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.

This week in the NHL…

Where will you be March 2, 2014 #CanuckNation? I know where I will be, watching our Vancouver Canucks take on the Ottawa Senators at B.C. Place Stadium!! Rumors became fact July 10th when it was OFFICIALLY announced that these two teams would be participating in the Stadium Series taking place throughout next season. The event will officially be titled “The 2014 Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic”. Interesting to think about heading into this game is the fact that while former Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson will not be participating in the Heritage Classic, as a current member of the Detroit Red Wings he will be participating in the WINTER CLASSIC vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs….oh the irony!

I’m curious to see what the jerseys for this event will look like…perhaps a throwback to their 1994 jerseys?[Am I the only who wants to see those make a comeback?!]

Here’s some highlights from a game a few years back featuring these two teams to keep you entertained while we wait for October & this Heritage Classic:

This off-season has seen more than one surprising announcement from the Canucks trading Cory Schneider to Daniel Alfredsson leaving the Ottawa Senators. This week has seen the New Jersey Devils return to spotlight as forward Ilya Kovalchuk announced July 10th that he is retiring from the NHL after 11 seasons. This announcement comes just 3 years into his 15-year $100 million contract that he signed when he decided to remain with the Devils organization permanently. Over his 11-year career Kovalchuk amassed 816 points in 816 games [417 goals, 399 assists] scoring 30+ goals 9 times playing the Atlanta Thrashers[now Winnipeg Jets] and the New Jersey Devils. This announcement seems to have been a shock to the New Jersey franchise who probably expected him to play at least 5 or 6 more years given that he is only 30. He played a huge part in helping the Devils on their Stanley Cup playoff run in 2012 in which they finished as the runners up to LA…he came VERY close. It leaves many to question what could have been as his play on the ice could be polarizing. It has been speculated that while he has retired from the NHL, it is highly possible he could join the KHL.

Is anyone else stumped how Boston & Pittsburgh keep signing multiple players to BIG money & LONG term contracts? The Bruins recently signed Rask to an 8-year contract [$56 million] after he more than earned his contract with the year he had. They also announced the extension of Patrice Bergeron to an 8-year extension [$6.5 million cap hit]. Add Iginla’s 1-year $6 million contract and that’s nearly $20 million just on THREE players. Look and Penguins who have many players on long-term deals that curiously seem to match their salary cap hit to their jersey numbers in many cases. How can they even have any cap space left?!

Oh hey speaking of Boston…did you hear everyone’s favourite Tea Party member Tim Thomas has come out of hiding to announce that he wants to hear offers from teams in an attempt to comeback to the NHL next season. Any takers?  Anyone? He’s known to be an incredible athlete when called upon, has won a few vezinas, a Conn Smythe, and a Stanley cup….BUT he has been known to also make controversial statements and decisions that cause social media to go crazy. Wherever Thomas ends up will be interesting mostly due to the fact that he spent last season suspended for not reporting to camp and opting to sit out the final year of his contract with Boston. While I have never been a fan of Thomas, I can appreciate that regardless of statements he has made…he has been known to be an incredible goal-tender and is capable to help any team win.

This off-season has been more than interesting to say the least and more surprises and expected announcements are sure to be coming. Some days it feels like the off-season will last forever and others it feels like October is right around the corner.Soon there will be official pre-season and regular season schedule released, so here’s to the summer that will end before we know it!

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

P.S. It looks like @strombone1 has returned to his humorous ways with twitter[if you don’t follow him yet, you should as he’s one of the best to follow!]…welcome back LOU!!