Like the Arcade Fire without their lead vocalist, the Vancouver Canucks came into this game in desperate need of a win. Fortunately, through 48 games, the Calgary Flames are practically a dispensary of wins. You don’t even need a prescription. Their wins are over the counter, like weak codeine products.
The Canucks got what they came for too, although it wasn’t quite as easy as all that. This game was tense. Heck, it was, like the verb “was” itself, past tense. And speaking of proper tense usage, I did not watch this game — I watched this game.
Canucks 3 – 2 Flames (SO)
- The opening faceoff for this game featured both teams’ fourth lines, and just to underscore how little interest either team in had in winning the draw, or, like, doing hockey immediately after it, the faceoff was taken by Kevins Westgarth and Bieksa. Immediately after the puck the ice, so too did 10 sets of gloves. Five simultaneous fights. Again: five simultaneous fights. Now I understand that neither of these teams were having much success at hockey coming into this one, but fellas, you won’t get better if you don’t at least try to play it.
- Once all the misconducts, majors and minors were sorted out, it came to 152 minutes of penalties in two seconds of hockey. But if you ask me, the most important thing about this entire sequence is this: Kevin Bieksa won the faceoff. Way to set the tone, Juice.
- When all the ejections were sorted out, sadly, Kellain Lain had been tossed from his NHL debut two seconds after it began. And his family flew in from Ontario for this game. Rough. Granted, it’s only about three minutes shy of how much he would have played, but even still, that has to hurt. Although your first time never lasts very long.
- Ejecting 25% of the game’s eligible skaters did little to quell the bad blood between the two teams, who kept punching each other before, after, and during whistles. 13 minutes into the game, the clubs had combined for 176 minutes in penalties. I think the officials should have just kept ejecting players until there was one left, and then asked that player to marry them.
- John Tortorella’s been pleased with his team’s toughness in recent times, but he was none too pleased that they even had to demonstrate it here. The Canuck coach was furious that Bob Hartley had chosen to start this game with his fourth line in the first place, forcing him to match with his and, in his mind, causing this whole thing. So he did what any rational adult would do: he ran around the building at the intermission and attacked the Flames’ coaches.
- As this gentleman points out, however, this entire fracas may have been inevitable. Every line on the Flames is the fourth line. Anyway. No scoring in an uneventful first period.
- And speaking of the New Jersey Devils: there were 205 penalty minutes handed out in this game, and that’s over halfway to New Jersey’s PIMs for the entire season. They’re at 387.
- In the second period, a hockey game broke out, with the Flames opening the scoring on a powerplay (as the Canucks PK continues to struggle since I praised its record pace in the most recent Big Numbers, and a commenter suggested, apparently correctly, that I had jinxed it). But Ryan Kesler got it back shortly thereafter, negotiating a Zack Kassian pass through Karri Ramo’s wickets. Something wicket this way comes!, Kesler shouted, in the alternate universe where he chirps opponents with lines from Macbeth.
- Alex Edler broke four sticks in this game. I don’t know if that’s a record and I don’t know if he was shooting for the record, but I do know that if he were shooting with the record, he’d have broken it.
- With Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison thrown out of this game, Yannik Weber was pressed into some serious action. He played 28:22 Saturday night, and he thrived on the extra time, with a team-high 6 shots on goal. One of them went in, too, a timely powerplay marker that tied the game at two. It was a Hell of a shot, which is to say it was hot, had nine circles, Judas Iscariot was in it, and the best description of it was written by Dante.
- Weber was feeling it, and John Tortorella could tell, so he sent the defender out in the shootout, and it paid off. Or maybe Weber paid Tortorella off. Smart move, if so. Torts is going to need the extra money for his inevitable fine.
- Lance Bouma tried to hit Chris Higgins in the third period and missed, tumbling face first into the Flames’ bench instead. No shame in that. He’s hardly the first person to fall head over heels upon seeing Chris Higgins.
- I’ll tell you who should feel shame: Mark Giordano. In the third, he took the most ridiculous embellishment penalty I’ve seen all season. Coming around his own net, Giordano reacted to Zack Kassian reaching in to poke away the puck by grabbing Kassian’s stick, pressing it into his stomach, then dropping as though he’d been aggressively hooked. As acting goes, even Calculon thought was a bit much.
- Finally, Henrik Sedin played two-thirds of this game, keeping his iron man streak alive at 679 games. Unfortunately, the streak was pretty much the only thing about Henrik that looked alive. He shouldn’t have been out there — dude was dragging his own guts around. He was a zombie captain. If someone had taken Henrik out with a headshot, it would have been tough to blame him. Fortunately, John Tortorella took Henrik out safely, before anybody could remove his head and destroy his brain.
, I Watched This Game