Remember when Canada’s best Stanley Cup hope played at Rogers Arena every other night? It wasn’t too long ago the Canucks wore that mantle.
Most Canadians say Montreal is the country’s best hope now, but who knows, if the Sedins and Ryan Miller can keep up the beastmode trend they’ve been on lately – the trend that earned the Canucks 3-2 overtime win Thursday – that tune could change.
Miller made so many positionally-sound, unsensational saves over the course of the night, it was sensational, while the Sedins came through when it counted.
But maybe I’m going too far with the Canada’s best hope thing… let’s just enjoy the win.
For tonight’s sixpack, I did some actual work. Canucks fans have been hearing tons about Jacob Markstrom’s stellar play in Utica (he’s working on a shutout streak of 232 minutes and 13 seconds – 36 minutes short of the AHL record) but since we don’t have many chances to watch the Comets, I sought out some insight on his game.
You’ll see it in points three to five of the sixpack.
1. Hank possessed
The Sedins weren’t their dominant selves for most of the night. Strangely, the third and fourth liners provided the offensive spark – Derek Dorsett made a sick pass to Nick Bonino for the first goal, and Brad Richardson sniped the second.
But in overtime, at the end of a 4-on-3 Canucks powerplay that featured a lot of movement and some interesting setups (but no goals, obviously), Henrik made a hell of a pass and Daniel came up with a vintage finish to win the game. Here it is.
What you don’t see is the move Henrik pulled on Tomas Plekanec off the boards in his own corner to get free. As if that wasn’t enough, he then went coast-to-coast to set up the goal.
2. Burrows might be in trouble
Sadly, one major story line coming out of the game is Alex Burrows may be in trouble with the league. Burrows hit Emelin in the second period, causing the Montreal player to leave the game and not return until the start of the third. You can see the hit here, and it’s hard to debate from a Canucks fan’s perspective.
The fact Emelin returned for the third period should help Burrows’ chances of playing this weekend… we hope.
The hit prompted Andrew Berkshire to write a post including the following:
Burrows has always been a punk, and this is just the latest garbage play from him…
The Vancouver Canucks have opened the scoring due to a giveaway by Alexei Emelin, but it never should have counted due to the actions of noted cheap shot artist Alex Burrows…
Burrows has a history of dirtbag moves, so in all likelihood it will result in a suspension of some sort…
Berkshire went on, making the argument that Burrows is a dirty player because of the hit.
I made this point:
No one's arguing it's a bad hit, @AndrewBerkshire, ppl are saying Burr does not have a history of such dirty hits, and is not dirty.
— omarcanuck (@omarcanuck) October 31, 2014
He’s clueless. Let’s move on.
Note: As of Friday morning, Burrows is scheduled for a phone hearing with the NHL meaning he’ll probably be suspended but not for more than five games.
3. How’s Markstrom really playing?
I contacted John Pitarresi, Comets’ beat writer with the Utica Observer-Dispatch, to find out how Markstrom’s been playing. Pitarresi has been covering hockey at all levels for over 40 years.
Q: How impressed are you with Jacob Markstrom’s play so far?
0.25 (GAA) and 0.991 save percentage), it’s hard not to be impressed. I’ve seen him in person twice – his first two starts were on the road.
Q: Is (Markstrom’s) success a product of a weak early season schedule? Has he merely been solid? Or has he really been truly spectacular as could be inferred by the shutout streak he’s on?
I wouldn’t characterize the schedule as weak. In the games I’ve seen, he hasn’t been spectacular much. He was for a while in the home opener, when they turned it over in front of him repeatedly. He hasn’t had to be for the most part. His positioning is very good – he’s so big he stops shots just by being there.
He’s very, very athletic for a big man, too.
Q: What’s so special about the way he plays?
Rollie Melanson said a few things that make sense – he stays deep in the crease, he’s pretty quiet in there and he just covers so much. I don’t see him flopping and sliding a lot.
He’s deep and quiet. There aren’t many holes.
4. And Eriksson?
Q: Any thoughts on Eriksson? Comparisons to Markstrom?
Eriksson is more likely to make the eye-popping save than Markstrom is. But maybe that is because Markstrom hasn’t had to very much.
I think because Markstrom bigger he doesn’t have to be as active as Eriksson.
5. Update on other Canucks prospects
Q: What about the other Canucks prospects – Horvat, Shinkaruk, Gaunce, Jensen?
All of them show you from time to time why they were picked so high. Sanguinetti too, for that matter. Speed, power, quickness.
Horvat and Shinkaruk have had some great moments. Gaunce has been playing his butt off with Carter Bancks and Wacey Hamilton. They are supposedly the fourth line but in a couple of games have been the best group. They were against Toronto Saturday.
I think Jensen is playing well and will get better and better. The other guys are kids with special skills who need to play.
Once again, thanks go to Pitarresi for this insight. We’ll check in with him every few weeks this season if you guys enjoy it.
Give him a follow @OD-Comets.
6. Tweet of the game
First, Mike kept his streak alive with this punny effort:
— Mike S.™ (@Mike_Stefanuk) October 31, 2014
And this tweet would’ve won on any other night:
It's not that tons of Habs fans live in Van, it's just that lots of people switched to cheering for MTL after the Weise trade… #vcbcanucks
— Kevin Craig (@k_craig) October 31, 2014
But this one knocked it out of the park, like a walk-off home run during the World Series:
@omarcanuck I thought dry scrape was what Sportsnet analysis was called…..
— Ian Underell (@ian_ian11) October 31, 2014
Contact me for details on collecting your prize, Ian.
Note: thanks to @myregularface for providing .gifs of the goals.