Canucks 3 - 0 Devils
I apologize for the lateness of today's IWTG, but I have a readymade excuse: I didn't start it soon enough. Let's move on.
It's always a pleasure when the Devils come to town because the Canucks always seem to kick the stuffing out of them. Typically, it's hyped as a goaltenders duel, but it's never once amounted to anything even resembling a goaltenders duel. More often, than Canucks show up, the Devils don't, and Luongo winds up getting a shutout on easy mode. That is exactly what happened last night.
- Luongo's shutout is the story here, and he played excellently, but there are two major mitigating factors. 1) The Devils are a pretty sucky team these days, and 2) It's November. Luongo's record-setting November shutout streak has arrived right on schedule, and it's so expected it could be considered unimpressive. Plus, shutout streaks are hardly impressive at all. Know who has the longest one ever? Brian "The Backup Plan" Boucher. This November, do something different, Roberto, and write a novel for NaNoWriMo or grow a sweet moustache.
- As far as I'm concerned, the real big story is that the Canucks got a goal from all three lines. That is a recipe for success. The Torres-Malhotra-Hansen continues to be impressive, drawing first blood, playing edgy, and kicking goaltenders sticks away from them. These are the things you need to do to win.
- Raffi Torres played well tonight. He continues to do weird things when he's controlling the puck, such as turn it over, overskate it, put passes in legs, etc., but he's got three goals already this season. As much as I want him to be the second-string whipping boy, it's hard to whip a guy who scores regularly (which is why it's so easy to whip Kevin Bieksa).
- Poor Jeff Tambellini has already been sent to the Moose, and I'm sure that his first mediocre game with the Sedins didn't help. Still, that sucks, because he can play. I recognize that it's a strategic move, but Peter Schaefer and Tanner Glass are still in the lineup; that is to say there is a better strategy. I know the Canucks would rather not lose any bodies, but come on, Vigneault played Schaefer, Glass, and Desbiens for under a minute combined in the third period the other night. They'd got almost as much ice time for the Canucks as Mikko Koivu did. Their presence in the lineup couldn't possibly be missed that much. Houses of the Hockey did an incredible post on Vancouver's bottom-six forwards, and while their ineptness has been partially remedied, we've still got a whole line of fringe NHLers. That's too much fringe, even for diehard fans of the Fox drama Fringe. Victorian-era dressmakers think that's too much fringe.
- In the second period, Henrik Tallinder carried the puck up ice while being pressured by Henrik Sedin. Shorty called Sedin "The other Henrik." I'm sorry, but one Henrik is the reigning MVP and scoring champion, and the other is Henrik Tallinder. On a related note, "The Other Henrik" sounds a bit like the title of a Sedin-directed entry in a Swedish film festival. Other titles might include "Tears of a Clone" and "The Seventh Seal Reimagined."
- Alex Edler was the third star tonight. Is it just me, or can you miss him completely, even when he's the anchor of the Canucks' defense on a very, very good night? He led the Canucks in ice time and I hardly noticed him. That's good and bad. I want him to stand out more, just for good reasons. Alex, don't be shy, but don't stand out for being awful. In other words, straddle the line between Casper and the Ghostly Trio.
- Dan Murphy broke the cardinal rule of foolish superstition and said the word "shutout" BEFORE IT BECAME OFFICIAL. He claims that Luongo doesn't mind, but unless Luongo is the hockey gods, it doesn't matter what he thinks. Don't do it again, Murphy, or we'll replace your hair gel with egg whites.
- Mikael Samuelsson is having some trouble getting back to last year's level. That's okay, Sammy. I had the same problem when I got to level 14 of Tetris. Just keep at it.
- Keith Ballard was excellent tonight. Expect him to get a lot of press for his shot-blocking prowess, as it was on display all night. He was credited with three, but he had a few more than went missed. Shorty joked he might have to send the numbers guys a Christmas card. That's too passive. I think he should get them a threatening note attached to an abacus.
- It's a bummer about Daniel Sedin's points streak, but did you see how many points Tony Tanti put up during his streak? 23, in like, twelve games. Personally, I'd be kind of choked if Sedin broke my streak with ten less points. I especially liked the moment, at the end of Daniel's last shift, when the camera followed him to the bench. He sat down next to Tanner Glass, who said, "Sorry, buddy." Don't tell me hockey players don't care about stats.
- The real bummer, of course, is that Henrik Sedin's penalty shot forced him to give up on his secret plan to get 100 assists and no goals. Poor guy had no choice but to bury it with everyone watching. He even tried to do a terrible move, but Brodeur botched the save. Trust me: when Henrik slid that puck past Marty, they were both disappointed in themselves. Look at Henrik's reaction. A dispassionate fist pump can't fool this guy. I see that despair.
- Edit: one more thing. Burrows draws back into the lineup tonight, but last night, we won without him. Do we really want him?