Saturday, February 05, 2011

I Watched This Game: Canucks vs. Blackhawks, February 4, 2011

Canucks 4 - 3 Blackhawks

Was that an exciting game or what? The correct answer is not "what." Chicago came out flying tonight and put the Canucks on their heels through most of this game. It can be argued that they deserved the win: a questionable no-goal call went against the 'Hawks and the Canucks' first goal was demonstrably offside. Having felt the burn of poor officiating in the past, I certainly sympathize with Blackhawks' fans. At the same time, the 'Hawks had ample opportunity to win this game and gave up two leads, so it's a little unfair to place the blame solely on the referees.

In any case, the Canucks were, arguably, outplayed in this game. But, their best players were their best players and they won. It was marvelous. I watched this game.

  • We at PITB have frequently complained about Luongo's tendency to use his glove to punch pucks rather than catch them. Tonight Luongo proved that Rollie Melanson reads Pass it to Bulis. Clearly Melanson took our complaints to heart and taught Luongo the proper use of his trapper. One of his finest glove saves can be seen above, but there seemed to be dozens of slick glove stops from Lu in this game. He was very, very good. It took a wide-open all-star and two rather unfortunate bounces tonight to get the puck past him.
  • Chris Tanev made up for Luongo's lack of punchiness by punching in the Blackhawks' third goal. It was an unfortunate moment for the rookie who has played remarkably well since being called up. Unfortunately, with Andrew Alberts set to return soon and Sami Salo remaining remarkably uninjured during his first game for the Manitoba Moose, Tanev won't be with the Canucks for much longer. Still, he has vaulted his way up the depth chart like an angry pole vaulter and I have a feeling we'll see a lot more of him in the future.
  • The Canucks' top line combined for 12 shots on goal and had another 9 attempts blocked or miss the net. They seemed to be the only line that was able to create sustained offensive pressure. Henrik finished with a goal and two assists to earn first-star honors. His bloodthirsty brother not only became the NHL's leading scorer tonight, he also passed Markus Naslund to become the Canucks' all-time record holder for game-winning goals. Remember when people used to claim the Sedins weren't clutch?
  • Cody Hodgson had a decent game despite barely playing. A big reason for Ehrhoff's goal was Hodgson's smart play in gaining the zone and throwing the puck on net, which Tanner Glass reciprocated, creating the massive rebound for Ehrhoff to blast past Turco. Discussions of the offside nature of the goal aside, that was a hell of a slapshot. It ripped a hole in time, love and space, and was behind Turco before Ehrhoff even shot it.
  • On the other hand, Hodgson went 1-for-5 in the faceoff circle and only played 7:11. And he left the ice too quickly to get a +1 in his plus-minus column. Kesler, Malhotra, and Henrik made up for Hodgson's lack in the circle, going 14-for-21, 10-for-15, and 12-for-16 respectively. Unfortunately, the Canucks went 8-for-20 in the defensive zone, a big reason why the Blackhawks always seemed to be there.
  • The TSN intermission crew did a great job analyzing the two controversial plays, one highlighting the fact that Ehrhoff's goal was indeed offside and one showing that Troy Brouwer did in fact make contact with Luongo's blocker on Bolland's controversial disallowed Chicago goal. Still, the fact that it was such a minuscule piece of contact means it's still a bit of a sketchy call.
  • Rough night for the third line, as they all finished on the minus side of the ledger. Particularly rough for Hansen, who finished a game-low -3 as he was on the ice for all three Chicago goals. It's unfortunate for Torres, as he was very noticeable on the ice tonight, throwing a couple solid checks and blocking 3 shots. Malhotra was solid in the faceoff circle, but was thoroughly victimized by Jonathan Toews on the Blackhawks' first goal, as he was squeezed off the puck against the boards and wasn't able to recover to pressure Toews before the shot.
  • Aaron Rome played a physical game: he was only credited with 2 hits, but they were big, noticeable hits. Unfortunately, he also was credited with 3 giveaways and almost cost the Canucks a goal when he tried to give Luongo a hug behind the net. To his credit, he recovered and slid behind Luongo to make a knee save on the subsequent goalscoring chance, but it was a clear sign that he has missed a few games and is a bit out of sync. That by itself is a reason to get him back into the game ahead of Lee Sweatt. An out-of-sync Rome in the playoffs would be potentially disastrous.
  • Hips laid out Kopecky with a solid hipcheck, then followed it up with a picture perfect shotblock, also on Kopecky. You may have also noticed Luongo's enormous glove save on Kopecky at the top of the page. Basically, it wasn't a good night to be Kopecky. It was almost as bad as the Olympics, when the closed captioning spelled out his name as "Could Pets Ski." Unfortunate.
  • Samuelsson has been fantastic lately: he had 5 shots on goal, including this blast from the point on the powerplay that deflected past Turco. Even prettier, however, was his pass on Henrik's goal. Leading up to the goal were, of course, two Sedin backpasses, but those are so routine that pointing them out seems superfluous. Meanwhile, Kesler braved the crotch-hacking dangers of the front of the net, and set a perfect screen on Turco. So everyone was involved except Ehrhoff, who was too busy daydreaming about punching Stalberg.
  • Daniel's gamewinning goal was a prime example of Wizardous Sedinerie: Daniel clearly used Mage Hand to levitate that puck over Turco. Now, since there were no somatic or verbal components, he must have both Silent Spell and Still Spell as feats. Applying both feats would increase the level of the spell by 2, meaning that Daniel Sedin must be, at minimum, a third-level Wizard.
  • I'm a big fan of Ray Ferraro. He's one of the best colour commentators in the business. I don't have a joke here, I just felt like it needed to be said.
  • An indication of how good a game Luongo had can be found by looking at the Blackhawks' four leading shooters: Patrick Sharp and Brian Campbell had 6 shots apiece and Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane had 7 each. Not one of them scored. Luongo answered the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything with 42 saves.


  1. +1 for the Hitchhiker reference. The D&D references were nice, but the HH one was gold.

  2. It always takes me two go-arounds to catch the Hitchhiker references. If you haven't figured it out yet, Daniel is much, much geekier than I am.

    I also take this entire IWTG as proof that our impending D&D campaign has completely overtaken your mental process.

  3. I did not watch this game;
    my fowl husband is to blame:
    he thought the game was Saturday.

    Though it doesn't matter anyway:
    the Tanevian comedy
    became a third act tragedy.

    Chicken Chick

  4. If the Hawks deserved the win and want to be considered the better team,, then they shoukd have burried their share of bogus powerplays. They certainly had more of them, and a great deal of things they should have been called on.

    As for the disqualified goal, i'm wondering if the NHL is trying to send the Hawks a message, as running the goaltender has long been one of their core strategies. They tried tonight often enough.

    No symapthy for them. Good win for the Nucks and a good way to build confidence against them going forward.

  5. Missed most the game but was able to catch the last 10 minutes. one thing I noticed was Hansen in the last few moments breaking up plays and keeping Chicago from any quality chances to tie it up. Even tho he may have finished -3 he continues to amaze me with his maturity and ability to disrupt the opposition.
    Lets hope he continues on the same track as Kesler and Burrows did.

  6. Much love on the D&D... do you need a Ranger?

    Thank you for IWTG, it makes my day!

  7. Also now i want to play d&d with pitb. Eff scrabble.

  8. Hector MauntelbaumFebruary 5, 2011 at 3:27 PM


  9. Best blog on the net. +2 Charisma for this last post for sure. Thanks for the good reads!

  10. I cannot, for the life of me understand why AV gave our 8th dman(with everyone healthy) 18:13 of ice time when he is coming off an injury and reduce Ballards time to 14:28. Ballard has been and always will be better then Rome and its about time AV realized that. I have notihng against Rome but I dont see how it's justifiable to play him more then Hips


  11. Jeebus the comment about Rome trying to give Lu a hug almlost killed me

  12. How about Burr negating the icing in the final 20 seconds -- how huge was that?

  13. There was absolutely no contact with Luongo on goal that was taken away, and he worked hard to be sure to get out of his way. The slapshot goal at the blue line, it was clearly *OVER* the blue line.

    Refs gave a gift. Hawks should have won season series 3-1.


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