How bout shooting?
In a rare feat, a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Vancouver Canucks turned out to be boring.
The Red Wings played like Rogers Arena was their home rink while the Canucks couldn’t shake off the rust and the bad habits they carried over from January. Detroit carried the play in this game and frankly the Canucks were lucky to escape with a point.
It was a rare snoozer between the Western Conference powerhouses and if you didn’t switch over to TSN at some point when you caught wind of Sam Gagner’s night, you’re lying to me right now.
Here is my Love Em/Hate Em for the Red Wings game Thursday.
1. Fortunate Son
Ryan Kesler scored the Canucks first tally late in the first to continue his run of strong play against the team he grew up cheering for. It also gives him two goals in two games post All-Star break and points in his last four games.
With his linemate options finally all healthy (save for Chris Higgins missing this game with the flu) look for Kesler to have a strong finish to the season.
He’ll probably never score 40 goals again, but a Selke-caliber forward who can put up 60-70 points is a very fine piece indeed.
2. Macy Saves the Day
After Alex Burrows notched a goal in the third to tie the game at two, it looked like the Canucks had a chance to recover this game.
Unfortunately, the optimism was short-lived as Drew Miller put the Wings back ahead less than two minutes later. It looked as though the Wings were in control and cruising to a 3-2 victory.
Thankfully, Mason Raymond stepped up and had a wrister deflect off Brad Stuart and in. It was a big goal for the Canucks and a bigger one for Raymond who’s still trying to find his place
in this world on this team.
The trade rumours swirl around him daily, and when the Canucks play like this they’re only going to intensify.
3. Lu Can Do Too
Luongo’s night wasn’t as flashy as Schneider’s, but the big man made a number of key saves to keep the Canucks in this one. The scoreline in this game was very, very flattering to the Canucks and Luongo was a big reason why.
Unfortunately he still hasn’t mastered the art of the shootout but we can’t fault him for stealing one point and not two.
Oh no wait, we totally can.
1. The Second Period
Over the past month and a bit, the second period has been where Canuck games go to die.
This trend had a giant exclamation point in this game as the Canucks delivered quite possibly their worst period of hockey all year in the middle frame. It was uglier than Mike Ricci.
It took Vancouver twelve minutes to register a shot, part of the larger trend of the Red Wings badly outshooting the Canucks.
Finals shots in the second period were 15-3 and for the game 43-25.
Don’t let the scoreline fool you, this game was close like the Justin Abdelkader/Maxim Lapierre tilt was an actual fight.
2. Andrew Alberts, Forward
Injuries have decimated the Canucks thirteenth forward slot, and it seems Chris Higgins was a last second scratch from the collective surprise it generated, but are the Canucks really at the point that a last-minute injury means slotting Andrew Alberts on the fourth line is the best option.
We’ve seen this movie before, sometimes with Alberts and sometimes with Aaron Rome, and it doesn’t work.
I remember a game this year in Montreal where the Habs scored two goals from the point because Alberts, as a forward, was lost in his defensive zone coverage and playing too deep because that’s what he’s been conditioned to do his entire hockey career.
It’s a tough spot to put a stay-at-home defencemen in and definitely not something you want to be pulling in the playoffs.
If I’m Mike Gillis, I’m realizing that I have my work cut out for me at the deadline if I want to make an honest go of things for the playoffs.
3. I Can See Cleary Now
The theme of this game was set early when Danny Cleary opened the scoring by taking advantage of another comedy of errors in the Canucks’ defensive zone.
Darren Helm started the play by threading a past through Alex Burrows (who also gave the puck away to start the play) to Cleary who took it to the net.
Maybe Sam Gagner is available?