Saturday marked the first game in an Orca jersey for prized acquisition Nikolay “Call Me Goldy” Goldobin. Recently acquired in exchange for Jannik Hansen, all eyes were on him because we all like shiny things and he’s made of the shiniest metal. Too bad for Goldobin, head coach Willie Desjardins is a fan of simpler ores, like tungsten, aluminum and Megnasium.
The score is a bit deceptive. Vancouver had almost no business being in the game, but despite that lady luck decided to at last cast her glance Vancouver’s way. In this game the Los Angeles Kings, like a certain Tweeting president, had a singular knack for self-destructive deflection. Two Vancouver goals bounced off a Los Angeles player. It was like watching one bad chess game after another: King takes Bishop. The only piece not in play was the rook, as Goldobin spent the entire third period riding the pine.
I watched Nikolay Goldobin's ice time not breach six minutes as I watched this game.
- Early in, Brendan Gaunce picked off an ineffective Kings clearing attempt and fired a shot on Ben Bishop. In Gaunce-ly fashion, his shot was accurate and it beat Bishop, but unlike even Frank Abagnale, he couldn’t pass the bar. The ringing sound of the impact poetically mirrored the wringing sound emanating from Gaunce’s soul. Poor dude, I’ve rarely seen a guy play so well with such feeble results.
- After Sven Baertschi led a rush into the King’s zone, an innocent-looking Vancouver offence, like Ill Mitch’s skateboard, was suddenly fast and danger. Baertschi passed the puck up to Loui Eriksson, and the Swede fired a hard shot on Bishop while a diligent Sven followed through after the play. The net was wide open and Sven Baer-ied the rebound. (Y’know what? I’m not even sorry for that one.)
- After a Jeff Carter scoring chance, with his penalty just expired, Henrik Sedin stepped out of the box and found himself in the midst of a rush. Henrik was trying to pass cross-ice to a sturdy defender in Alex Edler, but instead passed to a different sturdy defender in Drew Doughty, who accidentally put it in past his own netminder. Henrik treated Vancouver fans to not only a two-goal cushion, but also to yet another example of Henrik’s extreme LUCK. (It should be totally evident, but that’s an acronym for Long and Unlikely defleCted pucKs.)
- So Jarome Iginla is a nice guy, but he doesn’t like the Canucks for some reason. It certainly has nothing to do with a decade of intense rivalry. Certainly not. In any case, Iginla took his job replacing Dwight King very seriously, and threw down more risky checks than Frank Abagnale. Iggy slammed into Alex Edler in the first period, taking an interference penalty. Later in the second, Iginla slammed into Luca Sbisa, taking a boarding penalty. And after the game Iginla continued right on slamming, besting Nikita Tryamkin in a hotly contested Pogs battle.
- Ryan Miller was the difference maker in this match. Adrian Kempe nearly humiliated Vancouver on a power play. Alex Edler tried to go around Kempe in a rush, but the forward smartly stole the puck and gave Miller one of his toughest tests of the night. It wasn’t his only highlight reel save, however. Among his many stops, Miller also foiled Andy Andreoff twice in close.
- When it comes to scoring goals, the Kings really own, and I mean that entirely literally. Nick Dowd popped in the second Kings’ own-goal of the night after Bo Horvat rushed in through the LA defence and shot on Bishop. It was originally ruled Horvat’s 20th goal, but video review showed that Sven "Mine" Baertschi had just touched the puck with his stick before Nick Dowd deflected it, crediting the winger with his 15th of the season.
- When asked to describe his play style before the matchup, Goldobin responded with an effective verbal shrug: “Just watch me.” Well we’re sure watching now, Goldy. Sprung on a breakaway by Ben Hutton, Goldobin exhibited speed and flash, pulling away from Derek Forbort and ripping a wrister past Bishop for a 4-0 lead over the Kings. In honour of the goal, I came up with a totally original joke that absolutely no one else in the sports media world came up with: “Goal-dobin.” Except literally everyone else also came up with that, because I am a pod person.
- What emotion did Goldobin’s marker cause for you? Was it extreme disappointment? No? Then you’re clearly not an NHL coach. After “Goal-dobin” put Vancouver up 4-0, he was quickly replaced on his line by Jayson Megna, and was subsequently benched for the remainder of the game. OK, before we storm Willie Desjardins’ house with pitchforks, I have to say I sort of understand this. It’s Goldobin’s first game. And when I peer through the murk of the favourable score, it’s easy to see that Los Angeles greatly outshot Vancouver and controlled more of the play. And Goldobin, well he reminded me of a young Baertschi. There wasn’t much of a sample size to view, but I noticed a tendency to float when not in the offensive zone. Still, a stunning goal certainly justifies more than six minutes of ice time, wouldn’t you say?
- Anze Kopitar finally put Los Angeles on the board near the end of the second period on a power play with several Kings standing in front of the net. It's hard to blame Miller for this or any other goal. The Canucks keeper stopped 41 shots and ended the night with a stellar .932 save percentage. The Kings' rally back was less a matter of improved play, and more a matter of a highly responsive Ice Tilter 3000, which kept the puck in Vancouver's end for long stretches.
- Midway through the third, Jayson Megna took an ill-timed tripping penalty. That set up the Kings for a comeback attempt. Trivia Tru Fakt: Miller hates iPads, tablets and laptops. Yup, just not a big fan of screen time. On the ensuing power play, Trevor Lewis placed a shot through Ryan Miller, his view entirely obscured by Dustin Brown, and it somehow found an opening. That pulled the Kings to within two goals. Megna's penalty was one of eight the squad took.
The rally didn’t stop there. With their goaltender pulled for an extra skater, Alec Martinez was fed by Adrian Kempe to get the Kings to within one. Strange. Martinez is not known for big goals. Even though the Kings had been dominating the play for the last entire game and ended up outshooting the Canucks 44-21, Vancouver was able to hold on for two useless points. It won't help the team in the standings, but seeing Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi play so effectively was heartening. And watching Goldobin score, despite playing for approximately 30 seconds, that was exciting. You stay gold, ponytail boy.
The real reason Goldobin has under 6 minutes of ice time so far: Desjardins hates fashion. pic.twitter.com/uU7t7TLg4A— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) March 5, 2017