You Can’t Beat Nashville Every Night
It had to happen eventually, and Tuesday night the Vancouver Canucks finally lost in regulation. The Canucks weren’t just facing the Nashville Predators, they were also facing the law of averages and an opponent that has caused Vancouver a lot of trouble this year.
I had a bad feeling about this game going in, and the outcome was no surprise. This had all the makings of a trap game before the heavily anticipated contest against the Detroit Red Wings.
Let’s de-construct this game with the Love Em/Hate Em.
1. The Italian Stallion
Roberto Luongo‘s glove save on a Shea Weber breakaway might just be his save of the year along with his shootout stop on Jordan Eberle and his glove denial of Mikael Grabovski. All three saves not only showcased his glove hand, traditionally his weakest asset according to Patrick Kane, but they’ve also all come in the past few weeks.
It all adds up to Roberto Luongo playing the best hockey of his life, and amazingly no one is talking about it. But hey the less spotlight the better for Roberto Luongo. He was fantastic in the Olympics because he had a team talented enough not to need him to be the MVP every game, and this year’s version of the Vancouver Canucks is one of the most complete and talented teams in the league.
Actually, it might be best if Luongo continues to fly under the radar so forget I said anything.
2. (500) Games of Burrows
Alex Burrows hit a major milestone playing in his 500th career game, and I’ll have something special regarding that later this week, but for now let’s talk about his altercation with Shea Weber in which the feisty Frenchman got under Weber’s skin like a splinter. It ended with Weber tackling Burrows rather easily, but it also was a very very good trade-off for a Canucks team down one.
He may be a goalscorer more than a pest these days, but the competitive fire that brought Burrows to 500 games still burns bright. God bless that contract too.
3. Weise F. Baby
With Byron Bitz and the trade deadline threatening his roster spot, Dale Weise had the Canucks’ only goal in his comeback from a broken nose. It remains to be seen what happens with Weise come playoff time, but nights like last night prove that he is capable of bringing something to the table.
1. We Have to Smash Smashville
Between the sea of mustard, the Tootoo whistles, and whatever the hell those lame rip-offs of the green men were, is there a more annoying building than Nashville’s? Yeah, yeah, their passion and enthusiasm for the game in a burgeoning market is great for the league especially in a time when other teams aren’t doing so hot and all that jazz but I hate them. I really do. Stick that in your Tim McGraw.
2. Killer Legwand
The Canucks weren’t exactly riding momentum in the third like destiny was on that side but between Luongo and the plethora of crossbars it did almost feel like the Canucks would fluke their way into overtime, probably with the help of Kevin Bieksa.
So when David Legwand finally beat Luongo with just under three minutes left, it hurt. It’s hard to fault anyone, the Canucks were running on borrowed time, but it was still a gut-punch goal.
3. Human After All
Finally, between the regulation loss, the Legwand goal, Sami Salo’s poor play, and just the general feeling that the terrorists have won anytime the Canucks lose to Nashville, this game was a humbling experience and one where all the good fortune the Canucks have been riding for the past few weeks finally caught up to them. A game like this was bound to happen, but it was still tough to take in.
The weekend blowouts were nice and all but the Leafs and Oilers aren’t exactly playoff-calibre teams even if the Leafs technically hold eighth in the East. Nashville on the other hand is looking to be an even tougher out in the West this year and after pushing Chicago and Vancouver to the brink in recent playoffs, this could be the year they start beating the big boys.
All I know is that I don’t want to see them in the second round again.