It’s over. The long nightmare is over. We don’t have to watch another Canucks game for a whole two-and-a-half weeks.
Like most nightmares, it ends at its scariest moment: the first loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs by a Canucks team in over a decade. It happened in what has become typical fashion for this team: a third period collapse. They’ve become just as predictable as third period comebacks were for the Canucks in 2010-11.
That season, the Canucks scored 100 third period goals, leading the league, and out-scored their opponents by 42 goals. This season: second last in the league and they’ve been out-scored by 15 goals in the third period.
Is it fatigue? Trying to defend a one-goal lead too often? Choking? Or is it a psionic attack that is creating the illusion of a massive, terrifying dragon in the offensive zone in the third period then wiping it from their minds before they can talk about it in the post-game interviews?
I’m going with the dragon thing. I watched this game.
Canucks 1 – 3 Leafs
- Things got off to a rough start as the Canucks took a too many men penalty just one minute into the game. They killed it off but were back on the penalty kill a minute later when Kellan Lain got a lazy high-sticking penalty. This time, the Canucks managed to go a whole two minutes after killing that penalty before taking another one. Fortunately, Mason Raymond, inspired by the Olympics, attempted a double salchow just as Alex Edler tripped him, earning a coincidental embellishing minor.
- The Canucks opened the scoring in an incredibly dumb way. After some great pressure in the offensive zone and several quality scoring chances, it was a fluttering knuckler from Ryan Kesler that beat Jonathan Bernier, who accidentally deflected the puck into his own net trying to punch it into the corner with his blocker. It was the worst punch since Sucker Punch, though with less outright misogyny.
- The last time these two teams met, Alex Burrows and Phil Kessel engaged in one of the most unlikely fights ever. Burrows attempted to get a rematch going, which seemed a little unfair considering he still has a face shield protecting his jaw. Kessel was having none of it, which is a shame, as taking the Leafs’ best player off the ice for five minutes would have been great. Instead, he just received a two-minute roughing minor.
- During the scrum, it appeared that Burrows got a fistful of Kessel’s hair, harkening back to the night he famously pulled Duncan Keith’s hair while being headlocked. This hair pull lasted just a split second, and it’s hard to tell if Burrows even got much of a grip considering Kessel has a lot less hair than Keith. But it happened. Why? Clearly, Burrows is just trying to get back to how he performed in 2008-09, his breakout season, and he realizes he hasn’t been enough of a jerk this season.
- It seemed to work. Burrows was very good in this game, apart from completely whiffing on a shot on a 2-on-1 with Jordan Schroeder. He and Daniel dominated possession while on the ice, out-shooting the Leafs 9-0 at even-strength. Some of those shots were certainly weaker opportunities from the outside, but they created some decent scoring chances as well. They didn’t convert them, because that’s way too much to ask these days, but they also didn’t allow a single shot against. At this point, you’d figure a puck would bank in off a skate or deflect off someone’s butt in front of the net. Nope.
- Including special teams, the Canucks actually out-shot the Leafs 18-0 when Daniel Sedin was on the ice. That is outright astonishing, particularly when you consider that this includes time shorthanded. Only one of those shots, however, came off his own stick, bringing him up to 19 games without a goal.
- Unlike British Columbia, it’s hard to find fault with Roberto Luongo. He made several good stops, including a great save on Phil Kessel from the slot in the third period, but was beaten by two great shots and an unlucky bounce off Alex Edler. When the Canucks manage just four goals in four games, you don’t blame the goaltending.
- What a way to go into the Olympic break. The Canucks literally took one on the chin, as James Van Reimsdyk threw the puck across the front of the net from a bad angle, only to have it go off Edler’s chin and in. Of course it did.
- I don’t have anything else to say. Nothing much of note happened in this game. The Canucks lost because that’s just what they do now, apparently. Everyone is terrible. Everything is terrible. Let’s stop watching the Canucks for, say, 18 days. Let’s cheer for Team Canada instead. Don’t pass it to Bulis. Pass it to Zamuner, instead.
, Everyone Sucked Tonight
, I Watched This Game
, Maple Leafs