguring in the final five minutes as he did here, setting up Kris Letang’s goal to cut the lead in half, then scoring the game-tying goal to go full Mola Ram on every Canucks fan in the house just 16 seconds later. To add insult to injury, he scored the lone goal in the shootout. Also Chris Kunitz was there.
- The Canucks played probably their most passive game of the season here, forgoing their usual aggressive forecheck under John Tortorella for a staid, neutral zone trap. The fans were not having it, booing the club a few times as the Penguins circled back in their own zone, unpressured by a single forechecker. But I get it. The Canucks have been abysmal defensively, they’re clearly tired and undermanned, and they were playing arguably the most potent offensive club in the NHL. The current Canucks aren’t going to beat Pittsburgh in a shootout. Or an actual shootout, as it happens.
- Dan Hamhuis earned the blame on the Penguins’ first goal, bobbling a puck at the blue line and allowing Brian Gibbons to seize it and beat Eddie Lack on a breakaway. Fans on Twitter immediately decried his Olympic selection. But even the best players in the world make bad plays. Case in point: the Canucks got back into this game because Sidney Crosby set up Jason Garrison for Vancouver’s first goal. Garrison took the feed and whistled a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury like he was Andrew Bird.
- The Canucks pressed for the tie in the third, and they got it, thanks to Chris Tanev’s fifth goal of the season. Tanev’s shot wasn’t hard. Heck, it wasn’t even good. But it got through, which happens often enough when the goalie loses the post like Marc-Andre Fleury did on this one. He was defending about half a foot of open ice to the side of the net when Tanev’s shot slid harmlessly past his left skate. But he would have looked like a genius if the net suddenly shifted six inches right.
- Tom Sestito had another strong game, and very nearly scored a highlight-reel goal after taking a drop-pass from Jannik Hansen and almost dangling into the net like he was donning a fishnet banana hammock. It was jaw-dropping, and may have distracted from what I think was the real story of this play: Jannik Hansen is so lacking in confidence right now that he passed up a free lane to the net to make a drop pass to Tom Sestito in traffic. Think about that for a second.
- But it’s possible that Hansen gained some confidence after setting Chris Higgins up for the go-ahead goal midway through the third. He hit Higgins for a breakaway, and Higgins went five-hole like he was playing traditional whac-a-mole.
- Then, only 17 seconds later, Zack Kassian made it 4-2 with a beauty, knocking down a waist-high pass and then immediately flipping a backhander over Fleury’s shoulder. Like a quality shadow puppet play, it was an incredible show of hands, and Kassian made sure the world knew it by pumping his fists like he was crossing a super-low, invisible jungle gym. He was mobbed by the Canucks, and I don’t mean mobbed like “crowded around” — I mean mobbed like beat up by gangsters. Kassian had a nosebleed at the end.
- Kassian had an incredible game overall. How incredible? He earned himself a shootout attempt, which should pretty much say it all. I watched this game from the press box, which is a completely different viewing experience, because you can see the entire ice from up there and, usually, plays before they develop. But on several occasions, Kassian found guys on the ice even before I saw them from my perch on high, and made unbelievably crisp passes. You’d think he’d have more apples on the season, because his passes are apple crisp.
- Kassian made passes so crisp that the bloosd tried to kill them.
- It’s amazing what the Canucks are doing lately. Not the good kind of amazing, mind you. Not even close. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad kind of amazing. The Canucks have held and surrendered leads in five straight games, and they’ve surrendered the game-tying goal inside the final two minutes three times. This team finishes teams about as well as I finish bullet
- Sadly, scoring twice in 17 seconds doesn’t mean much when you allow your opponent to get them back in 16 seconds. On the bright side, this allows some newspaper to roll a GONE IN 16 SECONDS headline. They’d better, too. If no one does, this loss was for nothing. Well, almost nothing. It reminded me of this, at least.
, I Watched This Game