Saturday, October 08, 2005
[actually posted Sun ~3:56p]
I was away or incapacitated (read: asleep) for most of this game. We got back from Washington, DC, pretty late last night, and I got back here during the first intermission. Since I was busy sloshing through the nation's capital (it rained all damn day; no drizzle, and I was soaked to the bone) and driving for much of the day, I was beat. So, I'm writing this with some second-period notes, some stats, and the free NHL.com highlight reel.
It was special-teams mania in Edmonton as five of the six goals scored in regulation occurred with a man-advantage (or two-man). The Canucks were manhandled in the faceoff circle, losing 41 of 68 faceoffs on the night. The Canucks managed 31 shots on the night, but had 25 shots blocked by various Edmonton skaters, which is insane. But what turned the tide was a highly inopportune gaffe by Mattias Ohlund, who didn't play a single shift in the preseason. In the final minute of regulation with the Canucks up 3-2, Ohlund shoveled the puck over the glass from behind his blueline. In the old NHL, that was fine and dandy. In the new NHL, that's delay of game. Eighteen second after Ohlund went to the box, Raffi Torres tied the game and sent it to overtime, which went scoreless before Edmonton took the shootout.
The Oilers scored on their first shot of the game. Most (possibly all) of Canada didn't see the Horcoff goal live since the CBC was showing feed of the first game of the Hockey Night in Canada doubleheader. I didn't see it because I was either driving or eating at a Perkins restaurant somewhere along I-95 in Virginia. The play-by-play sheet says it was a wrister from eleven feet.
»» 1, EDMONTON, Shawn Horcoff 3 (Ryan Smyth, Radek Dvorak) 1:42
»» OILERS 1, CANUCKS 0
On a power play, Naslund made good with a quick shot from the left circle, going top corner on Jussi Markkanen's glove side.
»» 2, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Markus Naslund 3 (Sami Salo, Ed Jovanovski) 17:17
»» OILERS 1, CANUCKS 1
The Canucks dug themselves a deep hole early in the period, taking two quick penalties. The penalty kill went to work, killing off the Jarkko Ruutu tripping minor, but there was still 21 seconds left on the Salo tripping minor. Three seconds later, Raffi Torres went short side over Cloutier's shoulder from the right circle.
»» 3, EDMONTON, powerplay, Raffi Torres 1 (Ales Hemsky, Jarret Stoll), 2:43
»» OILERS 2, CANUCKS 1
After he'd put the Oilers on a two-man advantage that helped usher in the Torres goal, Sami Salo took another freakin' penalty (a hold this time) after a pretty good save by Cloutier. Cloutier robbed Stoll on the resulting power play, and the Canucks killed off the penalty. Then Todd Bertuzzi was called for a penalty (hooking), but Raffi Torres held a stick to nullify the last twenty seconds of the penalty. Not long after, Jarkko Ruutu took the Canucks off a power play with a dive (slash). Todd Bertuzzi had Markkanen beat later in the period, but hit the crossbar. The Canucks went 0-for-4 on the power play in the period, making them 1-for-7 on the man-advantage in the first 40 minutes of play.
Igor Ulanov went to the box for tripping halfway through a Georges Laraque roughing minor. Ulanov was six seconds from leaving the box when Naslund wristed the puck just inside the far post from the right circle.
»» 4, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Naslund 4 (Salo, Jovanovski) 5:55
»» OILERS 2, CANUCKS 2
The Oilers were six seconds away from killing off a Todd Harvey hooking minor, but Salo blasted a one-timer from the very high slot and past Markkanen.
»» 5, VANCOUVER, powerplay, Salo 1 (Naslund, Nolan Baumgartner) 12:08
»» CANUCKS 3, OILERS 2
Then came the crucial error where Ohlund put the puck over the glass, resulting in Edmonton having the last 40-plus seconds of regulation on the power play. It's been said that Dan Cloutier's rebound control leaves a little to be desired. After a Peca feed from behind the goal line, Torres, from Cloutier's glove side, pounced on his own rebound, lifting it up and over the prone goalie.
»» 6, EDMONTON, powerplay, Torres 2 (Michael Peca, Hemsky) 19:37
»» OILERS 3, CANUCKS 3
VANCOUVER, Naslund - NO
Torres was the first skater on the Edmonton shootout, and he deked to the backhand and shoveled the puck over a sprawled Cloutier.
EDMONTON, Torres - YES
VANCOUVER, Todd Bertuzzi - NO
Hemsky was sent out to finish the game, and finish the game he did, skating straight to Cloutier and wristing one under his glove.
EDMONTON, Hemsky - YES
»» OILERS 4, CANUCKS 3
Three stars -- (1) Edmonton's Raffi Torres, (2) Naslund, (3) Edmonton's Marty Reasoner
It's not too diverse of a scoring distribution, but it's good to see Naslund pouring in five points in the first two games of the season. Salo has four himself. Baumgartner had an assist in the first game as well. Since Vancouver's goals were all score on the power play, all of the Canuck skaters were either even or minus-one. Brendan Morrison won six faceoffs but lost thirteen. Henrik Sedin won five faceoffs but lost twelve. Dan Cloutier stopped 31 of 34 shots and kept the Canucks in the game early, when the Canucks had no business even being in the game.
Yes, I really did go to Washington.
It's the Canucks and Red Wings from Detroit on Monday night, kicking off a week of three road games, with the other two being at Minnesota, where Todd Bertuzzi will undoubtedly be booed mercilessly. I never though I'd be more ecstatic with a road game in Detroit, but it starts at 7:30p on the east coast, so I can actually listen to the game and not have to worry about being a total zombie in the morning.
The Canucks are 1-0-1, good for three points in the standings. In the standings I've seen printed, they aren't distinguishing between overtime losses and shootout losses. They both count as one point anyway.