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I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Avalanche 2

If you've been saying Vancouver should shoot the puck more often, you'll be happy to hear that they listened. This was a game where the Canucks were clearly hungry. Well, either that, or Colorado has terrible defence.
I Watched This Game
I Watched This Game

If you've been saying Vancouver should shoot the puck more often, you'll be happy to hear that they listened. This was a game where the Canucks were clearly hungry. Well, either that, or Colorado has terrible defence.

If no one else, I can definitely confirm that Bo Horvat was hungry.

Bo Likes Meatballs

The Vancouver Canucks ended up with 41 shots, the second most they’ve fired all season long. And quite a number of those were grade A chances. It was rare that Vancouver didn't have the puck.

Jacob Markstrom got his first start in a long while. That’s good, Vancouver wants him to stay sharp. And indeed he was, despite being terribly jinxed by the supposedly non-superstitious Harrison Mooney. (Now I'm not saying he works undercover for the Avalanche, but can we definitively prove he doesn't?)

Despite Mr. Mooney’s blatant attempts at sabotage, Markstrom held the fort and earned a solid win. Also, I got to see his mask again, which is painted to look like the back of his head, and that makes me giggle every time. I giggled a bunch while I watched this game.

  • Henrik Sedin came into the tilt looking for the historic, record-breaking 1002nd point. Fans would not be disappointed. What? It’s a big deal! What’s so special about a thousand? You’re being numberist. The great thing about Hank’s team leading scoring totals: each time he scores from now on, he’s re-making history, and I get to drag this joke out again. It’s the never-ending bullet point.
  • Sven Baertschi opened the scoring for Vancouver, ripping home a puck from in close, the beneficiary of a Bo Horvat power move. It was so powerful. Horvat drove his way into the crease and swatted a shot on net, the puck was scooped out of Bo’s skates by a wide open Baertschi as everyone went after Bo.

    That’s one goal I bet Colorado would like to return to Svender. It really was a perfectly placed shot. I’m tempted to borrow a soccer analogy and say he Svenned it like Beckham. Stop throwing fruit, I’m not finished. The dynamic duo of Horvat and Baertschi continues to impress, so I hope that their partnership never Svends.

    CSI Miami

    It’s out of my system now, no more, I promise.
  • Francois Beauchemin bobbled a pass, which sent Henrik and Daniel Sedin on a short break. Hank did his patented “shot that was probably actually a pass”, but it was a smart move. It bamboozled Calvin Pickard, who lost track of the puck in his pads. Sadly, no one was there to dig out the puck, and so like a keyboard with a broken caps lock key, it was impossible to capitalize.
  • Vancouver dominated the first period, with loads of time in the Colorado zone and 20 shots to the Avs’ nine by the time it ended. I’m always perplexed by this hockey team's fortunes. With three top picks and a promising blueline, they at one point seemed to be going places. So much so that Jarome Iginla chose them for what may be his final NHL contract. I can’t decide whether to say they’re “Not Winnin’ With Nathan MacKinnon”, or on the “Tank Train With Matt Duchene.” What’s wrong with this team? Is anything going right for them? Any Avs fans want to come to the team’s defence? I hope so… my goodness, someone needs to defend.
  • Nathan MacKinnon had a dangerous second period rush after Loui Eriksson coughed up the puck. MacKinnon is fast and deadly with the puck. He looked kinda like, you know, a first overall pick. But just for a moment. Jacob Markstrom hadn’t been too busy to that point, but he managed to corral the tricky shot.
  • It’s generally not advisable to tick off giant Russians, but Markus Granlund must have been feeling punchy. Seven minutes into the second period, the quick Finn darted in unseen by Nikita Zadorov and nabbed the puck behind the Colorado net. Then he darted out again. He’s evidently a bi-directional darter. With Pickard looking the other way, Granlund tucked the puck into the net in with a wraparound, making it 2-0.
  • Nikita Tryamkin joined Loui Eriksson on a rush and by benefit of his long stick, he had a very decent scoring opportunity. Moments later, Michael Chaput nearly popped in a Jack Skille centring pass. The Avs, like fishermen with too much line out, spent the whole time reeling. Calvin Pickard was very deserving of his third star; he kept them in the game.
  • Late in the second period, Nikita Zadorov wanted to make up for his Granlund gaffe, and also wanted to showboat against Tryamkin in the Battle of the Ent-Sized Russians. Zadorov managed to hold the zone and flipped the puck to Nathan MacKinnon, who passed it right back to Zadorov. He ripped the puck on net, where a waiting Mikko Rantanen tipped it in to pull the Avalanche to within one goal. PITB tried to interview the hulking Zadorov after the game, but he was too busy biting through a tram cable to make a statement.
  • Matt Nieto evened up the score seven minutes into the third. Matt Duchene gained the Vancouver zone with quickness, feeding Landeskog, who found a speeding Nieto, who then beat Markstrom far side. Up to that point I had been trashing Colorado’s defence on Twitter, and we all know the Twitter gods are terrible, vengeful in their wrath. At least I didn’t jinx the shutout Mooney-style. Unforgivable, that.
  • Bo acronym time. Whaddya got? I’m voting for “Buff Oxen.” After a dangerous looking Colorado penalty expired, Bo bullied his way into the Avs’ zone, flying around the net, and helping to draw a slashing penalty. The ensuing powerplay was a thing of beauty. After a pass back to Troy Stecher opened up some room, Daniel passed to Henrik, who smartly centred the puck in tight, and Baertschi roofed his second goal of the night for the winner. Svend game! ... It happened again. I have a problem.
  • On a partial breakaway, a very weary Brandon Sutter was denied an almost certain empty net goal after Gabriel Landeskog slashed his stick into piece. Sutter was upset, but Sutter’s salesperson at Sport Chek was overjoyed. Vancouver held the lead to win, and now with 52 points sits in the most improbable of places: a wild card spot.