I Watched This Game: Canucks at Minnesota Wild, March 26, 2014

The Vancouver Canucks hit the ice in Minnesota Wednesday night hoping to accomplish three things: win their third game in a row for the first time in 2014, prevent the Wild from sweeping the season series for the first time ever and, in so doing, upgrade their scant playoff hopes from “LMAO never gonna happen” to “LOL doubt it”.

These are depressing goals. Fortunately, this game was far from depressing, as the Canucks accomplished all of their goals, and even scored five in the process, the first time they’ve tallied five regulation goals since they beat Boston in mid-December. Like that game, the catalyst for the scoring outburst was David Booth, who appears as at home versus the Wild as he does in it. Like Booth perched in a bush, quietly loading his crossbow for the kill, I watched this game.

Canucks 5 -2 Wild

  • Several times this year, we’ve seen the Canucks blow a glorious scoring opportunity, only to watch the opposition take the puck the other way and score. This game’s first goal saw that scenario play out in reverse, with Eddie Lack stoning Matt Moulson to keep the Wild off the board just moments before David Booth put the Canucks on it. It was a great play by Booth, who poked the puck past Marco Scandella at the defensive blue line, skated onto it, then put a shot through the legs of Jonathan Blum and past Darcy Kuemper. With the goal, Scandella was a sad fella, Blum was glum, and Darcy wasn’t a happy Kuemper. (I’ll just be over here, awaiting my comedy award.)
  • Speaking of happy campers, this is the second time this season Booth has scored in back-to-back games, and it seems worth noting that both times, the second goal came against the Wild. It probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that a team named after the wilderness invigorates Booth, but I’ll admit to being somewhat shocked when Booth decided to take Nino Neiderreiter’s head as a trophy.
  • Neiderreiter actually almost took a head of his own in this game, getting his shoulder up high on Alex Burrows, who was forced to leave yet another game, this time for the quiet room. Neiderreiter got a two minute minor for the hit, and may face supplemental discipline, but fortunately for him, and Vancouver, Burrows returned to the game.
  • If you’re still not convinced that this Canuck season is cursed (and if the Burrows headshot didn’t put you over the top), consider the Wild’s first goal, scored after the puck took a funny bounce off a stanchion, leaving Kevin Bieksa out of position and Charlie Coyle wide open for a shot. That’s right — the stanchion turned on Kevin Bieksa. That’s like when Mantecore attacked Siegfried and Roy.
  • The Canucks would get the goal back in the second, thanks once again to David Booth, who had it going on like the Backstreet Boys in this game. Again, it was reminiscent of recent Canuck woes, but in reverse, as the Wild failed to convert on a power play, then made an error than ended up in their net four seconds after the Canucks were back at even-strength. This time it was Jared Spurgeon playing the victim, as he fanned on a pass, serving the puck up for Booth, who snapped a shot like it was a bra strap and he was a thirteen-year old boy.
  • All the Canucks were thinking about in the final minute of the second was holding onto their one-goal lead. But Zack Kassian doesn’t think like anyone else, which is why he decided to double it. After a won draw by Brad Richardson, Kassian easily outmuscled Charlie Coyle to seize control of the puck, then swivelled and fired a shot past Kuemper to make it 3-1. You’ve gotta feel for Coyle there. He tried, but let’s be honest: that’s not a battle Coyle’s going to win. Here’s a photo of him standing next to Kassian.
  • Kassian had another strong game, registering a team-high four shots in the win. He looks to have figured a few things out. Like, in his play. Not his face. Zack Kassian’s face does not feature the look of a guy who’s figured a few things out. It’s more the look of the horror movie gas station attendant who warns the kids not to go up to the abandoned cabin, and helps set the mood of the film with his frightening visage.
  • I quite enjoyed John Garrett’s story about how he wanted to go to Blue Man Group tonight but he couldn’t because they’re in Vancouver and, y’know, he isn’t. “Thanks, tips,” snarked John Shorthouse. I agree, it was a weak story. A better ending: “I’m afraid I just blue myself.
  • The Canucks poured it on in the third period, like the third period was a bowl of soft-serve ice cream and the Canucks were a fudgy drizzle. They made it 4-1 after Daniel Sedin snapped his 23-game goalless drought, tipping a Dan Hamhuis point shot past the newly-installed Ilya Bryzgalov. You could tell it had been a while since Daniel celebrated a goal, because he didn’t seem to know what to do anymore. He raised one arm, then he was like, oh right, normally you raise two, and then he sort of forgot them up there, as though he didn’t know how long to hold the pose before bringing them back down. For future reference, Daniel, it’s two mississippis and down.
  • Finally, Ryan Kesler got in on the action, putting this one well out of reach by cleaning up the garbage on a scoring play that couldn’t have been more messy. I should note right here that while I understand “more messy” is a bit of clunky phrasing, that’s by design. Here at PITB, we do not use the comparative form of “messy” for what I hope are obvious reasons.
  • Eddie Lack has another strong game, stopping all but two shots as the Wild outshot the Canucks 31 to 19. It should be noted that, this victory aside, the Canucks’ winning streak will never get to 12 if they continue to register two shots to their opponent’s three. In the words of Kendrick Lamar, fellas, why you babysitting only two or three shots?
  • But the best save came not from Lack, but from Alex Edler, who’s had a rough season, but got a nice, redemptive moment in this one, preventing a sure goal by batting a rolling puck off the goal line after it trickled through Lack’s five-hole. It was a very important bat. Not since the one that flew past a grieving Bruce Wayne’s window has there been a bat of such importance.

22 comments

  1. tj
    March 26, 2014

    Damn. I missed this game. Of course there hasn’t been a good game for months and I miss it. Worst. Season. For. Me. Ever.

    However, high high five on the ‘more messy’ bit. Seriously, LOLed at that one.

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  2. Gary Jewelry
    March 26, 2014

    A win tomorrow a we’re at “ROFL, maybe)” status.

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  3. Burrinator
    March 26, 2014

    I know Bieksa said he’d go down with the ship, but I wonder how he feels now that the Stanchion has turned on him

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  4. Chako Mika
    March 26, 2014

    That was the best set up sentence to the line “I watched this game” ever. Well done!

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  5. camwhite
    March 26, 2014

    Solid post. The where the wild things are reference killed me. Kassian is a comedic gold mine.

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  6. Wetcoaster
    March 26, 2014

    Daniel hasn’t forgotten how to celebrate scoring a goal. It’s just that celebrating a goal without Henrik on the ice stealing his limelight is a new and confusing sensation.

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  7. Pukeko
    March 26, 2014

    Harrison,
    I’ll be watching carefully for humor recycling next time the Canucks play against Brandon Saad.
    P

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  8. H
    March 27, 2014

    Code Who!

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  9. akidd
    March 27, 2014

    no comparative for “messy.” agreed. stricken from the english language(at least in BC) is the least we can do.

    here come the wins. am still confused as to how to feel. winning is nice. nice to beat a ‘real’ team, too,…kinda. been lucky with the ‘real’ goaltenders however. pretty nice when they go right through. and the puck bounces to the stick. pretty nice.

    and speaking of goaltending, i hope eddie spends some time this summer in the finnish wilderness doing yoda exercises with his glove hand. nip that “trouble with the curve” stuff in the bud. either that or get dipped in dragon’s blood and make sure they dangle him by his heel and not his left hand this time.

    but ya, winning ain’t too bad, i guess. might as well eat the cake.

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  10. Naturalmystic
    March 27, 2014

    Vancouver has an excellent chance to make it to the dance if they can run the table. Dallas, Minnesota, Phoenix are weak teams with difficult schedules to close out the season.

    Minnesota is facing some of the best teams in the league to close out the regular season. I expect their questionable goaltending to jeopardize their run to the playoffs. They probably go 3-6 down the stretch.

    Dallas has 10 games left and a 1 point lead on Vancouver. Dallas has 6 games on the road and they are facing some very good teams. Dallas begins to fade. 5-5 in their last 10 if they are lucky.

    Phoenix has a 4 point cushion over Vancouver and 9 games left. They face a few tough teams and Phoenix chokes when it matters. They go 4-5 to close out the season.

    Dallas 89
    Phoenix 90
    Minnesota 91

    Vancouver can run the table. They will make the playoffs.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      March 27, 2014

      Haha what the heck. Since when are you a sunny optimist?

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      • shoes
        March 27, 2014

        I think somebody decided to look at things from a different angle. Maybe you can take the mullet out of ‘Berta.

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      • Neil B
        March 27, 2014

        Is it optimism, or has Nm has joined the “my team can’t even tank properly” brigade?

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  11. whisky jack
    March 27, 2014

    canucks survive a five on four.
    sestito has his token fight.
    when david booth’s the first to score,
    in minnesota wednesday night,
    the wild then tie the game at one
    shortly before the twenty’s done.

    burr takes a cheap shot to the head.
    the canucks waste the power play,
    get almost scored upon instead.
    booth has his second of the day.
    he traded for the silent “g”
    then scores vancouver’s number three.

    for minnesota to come back,
    now in the third and down by two,
    they’ll have to beat the rookie lack,
    which but for one they fail to do.
    two goals insure we win again.
    “eight more to go!” says jenny wren.

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  12. RG
    March 27, 2014

    YOU ARE A MODERN DR. SEUSS, MR. MOONEY.

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  13. Chinook
    March 27, 2014

    Well played Mooney! For sure, you earned a comedy award. Not for the “not a happy Kuemper” line because it was played first by Shorthouse, but for lots of others – the Kassian and Coyle photo and the more Messy line being tops on my laugh list.

    Perhaps Booth’s scoring problem has been to use his teammates. His new motto: if you want something done right, do it yourself.

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  14. J21
    March 27, 2014

    “Like Booth perched in a bush, quietly loading his crossbow for the kill, I watched this game.”

    Perfect pun.

    The more messy bit also made me laugh out loud. Which I type out in full because it was literally true, not the Internet definition of “LOL” which means “end of a sentence.” And I also used “literally” in the literal sense, as opposed to the Internet sense of “not literally”.

    In short, I laughed.

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  15. cathylu
    March 27, 2014

    Thank you Edler! I’m willing to forgive several of his past mistakes for saving that sure Minnesota goal.

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  16. shoes
    March 27, 2014

    Just 4 short months ago Shanny suspended Edler for 3 games for “hitting a player in the head hard enough to spin him right around” The discipline was delivered in a simpering breathless tone not used much by Shanny when he used to be a hard nosed player. I wonder if this simpering breathless fool will be disciplining El Nino for hitting Burrows in the head? I have my doubts.

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  17. Chris the Curmudgeon
    March 27, 2014

    I was saying “BOO-th”.

    Come on Harrison, I don’t think the stanchions at XCel are going to listen to Bieksa.

    Going to the top baby, yeah. Sportsclubstats has us at 4.4% in the playoffs now. In the words of Homer Simpson “I like those odds”. Let’s just win today and hope for a little favour from Marty Brodeur and the Devils.

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  18. bob
    March 27, 2014

    just wanted to say I love reading your posts. Highlight of my day at work

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  19. Fubar
    March 27, 2014

    Booth hunts with a crossbow?

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