Typically, the type of 5-2 loss that the Vancouver Canucks suffered at the hands of the lowly Edmonton Oilers would be grounds for a whole lot of eyebrow raising, and head scratching. But not on this particular night.
Not when we came into Saturday contest knowing what we did — the Canucks were dressing Mike Zalewski, as good a sign as any of their abundantly transparent ulterior motivates, while the Oilers were surely going to do anything and everything to send a Former New York Islanders Great off into the sunset with a relatively meaningless victory in the final game of the season.
And so it came and went, Game 81 of the campaign, with just one more life-sucking contest left to be played tomorrow night. Before we get to that, though, let’s get to Ryan Smyth’s big night as he was gracious enough to take some time from shedding an immense number of tears to whore out for any type of garbage goal possible.
There’s really no ideal to place to start discussing this one, so let’s just jump right into it and see where we get. First off, there was a good shot of Ryan Smyth crying prior to the contest:
.. and then as the game got going, he continued to cry..
.. and, as you probably could’ve guessed by now — he continued to cry some more..
Before all was said and done, he even wound up sneaking in a few more tears just for good measure.
Consider yourself lucky I’ve gone ahead ahead and compressed the 1821821821082190289102910 (rough estimate) number of times the camera either panned to Smyth on the bench, on the ice, or into the stands to talk to his family for you.
OK, I’m done now.
All jokes aside, I’ve got to say that I’m pretty reasonably fond of what Ryan Smyth was able to do on the ice in his hey-day, and I definitely do respect what he accomplished as an NHLer. It was also pretty neat to see Henrik Sedin shock the world by bringing to an end the #embracethehate era. While these things can surely become a bit much in a hurry, I do get the basis of them and I’d imagine we’d be looking at it slightly differently had the roles been reversed. Like, you know, that time Trevor Linden and the Canucks slogged through a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Calgary Flames back on April 5th, 2008?
I mostly used all of that as a thinly veiled stall tactic to put off talking about the Canucks in this game, because there really isn’t all that much to say given the circumstances. Jacob Mark5trom’s final line (a .773 save percentage) doesn’t look pretty, but it’s not like the guys in front of him did him any favours, either.
The biggest culprit was Alex Edler, who had himself a doozy of a game (even for his own lofty standards). On the second goal against, Edler casually took a little stroll in the defensive zone as Jeff Petry was allowed to waltz in and bury one. After having sat in the box to serve a double-minor for cutting the man of the night with a high stick, he promptly came out of the box and had a puck bounce directly off of him and into his own net.
If you wanted to show someone one highlight that fully encompasses the 2013-14 season for Edler and the Canucks, you can’t go wrong with that one. Even if it was technically a play which didn’t result in Edler receiving a minus for his efforts.
If you’d like to dig through the underlying numbers from tonight’s game yourself, they’re right here, so be my guest.
One quick thing I did want to get to: Zack Kassian had yet another fantastic night, as he continues to be one of the lone bright spots amidst the burning pile of garbage around him. He was on the ice for 19 shot attempts for (v. only 8 against), put his playmaking on display with this glorious pass to set Shawn Matthias up for a goal, and even wound up fittingly getting credit for a cheap rebound goal in the dying seconds.
He continues to haunt the Edmonton Oilers.
The final game on the slate comes tomorrow night at 6 PM PST, and it’ll be back at home in the not-so-friendly confines of Rogers Arena v. the Calgary Flames, and reigning Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gaudreau.
What’s on the line?
Thanks to their efforts over the past couple of games, the Canucks have put themselves in a nice little position to get a strong pick in this June’s draft. The Hurricanes play in Philadelphia against a team that’s already locked up their playoff position, in case you’re wondering. But really it would behoove the Canucks to finish off this Greatest Tank Battle properly.