January 05 2014 10:59PM
There was no possible way this game was going to go Vancouver's way. A sound beating at the hands of the L.A. Kings and a Dustin Brown roundhouse kick less than 24 hours prior had knocked out Roberto Luongo, and a mystery ailment had rendered Chris Higgins unavailable, the Canucks were forced to take desperate measures. Benn Ferriero was recalled from Utica to make his Canucks debut,
finally giving Canucks fans the long-lusted after Benn and Weber in the lineup. 42 year old former Johnstown Chief (yes, those Chiefs) Rob Laurie joined the ranks of Chris Levesque and Dustin Butler in Canuck emergency backup goalie lore. And most shockingly of all, Tom Sestito was promoted to the second line with Ryan Kesler and Zack Kassian.
And for a fleeting moment in time, it looked like Tom Sestito may just spark the Canucks to a victory over the undefeated at home Anaheim Ducks. But alas, it was not to be. Vancouver folded like a dime store novel after the first en route to a last-second of overtime 4-3 loss. How the hell did things go so sideways so quickly? Read past the jump to find out.
I loved the first period. Those first 20 minutes of hockey in Anaheim provided me with more entertainment than a NHL hockey game has provided me in a long time just because of the sheer madness of it all. The Canucks came out strong, generating multiple scoring chances early, including a Tom Sestito jam play out front and Mike Santorelli doing his best Jannik Hansen impression and shovelling a puck wide past a yawning cage. And then Corey Perry took a tripping penalty...
Former Canucks Army general Thomas Drance and I had a discussion a few days ago about Vancouver's much maligned powerplay, and we came to a half-serious conclusion:
Tom Sestito career shooting%: 20.5% Steve Stamkos career shooting%: 17.5% Tom Sestito for PP1. @ThomasDrance— Rhys J (@Thats_Offside) January 2, 2014
We never thought we'd ever see this come to fruition, but when the new-look first powerplay unit stepped over the boards, newly-minted second line left winger Tom Sestito joined them and promptly parked himself in front of the net. Twitter exploded. Magic happened:
Then, the Ducks took a too-many-men penalty just a few short moments later. This act was heinous enough to enrage the hockey gods, as they punished Anaheim with a second powerplay goal against courtesy of net-front juggernaut Tom Sestito's new-look top unit PP:
The Canucks controlled the period, finishing with a dominating Fenwick For of 78%. Things were looking good. Then the second period started.
The last 40 minutes may have been the absolute worst stretch of hockey a Canucks team has played in the regular season in years. They were crushed, buried, smacked around and thoroughly dominated by a suddenly invigorated Ducks team. Saku Koivu deflected a Jakob Silfverberg shot from the point past Eddie Lack just 24 seconds into the frame, courtesy of a terrible Kevin Bieksa turnover. Moments later, the aforementioned Tom Sestito charged towards Ducks rookie defender Hampus Lindholm, tripped up, and incidentally smashed his skate into Zack Kassian's face. Kassian was bloodied, went down hard and was initially unable to make his way to the Vancouver bench. He'd leave the game and would not return.
Anaheim ran the shot clock up to 16-0 in the period before Matt Beleskey mercifully tied the game at 2-2 with roughly three and a half minutes remaining in the 2nd. The deluge of shots wouldn't stop either, as the Ducks would hang a total of 20 on the Canucks. And the 3rd period would be just as bad.
Kevin Bieksa's floater from the point that found its way past Jonas Hiller 66 seconds into the 3rd period was essentially the lone bright spot for the Canucks:
After that minor setback, the Ducks simply went back to work and kept pounding away. Eddie Lack did his very best to hold Vancouver in the game, but the dam inevitably burst with just 1:27 left in regulation. After a sequence of some intense pressure, Nick Bonino fired a puck past Eddie Lack and tied the game up at 3-3.
And even then, Anaheim didn't stop pressing. They out-attempted Vancouver 7-2 over the remaining 5 minutes before Corey Perry mercifully ended the game with just 0.6 seconds remaining in overtime. Even though he let in 4 goals, every Canuck should but Eddie Lack dinner, as he absolutely stole a point for his listless team tonight.
Courtesy of ExtraSkater.com
You know what? Just go click that link to ExtraSkater. It'll take you to the game summary. You'll see that Tom Sestito was the only Canuck who played over 10 minutes and had a Corsi% above 50%. You'll see that everyone else got their teeth kicked in. Mike Santorelli and the twins got absolutely filled in. Hamhuis and Tanev got crushed. Bieksa and Garrison were decimated. David Booth was abused. I don't even know what Jannik Hansen was because I'm out of adjectives to describe just how awful the Canucks played in the 2nd and 3rd. Dale Wiese was bad and... stuff.
Dan Hamhuis has been absolutely shelled in a couple of games in a row here. Yeah, it's been against Los Angeles and Anaheim, but your best defenseman can't be pulling a 25% Corsi if you have any hopes of succeeding. Maybe dial his ice time back a bit and give some more to Frank Corrad--
If this is what being a Leafs fan feels like I never want to be a Leafs fan. Actually, I never want to be a Leafs fan anyways, but that's neither here nor there.
The next game is Tuesday at 7:00 PM as Vancouver hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins. Maybe don't allow shots at a rate of one per minute next time, okay? That may be a good idea.