The Canucks and Blues headed into the second intermission with the score tied, leaving us wondering which team was going to take over and play their game in the third period. Both teams boasted just one regulation loss in such situations, although it’s safe to say they came by this identical statistic in very different ways. The Blues were 8-1-0 in tie thirds. They tend to win these affairs. The Canucks were 5-1-6, as their third-period game, especially during this current identity crisis, involves taking the lead, and then blowing it late.
So who won out? Neither team, really. The Canucks got the two points, sure, but they didn’t do it their way. Instead, their identity crisis continued, as they forgot who they were and accidentally held on to win the game. And I watched this game.
Canucks 2 – 1 Blues
- This was a boring game, for the most part. But the last few minutes were truly compelling, edge-of-your seat hockey. Why is that? Because the Canucks have been hot trash when it comes to holding late leads. Basically, pulling your goalie does more than just give you an extra guy: it somehow also pulls Vancouver’s goalie, as though the two netminders’ minds are melded like if they were controlling a Jaeger. (It’s frustrating, but we’ll be pretty happy if the Kaijus ever rise from the ocean. We already know Eddie Lack can drift.)
- Anyway. Is it possible the Canucks have been blowing so many leads just to up the suspense for this one? If so, they are truly hockey’s answer to John Carpenter. Not that we needed one of those, but still.
- The Canucks were really struggling with their confidence coming into this game, and it showed during warm-up, when the minor hockey player invited to do a few laps with the team came out wearing a no. 17 Bruins jersey and no one tried to fight him. Although maybe they were planning to get him later when he went out with his family for poutine.
- One of this season’s enduring storylines is Zack Kassian’s bid to get some ice time with the Sedins, and if you thought having a really good game against Pittsburgh might do it, think again. All that did was earn him more time on the second line. Zack, you idiot! Instead, the other Zac — Dalpe — got a shot. I feel like John Tortorella is trolling Kassian at this point. If he had other Zacks and Zacharies, he would have used them too. Braff. Snyder. Morris. De La Rocha. Ty Bryan. All the Zacks.
- And then, to add insult to injury, Dalpe had to go ahead and make the most of his opportunity, having his best game as a Canuck and becoming the 45th player in team history to score a goal assisted by both Sedins. The goal came on some minor Sedinery, with Henrik attempting to swing a puck to Dalpe and instead hitting his brother with a perfect pass off the boards, because these guys seriously can’t help themselves. Daniel wasted no time, stepping into a shot that was going wide before Dalpe reached out and changed its course like it was history, and he had just gone back in time via magic toaster and killed a giant mosquito.
- Alternate joke: Dalpe changed the puck’s course like he was its academic advisor.
- Alex Pietrangelo scored the game-tying goal, and because it’s January, not February, this was a problem for me. It was a great shot, though, and I also had to appreciate Vladimir Tarasenko’s shot fake at the top of the zone, as he pumped like he was going to step into the one-timer and then let the puck go between his legs like a cat saying hi. (As George Carlin says, if you’ve got a cat and two legs, you’ve got a party.)
- Speaking of appendages, Henrik Sedin’s hand appears to be feeling better. Not only was he taking draws again in this game, but he was winning them, going 7-for-9 in the circle. This explains his iron man streak: he somehow possesses the magical ability to regenerate himself by just pretending his injury doesn’t exist until it not only gets better, but actually gets better. Someone should cut off his legs so he regenerates with, like, Martin St. Louis’ legs.
- Dale Weise wasn’t all that noticeable in his return to the lineup after being healthy-scratched versus Pittsburgh, but he made a great play on Santorelli’s game-winner. Rather than attempting to take possession of the puck and beat Kevin Shattenkirk along the wall, he simply poked the puck past the Blues’ defender and blew by him, turning Kevin Shattenkirk into Kevin Shattenpants.
- John Garrett had a couple of choice moments in this one. I enjoyed when he grumbled about the Safeway featured product being rice cakes, because you can’t put ketchup on those. (To which we’d respond: John, you can. People just normally don’t. But you have to chase your dreams.) My favourite moment, however was when he tried to talk about John Shorthouse’s Canuck Report: “One of your Canuck things that you do for the radio,” he said. “Your award-winning… Canuck thing.”
- Dan “Community Man” Hamhuis flattening Max Lapierre with a hipcheck along the boards was a pretty choice moment. But that’s not all the community man flattened. After the game, he went supermarket to supermarket, helping store employees to break down their recycling.
- Eddie Lack was fantastic tonight, making 30 saves. They should change his name to Eddie Have, because whatever it is, this dude’s got it. I’m just going to see myself out.