November 26 2013 12:22AM
Even Daniel Sedin's new smile isn't as ugly as way the Canucks lost this one.
.. the result was once again a fateful one, meaning that all of the positives that could've been drawn from the first 57 minutes or so of action seem to ring kind of hollow. The rest of the Western Conference won't be so kind as to wait for the bounces to start going in the Canucks' favour, and unless things start turning around sooner rather than later, they'll have dug themselves an insurmountable hole in the standings.
It's not all doom and gloom, though. There were quite a few very good things that took place on Monday night at Rogers Arena; unfortunately one of those wasn't the two points. Read on past the jump for a recap of the painstaking 3-2 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings.
We got word during warmups that the Canucks would be using their 129120121210th different line combinations, with David Booth making his return from the press box to play with Jannik Hansen and Ryan Kesler on what essentially amounted to a 2nd line. That left Higgins, Santorelli and Dale Weise to play on the 3rd line, with Kassian being bumped down to a stint on the 4th alongside Richardson and Sestito. The result was a largely successful one for John Tortorella, for reasons that'll become obvious as we go along.
The Kings jumped out to 1-0 goal in the 1st, capitalizing on a poorly played 2-on-1 by Jason Garrison. I assume that Mike Gillis was probably at least a little proud in the aftermath of this play, considering he may very well be one of the only people in the hockey world that thinks Kyle Clifford is a good hockey player.
Just 21 seconds into the 2nd period Daniel Sedin took a high-stick from Jake Muzzin which knocked a tooth out. Somehow, this was called a 2-minute minor, because it's obviously not as significant an incident as say a slightly cut lip. And even more remarkably, there are somehow people out there that think Daniel was faking to draw a call.
Then Jordan Nolan - who has a history of going after Henrik Sedin - took a run at the team's captain. Now, I'm not normally one for getting overly worked up about potential intangible benefits that result from physical play/fights/etc, but there's no denying that the Canucks seemed to play a more inspired game following this incident:
"Henrik is down, Bob, and this is going to be retaliated for."
.. and retaliated for it was. After a few minutes of play which saw the Canucks clearly make a concerted effort to throw their bodies around, Ryan Stanton basically solidifed his Norris Trophy campaign by stepping out of his weight class to throw down with Jordan Nolan. Zack Kassian got a misconduct for his shenanigans with Carcillo (and the two eventually fought in the 3rd, resulting in this masterpiece), and Sestito drew a 10-minute misconduct for.. being Tom Sestito. When all was said and done there were 60 total penalty minutes dished out in the period.
The Canucks tied the score up before the frame was over thanks to a.. I can't believe I'm going to say this, sorry mom and dad,.. solo effort from Dale Weise. He played a whale of a game, and I think it's actually kind of ridiculous that he wasn't named one of the 3 Stars, but we all know just how exact a science those things are. As if saying those things wasn't absurd enough, let me finish this paragraph off by pointing out that Chris Tanev was the goal scorer on the play:
Fast-forward to the 3rd period, where the Canucks were enjoying themselves an 0/7 streak with the man advantage. I'm not sure what the most amazing part of the following clip is, but it comes down to 4 options: a) The Canucks actually scored a PPG, b) Jason Garrison made two consecutive slick passes without butchering the entire sequence, c) Henrik Sedin getting pumped up like never before, or d) Jason Garrison get punched in the face during the celebration as a reward for his efforts. Maybe it's actually e) all of the above.
It actually kind of looked like this may just be Vancouver's night, as they continued to dominate the action even after taking the 2-1 lead. With just over 3 minutes left it looked like we were headed for the perfect cap to a strong showing as David Booth showed wheels which he hadn't had at his disposal the last time we saw him in his charge towards the net. As far as I can tell the Canucks were actually credited for 5 shots on goal during this sequence, but Scrivens, by some act of telekinesis or something that would involve his massive brain, kept the puck out of the net.
.. you can tell where this is headed, can't you? I'll lump the two following plays into one, because they both involve a brutal gaffe by a Canucks defenseman. On the game tying goal by Mike Richards, Alex Edler decides to go and attempt a bone-crunching hit for some unreason completely unbeknownst to me. Then, Kevin Bieksa Bieksa'd the play in Overtime, leading to the winner by Anze Kopitar, and a massive black eye to the Vancouver Canucks franchise.
Brutal. If you're still here with me, let's get to the numbers..
Image via @Thats_Offside
It was actually a fairly close game possession-wise at 5v5, but considering the excellence of the Kings in that department, that's basically a win for the Canucks. Where the dominance came was at 5v4, where the Canucks spent 12.2 minutes of time. Over that span they generated 26 shot attempts, 19 of which went unblocked. To put that into perspective the Kings managed only 3 attempts in their 4.1 minutes of 5v4 time.
Jason Garrison and Alex Edler once again had a subpar game, and hopefully the miscue on the game tying goal late in regulation will force Tortorella's hand in splitting them up. I'd personally reunite Garrison/Hamhuis and Edler/Tanev, but that's just me.
The Sedins had an uncharacteristically poor shot differential game, actually finishing <50 CF%, which is a total rarity. They saw a lot of Doughty, Richards/Carter, but still.. weird to see. I guess they somewhat made up for it with the power play goal they generated.
I spoke of Dale Weise's strong play earlier, and the possession data bared that out. When he was on the ice the Canucks took 11 shots to only 6 against. What makes those numbers even more impressive was the fact that he most commonly saw the trio of Brown-Kopitar-Williams when he was out there. I'd be surprised if he had a game better than this one for the rest of the season, but I still enjoyed it thoroughly for what it was.
I'm not sure if you've caught on by now, but we've basically been Copy/Pasting the same sentiments in this section of the game recaps for a few weeks now. Well, not really.. but we may as well.
What's becoming abudantly obvious is that the margin for error - due to a combination of them not being as good as they were in past years, and the competition becoming tougher - has shrunk. One little thing here or there, and the picture being painted suddenly becomes drastically different. That was the again the case in this one.