Playing the third game in four nights, Vancouver arrived in the Mile-High City a weary bunch. Competing in the low oxygen conditions at 5,000 feet wasn’t going to be an easy task, particularly for defenceman Nikita Tryamkin, who, due to his height, functionally played at 6,000 feet.
Vancouver had enough gas in the tank to put on a decent showing, even though they were battered and bruised. It was about to get a lot worse. Top defenceman Alexander Edler left the game early and didn’t return. That means another call-up from the Comets is likely, and there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in Utica. I watched this game.
The Colorado Avalanche (or should I say the Colorado Lizard People) tried to throw the Canucks off their game by flaunting their ties to the Illuminati. Don't believe me? Proof:
I think the Avalanche might be part of the Illuminati. Pay attention to their jerseys tonight. Not seeing it? Look closely. pic.twitter.com/IIaYZF1g9w— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) November 27, 2016
Vancouver responded by unraveling the clues in the Illuminati symbol itself (left by the Knights Templar), making like Nicholas Cage and stealing the Declaration of Independence. And by the Declaration of Independence I mean two points.
Unable to intimidate the Canucks with their occult-y triangles, Colorado decided to break their stuff instead. Edler left the ice in the first period with a hand injury after blocking a shot. He’ll fly back to Vancouver for an x-ray to confirm the damage. On the sidelines he joined the injured Sven Baertschi, Jannik Hansen, Jack Skille, Philip Larsen, Anton Rodin, and Chris Tanev. In response an exasperated Vancouver management team grabbed the phone and called up every Utica Comet, along with five or six Alaska Aces and both mascots, just to be safe.
Edler hasn’t played a full NHL season since 2011-12, and his departure leaves Vancouver with Luca Sbisa as its most experienced defender.
- Loui Eriksson drew an early penalty against Colorado defender Nikita Zadorov, and in the dying minutes of the power play Eriksson gave Vancouver fans a glimpse of the player they believed they’d signed in the summer. He received a Markus Granlund pass and wristed home a goal smoother and silkier than his luxurious lip doily. It was his fifth marker of the season, each one of which was scored in November, which is uncoincidentally the same month he started fostering his fantastic follicular facial fashion.
- Don’t mess with Jacob Markstrom. The netminder aggressively dashed out of the crease early in the second period to nullify a Carl Soderberg scoring chance. He tripped up Soderberg which drew a penalty. Still, Markstrom forestalled a dangerous scoring chance, swatted away a puck, and incidentally also swatted away a Troy Stecher, who flew into the end boards as Markstrom sprawled.
- Fun fact: Nikita Tryamkin is a big fan of Peter Pan. He enjoys sprinkling his opponents in fairy dust and handing out free flying lessons. Nikita Zadorov noticed this and decided that it was awfully nice and figured Tryamkin deserved some flight hours of his own, delivering a huge hip check as Tryamkin skated into the offensive zone. I haven’t seen a Russian get that high since I attended Burning Man: St. Petersburg.
- The Avs tied things up halfway through the second period. Carl Soderberg drove to the net, flinging the puck into the crease. There was a mad scramble and the Avalanche were able to crack the egg. Matt Duchene walked right into Markstrom’s kitchen and whisked a shot on net. Mikhail Grigorenko was waiting hungrily, so while Markstrom was sprawled, he was able to knock Duchene’s shot over easy and into the net. Credit to Grigorenko and friends on that goal, they gave Vancouver shell. OK, I can see you’re rolling your eyes so omelette this bullet point end.
- Inspired by Tryamkin’s earlier attempt at flight, Joe LaBate decided he wanted to reach for the clouds himself. Well, just Cody McLeod, with his fists. The two huge bruisers showed more aggression than a Black Friday mob discovering a two-for-one deal on 4K televisions. I’m not sure if his last name is French, but LaBate translates to either “the beats” or “the bat.” Either one seems apropo.
Alex Burrows continued to look amazing in combination with Bo Horvat. Four minutes into the third period Burrows scored on a rush and put Vancouver up 2-1 over the Avalanche. With this goal, Burrows tied Todd Bertuzzi for 9th all-time in Canucks goal scoring.
It was a nice finish by Burrows, but Horvat deserves most of the credit; it was the prettiest saucer pass I’ve seen him do since the last saucer pass I’ve seen him do, which was yesterday. With Bo serving up more tasty dishes than Vikram Vij, and Burrows being a big fan of adventurous curry, these two should be kept together, they're cooking.
Jarome Iginla is a romantic and nostalgic guy. Even after all these years in this league, he still enjoys candlelit dinners, long walks on the beach, and scoring deflating goals against the Vancouver Canucks. He added to his impressive career totals by slapping a shot at Markstrom which deflected off of Brandon Sutter to tie the game at two apiece.
Sutter was pretty upset that the goal deflected in off of him. Like the memory of the time his wife made him attend a Rebecca Black concert, he was trying his absolute best to block it out. And like the imaginative lyrics of Black’s hit single, Friday, it will probably haunt his dreams.
- Daniel and Henrik Sedin had another quiet night, seemingly not able to put anything together while paired with Brandon Sutter. Much like Neil Degrasse Tyson, their work is all about time and space, and Colorado's black hole defence didn’t help matters.
- Markstrom is solely responsible for Vancouver’s second point, stopping 33 of 35 shots, including six on the penalty kill (luckily Colorado's power play was as sharp as a bowling ball.) Markstrom had a number of beautiful saves in overtime. He first denied Nathan MacKinnon while down and out. Seconds later, Matt Duchene tested the goalie on a partial breakaway, lifting a deadly shot which Markstrom gloved. He then went on to deny Grigorenko and Soderberg in rapid succession. Colorado is a team built for overtime with fast and dynamic forwards and defencemen. Like an overbearing theatre director, they really controlled the play.
The only real opportunity Vancouver had came near the end of OT. Troy Stecher got his feet moving and dashed in on net. He was tripped up and Vancouver was awarded a brief power play.
With puck on his stick and seven seconds remaining on the clock, Henrik Sedin stood blankly at the side of the net. I’m unsure why he didn’t pass, shoot, or perform any sort of physical action. Maybe he was just paralyzed by a profound realization, like the fact that since tomatoes are a fruit, ketchup is technically a smoothie. Dude, whoa.
- The game ended in a shootout. Markus Granlund started out by scoring on his second career attempt. Mikko Rantanen beat Markstrom but was denied by Marky’s dear friend and ally, Posty McPostface. After Loui Eriksson's deke didn't work (don't ponder that phrasing too long), Markstrom shut the door on Duchene for the win.
Your "Bo is the best" moment of the game: leading scorer Horvat was the last player off the ice and shook hands with each player as they left. In unrelated news, he was later seen sporting a t-shirt with the phrase “Captain Material” emblazoned on it, along with a brand new hat. I think it looks pretty good, what about you?