Canucks 5 - 2 Stars
I ask you: what is the difference between Skeeter and the Dallas Stars? Well, Skeeter was at tonight's game. It's a good thing the tickets were a gift, because otherwise he'd be demanding a refund on the grounds that he paid to watch two teams play hockey and only one showed up. I'm kidding, of course. Skeeter was definitely spoiled tonight, as the Canucks ran Dallas out of the building to sweep the season series, potting five lovely goals (a couple of them what some might call wizardous sedinerie) in the process. Suffice it to say, I'm very jealous, as this was definitely one to see live. And, while Skeeter attended, I merely watched this game:
- The Canucks still have not suffered two consecutive regulation losses since mid-November. Give them credit for bouncing back like Maggie Simpson covered in springs, led by the Sedins. After the loss to the Predators, some of the Vancouver media guys gently called them out, but the Twins were definitely not gentle in their response. The top line busted out in a big way tonight, picking up eight points, collectively, while scoring three goals: the opener, the game-winner, and the back-breaking insurance goal (above). What a beautiful goal the last one is, by the way. Of note: it adheres to the previously-defined Third Law of Sedinery, which effectively says that the Sedins always make one more pass than is customary.
- Andrew Raycroft hadn't made a save in a start since January 21, and you know the Canucks talked about getting to him early. Daniel Sedin's goal to open the scoring was exactly the sort of shot the Sedins never make: from a bad angle, simply hoping for some puck luck. Typically, Daniel would have cut back to the boards and tried to set up something prettier, but considering the possibility of a rusty netminder, he stuck to the game plan, and sure enough, it went in. I'm sure it was humiliating for Daniel, a bonafide wizard, to attempt something so ordinary, just like it was humiliating for Gandalf the Grey to be imprisoned by Saruman atop Orthanc, the black tower of Isengard.
- Kevin Weekes had a rough game tonight, stating the obvious a bit too much for my liking. His shining moment: "[Karlas] Skrastins plays a defensive game." Yes, defencemen will do that.
- Proof that Daniel "Out For Blood" Sedin was everywhere tonight: he somehow managed to get up to the broadcast booth immediately after the game and pick the three stars. How else to explain Ryan Kesler (0 points) getting third star honours over Henrik Sedin (1 goal, 2 assists, infinite wizardousness)? But seriously, doesn't the colour guy usually pick the three stars? Because if so, this is more tangible proof Kevin Weekes needs a new assignment.
- Raffi Torres had an inspired game tonight, breaking out of his 23-game goalless streak to score twice (here and here). With a little luck, he might have had one or two more, even, buzzing all night and registering a game-high 5 shots. He also threw his weight around, collecting 3 solid hits and getting into a fight with Brendan Morrow. It was a stupid fight for Morrow. He's the captain, the emotional leader, and the top scoring threat on the Dallas Stars; Torres is the guy that serves Vancouver's bench minors. Something tells me the Stars suffered more for the next five minutes than the Canucks. We've pointed out before that Morrow's leadership skills leave a bit to be desired, in our opinion. I'd like to enter "poor fight selection" into evidence.
- Evan Oberg was much-improved tonight. He made some good outlet passes, generated a few promising rushes, and even doled out two hits. He's been inconsistent in Manitoba, but if he returns to the Moose and plays like he did tonight, he'll make a lot of friends. I wonder if being thrown into the fire will wind up being good for him.
- Yann Sauve has really impressed me. His desperate play to poke the puck out to the neutral zone and spring the Sedins on that 3-on-1 was fantastic. His strength along the boards has been really unexpected. Chris Tanev, who played 19:57 tonight, has earned praise for having the look of an NHLer, but Sauve might deserve some appreciation as well. This song by Andrew Bird is a good start, although Bird spelled his name wrong.
- Mason Raymond has apparently decided that nothing is better than a wrap-around. Just wait until he becomes a father; he'll love swaddling.
- Raymond's linemates have also apparently decided to stop passing to him on the rush. Maybe you noticed this: at one point, Mikael Samuelsson and Raymond got in behind the defense, and rather than make a pass would have sent Raymond in alone, Samuelsson took a low percentage slapshot from just inside the blue line. It seemed like a silly decision, but what else was he going to do? Pass it to Raymond> I'm sure he pictured Raymond receiving the pass in front, then taking the puck wide around the boards for some reason before trying a wrap-around. So hedecided to keep it.
- Great defensive effort by the Canucks tonight, as they did fantastic job of lightening Roberto Luongo's workload. The Stars only managed to get 24 shots on Funny Bob, which is especially impressive considering they directed 55 at the net. 16 were blocked, and 15 went wide. 11 Canucks registered a blocked shot, Chris Tanev leading the way with 3. The team-wide defensive effort was also on display in the hits department, where the Canucks tallied 28, with 14 different guys getting at least one and 10 guys getting 2 or more. Conversely, Dallas had 21, less than half the hits they registered the last time these two teams met. By the game's end, the Canucks appeared to have completely demoralized the Stars. It was like the paddling scene in Dazed & Confused.
- All kidding aside, I feel bad for the Stars. They simply don't match up well with the Canucks. The Canucks have similar problems with the Anaheim Ducks.
- Brendan Morrow basically confirmed this, too. Here he is, shaking his head while discussing the Sedins (postgame via Jeff Paterson): "You know what they're going to do and you still can't do anything about it." Which makes the Sedins hockey's version of The Strangers, from Knowing. It also makes Brendan Morrow hockey's Nicolas Cage, which is fitting, because they're both ridiculous.