Image via @CanuckClay
There has to be someone out there who saw a Vancouver Canucks game for the 1st time – either this season, or ever – on Friday, November 22nd, and thinks that the team he watched is an offensive juggernaut. Good luck convincing that person that’s not the case, following the 6-goal explosion for the Canucks against a badly depleted Columbus Blue Jackets squad.
For at least 21 hours or so, all is good in Vancouver. Maybe these positive feelings will last even longer if their opponent on Saturday night dabbles in some Roxy action on their night off.
Read on past the jump for a recap of a game which was significantly more viewer-friendly than I anticipated it would be.
I’ve got to admit, I was bracing myself for a game recap in which I’d be forced to eviscerate the Canucks following a second consecutive mind-numbing performance against a subpar team. I’m glad it didn’t come to that, but after the they went down 1-0 just 2:47 in – on Columbus’ first shot of the game, no less – it seemed like a distinct possibility.
The Zack Kassian hate on Twitter was immense, justifiably so in this instance. He panicked near the blueline in the offensive zone as he tried to keep the puck in, turning it over.. and then he did his better matador impression in letting Matt Calvert skate right on by him towards the net. It’s a miracle that he wasn’t permanently glued to the bench following that gaffe.
But pretty much from that point all the way through the final buzzer, it was all Canucks, all the time. The floodgates opened for them, and there’s a few reasons for that (which we’ll get into in some detail in just a little bit). It all started with Daniel Sedin’s first goal on his last 34 shots on goal. It was nice of him to rise up from the casket Undertaker-style, proving he’s still actually alive.
The game remained tied through just past the halfway mark of the 2nd period, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. The Canucks were dominating the play, submitting yet another impressive shot differential performance. Fortunately for them, they were able to turn all of that puck possession into some goals. And it all started with Zack Kassian’s softy, who made up for what happened in the 1st (by the way, how awesome are his goal celebrations? Especially with that tickler he’s sporting these days..)
That was just the beginning. Just 1:54 left, they scored their 3rd and 4th goals of the game a mere 16 seconds apart:
That’s enough of the videos. To sum the rest of the game up, Henrik Sedin showed his true colours when he stole what could’ve been Daniel’s 300th career goal for himself. I’ve also suspected he was selfish, but this.. this was just too much. I’m obviously just kidding.
What I’m not kidding about, though, is the fact that Ryan Stanton put together a 3-assist tonight to raise his point total to 10 on the year. To put that in perspective, Kevin Bieksa is the only defenseman on the team with more points on the season (and he has 11). Meanwhile, Keith Ballard has a grand total of 16 points in his 3 seasons as a Canuck. But we’ve been onto Stanton’s sneaky good play around these parts for a while now..
And finally, congratulations are in order to Jeremy Welsh for his first career NHL goal. Celebrating in style, I see!
Now that, my friends, is a masterpiece.
In just over 43 minutes of 5v5 play on Friday night, the Canucks attempted 45 shots to only 28 by the Blue Jackets. In score close situations, however, that disparity was even more drastic, to the tune of 25 to 8. It was pretty much a complete and utter domination from start to finish.
In the preview for this game I touched on how the newest line combinations weren’t something that we should get too worked up about, because we’d see the Sedins back together soon enough. And that was true. For a large chunk of the game we saw the Sedins and Kesler reunited, to go along with the fan favourite Higgins-Santorelli-Burrows line.
It worked on this night, as the Sedins were on the ice for 10 shots for to just 1 against in score close situations, and combined for 5 points. It’ll be fascinating to see what John Tortorella does with those top two lines against the Blackhawks tomorrow night.
It’s not all good, unfortunately. In a game in which the team scored 6 goals, Jason Garrison failed to register a point (for the 14th consecutive game), and Alex Burrows wasn’t able to score for the first time this season. Obviously both of those guys will eventually snap out of their respective funks, but man, their droughts at the moment are remarkable.
I really don’t want to come on here and pour cold water over you guys. It’s Friday night, and after the 6 goals in 5 games stretch, I think we can all enjoy a little lamp lighting for what it is.
BUT.. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t try to direct your attention to what really happened here. It wasn’t some magical kick in the butt by John Tortorella that resulted in the 6 goals, but rather a long overdue regression to the mean. We’ve been talking about it on this platform for weeks now, but the Canucks were playing far too well (and most importantly, controlling the play at an impressive rate) to have their scoring woes go on forever.
What you saw on Friday night was some of that "puck luck" they’ve been missing. Cam Atkinson missed a yawning cage in the 2nd period that would’ve made it 2-1 Columbus, and then the Canucks went down and scored a couple of softies on a goalie that has been struggling all year. These games happen.
Regardless, it was a big win – particularly in a Western Conference that is looking more and more stacked by the day – and after what happened on Tuesday against the Panthers, I’m sure everyone will take it. Next up: the Chicago Blackhawks..