Road Trip #3: Part ONE

Stop #1: Capital…absolutely Capital timing as the Canucks met with the Ottawa Senators.

The game perhaps did not start the way the team intended as it was all Ottawa in the first period and it reflected on the scoreboard when MacArthur scored his 100th Career goal. Needless to say Torts was not impressed with his team’s poor start to the game and he let it show behind the bench with his words in particular to Jannik Hansen.

Mind you it was only a 1 goal lead for the Senators heading into the second period BUT Vancouver could not waste time in letting this game get away from them. Props to Hansen for taking the harsh words in stride and for the rest of the bench taking words in stride to turn the tide of the game.

Cue Mr.Clutch Alex Burrows getting the gritty puck work done along the boards behind the net to set the twins up for the tying goal just 31 seconds into the second period. JUST 45 seconds later David BOOTH gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead which was followed by a power-play goal from Jason Garrison just 2:50 later! Midway through the middle frame the Canucks had stretched their goal count to 4 and Craig Anderson’s night was over. Offense that had been lacking in recent games was on the menu for the visitors this night.

Milestone #300 finally goes in for DANNY BOY! Congratulations DANIEL! [Did you know of his 300 goals, Henrik has assisted on 214 of them? That is insane in the most awesome way!]

**Daniel Sedin is only the 3rd Canuck to hit the 300 goals mark! He now only trails Trevor Linden [318] and Markus Naslund [346]. With 53 games still left in the schedule…it is plausible that Daniel could surpass Trevor Linden before the season ends.

Garrison seems to have found his game recently and was rewarded with this fantastic cannot miss shot for his first goal since game #2! Looks good playing point on the power play don’t you think?

Stop #2: New York, New York…where the Canucks had anything but an Empire state of mind.

Oi vey…where to begin with this game. The Rangers were looking to have a bounce back game while the Canucks were looking to put a string of wins together. One team was going to achieve their goal and it all came down to who put their best team effort on the ice…and that is exactly what happened.

The Rangers jumped ahead to 2-0 lead much to the delight of the home crowd and their delight did not end there as in the second period they jumped to a 4-0 lead. Luongo’s night at the 3-0 goal and Lack in to try and spark the team in some way. Booth’s goal put the Canucks on the board before the end of the middle frame.

The Canucks put themselves in a pretty steep hole making the comeback improbable. The Rangers all but secured their victory when Kreider put the home team ahead 5-1 as he completed a hat trick and hats rained down at MSG. The Canucks did manage to get another goal as Daniel scored a power play goal late in the game to make it a 5-2 overall score.

This was definitely not the Canucks best game by any means, possibly one of their worst BUT the good news is that they had an immediate opportunity to have a bounce back game the very next day.

Stop #3: Sweet Caroline…bounce back they did indeed. Torts was not happy with the team’s effort on Saturday and neither was the team. The Canucks knew they had to have a MUCH better effort for their Sunday matinee game. Eddie Lack made his 5th start of the season.

Remember that power play that struggled in the first 20 games? Including Ryan Kesler’s first period goal against the Hurricanes, Vancouver’s power play has scored in 7 of the last 9 games. It should be noted before Kesler made it a 1-0 lead…he took a puck to head, shook it off and gave the Canucks a rare FIRST goal of the game lead [a trend that has not happened enough if you ask me!].

The first period was all Canucks as they dominated the first 20 minutes out-shooting Carolina 9-4 as they visitors jumped up to 2-0 lead. The second goal was a point shot from Garrison tipped in front from Tostito [aka Sestito!].

As we all know NO lead in ANY game is ever safe.

The second period was Carolina’s turn to take this game over. The Hurricanes not to be outdone by the visitors came back VERY quickly scoring two goals in 10 seconds to tie the game at 2. To be honest when Carolina tied the game so quickly…I had flashbacks to the Chicago game when they similarly changed the tide in 9 seconds. That being said the Canucks did not give up their compete in this one, they shook off the shock and came right back. Just 27 seconds after the Hurricanes tied the game…Ryan Kesler scored his second of the night give the Canucks a 3-2 lead.

Despite the quick start to the middle frame and despite the Hurricanes out-shooting the Canucks 17-10 in the middle frame, were not able to find the 3-3 equalizer.

The third period was a pretty even affair. Carolina came very close, if not for a little help from Burrows, the Hurricanes may have tied the game again! Heck of a save BURR!

Kesler came oh SO CLOSE to completing the hat trick BUT Ward made an important save to keep it a one goal game. Carolina pressed for the equalizer late in the game even pulling Cam Ward for the extra attacker as the clock was winding down. You do recall that the other team pulling their goalie has been the Canucks kryptonite as of late right? They ALWAYS get it…or at least that is how it has gone all season long. NOT THIS TIME. The Canucks held on to the ONE goal lead and walked away with TWO points in REGULATION. Yes…this really happened! Lack was solid in net finishing with 29 saves.

The league’s number one penalty kill unit got put to the test killing 6 straight penalties! Needless to say, by the final buzzer this was a much more complete game from the team. Can they be better? Every team can always be better and can always learn from mistakes made in previous games.

Next Stop: The Canucks will close out their 4-game road trip in Smashville….otherwise known as Nashville. It won’t be an easy game…it never is against the Predators and the Canucks will have to put their best game on the ice to earn the two points.

Let’s close out this road trip in style boys!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Call Me Maybe: AV to NY 4 Torts to VAN?!

Do hear that ever growing loud buzzing noise? Those are the whispers regarding the newest potential Canucks head coach getting louder. First it was Dallas Eakins as the front runner until he struck Oil in Edmonton as a great fit for a young core team. Next in the front runner positions are John Stevens who is currently an assistant coach in LA, Lindy Ruff who was fired earlier in the year by Buffalo and former head coach of the NY Rangers the ever colorful John Tortorella.

The most interesting of the three candidates is perhaps John Tortorella not just because of his colorful way of dealing with the media but because former Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault has reportedly signed a 5-year contract with the New York Rangers [rumored to be worth $10 million].

Could it be former Canucks head coach headed to the Rangers & for NY Coach Tortorella to Vancouver?

CoachTortsCould it be with former Canucks head coach AV headed to the Big Apple & that former NY Rangers coach Tortorella will be headed  to Vancouver?

Wouldn’t it be something if these two switch places? I know I am not the only one who would be slightly amused by role reversals. Both cities are hockey markets where the fans and media alike have expectations on the daily basis from both the coach and the team. It is not yet official as to who will be the next coach for the Canucks but the rumors regarding Torts to Vancouver are getting louder with each day that passes. Best of luck in New York AV!

What are your thoughts #CanuckNation about the possibility of Torts coming to the Canucks as head coach? He has Stanley Cup experience[Tampa Bay], and has worked in a hockey mad market[New York] and can more than handle whatever the media tries to throw at him. Perhaps he could be a the trigger to light a fire under this team or perhaps not. Imagine Torts addressing the media…can you picture it? I think he would have tone down his colorful commentary slightly but sometimes the media in this town are crazy and should be called on it.Maybe he will be the next head coach or maybe Gillis and company will go another direction [Stevens or Ruff or perhaps a former player will be added to the mix!]. All that being said the team will hopefully name a coach prior to the draft and free agency madness.

Any of you still watching the Stanley Cup Final? Its a hard match up for me to watch as a Canucks fan..but because I am a fan of the GAME itself I have watched. Currently 3 games done and Boston leads the series 2-1. The first two games both went to overtime [stretching over 10 periods of hockey!]. The third game has been the only one to end in regulation and Boston taking the series lead. Rask is a huge part of the reason why Boston has been so good this post-season and he proved that in game 3 posting his 3rd shutout in the last 7 games. Game 4 will be a series changer if Boston takes the 3-1 series lead OR if Chicago finds their scoring touch and returns to Chicago with a tied series. I will not pick a side in this series but it will be interesting to see how the rest of this series goes as a hockey fan.

In other NHL news, Logan Couture has inked a new 5-year contract worth $30 million [an annual cap hit of $6 million] and Pavel Datsyuk has signed a 3-year contract extension worth $22.5 million[an annual cap hit of $7.5 million]. Rumor has it that LA is preparing to trade back up goalie Jonathan Bernier with Toronto and Philadelphia emerging as the frontrunners in that race. For Philadelphia it would be great to give Bernier a chance as a starter and to push Steve Mason. For Toronto it simply raises more questions regarding their goal-tending situation as it seems no matter how good James Reimer plays it is never good enough. Then again, LA was supposedly going to trade Bernier last year.

The drama never seems to end in the hockey world. By next week’s end the Stanley Cup Final will be over and the draft about the start. Trades pace the NHL draft prior to the start of the craze that is free agency beginning July 5.

I will sign off today, asking you #CanuckNation: who do you think will be the next Canucks head coach? Drop a comment with your choice/reason regarding the coach you’d like to see behind the bench!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.