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I Watched This Game: Canucks 2, Senators 3

Like the aftermath of a parade of giant balloons of great U.S. news anchors, this game was rather deflating.
I Watched This Game
I Watched This Game

Like the aftermath of a parade of giant balloons of great U.S. news anchors, this game was rather deflating.

If you think I reached too far to make that pun, you’re absolutely right, but it’s only because Ryan Miller didn’t reach far enough to catch the puck on the Senators’ back-breaking third goal. The pun was also a metaphor.

The disappointment you’re feeling right now about the quality of the opening joke of this I Watched This Game is the same disappointment I felt when I watched this game.

  • That was definitely one of the worst goals that Miller has allowed as a Canuck. I normally dislike the word “allowed” as it dismisses the work of the skaters who scored the goal and is pretty dang condescending to a goaltender, who isn’t just showing them the net and “allowing” them to score, but it feels appropriate on this goal. Miller just completely whiffed on what looked like an easy catch, particularly for someone with as sure a glove as Miller. For it to come with two seconds left in Henrik Sedin’s ill-timed late penalty, with the Canucks looking to push back for the tying goal, was especially tough to take.
  • It was particularly frustrating as I thought Miller had a strong game overall, with little chance to save the Senators’ other two goals. But that was his second ugly goal against in his last two games, as he gave up a bad one against the Devils that also led to a loss. Give up one ugly goal, shame on me. Give up two ugly goals, shame on you. Wait, hang on, why did I shame myself for the first ugly goal?
  • This game felt a little bit like payback for the Canucks previous game against the Blue Jackets, where they got massively out-shot and out-possessed and somehow managed to pull out the victory. It happened in reverse: the Canucks out-shot the Senators 35-25, out-attempted them 68-46 and were blatantly the better team at even-strength. Unfortunately, chunks of this game weren’t played at even-strength and, even though the Sedins are odd as sh*t, the Senators were the better team at odd-strength.
  • Sven Baertschi has deserved some good luck and he got some to open the scoring, but he also worked for that luck, backing off the defence with his speed through the neutral zone before going hard to the net. That’s when Radim Vrbata’s centring pass hit Baertschi’s skate and slipped past Andrew “John” Hammond like the dangers of cloning dinosaurs to create an amusement park.
  • The line of Baertschi, Vrbata, and Bo Horvat was outstanding all game and it was great to see from Horvat especially: the Canucks out-shot the Senators 11-5 with Horvat on the ice and out-attempted them 24-6. That’s outright domination in puck possession, so of course they were on the ice for the Senators’ only even-strength goal. Sophomore slump!
  • Sidenote: Jared Cowen is so bad. He’s so bad. I feel for you, Senators fans. I only watched him for one game while playing for the opposing team and it made me upset. I can’t imagine watching him play for my team game-after-game, except I totally can, because we have Luca Sbisa.
  • I kid, I kid: even Sbisa isn’t that bad and also he's not even playing right now, so it feels like I'm talking behind his back somehow.
  • What is that bad right now is the Canucks’ power play, which, despite scoring a late goal with Miller on the bench, looks absolutely lifeless. It might have something to do with the combined age of the first power play unit: a lifeless PP can happen as you get older.
  • The Sedins were once again matched with Jannik Hansen and they looked superb, but couldn’t put the puck in the net. You could tell it was that kind of game when they had a dominant shift in the third period, spending over a minute cycling in the Senators’ zone. Those types of shifts generally result in a golden scoring chance or two. This one? A point shot from Ben Hutton with no screen that he hooked high and wide. The last time a cycle ended that poorly, I had left a red sock in with a load of whites.
  • After the Senators took a 3-1 lead after Miller’s gaffe, Henrik and Edler combined for a pretty, meaningless goal. With a 6-on-4 advantage, Henrik skated over the blueline and right into the middle of the Senators’ 4-man box and sucked them in like a Swedish black hole, while Edler, like a good Milford Man, quietly snuck in behind them. Then, like a terrible Milford Man, Edler noticeably took Henrik’s pass and beat Hammond short side.
  • For a moment it seemed like the Canucks had a chance to tie the game, but all the goal really accomplished was making Ryan Miller feel worse. The shots of him hanging his head on the bench were so sad you could actually hear the Charlie Brown music.
  • And now the Canucks have the Crap Mantle. Well, crap.