The Canucks blew another lead (they led 3-1 in the 3rd at one point), falling to the Stars 4-3 in OT. It wasn’t even a heroic blown lead, it was one of those games where the Canucks kept having pucks go in off their own guys to beat Ryan Miller. The kind where you just sit and stare at your TV afterward, neither angry or happy, just kind of tired and deflated.
Still, we have some fake awards to hand out, so let’s try and scrape together some positives and hand out some hardware.
The Dallas Stars, one of the league’s hottest teams, boast a variety of weapons in their arsenal. Sure, their defence can be spottier than the meat in a Big Mac at times, but with Seguin, Hemsky, Benn, Spezza, Sharp, and Klingberg, they can score their way out of a lot of trouble.
Remember the West Coast Express era? Kind of like that, except Dan Cloutier isn’t waving his stick at beach balls in net.
That being said, Ryan Miller came into this game and was in the zone. Whatever he did in the off-season (drank the blood of a unicorn?) must be working for him, as he was in position and reading the puck very well to start the game.
Reads the play and moves over with creepy agility of a raptor. Or at least the agility of what Jurassic Park assures me is what a raptor would possess.
The Stars outshot the Canucks heavily to start the first period, but thanks to Ryan Miller, he gave the Canucks a chance to find their game, which allowed them to power ahead to that 3-1 lead.
Here’s Ryan Miller doing his best Luongo on Demitra Olympic Special save, fighting off a Seguin shot. He has looked sharp all year so far, which is a great thing considering what a question mark many thought it was going to be heading into this season.
Now, he did let in three more goals, but all the even strength goals went off of his own players (Sbisa twice, Edler once).
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) October 30, 2015
Yes, Miller did give a couple of death stares after the goals, but you can’t fault him considering he kept getting beat by his own guys.
Of course, we all have the quiet fear in the back of our heads, the one that is wondering if it’s a good thing to lean so heavily on Miller, but with Markstrom out, and Bachman not having the faith of the coach, it looks like it will be Miller Time for the foreseeable future.
Jake Virtanen took out Val Nichushkin like it was nothing. Nich is 6″4 and 205 pounds. (if this was WWE he would be listed at 350 pounds and hailing from Soviet Mother Russia.)
Virtanen hasn’t scored yet, but many fans are excited to have such a heavy, potent hitter on the team. It’s the kind of player you want to see in a best-of-seven series in the playoffs. Long term damage is what he’s all about.
@TheStanchion imagine if that was a 17 year old kid who weighs 165. Sending him down is writing some kid's death certificate
— Ryan Smith (@smittyrunsshow) October 30, 2015
@TheStanchion starting to think the rest of the WHL will be most pumped about him staying in the NHL
— Imitating the Game (@Franz_NHL) October 30, 2015
Even injured Canuck Brandon Prust couldn’t help but weigh in on the hit:
Big county @Jake_Virtanen hugeeeeeeeee hit!!
— Brandon Prust (@BrandonPrust8) October 30, 2015
Normally this would go to kind of an underrated player or play on the night, but it has to go to the Dallas Stars in-house entertainment crew for giving us the Night of the Nickelback.
So for those who missed the game, during the 2nd period a Nickelback song played. Everyone fought off the urge to vomit and just passed it off as an unfortunate stop on an arena playlist. It’s Dallas, they don’t know how much pain Nickelback has inflicted on Canada, it’s not their fault.
Then another Nickelback song started up. Two Nickelback songs in a row. One was manageable, but two was kind of gross. Maybe they just got lazy and left a CD on?
Then the third Nickelback song came on. It was then we all realized that Dallas had declared war on the Canucks. One fan asked Dallas why so much Nickelback and it was confirmed.
Because Canada is in the house. Canucks can't escape it. https://t.co/lHicdmGsMA
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 30, 2015
Dallas is well known for having one of the most progressive approaches around, often making jokes at the other teams (and fanbases) expense. It’s actually kind of neat to see a team have that much freedom to try and garner some laughs. In Vancouver, some in management probably worries and wonders if they should use a semi colon in a tweet. “Is that TOO aggressive? We should cancel that tweet. Let’s hold a meeting instead.”
Still, you drop a Nickelback bomb, one that hits your own fanbase (because there was no way they were enjoying it) and your’e going to get some reactions.
At first, it was amusing when the plan backfired and the Canucks built up a lead.
— Kay (@hamjuice) October 30, 2015
Some had theories about the Nickelback Night:
@TheStanchion I'm pretty sure this is how you give your 2 weeks notice as the arena dj.
— Tom Lewis (@tommy_lew) October 30, 2015
Even the Canucks Twitter account got cheeky!
Look at this photograph, every time I do it makes me laugh pic.twitter.com/x3LTLigLoM
— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) October 30, 2015
In the end, Dallas realized their own fanbase had had enough. With an awesome multiple choice question.
— Njerí Sims (@NJ_Artist14) October 30, 2015
At the height of Nickelback Night they played 11 straight songs, and closed it off with an Avril Lavigne song. The Stars also went on to win the game, so who’s to say their Nickelback plan didn’t work?
Well played Dallas, well played. You guys were willing to plow through your own fanbase with a Nickelback barrage. That’s dedication.
#Canucks 3rd period ice times: Baertschi 3 shifts 1:40 McCann 3 shifts 1:33 Gaunce 3 shifts 1:33 Virtanen got 7 shifts 4:25
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) October 30, 2015
Now, this isn’t meant to be a major indictment on Coach Desjardins. As Weird Al points out in his spot on sports press conference video, sometimes it’s easy to go “Why didn’t you do the opposite of what ended up losing you the game??”
Still, it is worth watching to see if the trend of shortening the bench and parking the young guys, only to lose a lead and the game, continues.
In Edmonton tonight, for example, you had the polar opposite. Oilers go down 3-0, then storm back to win the game, with just called up Draisaitl getting two goals, including the game winner.
Now, Edmonton doesn’t have veterans to fall back on like the Sedins. Practically everyone on that team is super young, so it’s a lot easier to throw young guys out on the ice because you have no other choice.
That being said, it’s much more ideal to be a four-line team, like the Canucks were last year. The Sedins have not looked great in OT, and as we learn more and more about 3-on-3 hockey, so far it has been speed that has won games. It doesn’t help that you have wonder bro duo Seguin and Benn dancing out there, making the Sedins speed look even worse, but still.
Possession is a huge help (which is where people thought the Sedins might dominate), but when the Twins lose the puck, their lack of foot speed becomes very noticeable, and all of a sudden they are chasing out there, looking decidedly tired.
You just kind of want to see how a young guy like McCann or Virtanen would do out there, and see if that can bump the 0-4 losing streak the Canucks find themselves in OT.
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) October 30, 2015
Cross-check to the heart.