How The 4th Line Goes So Goes…
24 hours after snoozing through a 2-1 loss to the Panthers, the Vancouver Canucks were back in action against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the team the Canucks beat to win the cup somewhere in an alternate dimension.
The Canucks managed a marginally better effort thanks to the Lightning making far more mistakes than the Panthers did.
Still, this one was nearly kicked away, and doesn’t bode well for success in St Louis against Ken Hitchcock and his hard-working Blues.
Onto the Love’Em and Hate’Em for the Lightning matchup.
Mike Duco is making the most of his call-up.
It’s been an effective two games for Duco and only means good things for the kid at a time when the Canucks farm depth is either injured or disappointing.
Manny Malhotra meanwhile is on a points streak, crazy.
Mason Raymond provided some excitement in the shootout when he pulled his patented stop ‘n spin on Dwayne Roloson. The refs took a second to talk it over but they usually count and this one did too.
Like Lars Eller’s spin-o-rama goal last week and Linus Omark’s famous shootout winner, the goalies may not like these moves but they’re proving effective.
3. Roly The Goalie
Speaking of Dwayne Roloson, he did the Canucks some favours Tuesday.
Roloson has been dealing with the Canucks for years, whether through Minnesota or Edmonton, and his grizzly visage is familar to any Canucks fan.
In this one, Roloson looked every bit the 42-year-old man he is by allowing some soft goals and two right after the Lightning pulled to within one.
Roloson had to feel a bit like Clint Eastwood in Gran Turino looking across the ice and seeing Cory Schneider.
He might have even been looking at his replacement.
Wave goodbye to Dwayne Roloson, because this will probably be the last time you see him telling those Canuck kids to get off his damn crease.
1. Sam Malone
The Canucks took a 4-3 lead until the final minute before Ryan Malone swept the puck in to tie it.
The call notwithstanding, and I can almost guarantee you no one in Toronto was applying the Daniel Sedin playoff call either way, it was a goal that you saw coming a mile away.
The Canucks were gassed, and were struggling to hold on to leads all night. They had no answer for Tampa’s top offensive guns which made the tying goal fateful more than anything else.
This a game where Sami Salo was missed.
Alain Vigneault’s decision to start the shootout with Kevin Bieksa was surprising. I’m not sure if it was an attempt at brilliance or a joke (but if it was a joke, the next player shooting would have been Maya Buttreaks) .
Of course, we would be talking about it in a different light if Bieksa scored, but as most could have guessed he didn’t.
It’s just another one of these strange details in Vigneault’s coaching strategies that keeps you guessing how much grasp in reality he actually has.
Finally, Sportsnet reached a new low last night.
On a panel that included Doug McLean trying to ignite a goaltending controversy in Vancouver (what?), Damien Cox railing against the trading of Major Junior rights (who cares?), Nick Kypreos raised the bar even higher when he put his bare foot on the table to point out where he used to have bunions. (We love our readers so we won’t subject you to the image without YOU clicking the link)
It was surreally bad.
And then you remember that they pre-taped that to show in three different markets tonight.
So that wasn’t some live spur-of-the-moment TV, that was their best take.
Or they just went with that without ever thinking about what they had actually filmed.
And then they showed it to three different Canadian hockey markets.