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The Stanchies: Embracing the hate is back in Vancouver as Canucks take game three over the Oilers

NHL Betting Preview, dissecting tonight's Vancouver Canucks vs. Edmonton Oilers Game 4.
Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Stanchion
1 month ago
You would think after being outshot 45 to 18 in a thrilling Vancouver 4-3 win that all the talk would be around Artūrs Šilovs performance. The Boss continues to earn his stripes in these playoffs, seemingly cementing his role as the full time back up next season with every passing game. We’re getting to the point where it’s easy to forget that this kid was the third string goalie who was mostly there to talk to Kevin Woodley between practices during the playoff run.
And while Šilovs is certainly a story, the main story is this: Embracing the hate is back. If the first two games could be described as hotly contested, we’ve officially moved into the Sons of Anarchy phase of this series. We’re at the point where I would heavily warn people to avoid going near their kitchen sink.
The reason for the rise in temperature? The end of the game which saw Connor McDavid get taken out like he was in ECW, with Joey Styles screaming “TOTAL ELIMINATION” in the background as Nikita Zadorov and Carson Soucy exacted revenge for a slash.
Now, there will be three sides to this story.
The Oilers viewpoint.
The Canucks viewpoint.
And Mark Spector frantically watching Dane Cook for inspiration on his take on it all.
We will concern ourselves with the first two, which we will dive into later in the article.
What you need to know for now is that the Vancouver Canucks restored home ice advantage with a 4-3 win over the Oilers, despite sitting back for the majority of the game. It’s the kind of game you feel lucky you escaped with the win. The kind of game you label as “a solid road win” because you “buckled down and defended hard in the third” rather than admitting “holy shit, Šilovs saved our ass tonight” and “Why does Ilya Mikheyev hate happiness?”
And to be fair, a lot of teams roll out wins like this in the playoffs. Not every game will be a masterpiece and not every win will be something you’re going to want to copy the game plan from.
The good news for the Canucks is that the Edmonton Oilers’ main source of offence continues to be the power play and Ian Cole. And to the Canucks credit, they were able to at least shut down one of those weapons in the third period, as they killed off two penalties in the final frame.
The bad news is that after an incredible first period, it truly felt like Vancouver had to hold on for dear life to close out the game.
That being said, every game feels like a completely new adventure in this series, so whatever we learn from one game doesn’t always translate to the next.
All we know is that after Sunday night, the bad blood in this series has never been higher, making game four almost must watch TV, if not for you, but for the leagues disciplinarians.
The weird part is, that it’s been a long time in this city since Vancouver has felt comfortable in that role.
If this series gets nasty, you get the feeling Vancouver will be just fine with that.
Best setting the tone
This was probably the nicest part of the game for Edmonton, back when Vancouver was politely taking turns hitting Mattias Ekholm into the ice:
How can you call Vancouver dirty when Elias Lindholm trucks Ekholm to the ground, then Dakota Joshua patiently waits his turn like he’s about to get on the Skytrain after everyone gets off first, before throwing his own thunderous hit?
My main takeaway from these playoffs so far has been how Vancouver hasn’t looked out of place. Sure, they’ve had games where they aren’t at their best and had to hold on for wins, but so do most teams. But back in the Bubble Run? You basically watched Thatcher Demko try and drag the team by himself through the playoffs. You had a feeling the entire time that maybe the team didn’t quite belong there but you just hoped they wouldn’t run out of mana as they repeatedly cast lightning bolt at everyone they saw.
It was like Vancouver snuck into a club and weren’t quite legal drinking age yet, and they were just praying nobody asked to see their ID.
This playoff run, though? Vancouver belongs. They can hang with teams. They can win on the road. And they constantly find a way to bounce back after losses.
And Sunday night was no exception.
Best official statement
Officiating was a big focus in game two, as it often seems to be anytime former real estate stud Kelly Sutherland is involved. And with the Edmonton Oilers’ powerplay being such a central part of their offence, eyes will continue to warily watch the penalties as this series play out.
So how did game three fare you ask? Well both fan bases accused the NHL of wanting the other team to win, which is a good as sign as any that the calls were evenly balanced. Officially the night ended with Edmonton going 2 fo4 compared to Vancouvers 2 for 3, the first of which was on this penalty:
You’ll notice Šilovs making a huge save on the delayed call, because that’s just what The Boss does. I have come to accept that he brings a certain 1980’s chaotic charm to his goaltending, which was hard to embrace after years of watching Demko make high danger saves look boringly routine. If Demko is the guy you pay to do your taxes correctly, Šilovs is the guy who knows a guy that can hook you up for a good time.
If you want another angle of Leon falling to the ice after his foot was lightly tapped almost severed, I have you covered:
Edmonton got a couple of powerplays based off of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid falling down after a stick was near their feet, but they also got called for a pretty weak cross check and a soft pick, so again, it really didn’t feel like either side was winning the war of being Bettman’s favorite. Which is itself amusing because if we’re being honest with each other, Gary would rather have both teams lose in the second round if it was possible.
As for the Oilers first goal, well apparently they’re really good with the extra man?
Best why not both
I think Filip Hronek has lost any benefit of the doubt these playoffs, so if he’s on the ice when a goal is scored, somehow it’s his fault. It was a title Tyler Myers proudly wore for many years, but playoff Fil is feeling the heat from the fan base.
So even when a puck takes a weird bounce and he’s rightfully standing in his spot of the diamond on the penalty kill, people still want to yell mean things at him on Twitter:
Now, I don’t disagree that Hronek has been playing subpar in the playoffs, and has seen his game steadily fall off since the first half of the season. But the Oilers powerplay is a cheat code right now, to the point you can almost see Oilers coach Kris Knoblauch grinning as he slams up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start on his controller the second he gets a call to go his way.
Add in a random bounce that goes their way? And yeah, it’s hard to blame Hronek for being the root cause of this goal.
I just sort of assume at this point that for every cent Zadorov’s stock rises, Hronek’s must fall, and I think I am at peace with that. The world needs balance.
Best that seems really dark
Much like Zadorov and Hronek entering into a weird Highlander pact, I assume the two Elias have the same sort of deal. If Pettersson is struggling it must mean Lindholm is on the rise, which was the case on Sunday night.
The first good thing Lindholm did? He drew a penalty on Draisaitl for intereference:
That penalty is very much a “I can’t believe they called that” + “Well you can’t put yourself in that position to let them call that” combo we all know and love. I don’t know how many sticks near the hands we saw this season in which we had to gather at a meeting to discuss the greater good and all agree that you can’t put yourself in that position like that after a penalty was called.
In what was a surprising turn of events on the night, however, was Vancouver’s powerplay looked downright lethal. No, you can double check that sentence, that is something I actually wrote.
Their first powerplay was scary for Edmonton, because of the implications, all of which resulted in Elias Lindholm tying the game up on a tip:
So we do admit that the Oilers were in danger here.
We also fully admit that tip was as deft as they come.
The most interesting part about this goal for me was that Brock Boeser ended up being the guy at the top, and he ended up getting a shot off very much like the ones he used to as a rookie.
Remember that first year from Brock? He did a lot of damage skating downhill into his shot on the powerplay like that. It was actually back when Brock was struggling, during the days we dare not speak of when he wanted out, that many people wondered if the Canucks should try and utilize his shot more like that on the powerplay again.
We know Brock can rock net front, and work the sideboards, but it really feels like the best deployment of Brock with the extra man is when he can skate into his shot like this.
But Brock is also producing from every single spot on the ice these playoffs, so maybe “put Boeser on ice” is the only thing written in giant letters on the whiteboard at the moment.
Best remember when
Remember when both Corolla Garland and Brock Boeser were thinking of leaving?
And now we’re out here watching Garland going full Sex Giraffe to break up an Edmonton Oilers rush?
I pointed it out last week, but the clip that impressed me the most from Garland this year was not any of the goals, assists or puck battles he won; it was the clip of him hustling back as hard as he could in a game that was all but over, with his team down 6-3:
The Corolla never lets you down. It’s always reliable. Even in the worst weather, you know it’s going to get you where you need to go.
Best flowing in the wind
Yes, Brock Boeser is a real person, he’s just ridiculously good at scoring goals in the post-season:
The thing I like most about the Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner is he’s not very good right now, so a lot of shots go in. It makes it really fun for me to write post-game articles when I can cover a lot of goals. I especially like how sometimes he seems to just move out of the way of shots. I don’t know why he does it, but it’s adorable.
I also cannot get over how much faster Juuse Saros looked in net compared to Stuart. It’s like watching an Ent in net, slowly grumbling about the dangers of lightning storms while turning around trying to figure out where the net is.
But you also have to give credit to the Canucks, because that is some Sedin-like cycling on this goal. They work the puck to the point, then back down low, causing two Oilers to cover one guy, which frees up Boeser with all the time and space in the world. As much fun as I have making Lord of the Ring analogies for Skinner, you give Brock Boeser that much time and space with any goalie, and man alive, the implications are downright alarming.
Biggest loss of an umlaut
Nils Höglander found himself out of a job on the night as Linus Karlsson was a surprise addition to the Canucks lineup. Which at first glance seems like an odd decision, but when you think about it, Elias Pettersson is already very used to playing with people who aren’t going to score any goals, so why not just see what happens. Like I can’t imagine EP40 looks at anything worse in life than trying to set up Ilya Mikheyev to score a goal, so Karlsson would hardly faze him at this point. It’s like telling someone who returned from World War 2 that traffic might be bad because of an accident on the bridge.
And Karlsson was fine? Almost cromulent as we say. That line was the best in terms of Corsi on the team on the night, which is neat? Karlsson even got in a bit of a slew foot that he turned into a shot attempt on net:
It’s probably a bit scary to think about the long term health of a playoff run based around an EP40 line that just sort of plug and plays random wingers as they go along, but it is what it is as we wait to see if Elias ever flips that infamous switch Botch always joked about.
Best sneaky sneaks
Corey Perry might not be quite the fraudulent Hart trophy winner he was back in 2011, but he still has some tricks up his sleeves. Or in his gloves:
This odd-man rush happens entirely because Corey Perry throws a hit on a pinching Zadorov, then proceeds to grab the stick of Nils Aman, which sets a pick that Zadorov can’t skate through, which frees up time and space for the odd man rush the other way. The end result? The first of many posts that Draisaitl would get extremely salty about post-game.
Which to be honest, I respect that from Perry. That’s a solid rat move. If my teammate got away with that you best believe we’re bumping fists on the bench and giggling about how slick that was.
Best edging
So what’s the best way to close out a first period on the road? How about Brock Boeser pretending to score his third goal so he could steal some hats to sell on Craigslist?
Brock charges the puck towards the net and beats Treebeard much to the delight of the Canucks fans who seemingly bought an entire front row of seats.
And look, I want to give Boeser all the credit in the world here, because damn it, the man scores more than Shane O’Brien at the Roxy.
But Pius Suter, holy shit, watch him on this shift. He is the epitome of “smart player”, because he makes this goal happen.
First he enters the zone and spins off his check, giving him time and space to find Quinn Hughes.
Then instead of sitting back and posting on Instagram about how amazing his pass was, he stays engaged in the play and sneaks in to steal the puck after the Oilers try and exit the zone. He then feeds Boeser down low, and boom, it’s a 3-1 game.
I know Pew Pew has struggled to score for long stretches of time this season, but if you ever wonder why he’s almost locked into the top six at this point, it’s because of what a tremendous 200 foot player he is. Putting a glue guy like that with Boeser and Miller has been one of the main reasons that line has been so good this post-season. He’s the Janet of of this Three’s Company, I think we can all admit that.
Best hold onto your butts
As I said earlier, Šilovs is incredibly fun to watch in net, but also very stressful? It’s like watching your new puppy run around at a dog park, you’re having an amazing time watching it, but you’re also constantly checking over your shoulder to see if any danger is coming its way.
And danger? Oh boy, it arrived:
Šilovs gets just enough of the shot to stop it, but it dribbles through. And by all rights, that should be a tap in for Derek Ryan. Two things conspire against him, though: Quinn Hughes and the fact only Zach Hyman is legally allowed to score goals like that in Edmonton.
Hughes legitimately gets there at the last second and just barely stops the puck from being slammed into the net. And much like any good puppy owner would do, the entire Canucks time jumps on top of their good boy to try and protect him:
My favorite part? JT Miller seeing the giant pile and deciding that jumping on top of it was probably his best play.
It was also during this replay that Craig Simpson began arguing for a holding penalty on Šilovs because when he jumped back his glove landed on Ryan’s stick, in case you were curious about his take on this all.
The end result was Vancouver escaped the period with a 3-1 lead but you also felt kind of uneasy about it all? Which was the right way to feel about this game, that haunting feeling that you might have left the oven on at home. You’d talk to your friends during intermission but in your head you’d be playing out a John Sugar narration, wondering how you ended up here, and wondering where it was all going to end up.
Best two sides to every coin
When you watched this game you either felt Šilovs was lucky to be good, or good to be lucky. From my end, he played a fantastic game, but it was a game of many posts and many scrambles in the crease, so you can kind of see why Leon had himself a little cry about it after the game:
Are posts lucky? Or did Derek Ryan have nothing to shoot at but iron?
Hitting the post is that beautiful Mighty Ducks situation of either being a symbol of coming close to achieving your goal so be proud of it, or the reality of the situation which is falling well short your desired outcome, rendering life meaningless.
Or as Eddie Lack calls it “buying a taco without the shell”, leaving you with nothing but hand tacos.
Best delaying the inevitable
I do like that Šilovs essentially played a game that must have been very frustrating for the Oilers. If it wasn’t a post, there was Šilovs making acrobatic glove saves on the goal line:
Like I said, there is some irony in the fact the Oilers are losing to Grant Fuhr goaltending at the moment. Šilovs might let in some goals but he also keeps making big saves. Sure you might let in goals, but as long as you win people only remember the flashy glove saves.
And despite Corey Perry pointing at the net and telling the officials “trust me, bro”, it was in fact no goal:
Corey pointed to the net several times, but alas, it didn’t change the result.
Also score one for the glove hand with the dark webbing on it so you can’t clearly see the puck inside. Take that, Ian Clark, that ones for the colorful gear brigade.
Best inevitability
Remember Fil? You know Fil Connors Hronek? He took a penalty on that glove save on Corey Perry. Which meant the Oilers got a power play. Which, and again I have to run the numbers on this, they appear to be pretty good at?
Leon Draisaitl ends up getting the goal from his office, and while it wasn’t the usual laser beam he gets from insane angles, it was enough to beat Šilovs on his blocker side.
The moral of the story: If you take a penalty against the Edmonton Oilers, they will find you. And they will hurt you.
It’s important to note Ian Cole did not tip that puck into the net, which yes, it’s come to the point where I have to clarify if he scored or the Oilers scored anytime he’s on the ice.
Best Fuhr-y road
Natural stat trick had the high danger chances at 7 for the Oilers and 6 for Vancouver, which speaks to the Nashville-like way Vancouver defended the middle of the ice.
But if there was a not-high-but-still-really-scary danger chance model, it feels like the Oilers led in those by a large margin:
And hey, I love me some Demko boring saves. It makes my life feel stable. Calm. And confident. I like knowing that the world could be falling apart, global warming ruining the universe and everything I hold dear to my heart, but Demko would still be somewhere stopping an odd-man rush without breaking a sweat.
But I am also getting addicted to watching Šilovs bat away pucks and shots with leg kicks, glove saves, and blocker punches. It’s like watching hockey while gripping an electrical cable in the rain.
Best show me one of them high danger chances
Zach Hyman would find Leon Draisaitl halfway through the second period, but you know who didn’t care? Šilovs:
That’s one of the best goal scorers in the NHL, walking in all alone, and you force him to shoot post.
Now, Leon sulked after the game about how posts don’t equal good goaltending. But hitting posts isn’t good shooting, so I don’t know where that leaves us.
Best buckle up
Jeff’s warning tweets are one of my favorite things. I feel like if I had expired milk in my fridge he wouldn’t chastise me, he’d just give me a heads up about how my cereal might not be in a good spot the way things are looking.
Best literal push back
You wanted push back? JT Miller heard you:
I enjoy watching JT Miller play hockey because a lot of the time I think “someone should hit that guy” and JT actually does it.
Best what now?
Draisaitl found himself behind the defence once again, this time on a pass from Connor McDavid:
Once again Šilovs made a tremendous save, but it does leave Leon in the biggest bind a Leon has faced since Raccoon City went off the rails: If Draisaitl didn’t hit a post, does he have to give credit for a good save?
Best new strategy
The Canucks powerplay was very good for two of their three attempts.
Their second power play was not very good.
You can tell due to the fact I don’t have a clip to show you.
Instead I will give you an interesting fact about Edmonton straight from google:
  1. It hosts a lot of festivals
That was the first item on the list.
Best anxiety check
Carson Soucy blocked a shot and left the game, which of course naturally made many of us assume he had broken multiple bones in his body, as is tradition:
The good news is he came back in the third period, which you clearly know by now, due to the fact all of Edmonton wants him arrested for hitting Connor McDavid at the end of the game. Which seems rather angry for a town known for having lots of festivals.
Best Elias balance
Darnell Nurse got a cross-checking penalty for doing this:
Do I think that’s a penalty? Not at all. That’s an awful call.
Do I find it amusing because it happened to Edmonton? Of course I do.
Am I still thinking about what kinds of festivals they hold? I’m only human.
Best quick turn around
The Canucks powerplay then went to work, and with Pettersson down on his luck, it only means Lindholm grows stronger with each passing game:
The dude literally booted the puck up with his skate and tapped in the goal. He is out here playing soccer on ice and putting the Canucks up two goals on the road in Edmonton. If that isn’t performing under pressure, I don’t know what is.
Sometimes I trip trying to take stairs two at a time and here’s Lindholm boofing a puck up to his stick with his skate so he can score a goal.
Again, I enjoy riffing on Skinner as much as the next guy, but when somebody is going full Lionel Messi in front of you, I have some sympathy for how your night is going.
Best hit of the night
If you wanted to write fan fiction directly from my brain it would probably be “Sam Bennett takes out Brad Marchand causing the Bruins fanbase to whine about cheap shots in the biggest display of irony in my entire life” and “Nikita Zadorov dummies Evander Kane into his own bench.”
Dreams do come true:
That’s straight out of NHL ’95 for the Sega Genesis. The only thing missing was the big “OUUURGH” and then the sound of a garbage can getting hit.
Look, I could go on and on about the mental damage 2011 did to this town in terms of primal reactions to hockey. “Turn the other cheek” is a delightful strategy when it works, but leaves you feeling empty when a team is beating your guys up and there’s no push back in terms of physicality. The lasting image of Marchand punching Daniel Sedin is something people still talk about to this day.
Nikita Zadorov has been a cleansing for this town in ways I cannot even begin to explain to outsiders. And hey, a lot of that is silly. I get it. End of the day, you just want to see a Stanley Cup victory. How you get there isn’t that important as long as you win. But when you don’t win? There is just something that feels good about going out on your shield.
There is a reason wrestling has baby faces fight through thick and thin to win titles, because it’s part of our DNA to respect someone fighting to for survival in whatever form that may be.
So when Nikita Zadorov drops Evander Kane into the bench? You might as well have heard Steve Austin’s entrance theme go off in Vancouver.
There is a reason Nikita Zadorov is quickly becoming a cult hero in this town, and it’s only 50% due to how well he dresses.
Best how the turntables
During that hit, Zadorov got a penalty and Kane thought initially only Nikita got called for something, but the refs evened out the calls.
And so began the gambling reaction memes.
Best putting on a show
Again, only 7 high danger chances for Edmonton, but there were clearly 33 “oh shit that could have easily been a goal” shots in this game:
The Boss doesn’t get rattled, though. We know that. No moment is too big for a man who is literally stopping three shots in a row without breaking a sweat.
Again, this kid wasn’t even supposed to be here. Casey DeSmith lost his job IN THE PLAYOFFS.
It’s nutty.
Best viewpoint
 
Best off to Valinor
 
Best no touching
Zadorov got a penalty early in the third for touching the skates of Mcdavid:
But again, The Boss didn’t care. The last time I saw a guy this eerily calm was when Quads sat down in an Italian restaurant and ordered everything on the menu:
I think we were up to 75 “sweet geezus, that almost went in” shots for the Oilers at this point.
Best who else
The Canucks third period was them sitting back for the most part, but there was one rare moment of pushback.
One Ilya Mikheyev had an open net and a puck on his stick, so he did what we all assumed he would:
Go far post instead of towards the empty net right in front of him.
At this point it feels like he’s too committed to the bit. Like, he knows he could have scored there, but it’s his brand not to score goals now. Like he will lose sponsorships if he puts that in.
I am convinced he has a deal with a condom brand and he needs to show how none of his loads ever get deposited when he uses Trojans.
Best ride
To be fair, I think Corolla held stick here, because he’s a manual kind of guy, but the end result of him out-working the Oilers is still delightful:
Just par for the course for a guy who is next to impossible to knock off the puck.
Best offensive defenceman
With the Oilers starting to worry they might lose the game, Ian Cole went out there and did his best to drag them back into it, this time by picking up a penalty for cross-checking:
So here’s the situation. You now have the Oilers on the powerplay, in the third period, so that should be a goal.
And in most cases it would be. But they forgot about one thing.
Chaos.
Giraffe.
The Canucks diamond penalty kill held firm, and the best part was Tyler Myers dropping to a knee and just taking away the back door pass. Dude didn’t move for 10 seconds, he just sat there like he sat on his controller. It was the most Tyler Myers thing ever and it worked perfectly.
Best seeing it from another perspective
Best he’s not wrong
 
Best hesitant push back
The Canucks best chance in the third period? Nils Aman almost finding Brock Boeser for the back door tap in:
That was actually a fantastic pass from Aman, a guy who I don’t think has registered a highlight or lowlight of any kind in over four months. Total Milford Man.
Best giveth and taketh away
You just knew it was going to be the right post:
The Canucks were owed one of those after the Nashville series, you can’t even be mad at that.
Best what you can be mad at
The Oilers got their third and final goal with their goalie pulled and with Ian Cole on the ice. And as Evan Bouchard has figured out, the easiest way to beat Šilovs is to aim for the bushes Ian Cole:
Ian Cole’s string of bad luck in this series continues in an incredible way. I don’t think I have seen a defenceman have a stretch as unfortunate as this since Brent Sopel tried to pick up a cracker. He literally cannot stop scoring goals for the Oilers. It’s at the point where the Canucks need to game plan on how to shut him down more than McDavid.
Best as close as they would come
All of which brings us to the end of the game. The Oilers, intent on scoring a fourth goal, were unable to do so.
McDavid, upset about losing the game, was shoved by Carson Soucy. Seeing this as a sign of disrespect, he decided to take two hands on his stick and slash Carson. Despite knowing Edmonton loves festivals, Carson took umbrage with this slash, and decided to shove McDavid in the chest. Zadorov, unaware of this plan, decided to shove McDavid from behind. Due to Zadorov shoving first, McDavid fell to the ice and got hit with Carson’s stick to the face:
There is a lot of FAFO going on here with McDavid. I get it, you lost the game, and you just got shoved by a dude on the other team. So you respond.
He should have just shoved back so both guys could growl at each other and go full Call of Duty coms with each other. But he took the two-handed slash approach, which escalated everything.
That being said, I don’t think Soucy in any way thought to himself “Welp, time to smack this dude in the face with a cross-check” because that’s a quick ticket to suspensionville.
But Zadorov threw a wrench in the plans with his hit from behind, and the end result was the NHL’s star golden child got dropped in a vicious-looking end to the game:
For Vancouver fans who just saw nutshots and slewfoots go uncalled in the previous game, this will be a delightful dish of revenge. If game two was poison, game three was the antidote. It’s the playoffs and anytime your side starts getting the upper hand, you’re going to celebrate, as you should. Embracing the hate is all about that lifestyle.
But I also honestly get Edmonton fans being upset with everything, you just saw your best player get drilled in the face, that’s not exactly what you would call a good day for you.
Putting my bias aside, if Elias Pettersson took a two handed chop at someone after a shove, I would expect some FAFO action though.
That being said, if the league looked into this and decided to ponder suspensions I would get it. Regardless of his intent, the end result was Soucy cross-checked McDavid in the chops. It’s hard to argue “Hey if Zadorov hadn’t cross checked him, we wouldn’t be here” as it’s a bit like a bank robber claiming he wouldn’t have shot a hostage if his buddies grenade hadn’t gone off so close to him.
But I also never know how the NHL will call anything, so maybe this amounts to nothing, in terms of post-game discipline.
What we do know is that this series just got a whole lot angrier between two teams and fan bases that didn’t much care for each other to begin with.
Despite the amount of festivals on hand.
Best soul searching
Best checking the list
Best copium
Best response
Best jersey Botch

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