Well, hockey’s officially back. Someone obviously forgot to tell the Flames because they were clearly the second-best team in a game that might’ve been close, but never really was, I guess. At least it was entertaining.
First, the talking head segments we were subjected to tonight were really lacking in quality. Second, I noticed a couple of things during the pre-game: Really, Brian McGrattan? Johnny’s cheer was awesome. I also thought Beazley might’ve said Flambes? I never really had a problem with Ms. (Mrs.?) Liscano, but our resident Werenka expert had a different opinion:
This is a real kick in the pants. They told me she retired
— BOO of Loob (@bookofloob) October 9, 2014
Oh man Ryan Miller is the Canucks goalie haha. JONAS HILLER’S STRAPS ARE ANAHEIM ORANGE THAT IS GARBAGE YOU GOTTA CHANGE IT JONAS
Willie Desjardins has one of the best mustachios in the league… Haha that ref camera so dumb. Man I love Backlund… Why are they chanting Miller? It sounds the same as Hiller… I like Paul Romanuk… Russell had a nice spin move in the defensive zone to elude Vrbata early on. Bollig whiffed on a nice chance about 4 minutes in, which was too bad. We missed a nice chance just after that, too, as Sportsnet’s coverage cut out for the third time in about 20 minutes. I’m sure it was fun. That first power play unit was a nice set – 4/5, 13/11/23. They generated a chance before drawing another penalty; nothing came of it. Curtis Glencross had the next moment of note, just missing on a chance in the slot about 7 minutes in. Backlund was demoted at this point (not really, Stajan just went off after his first shift) being forced into at least one shift with the bash brothers. Seriously, I can’t get over the fact that Ryan Miller would decide to live in Vancouver after 2010. That would haunt the hell out of me. Paul Byron decided to open Luca Sbisa’s cup and the Canucks made them pay for his indiscretion, as the other Swiss national on the ice whiffed on a weird one from Alex Burrows (god damnit) via Dan Hamhuis about 14 minutes in.
That Engelland-Smid PK pairing is gonna be a beaut. #McDavid.
— Robert Cleave (@rmcleave) October 9, 2014
Our boys decided that it was a good time to allow the Sedins and Vrbata to set up in the offensive zone for an extended period of time, but Hiller did a nice job and the threat was eventually eliminated. Hartley decided that *now* would be a good time to limit Gaudreau’s ice time, as the mighty mite was benched for at least 5 minutes. Raymond would take a tripping penalty at 16:30, as he got his stick tangled up in the feet of Jannik Hansen (Dutch!): but the Canucks couldn’t capitalize on the PP. Fans in the Dome were booing about something that shouldn’t have been booed about, but they would be satisfied mere seconds later as my boy TJ Brodie just beat the hell out of like three Nucks on the right side to draw a penalty. The Canucks would have the last chance of the period, though, as Jonas Hiller was forced to make a nice glove save. Shot attempts in the period were 19-16 Vancouver, shots 13-9. At one point after the Flames’ 5-on-3 PP, the Canucks outshot the Flames 7-2. Yeesh.
Rajun Stajan would be back on the bench for the second period, which is good. Nothing materialized from the rest of the PP, and the next 5 or so minutes was full of your basic back and forth play. Byron would quickly force a turnover around the 5 minute point, rushing the puck quickly up the ice and placing a shot perfectly between Miller’s pads to both atone for his earlier mistake and tie the game up at one.
Was just going to tweet how useless this line has been tonight.
— Christian Roatis (@CRoatis) October 9, 2014
That would be short-lived, though, as the dastardly Zack Kassian was gifted on a whiff and potted his first of the season mere seconds after Byron’s marker. It was at this point I officially grew tired of the dumb ref cam, because it was making me feel exceedingly nauseous and I only wanna puke at/during hockey games from beer. (Mike Johnson had a nice takedown of the lame duck coach, as well – plenty of players play in the final of years of their contracts and no one ever talks about them being lame ducks.) The Flames would go on the PP for about 20 seconds and then Glencross would take one of those dumb Glencross penalties (seriously he does this garbage at least once every two games) to bring it to 4-on-4. Backlund had a nice chance on the open ice, drawing both defensemen and beating them both to get a hard shot off just before the Flames switched over to PK mode. Nothing would come of any of those infractions, but we’d have a fun time a couple minutes later trying to figure out if Radim Vrbata high-sticked a puck into the net to give Vancouver their third goal. I thought it was a GHG right from the start and Toronto confirmed it to make it 3-1 Nucks.
— DHSpeedwagon (@DHSpeedwagon) October 9, 2014
Jiri wasn’t gonna stand for that, though, as he and Seanahan would forecheck the hell out of Dan Hamhuis and some other dude to bring the Flames back within one. Derek Engelland would earn his paycheck a couple seconds after the ensuing faceoff, as he pinched into the zone poorly, limply wristed a shot behind the net, and left his assignment – just Daniel Sedin, who won the Art Ross trophy like two seasons ago – wide open to take a breakaway on the far side. Hiller would make a nice stop, though, bailing his defenseman out. The Sedins are still really run to watch in the offensive zone, by the way. Shot attempts in the period were 20-10 for Van, shots were 13-7.
Not much happened in the third until an odd little sequence of events led to Tim Peel seeing six Canucks on the ice, blowing the whistle to give the Canucks a penalty, and then not actually giving the Canucks a penalty. So, uh, yeah. I’ve never seen a situation where a ref has reversed a call (outside of the NFL). 12 minutes in, the shots were 6-6 – it was a pretty low event period until that point. Hiller would be forced to make another nice stop on the Sedin-Sedin-Vrbata line a little later on, and another nice chance from Backlund a little later would excite us a wee bit as well. Gaudreau had the best chance of the period up until that point, on a 2-on-1 with Byron – but Miller was able to deflect it away. The Flames would have a couple more moments of pressure but nothing would stop Henrik Sedin from scoring his 1st of the season in a pretty athletic way. Shots were 9-7 Flames, attempts 19-11.
Mikael Backlund. I don’t know what he did to deserve his benching in the 3rd period, but he had at least five solid scoring chances in the game and he fought the top line to a draw while carrying around 4 of the worst Corsi performers on the team tonight.
Why The Flames Lost
Probably because all of you left before the end of the game. Also, Vancouver’s just a better hockey team. The Sedins and Vrbata look like they have ESP and Willie Desjardins is not John Tortorella. Stop playing Joe Colborne at centre. Johnny didn’t score, but I’ve still got my Gaudreauner.
The Flames play tomorrow night in Deadmonton, the land of ebolic, haemorrhaging dreams. I think it starts at 7.