Unfortunately, the Flyers beat the Canucks in both the silly-face competition and in the game tonight.
Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
In what was billed as a battle between two absurdly over-paid goaltenders, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Detroit Red Wings model of team building were the winners this evening. In fairness to Bryzgalov, who was excellent despite the four goals allowed, and Luongo who was in no way excellent, the defensive breakdowns in this game were more then mere breakdowns. Both team’s defensive structure and discipline were in full-blown Three Mile Island mode tonight. Though this made for an entertaining contest, it probably took a couple of years (in aggregate) off of the life expectancy of the respective head-coaches.
In contrast with recently waived uber-pest Sean Avery, it was a sloppy first that cost the Canucks this evening. The Canucks came out flat and took four minor penalties (two of the "soft" variety, and two of the stupid variety) in the games opening eleven minutes. By the time the first period was half over, les boys from Vancouver were down 2-0. It was eerily reminiscent of Monday night’s game against Columbus, as the Canucks were undisciplined and lackadaisical out of the gate.
The Canucks power-play brought the team to life briefly in the latter stages of the first period, with Mikael Samuelsson opening the scoring for Vancouver and pulling the team within one. Then a questionable puck-handling decision by Luongo was compounded by his inability to smother the puck following an easy shot. The rebound found it’s way neatly onto JVR’s stick, and he put home the gimme to put the Flyers up by two after twenty minutes.
The Canucks were much better in the second frame, out-chancing the Flyers 5-3 and outshooting them by eight. The Canucks got a garbage goal from Captain Hank, but the Flyers restored their two goal lead thanks to a lovely wrist shot from Voracek. Voracek’s goal was set up wonderfully by the eighteen year old Sean Couturier who got his first NHL point on the play, hit a post, and was easily Philadelphia’s best forward from a possession stand-point this evening (+ 3.8 adjusted fenwick). Chris Higgins, who has been a stand-out in the early going, potted a stuff-goal a few moments later to narrow Philadelphia’s lead to one heading into the final frame.
In the third Philadelphia wilted, and seemed intent on giving the game away. The Canucks tied the game early in the second period with some stellar work on the power-play. Samuelsson hit the cross-bar about fifteen seconds before the Canucks executed a series of jaw-dropping cross-seam passes, resulting in a Daniel Sedin finish. The tie lasted all of sixty one seconds before Slovakian National and former Vancouver Giant Andrej Meszaros took a drop pass from Briere and wired it top-chedd on Luongo for the game-winner.
In the final ten minutes of the game, the Canucks whiffed on four power-play opportunities (though they generated some quality chances) and Bryzgalov shut the door for the Flyers, who remain undefeated at 3-0-0. Though Vancouver’s defense was weak, and the team’s start was horrendous, the Canucks outshot the Flyers by 13, out-chanced them by 6 and dominated possession. Tonight the hockey-team from Vancouver was defeated because Philadelphia’s hockey team got better goaltending from their overpaid gaolie, than the Canucks got from their overpaid goalie. Luongo has had a couple of rough outings to begin the season, though I’m confident he will find his form against a cup-cake in the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20035
|VAN||2||13:19||H. Sedin GOAL||1||6||14||22||23||33||5||21||28||30||44||68||5v5|
|VAN||3||16:21||D. Sedin GOAL||1||14||22||23||26||33||14||20||27||30||44||5v4|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Head-to-Head Ice-time (scroll to the bottom of the link)