As famed sportswriter Thomas Stearns Eliot wrote about this Canucks season, “This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.” A little flowery for my tastes, but his words proved prophetic, as the Canucks, facing official elimination from the postseason, wilted against the Ducks.
Facing a rookie goaltender in his first NHL game, the Canucks mustered just 18 shots on net. In the second period, they had just 3 shots. In their five power plays, they got the puck on net just 3 times. They were credited with 10 turnovers and it felt like more, giving up multiple breakaways, including the first shot of the game. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Know who else whimpered? Me, when I watched this game.
Canucks 0 – 3 Ducks
- Jason Garrison had a rough game, giving away the puck twice to Andrew Cogliano for a breakaway, with Eddie Lack bailing him out both times. In addition, not a single one of his 7 shot attempts made it to the net — he was blocked more often than a racist on Twitter.
- Henrik committed an even worse turnover later in the first while on the power play, inexplicably cutting back into the forechecking Daniel Winnick in the defensive zone, giftwrapping the puck like a drug-addled Christmas elf. Meanwhile, Eddie Lack will never feel joy again, not even at Christmas. I could see his heart shrink three sizes right in front of me, but only because I was watching in HD.
- Ryan Kesler managed to get a shorthanded breakaway of his own late in the first, but decided to forego protecting the puck, allowing Hampus Lindholm to execute a perfect video game stick-lift. Seriously, stick-lifts only look that perfect when they’ve been motion-captured off good-natured NHLers jogging around in spandex during the off-season.
- I thought the Canucks actually had a pretty good first period, so I was shocked when I checked the statistics during the first intermission and saw they had only 6 shots on goal. It’s actually a bit misleading: they did have a couple strong scoring chances that were blocked or missed the net and they also hit the post twice in short succession after Anaheim took the lead, but to force a goaltender to make just 6 saves in his first period of NHL action is an unforgivable sin. Sorry, David Booth and Dan Hamhuis, I’ve got some bad news for you.
- Incidentally, calling the gathering of people in Rogers Arena a “crowd” is pushing it. It was more of a spattering.
- With the Canucks barely managing any shots in the period, it was particularly frustrating when the Canucks had two 2-on-1s on back-to-back shifts and refused to shoot, instead trying to force a pass through only to have it deflected away. Jannik Hansen was guilty the first time and Daniel Sedin the second, but I blame Mike Gillis for decommissioning the Mind Room a couple years back. Clearly, that was the key to the team’s confidence that pushed them to the Stanley Cup Final! Forget #FireGillis, it’s time for #BringBackTheMindRoom.
- The Ducks went ahead by two late in the second, then cemented their lead in the third after an awful Kevin Bieksa turnover — he put key lime and kale in the puff pastry — sent Anaheim in on a 4-on-2. After a couple quick passes, poor Lack could only wave at the puck like how he waved farewell to the innocent naïveté of his youth upon being named the number one goaltender of the Canucks.
- While it was an overall lacklustre effort for the Canucks, I really liked Nicklas Jensen’s game. He had the three best scoring chances for the Canucks, first tipping a Henrik Sedin centring pass off the rush just over the bar, then getting robbed by Jonathan Gibson after Ryan Kesler made a pass from his rear end to set him up in front. His best chance was his own creation, however, driving wide around a defender on the power play before cutting to the net and getting the puck on his forehand for a shot. It was almost, and this sounds crazy, like he wanted to score.
- Jannik Hansen ended up on the second line by the end of this game, which is infuriating. Not because I dislike Hansen, but because it was painfully clear why he got promoted up the ranks and it wasn’t because things were going his way offensively. Instead, it’s more likely he got bumped up the lineup because he led the Canucks with 6 hits, including a massive one on Stephane Robidas in the second period. Meanwhile, he had one shot on goal all game and no other shot attempts. Cue the comeback!
- My favourite part of the game came courtesy of Johns Shorthouse and Garrett. Said Shorthouse, with not much time remaining in the game, “How many seconds left in this one, John?” Garrett replied, “Oh…510.” Shorthouse: “Never gets old.”
, I Watched This Game