Canucks Post-Game #SixPack - Kesler's been replaced

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Canucks 6 six pack

Vancouver came into Thursday’s game against St. Louis having allowed 10 goals in their previous two games. Willie Desjardins, asked how he felt about the Canucks after those two losses, gave this unexpected reply:

“I think we’re getting better as a team. It’s funny, we win our first 3, lose our next 2, but I think we’re getting better.”

The Canucks beat the Blues 4-1, so maybe Desjardins was on to something? Or maybe his bold optimism kept his team’s spirits up. Or maybe the Blues just suck (since their record is now below .500).

Whatever it is, Vancouver’ll take it.

1. Kesler’s been replaced

Guess which Canuck forward had nearly two minutes more ice time than any other?

It was Nick Bonino at 17:20. Before I get too carried away, I should note next in line was Brad Richardson’s 15:52. That and the fact both Sedins played under 15 minutes shows how much killing penalties changes things.

Bonino’s ice time in the first period prompted this exchange:

After Bonino scored the go-ahead goal for the Canucks in the third, I gave Steph a bit of a ribbing. No one likes a person who says “I told you so” so I’m not including that tweet here (hoping you’ll still like me). Her reply:

Anyways, Bonino finished the game with 1 goal and 1 assist, and he was a plus-2 if that sort of thing matters to you.

2. Bonino’s line

After losing their last two games, Desjardins said he needed more scoring from forward lines 2-4.

Linden Vey scored on the power play and Jannik Hansen on the empty net, so those don’t really count as goals from the third and fourth lines, but the second line came through big time. Both Chris Higgins and Bonino scored meaningful goals.

In the advanced stats world, all three second liners were in the negative in both Corsi +/- and Fenwick +/- (meaning their line allowed more shots than it created) – but this makes sense when you consider the Canucks were outshot 32-23.

Only the Sedins, Radim Vrbata and Kevin Bieksa (?!?!) ended the night with a positive Corsi +/-.

3. Kass is gutsy, not “inconsistent”

With six minutes to go in the second, Kassian had a pass picked off leading to a grade-A scoring chance on Vancouver’s net. It sparked a bit of an argument between me and our sports editor, Rob.

The point I was trying to make is Kassian is one of the most offensively gifted players the Canucks have, and with the passes only he tries to make, there will be turnovers. To me, it’s not inconsistency, it’s a higher propensity to make mistakes. (higher risk = higher reward)

If you’re a coach, you hate seeing those errors, but what’s the solution?

This: get Kassian out there with linemates who can take advantage of his skill (Richardson couldn’t score on an amazing Kassian set up in the first), and put him in a position to learn from his mistakes.

This’ll only happen if he plays more.

4. The faceoff report

Looks like this’ll be a regular feature for some time to come… at least until Bo Horvat comes along and teaches his elders how to win in the circle.

One Canuck ended with a positive faceoff percentage tonight, and it was the least likely guy: Linden Vey.

Vey went 5-4, Sedin 4-6, Bonino 5-8, and Richardson 8-11.

If you’re keeping score… that sucks.

5. NHL body guards

Nothing to do with the Canucks but this gif from Wednesday night was amazing.

crosbyblock

With Vrbata scoring at the rate he is, the Sedins might consider quarantining him from opposing players in the same manner Crosby is here.

6. Tweet of the game

And now for our favourite part of the post (besides all the enlightening information above)…

The runners up:

Our regular contributor Mike wrote this after Vey scored the Canucks’ third goal.

Funny, but Vey was actually not bad at faceoffs for once.

Lachlan submitted this, which makes me never want to eat pizza again.

It’s a tribute to the pizzas Sbisa constantly serves up, btw.

And your winner, also written after Vey’s goal.

Yes, it’s another corny Vey pun, which we’ll see Vey too many more of this year… (you liked that one, right?)

But it’s a tribute to the Backstreet Boys. They, like this tweet, are unhatable.

Contact me for details on how to collect your prize.

Note: thanks to @myregularface for providing .gifs of the goals.

1ST PERIOD
00:41 VAN Chris Higgins (2) ASST: Alexandre Burrows (2), Nick Bonino (2)
2ND PERIOD
07:38 STL PPG – Kevin Shattenkirk (1) ASST: David Backes (3), Alexander Steen (3)
3RD PERIOD
04:54 VAN Nick Bonino (2) ASST: Alexandre Burrows (3), Chris Higgins (1)
11:57 VAN PPG – Linden Vey (2) ASST: Henrik Sedin (6), Radim Vrbata (3)
16:59 VAN EN – Jannik Hansen (2) ASST: NONE

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Omar A has worked for 24 hours, the Canadian Press and TSN. He graduated from the Journalism program at the University of King's College
@omarcanuck

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