The Stanchies: The Thatcher Dem-show and the Myers-less Canucks in the worst win you’ve ever seen
Photo credit:© Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
8 months ago
There are only three guarantees in life. Death, taxes, and the Canucks going on a meaningless late-season playoff push that inspires false hope as they defeat multiple playoff contenders while occasionally losing embarrassingly to teams actively tanking — ultimately sewering their lottery odds with no long-view in mind for the organization.
Oh, and the Canucks conceding a power play goal.
Make that four things.
Oh, and the Canucks dropping significant news bombshells hours before puck drop.
So, five things.
Anyways. The pregame. Tyler Myers was scratched, and apparently, it wasn’t a healthy scratch, with Myers feeling a little under the weather.
Myers is 16th in team scoring with a goal and 11 assists through 64 games. The man affectionately known as the Chaos Giraffe didn’t earn that moniker from playing tight, safe, defensive hockey. He did it by playing year after year of chaotic chaotic hockey.
Despite Myers’ dismal on-ice metrics and his meagre counting stats, the Vancouver Canucks played their absolute worst game of the season without him and won.
Hard to say.
Let’s examine how this team managed to pull a “GG bot diff” on the LA Kings.
Best speaking of long overdue healthy scratches!
Wait till you get later in the Stanchies. This isn’t even the biggest jersey foul of the night!
Best giraffe conservation efforts
With the Chaos Giraffe out of the lineup, the newly cobbled-together d-pairing of Ethan Bear (returning from injury) and Guillaume Brisebois (recently signed to a two-year extension) did their best to replicate Myers’ on-ice efforts alongside the Canucks’ fourth-line of Jack Studnicka, Nils Äman, and Dakota Joshua.
First, there was a lot of stationary puck-watching.
Then, there were a bunch of misplays with the puck behind the goal line, leading to nearly a minute spent pinned in the d-zone.
Lastly, the forwards couldn’t safely break the puck out of the zone, leading to a d-zone turnover and the first high-danger scoring chance of the game!
After seven minutes, the Kings had outshot the Canucks 8-0.
8:20 into the game, Noah Juulsen—Nu-Myers, if you will—registered the Canucks first shot of the game with a very Myers-like pinch down low.
If you really think about it, Vancouver’s performance in LA was as perfect of a touching tribute to Myers as possible!
No defence and pure chaos, baby!
Best “the tank is off (again), baby!”
Naturally, after getting worked inside their d-zone for the entirety of the first half of the period, Quinn Hughes turned the puck up ice to J.T. Miller in the neutral zone for a relay to Brock Boeser. After entering the zone alongside Phil Di Giuseppe, Boeser rifled a shot that knuckled off of Alex Edler’s stick and over Joonas Korpisalo’s right arm.
It’s always the “weird ones” that break the drought.
The goal was long overdue for Boeser, who had not scored a goal in six games despite playing some of his best hockey.
Worst Eagle taketh, and the Eagle taketh away
Angling to make amends for his egregious tip on Boeser’s opening goal, Edler rolled back the clock to give the gears to his former team.
First, Quintin Byfield and the Kings dominated Vancouver inside the d-zone with a rapid-fire cycle culminating in a patented Edler point shot into the shinpads.
The GIF might not sell the domination. The box score on NHL.com might not sell it, either. But believe me when I say the Canucks looked hopelessly lost against the Byfield, Anze Kopitar, and Adrian Kempe triumvirate.
As is Canucks’ tradition, Quinn Hughes fanned on a point shot, leading to a quick Kings breakout and the game-tying goal from none other than the man they once affectionately called Eagle.
It was a great goal too.
Edler didn’t hop into the rush that much in his waning days as a Canuck. So it was great to see him roll back the clock and use the space Gabe Vilardi generated for his post-and-in wrister.
Best Statsies Lite™
It was an excellent start for the Alex Edler/Jordan Spence pairing. Through 20 minutes, the Kings outshot the Canucks 7-2 with the Eddie and Spenny duo on the ice at 5v5.
Inversely, it was an atrocious start for Jack Studnicka, who replaced a healthy-scratched Vitali Kravtsov in the lineup. The Canucks were outshot 7-2 with Studnicka on the ice at 5v5 in just 3:31 of ice time and outscored 1-0.
To be fair to Studnicka, he’d been a healthy scratch for most of Vancouver’s recent win streak, and Kings’ head coach Todd McLellan kept punishing Studnick by deploying LA’s best players against him ad nauseam.
Only four forwards finished with a positive control of shot attempts at 5v5 through the first 20 minutes, Boeser, Miller, Di Giuseppe, and Hughes. Even Elias Pettersson had a rough start, with LA outshooting Vancouver 8-2 with Pettersson on the ice at 5v5.
Something was off with Pettersson well into the second period as well. The crisp puck handling wasn’t there, and he often appeared frustrated.
We haven’t seen Pettersson bobble a puck and give up on the play like this since his brutal start to the 2021-22 season.
By the time I finished recapping the Edler goal, the first period had ended, and the second period had begun.
I don’t know if that says more about my writing speed than it does about the ref’s game management. But, the quick pace of play was great for the “can’t wait to get my Saturday night started after the game’s over” crowd.
Not so great for the “can’t wait for the game to be over so I can read the Stanchies” crowd.
Worst what losing to Arizona in regulation can do to a motherf*****
The second period was Vancouver’s worst but Demko’s best. The Kings outshot Vancouver 12-2
To break up the shooting gallery monotony, J.T. Miller threw the puck away inside the neutral zone, handing Adrian Kempe a breakaway scoring chance.
Guillaume “don’t call me Breezebahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” Breezebahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh made a commendable effort to get back into the d-zone to take away Kempe’s scoring chance, but the aggro stick check to Kempe’s hands drew a penalty shot.
Tocchet was not happy.
Demko came up huge on the penalty shot, though!
Best “at least it wasn’t another penalty shot!”
Past the midway point of the second, Viktor Arvidsson was sprung on a breakaway past the Canucks’ defence, forcing Burroughs into a diving poke check.
The call was on the softer side, but it didn’t matter. It’s not like the Canucks were in the game at any point through the opening 40.
Amazingly, despite getting completely clowned at 5v5, the Canucks generated their best look of the period, a shorthanded chance off the post by Sheldon Dries!
I’m trying to find positives, folks. I really am.
There was truly nothing good to highlight in the first two periods.
Outside of Boeser’s goal and Demko’s penalty shot save, Noah Juulsen’s collision with Vladislav Gavrikov was the only real noteworthy positive from Vancouver’s side.
Oh, and Quinn Hughes made the second-best save of the night. That was pretty neat!
Here’s an alternate angle because why not!
Best “SIXTH SHOT OF THE NIGHT, BABY!”
Garland’s little backhander on Korpisalo with 4:25 left in the second was just their second of the period.
Was this worth GIF’ing? No, but I was pretty slap-happy at this point of the game and needed some GIF money.
Best whatever, who cares
Was it a kick?
Was it not a kick?
Who cares? You don’t deserve the debate when you are outshot 23-6 after 40 minutes.
2-0 Los Angeles off a deflection from Carl Grundstrom.
Best Jersey Botch
Between the Eriksson jersey guy and this Nic Dowd truther, LA-based Canucks fans are certainly an interesting bunch.
Best “what else is on?”
The Farmies™ are high on Arshdeep Bains’ potential as a blue-chip prospect. The kid works incredibly hard and has scored at a decent clip as a rookie. Under Jeremy Colliton, Bains has gone from sheltered fourth-line minutes to the second-line while earning reps on the power play and penalty kill.
His shorthanded goal against, ironically, the Los Angeles Kings affiliate was Bains’ 9th of the season and his 4th point in as many games.
Bains won’t figure into the Canucks’ call-up plans unless injury demands it. But he’s definitely on the short list. He has to be with the way he’s been playing down on the Farm.
Worst “ugh, I guess I’ll talk about the third period.”
Allegedly, the Canucks registered two shots on net before the midway mark of the third period.
[footage not found]
Gee, what else?
Alex Edler nearly scored a second goal! That was fun!
Philip Danault flopped over top of Thatcher Demko and was challenged to a fight by Burroughs.
That was…a thing that happened! I guess?
Demko stacked the pads on Anze Kopitar; that was pretty rad.
Best TEAM LIKE THAT revival
Not ten minutes after I crassly critiqued Elias Pettersson’s performance through 50 minutes of play, the Vancouver Canucks earned their first power play of the night, and Mr. Pettersson chose to make me eat my words in violent fashion.
To the surprise of exactly zero Canucks fans, Pettersson’s post-and-in snipe came six seconds into the power play and tied the game at 2, despite being outshot 40-14.
Forcing overtime after being thoroughly dominated by the Kings, the Canucks finally found the gear that had been sorely missing during regulation. Vancouver out-attempted Los Angeles 5-0 during the five minutes of 3-on-3 because, of course they did. It’s the Canucks. Why wouldn’t they show up for five minutes of a 65-minute hockey game?
First, it was a rink-wide pass from Hughes that sent Pettersson racing into the Kings’ zone for a fake-wraparound wraparound attempt.
It was very cool.
Then, J.T. Miller tried to blow up Korpisalo’s head with a wrist shot as if he was Michael Ironside in Scanners.
Best shootout team ever
Andrei Kuzmenko? Baby, you know he scored.
J.T. Miller? Baby, you know he went wide left, and you know he scored.
Another two points.
Another game where the Canucks play unwatchable, frustrating, pathetic hockey yet somehow leave with a worse draft position than when they entered.
Canucks hockey, baby.
Best real King in LA
The drip. My goodness.
Best Based Burkie
Best night for goaltending
On a night when both the Kings and Canucks met at the NHL and AHL levels, Vancouver’s goaltending department stopped 38 of 40 shots each in a win.
What a night for the goalie guild!
What an awful, awful, awful evening for Canucks fans.
This was the least instructive performance of the season. You can’t point to a single thing they did at 5v5 against an actual playoff contender in Los Angeles and think there is anything to build upon. It was a dreadful performance—downright embarrassing stuff. Yet, here they are, 7-3-0 in their last 10, tied with the St. Louis Blues for the 8th-best lottery odds. Four points behind the Detroit Red Wings, five points behind the Ottawa Senators, and seven points behind the Buffalo Sabres.
Goodbye, Connor Bedard.
Hello, mushy-middle, my old, all too familiar friend.
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