It was a rough and tumble affair in the Nation’s capital last night, but the Canucks comfortably controlled proceedings and dominated the Senators on their way to a convincing 4-1 win. While the Canucks played very well, they didn’t comport themselves as well as they performed. The team abandoned to some extent their "between the whistles" mantra and the result was a fair few penalties, a fight to respond to a borderline hit, and what I’d call a loss of focus at times. The Senators aren’t a good enough team to make the Canucks pay for this sort of shenanigans, but I’d prefer the Canucks stuck to a more straight up variation of jerk-puck. Also, when discussing referees after games, can we get the team a collective muzzle? A more detailed recap and chance data after the jump.
– Luongo, for the most part, had an easy night through forty minutes. At the conclusion of the second period, the score was 3-1 for the Canucks who had only allowed five chances against. The third period was a different story, however, as score effects took over, the Senators got a whole whack of power-play time, and Luongo was forced to make some big saves. His best of the evening was after Edler took the hit on his knees from Zack Smith and Lapierre left his defensive assignment for a (stupid in my view) retributive hit. The Canucks prioritized "answering the bell" over defensive responsibility on this play, which, resulted in an Ottawa Senators two on one, in a two goal game. Luckily for the Canucks, Luongo had the team’s back and made two big saves (off of the initial shot and another on the rebound). I understand not wanting to be pushed around, and such, but that particular hit by Lapierre was stupid.
– The Senators are a dirty team. It’s hard to write about the way they played without degenerating into fan-rant nonsense, but I’ll give it a shot. They were obviously seeking payback for gate-gate, and clearly targeted certain Canucks skaters throughout the game. Chris Neil led Ottawa in ice-time, which, tells you all you need to know about their strategy. Carkner punched Burrows in the head, Neil leveled Burrows with an absurd head-shot in the first, Smith hit Edler while he was on his knees and Foligno hit Kesler in a vulnerable position as well. Luckily none of these hits resulted in injuries, but considering what we know about head-injuries in this day and age, it was a grotesque display from the Ottawans.
– The biggest Senators hit, the one that did injure a Canucks skater was relatively clean considering the rest of the team’s antics last night. Hodgson lost his edge coming out of the corner and got absolutely smoked by a four-stride hit from Nick Foligno. It was a scary hit, made even more frightening by Hodgson’s inability to get up and off of the ice. Vigneault says he’s fine, but concussion symptoms often take a few days to show up. Hopefully they’ll hold him out until at least Thursday for precautionary reasons.
– It’s too bad that Hodgson got hurt on the heels of a really good game in Montreal. While many folks questioned his lack of ice-time in the game against the Habs, thus resurrecting the old "Vigneault hates Hodgson!" meme, Hodgson had earned himself a particular privilege with his performance in that game. In the first period, after the first Canucks penalty, he took the post-PK shift with the Sedins. Not sure if anyone was paying attention to this, but I think that counts as a vote of confidence.
– In the third period, CBC showed footage of Luongo’s pre-game stretching. Check out this .gif via JannikHansen:
Oddly similar to this classic television moment, don’t you think?
Luongo: "feels like I’m wearing: nothing at all, nothing at all." HNIC viewers: "Damn sexy Luongo!"
– Ryan Kesler went off tonight, and was easily the best skater on the ice for either team. His efforts on the power-play, short-handed and especially et even strength were superlative. He finished with six chances for and only one against, despite the fact that he started twelve shifts in the defensive zone. His tip-in of Hansen’s beauty saucer pass was without doubt, the play of the game.
– Dale Weise takes some abuse, especially because he loses a lot of fights, but I like him as a player because he can play hockey. While many fans, observers and media were "shocked" by Weise’s power-move goal in the third period, I don’t really understand why! His speed is an asset, and he’s had several plays of this sort throughout the season, this was just the first one he converted. Expect a few more. Also, Weise is a reasonably solid hitter, and did target Chris Neil at one point in the first which earned him some brownie points in my book.
– The Sedins, and Henrik in particular, were rather excellent last night. Their efforts were over-shadowed by the superlative performance of Ryan Kesler, but the Sedins man-handled the inexperienced Senators defense whenever they were on the ice. Henrik had five chance assits, he was dishing off an even higher rate of high-quality passes to teammates in prime scoring areas than he usually does.
Statistical Three Stars
- Ryan Kesler: 3:30 SH TOI (:30+ seconds of 5-on-3,) with no chances against. 10-1 overall chance differential in tough minutes.
- Henrik Sedin: 5! Chance Assists, 9-2 overall chance differential.
- Dan Hamhuis: 3:30 SH TOI, (including 70+ seconds of 5-on-3) with only one chance against.
Here’s your advanced stat tables and scoring chance data courtesy Vic Ferrari and Timeonice.com.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20423
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