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I Watched This Game: Canucks 2, Devils 3

Canucks vs Devils, November 22, 2015
I Watched This Game
I Watched This Game

This game was great for folks who thought Saturday’s big win over the Chicago Blackhawks was just too dang exciting. If you were looking for a heaping helping of boring, this was the game for you.

It wasn’t perfect, mind you. There were tiny snippets of this game that had fans, if not on the edge of their seats, at least sitting upright, perhaps leaning ever-so-slightly forward.

Really, that's unacceptable. Though the moments of excitement were few and far between, it was enough to prevent a good, solid nap. Since I couldn’t quite fall asleep, I watched this game.

  • Perhaps I’m being unfair: it was mostly the first two periods that were dreadfully dull, like sitting through a full showing of Andy Warhol’s Empire. The third period had all sorts of action, but since the Devils held a two-goal lead for all but three-and-a-half minutes of it, like a root canal with no freezing, it felt boring.
  • Perhaps it shows how little faith I have in the Canucks in the third period, but they’ve earned that lack of faith: they’ve trailed after 2 periods 7 times this season and have yet to win or even push any of them to overtime. They’ve got all the clutch of an automatic transmission.
  • The Devils first goal was just a mess. After Chris Tanev blocked Mike Cammalleri’s initial shot, the Canucks’ defensive structure made like Christine Brown and went all to hell. Edler went down to block a shot that never came, Henrik slowly moved to check Travis Zajac, while Tanev quickly moved to check...also Travis Zajac. If you’re paying attention, that means Cammalleri, the Devils’ leading scorer, was left all alone like Kevin McAllister and, like Kevin, beat Jacob Markstrom under his right pad. That’s what happens in Home Alone, right?
  • Markstrom didn’t exactly play Cammalleri’s goal well, but he was hung out to dry. On their second goal, Markstrom did the hanging. On the penalty kill, he slid across to stop a Lee Stempniak one-timer. Only problem, Andy Greene didn’t actually pass the puck -- he shot it. So Markstrom didn’t so much anticipate the play as slide out of the way of the puck, which is the opposite of his job.
  • Radim Vrbata has been cursed. He got tapped to take a penalty shot when Greene covered up a puck in the crease with his hand. Vrbata is one of the best skaters in the shootout in the NHL and Cory Schneider is one of the worst goaltenders. Stopping Vrbata was against all odds, but Schneider took a look at him and was the only one who knew his move at all.
  • Schneider was superb in this game, but there is one weakness in his game, ironically the biggest strength of the goaltender he replaced in New Jersey: puckhandling. With the Sedins out killing a penalty, Schneider had a Canucks flashback and passed the puck directly to Daniel. Two passes later, because every shot from Henrik is a pass in disguise, the puck was in the net.
  • That goal led to a flurry of tweets from Canucks fans expressing astonishment that Henrik scored a shorthanded goal. Thing is, it was his 7th career shorthanded goal, tying him for 9th in franchise history with Thomas Gradin and Brendan Morrison. Daniel Sedin is the one you should marvel at if he scores while killing a penalty, as he doesn’t have a single shorthanded goal in his career.
  • Bo Horvat was outstanding in this game, with two brilliant plays to set up scoring chances that should have been goals, only for his teammates to screw them up. On the first, he deked through three Devils to set up Chris Higgins, but his shot hit Yannick Weber, who cut in front at the worst possible time, unless you count cutting in front of someone in line for a midnight showing of The Phantom Menace. You’re just going to see Jar Jar sooner! Don’t do it!
  • Horvat’s second great moment came in the third period after the Devils went up 3-1. Horvat drove into the zone, completely undressed Damon Severson, who had to play the rest of the game naked, then passed across to Burrows for a wide open net. Burrows, confused at being gifted an open net by someone other than a Sedin, shot the puck directly back into Schneider as he dove across.
  • Seriously, the hockey gods have it in for Vrbata. They finally allowed him to score a goal, but to make sure it was meaningless, it happened with just 0.5 seconds left in the game. All that Vrbata accomplished was to make this yet another one-goal loss. Someone needs to look into this: did Vrbata visit Egypt during the off-season and disturb a mummy’s tomb? Did he say the name of the Scottish play while on stage? Did he kick a billy goat out of a ballpark?
  • Some fans were upset that the Brandon Prust didn't fight Bobby Farnham after calling him out on Twitter or get into Jordin Tootoo's face for whinging about Burrows' trashtalking. You'd think Vancouverites would know how to take the high road.