Saturday Night’s All Right For Scoring
There’s always a ton of hype when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town. Whether you like it or not, they are the focal point of Canadian hockey, and bring with them prime-time coverage on CBC and the largest hockey market in North America.
There’s also the implicit rivalry that runs these games, though the vitriol stems more to city to city and front office to front office than on the ice. Still, games against Toronto are appointment viewings, especially when the Vancouver Canucks have made a routine of embarrassing them. It’s always fun to beat the city with the biggest ego.
Here we go, onto the Love ‘Em & Hate ‘Em for the Avalanche vs. Canucks game on Wednesday night.
1. Twin Powers Activate
The Canucks are 8-0-3 on this run, but the complaint has been that the games are routinely going into overtime and the margin of victories have been razor thin.
Most of this is due to the fact that the Sedins completely froze up, hitting one of their worst and longest sustained slumps in recent memory. After lighting up the All-Star Game, it was hoped but not meant to be that would return to form.
Saturday night, the Sedins were back to the normal selves facing the same calibre of defence they saw in the All-Star Game. Thus, it’s tempting once again to say they’re back but very few games are this easy.
Their next game is against a much more formidable defensive opponent in Edmon — oh nevermind, they’re back.
2. Burrows Bites Back
Whether he loves the spotlight, hates Toronto, or just enjoys making Ron MacLean uncomfortable, Alex Burrows owns Saturday nights against the Leafs. It’s enough to make Leaf fans pull out their hair.
His second goal was a beautiful snipe thanks to, and this was the theme of the game, Alex Burrows being wide open and having all the time in the world to compose a grocery list, floss his teeth, and eventually pick the corner of the net.
Almost as great as his two goals was the fact that allowed Don Cherry the opportunity to mercilessly rib Ron MacLean post-game.
3. No Lob Lombo
If you missed the game and need it summarized in one play, see Sami Salo‘s powerplay goal that made it 5-1.
After a successful Globetrotters-style powerplay, Matthew Lombardi got to a loose puck with Burrows-esque time to clear the zone.
Instead, he managed to advance it a couple of very wobbly meters to the point where Vancouver went right back to passing it around and seconds after Jim Hughson wondered if the Leafs would pay for that mistake, Sami Salo made the Leafs pay for that mistake.
Don’t forget also that Daniel Sedin‘s goal was entirely the product of Clarke MacArthur stepping on the puck trying to get out of his own zone. The Leafs made mistakes and the Canucks capitalized on them.
That’s the difference between good teams and bad teams.
1. Suck It Phaneuf
Somehow, this was going to result in a penalty against the Canucks until Dion Phaneuf took advantage of the confusion and beat an out-of-position Luongo to make the game 3-1. It was a strange, and a blemish to an otherwise fantastic game from Luongo, but thankfully it didn’t mean anything at all in the blowout win.
2. Alex Burrows, Ref Hunter
The ref didn’t have the puck and to me it was a blindside hit. 10 games sounds fair.
3. Cody Hodgson’s stick
How bad were the Leafs last night?
With that, the goal streak is snapped and Hodgson is benched by Alain Vigneault until he figures out how to use his stick more effectively or something.
Side note: I think we should start getting used to the phrase ‘David Booth breakaway’, it seems like it might become a thing.