Kesler wins draw. Ducks score. Ducks fan finger guns camera.
This is not good. pic.twitter.com/xnHQjJNZWE
— Wyatt Arndt (@TheStanchion) November 10, 2014
Vancouver entered tonight with the hopes of making good on the final leg of their California road trip. Going 2-1-0 in three trips to California would go a long way in validating this franchises belief in themselves as a playoff team. Beyond that, using a victory over Ryan Kesler and the Anaheim Ducks to tilt the needle above .500 would surely be icing on the cake for a team that so desperately needs to find positives after their 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings just one night earlier.
It took a weathered storm in the first, a draw in the final two periods and a series of posts in the shootout to do it, but they left Anaheim with the victory. Read past the jump for a full recap.
Considering everything at stake beyond the all too valuable two-points tonight, there wasn’t much to get excited about in the first period. If tone-setting and fighting and all that fine stuff is up your alley, there was Kevin Bieksa dueling Patrick Maroon off the opening draw. But beyond that, not a lot happened. At it’s worst, Ryan Kesler rocked Jannik Hansen to the point where the pesky Dane came up sans-helmet. At it’s best, Eddie Lack wasn’t left hanging by his teammates; which has been rare in the second half of back-to-backs for the handlebar mustached netminder.
There’s a lot more to chew on from the second onward though. The pace increased considerably, which favored the Canucks more than the Ducks. It didn’t show up early, though, as a power play goal from Sami Vatanen (noted Canucks Army favourite and guy I wanted back in the Kesler trade) launched a wrist-shot immediately off the won offensive-zone draw for the opening tally. Winning the faceoff, of course, was none other than Ryan Kesler.
The Ducks lead would be short lived though. Vancouver continued to up the ante and it eventually paid off in the form of an Alex Burrows goal off a deflected Dan Hamhuis shot from the point. It was the highlight of a great night for the second-line, which has carried the scoring of late for Vancouver. Nick Bonino had an assist on the play, going tit-for-tat with Kesler and keeping the comparison story line alive.
While the score didn’t change in the third, the speed at which the game was played took a significant step forward. Both clubs traded chances, with the Canucks second-line doing the lion’s share of the work for Vancouver. When all was said and done though, regulation ended a 1-1 draw. Overtime did nothing to settle this one.
Here’s a breakdown of how that went:
Bonino scored the only goal and with the game on the line, Lack was able to stop Kesler with the help of his trusted crossbar. I’m not one to overreact, but I think Vancouver won the trade.
Courtesy of HockeyStats.ca
Not bad, all things considered. Firstly, the Ducks have been the better of the two teams since the start of 2013-2014 and they should have a legitimate chance of contending in the playoffs. Secondly, Vancouver came into tonight on the second half of back-to-backs missing three regulars from their lineup. Despite the Ducks rash of injuries that rivaled Vancouver’s, the Canucks were punching well above their weight class and left on-top.
The Canucks faith in Linden Vey is beginning to frustrate me. Despite playing the second-half of this game on the Sedin line, Vey finished the night with a 34% Corsi. It’s an ugly trend for Vey, who’s struggled mightily this season at evens. His value as a finisher on the power play is undeniable, but if the Canucks could get half of that from Vey at even strength, I’m sure they would be thrilled. I certainly would.
As for Mr.Malcontent himself, Kesler, he had a vintage #beastmode night. His boxcars aren’t necessarily overwhelming, but he had the highest Corsi of any Ducks player and managed this shadowing the Sedins all night. How’d Kesler fare against the Twins? Well, he came out in the black with 52% possession when hard-matched against Henrik Sedin. The Twins also didn’t muster much in the way of scoring chances tonight, so I’m going to have to label it a victory for Kes.
The Canucks get one days rest, then it’s right back to it against the Ottawa Senators. Those pesky Senators and their “cost per point” philosophy are as middling as it gets, so this should see a return to success for Vancouver. One would think, anyways. See you then!