Detroit Rock City
In a month devoid of big ticket match-ups, Thursday night’s contest with the Detroit Red Wings was appointment viewing. Not only was it a match-up of the Western Conference’s top two teams, but it was also a night where the league’s best road team was trying to end Detroit’s record home winning streak at 23.
Unlike when the two teams met at the start of the month, this one lived up to it’s enormous hype and could be the second best game of the year after the Boston game, which again it always comes back to.
Let’s dive into the love em/hate em for the Vancouver Canucks vs. Red Wings game.
1. Early Waves of Pressure
The Canucks came storming out of the gate, generating multiple chances that were deftly swept aside by James Howard III (no seriously, look it up). Even after the Wings opened the scoring on a goal against the grain, the Canucks still came back and dominated the play.
It was fantastic jump from a team that clearly realized the magnitude of the task before them and came prepared. In fact, it may have been the best period the Canucks played all year and the fact they went into the intermission down 1-0 was absolutely criminal.
2. Late Waves of Pressure
When Cody Hodgson got a bit of a lucky goal to tie the game at 2-2, it looked like the Canucks had found new life. It didn’t last long because Justin Abdelkeder scored 20 seconds later, and it looked as though that would be the game.
Somehow, the Canucks turned a fortuitous icing call into a game-tying goal from Daniel Sedin, one of the most unlikely comebacks of the year. At least Kevin Bieksa‘s stanchion shot in Colorado had an air of inevitability to it.
The hockey gods are crazy.
It’s a shame a game this good was decided in a shootout, but that was still pretty sweet.
1. Bieksa Goes Old-School
The Wings opening goal was entirely on Kevin Bieksa, who delivered a massive brain cramp that was both familar and long missed in the past few months. That it came after a long streak of sustained Canucks pressure was even worse.
It really wasn’t Bieksa’s night, as the rearguard made a number of bobbles and errors that reminded you why he was almost ran out of town not so long ago.
2. I Once Was Blind But Now I Ref
The reffing in this one was quite suspect as a number of calls on both sides led to some headscratching. Most curious was an incident in the first where David Booth was called for holding but a high-stick on Mason Raymond went undetected.
In a powerhouse game, no one is watching for the refs, and the zebras came dangerously close to being the deciding influence.
3. This Is Why I Hate The Shootout
I realize the shootout has a place in the league 75% of the time or something, but it’s games like this where it’s absolutely a wet noodle.
The Canucks and Red Wings played 65 minutes of hockey where both teams left everything on the ice and provided white-knuckle tension throughout. For this game, and by extension a home win record, to be decided through a skills contest was a tough way to decide the bloodbath.
I’ll hate it even more if we don’t finally get the much anticipated playoff series between the Red Wings and Canucks this spring.