Canucks Army Postgame: 9 Forwards, 2 Points

It’s still October? Who cares? Roberto Luongo stole his team two points on Thursday night.

It was announced that 13,203 were in attendance at the Prudential Center to watch the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils play hockey on Thursday night. That strikes me as a rather generous figure, but let’s go with it anyways. The crowd was pretty much nonexistent all night, but it’s not like the two teams they were watching gave them any reason to make noise anyways.

The thing is.. I doubt either the Devils or the Canucks care much about that. One team got to play exactly the type of game that they like to play, while the other team managed to somehow come away with 2 points that’ll count all the same towards the standings at the end of the year.

Read on past the jump for some thoughts on what we just witnessed.

The Rundown

Officially the 3 Stars for the game were Patrik Elias, Ryan Kesler, and Eric Gelinas, but it’s pretty clear to anyone that watched that Roberto Luongo was most deserving of being named the 1st star on this night. He gave up two goals in the first 9:41 of the game, but it’s hard to fault him for either goal.

The opening tally by the Devils came after some nifty passing by their top line of Elias-Loktionov-Jagr, and some dreadful coverage by the Canucks in their own zone. When all was said and done Elias was looking at a yawning cage. The 2nd goal was a power play tally by Chris Tanev Eric Gelinas after Tanev butchered a shot block attempt and essentially put the puck in his own net.

Luongo’s finest work came in the 3rd period unquestionably, when he was forced to stop 17 shots with the team in front of him huffing and puffing and holding on for dear life. He then went on to "stop" all 3 shootout attempts, though to be honest he was probably quite lucky that one (if not two) of them didn’t get by him. But whatever.. he got the job done.

His counterpart, Cory Schneider, would probably like to forget this one. While he technically only gave up 2 goals against, he was directly responsible for both of them. It turns out that he hasn’t improved his puck handling one bit since moving to Jersey, as he mangled an easy play en route to Ryan Kesler’s 5th goal of the season. Kesler has been playing well but what is that now, 3 goals that have fell directly into his lap? Must be nice to be Ryan Kesler right now. But that’ll tend to happen when you a) have 49 shots on goal through 12 games, and b) play next to the wizard known as Henrik Sedin.

Here’s a replay of the gimme:

Speaking of Henrik Sedin, check out the play he makes to set up Daniel Sedin’s goal that nodded the game up at 2 (oh baby, that was nice. But Schneider has to make that save..):

Okay, I guess I can’t put off the main topic coming out of this game which was referenced in the title above. David Booth – making his return to the lineup after being healthy scratched on Tuesday – lasted just 4 minutes, leaving the game following a somewhat innocent looking hit he took. Same goes for Dale Weise. That left the Canucks with just 9 forwards, but really that number is 8 when you consider that the 9th guy is Tom Sestito.

With the news that Jannik Hansen will be out for the forseeable future, Alex Burrows can’t return soon enough.. but it might not come until the team returns home. I’d expect that we’ll see some call-ups made in advance of tomorrow night’s roadtrip finale. Heck, maybe we could see a Sauve-Alberts-Weber 4th line? A boy can dream.

EDIT: A boy CAN’T dream apparently, because shortly after the game the team made the following announcement:

Pelletier is a journeyman who has only played 13 career NHL games despite being 30 years old, but he leads the Comets with 7 points in 4 games, so it makes sense that the team would reward him with a call-up in a time of need. As for Archibald, he was our 14th ranked prospect this past summer and has considerably more upside. I actually like his game quite a bit. But it goes without saying that both guys will probably be back in Utica before too long.

The Numbers

Image via Extra Skater.

As you can see, things were fairly even until the end of the 2nd period. But after that, it was all Devils, and as I mentioned it took a strong Roberto Luongo performance to pry this one away from them. The Devils came into this game 26th in the league in goals/game despite being near the top of the league in terms of possession, so it’s no surprise that they had trouble finishing throughout.

Hamhuis only played 18:18, and got hammered (9 shot attempts for, 18 against) in this one. I know that Dan Murphy put it out there that he believed that Hamhuis was trying to play through a hand injury, which would certainly explain some things. If that’s really the case though, now that Edler is back from his suspension why doesn’t he sit out a game or two? Bizarre.

Coming into this game I noted that the newly instated Higgins-Santorelli-Kassian line had been awesome against the Islanders in their debut performance. Unfortunately they weren’t really able to replicate their performance in this one, though both Kassian and Higgins had a great scoring chance apiece (with Higgins ringing iron, what’s new?), while Santorelli was the only player to score in the shootout. 

And finally.. it seems that all anything people can talk about around these parts is the lack of power play opportunities the Canucks have had this season. That won’t die down after this one, in which the Canucks were only on the PP on two occasions. If only the referees listened to the Sportsnet broadcast, so maybe John Garrett could peer pressure them into giving his team a few calls..

Closing Thoughts

It was an ugly way to get 2 points, but all things considered I’m sure they’ll take it. Next up is a well-rested St.Louis Blues squad who is 5-1-1 on the year and hasn’t played since last Friday. If Gregg Popovich were coaching this team, he’d almost surely send his stars – the Sedins and Kesler each topped 25 minutes in this one – and conceed the schedule loss. But that’s not how hockey works. The Canucks will play all of their best players again tomorrow night, but I’d temper my expectations for the outcome if I were you..

  • DCR

    I’m expecting a bad loss tomorrow – Blues are doing really well, and the Canucks are only going to have 10 forwards if Burr draws in… that’s just an ouch.

    The injury bug’s been going to town on the forwards this season… 5 out with injury is ridiculous.

  • DCR

    This must be one of the ugliest road trips I can recall — it is amazing and fortunate that we’re going to end up with a winning record out of it. The injuries are kind of crazy and I’d agree, just sit the Sedins and Keslers most of the game, call up Cannata and have him surrender 15 goals, play Sestito 25 minutes and pray no one else gets injured.

    But the real ugliness is in the actual games. Other than the Pittsburgh game these teams are truly abysmal. All the bleating on about how terrible the old NW division was — good lord, the Eastern teams look horrific. This is some truly boring and godforsaken hockey. It’s really a tossup as to which of these teams has looked worse. Sabres, Flyers, Isles, Jackets, Devils, they are all unimaginative, repetitive and kind of depressing. At least when we get destroyed by the Sharks it’s nice to see some good hockey played…

    • DCR

      In Canucks Army fashion, we really should verify your observation that the Eastern teams suck with some stats… hmm, going into tonight’s games the Western Conference was 42-16-7 against the Eastern Conference.

      Yep, the East does have a lot of crappy teams. 😉

  • DCR

    While Schroeder, Booth & Hansen for Edler would get vetoed in a fantasy league, the Canucks would probably be better off if 3 depth forwards were healthy and a core defenseman were out.

    All the warm feelings of Saturday afternoon are starting to fade just as the W-L record is starting to improve…

  • DCR

    With Schroeder, Jensen, Hansen and possibly Weise/Booth all on LTIR… are the Canucks able to call up Horvat, Shinkaruk or Gaunce?

    I seem to recall reading an article (perhaps here?) talking about emergency recalls of junior age players, and one of the criteria was having 3+ players on the injured list.

    Not saying that the young guys would necessarily be the best option, but we might need to call up multiple forwards, right?

  • pheenster

    I seem to recall someone stating on this site that Western Conference playoff seedings were going to be determined in no small part by each team’s success in pummeling hapless Eastern Conference opponents.

    Oh yeah, that was me.

    Not that there’s been a lot of pummeling going on, but the East sure does look hapless.

  • DCR

    It’s amazing how the Canucks have to go to a shoot out against a team that is having a horrible season. and in that shoot out, they win when as luck would have it, Luongo makes a save on a shot that he would have screwed up in any other shoot out. They got no chance in hell against any of the mid range or top teams in a 7 game series. Keep Santorelli, Get rid of the Edler, Kassian, Booth, Kesler, Luongo, Burrows and the Sedins.

    Alright you cool-aid fanboys, gimme a thumbs down if you agree. LOL

  • DCR

    And Canucks legendary coach AV lost yet again tonight against the sad sack Flyers. SHOCK! How can the Canucks greatest coach do so poorly? How can a coach who kept putting leaky Luongo back in game after game during the Boston series be wrong? Oh, such a tragedy. # Tears.

  • DCR

    Tonight’s game was ugly and I expect tomorrow nights game to be uglier! At this point I will take it with all the injuries. Hurt ….. Sure Booth is a wreck on the ice or off. The best thing that happened to him is injuries since he didn’t get bought out and will probably get his entire contract. I wouldn’t mind bringing Gaunce up for a few games to play 3rd/4th line. If they can squeeze out a 2-2 tie and at least a point, it would be a gutsy point. These are the games that good teams grind out and find a way to not drop off the face of the Earth. Obstacles can tear down character or build it up and I see this team gaining in character and cohesiveness.

  • DCR

    Found it funny listening to Jersey announcers say trip from JFK to St Louis is a long trip…… Ohhhh those Eastern conference softies! Also thumbs up to the 300 Devils fans that showed for the game. Bettman is right, no more teams in Canada where they fill the arenas ….. How’s about a fourth team in NY/NJ…

  • DCR

    Couple of interesting call-ups. Archibald has been playing a nice, all around game for Utica. Pelletier is providing some offence. I thought Grenier may get the call but these two seem deserving. I don’t expect much from the farm but we need bodies.

    Pretty amazing how some idiots predicted gloom and doom for the team. It’s nice seeing them eat sh!t.

    • DCR

      If only being able to beat crap teams isn’t doom and gloom for you, ‘No Standards Teddy’, then it will be pretty scary to see what you call doom and gloom. Oh wait, I almost forgot that you like mediocrity and average sporting achievements. I guess that’s why you’re
      ‘No standards Teddy’.

      • argoleas

        I don’t even need to reply. Your stupidity continues to be more than enough. Well done, Surrey. The 10 years you spent in high school is definitely paying off in spades! You can do it! Reach for the stars! Fill out that welfare form and commence with the rest of your life. You can do it!

        • pheenster

          You don’t need to reply but yet you just replied.
          I guess you’re just as intelligent as you have no standards, ‘ No Standards’ Teddy…which is not a whole lot.
          Keep on drinking from that cardboard cup Teddy, you selfish tool. You have no standards and you want everyone else in the world to be just like you. Are you going to reply again by not replying? LOL?

  • argoleas

    This is a hell of a way to run into a very good team in St Louis. Injuries mounting, back-to-back game, end of the longest road trip, playing against a very rested team. Yikes! Not sure what genius made up this schedule.

    • argoleas

      I’m kinda curious how it goes. Seems like a decent test early on to see if we can go into St. Lou with a depleted line-up, out trap the Blues, and perhaps bore some fans to death. I was actually shocked when I saw our record on this road trip. Perhaps I’ve been reading too many of these posts. Win or loss, the trip turned out better than I thought.

  • argoleas

    Despite the enlightening discussion of who sucks and who doesn’t. New Jersey actually has better possession numbers this season than St Louis.

    Obviously STL is the better team, but let’s see who can stretch their brain out and discuss things with facts rather than vapid opinion.