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I Watched This Game: Canucks 3, Devils 4 (OT)

Vancouver at New Jersey, November 8, 2015
I Watched This Game
I Watched This Game

The Canucks had 15 minutes of power play time in this game. They played a full quarter of the game with more people on the ice than the Devils and, in that time, they got out-scored.

That’s basically the story of the game. The Canucks were the better team for large stretches, outright dominated the Devils in the first and third periods and even most of overtime, but they simply couldn’t score on the power play. But if they had even been 0-for-6, they would have been fine. Instead, they were, as Ryan Biech pointed out, -1-for-6.

With a more effective power play, this would have been a different game. I would have liked to watch that game. But I didn’t. I watched this game.

  • This loss wouldn’t have felt as bad if it had been to Cory Schneider, who, despite playing for the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad Devils, has established himself as one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL. Instead, they lost to Keith “Goaltender of Light” Kinkaid, who has established himself as among the proleteriat of goaltenders in the NHL.
  • It was a blow to the narrative-lovers among us that Schneider didn’t get the start -- heck, the Canucks used images of Schneider and Bo Horvat to promote the game -- but Kinkaid also has a Canucks connection! He was an invitee to their 2010 prospect camp. He’s the one who got away! If only they had signed him, they would have won this game. Narrative!
  • The game started well, with Chris Higgins opening the scoring with his second goal in as many games. Derek Dorsett kept the puck in at the point, Jared McCann kept the puck moving towards the slot, and Higgins, like a man making pottery, spun and fired.
  • Higgins and McCann seem to have found some sort of chemistry, which is why they were immediately broken up to start the second period. If I’ve learned anything from Breaking Bad, it’s that chemistry is dangerous and leads to an obscenely high body count.
  • You could tell that this game wasn’t going to go well when it was announced that Chris Tanev was out with an injury and Alex Biega would step directly into his spot on Alex Edler’s right side. Tanev’s calming presence transforms Edler into “Steady Eddie.” Without him, he’s more of a “Careening Wildly and Randomly Like a Confused Rhinoceros Alex.”
  • Tanev’s absence even affected Edler when Tanev wouldn’t normally be on the ice, like the power play. The Devils scored their shorthanded goal off a poorly-timed and placed drop pass, turning the puck over at the Canucks’ blue line. Edler was unable to block the pass on the resultant 2-on-1 and Adam Henrique pretended the H was silent in his name and let the rhythm take him over. I mean, he scored.
  • The Canucks controlled the pace of play in the first period, out-shooting the Devils 13-6 and out-attempting them 24-9, but got burned on a couple careless errors. The Devils capitalized each chance like the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Housing And New Community Economics and took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
  • The first period nearly ended in a 2-2 tie on a great effort by Jake Virtanen. He took a blocked Matt Bartkowski shot and tucked the puck in on the wraparound. It was a lovely goal erased by a coach’s challenge, as Kinkaid was prevented from making the save by being completely out of position. Oh, and Burrows interfered with him. I guess that also happened.
  • Miller must have been really unhappy with the defensive mistakes that led to the Devils’ first two goals, but no one can say that he isn’t a team player, because he made his defence feel better by letting in an absolute stinker for their third goal. A more selfish goaltender would have saved that one, thereby boosting his own statistics, like his SV%, GAA, and wins, at the expense of team morale.
  • Edler made up for his earlier gaffe with a goal. After picking up an errant Virtanen centring feed, he fired a shot towards goal. Like most of his shots, it hit a defender, but it was a friendly bouncer, hopping off the ice towards the net, where Kinkaid, much like a friendly bouncer, let it right in.
  • Sven Baertschi picked up an assist on Edler’s goal and followed it up with a goal of his own. After some great work by Bo Horvat and Ben Hutton on the boards, Hutton set up Baertschi with a nifty saucer pass and Baertschi finished it off with an incredibly awkward looking one-timer, which is better than an awkward looking two-timer, which is the worst kind of high school boyfriend.
  • Baertschi finished with two points, but still had the lowest ice time of any Canuck not named Derek Dorsett. He played under 9 minutes. Sigh and ugh.
  • In other rough stuff, Jake Virtanen fought Bobby Farnham, who celebrated punching a teenager a little too hard. Edler hit Travis Zajac from behind. Both teams poked goaltenders, leading to some very serious pushing and shoving. Adam Larsson hit McCann late, possibly in the head, though McCann doesn’t want to talk about it. Most of the violence was done to the posts, however, as the Devils were hitting them all night long. Geez, Devils, those posts have to go to work tomorrow. Ease off.
  • Breaking news: the Canucks still can’t win in 3-on-3 overtime. Or 3-on-4 overtime after Hamhuis took an interference penalty running a pick for Jannik Hansen. Then Desjardins sent Alex Biega and Yannick Weber out to kill the penalty. It was the least surprising end result since the Try Guys got prostate exams.