Canucks Army Postgame: You can pick your jaw up off of the ground, now

Image via Josh Weissbock

The Edmonton Oilers are a joke of a team and organization, is something that I wrote this afternoon as part of a preview for tonight’s game. Then the Edmonton Oilers came out onto the ice in front of their fans at Rexall Place, and did the best job they could possibly do to prove me right. And prove me right they did, as their effort’s were more than enough for the Canucks to earn just their 2nd victory of 2014 on Tuesday night, by a 2-1 score.

Maybe one day you’ll get the chance to bounce your grandkid on your knee, as you tell him/her about the time that your favourite team went on the road and won a regular season game thanks to the likes of Kellan Lain, Zack Kassian, and Mike Sullivan. Jaw-dropping, I know.

Fine, Roberto Luongo was pretty darn good when called upon too, but that’s not nearly as fun to talk about. Read on past the jump for a look at what went down.

The Rundown

Kellan Lain played 5:21 more than he did in his debut, taking 10 shifts and recording one shot on goal, one blocked shot, one giveaway, and winning 3 of 5 faceoffs. He also went on to score his 8th goal as an AHLer 1st goal as an NHLer, putting a rebound of a Dale Weise shot by The Professor to open the scoring. Pretty cool moment that gave even more credence to "no pain, no Lain":

Other than that, though, it was a fairly uneventful opening 20. The only other really noteworthy moment come towards the end of the frame when Kevin Bieksa dropped ’em with Randy Jones. He had his jersey pulled over his head for the majority of the fight, but as you can see below it hardly stopped him from working the body on Jones. Maybe this is something that the Canucks work on at the end of practice (instead of shootouts?)? 

GIF via Thomas Drance

Zack Kassian wound up scoring in the 2nd period – finishing off some good work from Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler behind the Oilers net – on a wicked shot, but we’ll get to his night in far more detail in just a second. Actually, to hell with it, how about we get there right now..

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Zack Kassian Appreciation Night

There was a lot of speculation heading into this game about what would happen between Kassian and the Oilers, and whether the home team would be trying to get some retribution for the way that the Canucks winger had been tormenting them this season. I hope for their sake that they weren’t trying to do so, because if they were.. then they’re more laughable at that facet of the game than they are at actually playing hockey (which seems almost unfathomable). 

Early in the first period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of all people tried to get in his face a little bit. Then it was Gazdic’s turn, though Edmonton’s resident goon and Kassian hardly shared anything more than some words over the course of the entire night. Based on some of his fights that I’ve seen on Youtube, Gazdic is a pretty big badass, but he genuinely looked like he wanted no part of Kassian in a legitimate 1-on-1.

I can’t really blame him.. he wouldn’t be the first, and almost assuredly won’t be the last, to look into Kassian’s deep soulless abyss of a gaze, and think better of it. I don’t think Oilers fans were too understanding..

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UPDATE: Dallas Eakins went on to compare the situation to Bertuzzi/Moore in his postgame scrum, which, is definitely something. Don’t really agree with it, though. I think Kassian was more than willing to step up and handle his business. Maybe something would’ve happened if his players weren’t all a bunch of "hold me back! hold me back!" studio gangsters.

So for those scoring at home, Zack Kassian beat ’em on the scoreboard (hilariously enough scoring what wound up going down as the game-winner)..:

.. beat ’em on the mic:


.. and then got some love from his coach:

GIF via The Stanchion

All in all, a pretty good night for Zack Kassian. He’s earned himself some quality time favouriting hate tweets he has received before going to bed.

The Numbers

via Extra Skater

The Canucks still wound up finishing the night with a positive shot differential, but as you can see from the graphic above, score effects reigned supreme on this night. They held a 34-23 advantage through 40 minutes, pretty effectively handling their opponent despite their depleted lineup. They also wound up finishing the night with 16 scoring chances of their own to only 11 by the Oilers (according to our buddy Jonathan Willis).

Edmonton basically went on to throw everything but the kitchen sink at the Canucks in the closing minutes, but Roberto Luongo – aside from the Eberle goal, on which he had no real chance with a massive pile-up blocking him from getting back to man his net – was rock solid (along with the help of his posts, on a couple of occasions), earning himself some "Luuu" chants, the 1st star and the Haida Hat following the game.

GIF via The Stanch, again.

I’d say based on his two most recent performances v. the Alberta teams (acknowledging that they’re the Alberta teams) that there’s no reason for any lingering doubt stemming from his last couple of injuries.

Dan Hamhuis once again logged some big-time minutes (26:59 to be exact), with Chris Tanev (21:05) being the only other blueliner to top the 20-minute mark. Amongst forwards, Mike Sullivan really rode his top guys hard, with Kesler and Daniel Sedin combining for over 49 minutes of ice-time. David Booth on the other hand logged only 9+ minutes, as he appears not to be a Mike Sullivan favourite.

The Conclusion

A win is a win is a win is a win, and considering some of the results over the course of this month, I don’t think the opponent really matters as long as the 2 points are achieved. I think that given the circumstances (missing 2 of their top 3 centers) this was a generally positive showing, despite the few tense moments near the end of the game.

Next up are the Nashville Predators on Thursday night. Until then, I’ll leave you with this clip of a drunk beer league goaltender in the Czech Republic (brought to my attention by Justin Bourne):

  • I don’t know what’s more embarrassing – Tortorella snapping or Bieska turtling under that jersey of his. Is there any one in the NHL that cherry picks their fights more than BSKa.

    • Brent

      You’re kidding right? Really thats all you got?

      Why not bring up the fact that for all the Canucks talk about toughness they were outhit again. I guess fighting is “tough” but hitting the other team is likely a more efficient “tough” strategy.

      • elvis15

        Toughness works on many levels, they felt they had to stick up for themselves in the LA game. They’ve done the hitting thing too, but just because you throw more hits than the other guys doesn’t mean you’re tougher. In fact, what it usually means (just like with blocked shots) is that you’re spending time on defense instead of offense. We were busy shooting and they were busy chasing. If they aren’t trying to injure our players or run our goalie I’m not as worried about trying to act tougher than them.

  • elvis15

    I can’t be totally satisfied with the past two wins. These are terrible teams that the Canucks almost didn’t beat. I have to come to terms with the concept that this team scores about as much as I do. 🙁

    A win is a win, however. You take the two points. You move on. I hope for a more offensive performance against Nashville (no real reason to hope).

    • Dimitri Filipovic

      It’s true, barely beating two borderline AHL teams isn’t exactly something to crow about, but I did like overall the play of the team, better on the forecheck and better on d. Some bad luck on bounces but we did get the win. PP still looks terrible though, with a few exceptions. I’d like to see them just shoot, even if the screens aren’t completely set. The extra pass or two we make takes us right out of the play.

      Also the Oilers troll(s) on here is/are hilariously pathetic.

  • elvis15

    IMO, hits are an indication of puck possession. You don’t hit when you have the puck, you hit when you don’t to separate the opposition player from the puck. If the Oilers outhit the Canucks it’s because the Canucks had possession of the puck more often.

  • elvis15

    You only throw hits when you don’t have the puck, so of course the Oilers had ample opportunity to throw more.

    we all know the Oilers are as soft as butter.

  • asdf

    i completely agree. if you’re going to fight, you shouldn’t just fight the people who are your size but everyone who wants to fight you. otherwise, you are classless jerks. it shouldn’t matter that stage fights are dumb in general and bieksa only went after smid because that punk was trying to pick a fight with garrison. right. that was me trying to be sarcastic. i may have failed.

    anyways i don’t know what kind of moral standard you set for a hockey team or for yourself, but for me, everything that’s happened (regardless of how people perceive them) was pure entertainment. i find it hilarious, as much as i found richard sherman going nuts awesome.

  • Mantastic

    it’s Ryan Jones, not Randy… and Gazdic totally would have dropped the gloves if Kassian actually wanted too… if Gazdic took an instigation penalty, he would have took one with a visor, which would have been a 5min major i do believe.

  • Brent

    Here is some hit data taken from the CBC box score summaries. I am sure there are better sources, so we need to take this with a grain of salt I think. The first number is the hits for the team we played and the second is our hits. Just went back to the game against LA when Luongo got injured:

    LA 30-21 Loss
    Ducks 42-30 loss;
    Pens 25-36 loss;
    Blues 19-14 won!;
    LA 31-34 moral victory!;
    Ducks 25-26 – bit of a blow out;
    Yotes 24-18 loss;
    Flames 13-20 Win;
    Oilers 28-13 Win;

    We could look at the fenwick/corsi to see if the hits relate to trying to get puck possession but just a simple win-loss evaluation does not seem to explain the hit differential. (Yes I certainly know different teams play different styles of games, and it is a small sample size, bla, bla, bla). Now I certainly like the idea of the Canucks playing a little tougher, but maybe not in a bonehead Sestito-Nolan 7 minut power play kind of way. If somebody runs our goaltender, I would like to see an immediate response. Same for cheap shots on our players. But if we really had turned the corner on toughness in our “moral victory” game, explain how Hanzal took out three canucks including Henrik and there was no retaliation? True after the Booth high stick, he was in the penalty box for pretty much the rest of the game. But nothing I remember. Do we have to wait until next game? Not really as much of a deterrent if we have to wait. And deterrent is the key here.

    Sorry this is a little long.