Game 69 Recap: So Many Ways This Could Go, But We All Know How This Story Ends

Honestly, do I give a straight recap without any sophomoric oral sex jokes?  Do I roll in a completely random way with comic book or engineering factoids?  Do I do another awesome movie recap?  Do I phone it in and go service the wife on our anniversary +1 night?  Do I go ice my sore jaw from getting hit in the face with a puck during warmups (no mask)? Because I'm a professional and one of the smartest 3% in the country (my concrete professor told me so), I'll do this right.  Keep it classy.

Brian Elliot up to some one-timer challenges early as the Canucks easily set up shop behind the Colorado net.  As far as the other end of the ice is concerned, Altiboobs knob slobber Cory Schneider early and often. At this point I put more stock in the MHH community's assessment of goaltenders than the Altiboobs based purely on the observation that they think the key to the Canucks' goaltending is due to confidence.  Of COURSE Luongo and Schneider have confidence: they are on a good team!!

Anyway, the Avalanche get some decent chances the first seven minutes, but I think the quality of Vancouver's are better. Good forechecks from both teams and we get to see a reoccurring theme of late: Daniel Winnik single-handedly killed a scoring opportunity. For the Avs. Still, the first period is moving right along with few whistles. At almost the half-way mark, Sami Salo interferes with Ryan O'Reilly (who is really hustling on the play) and the Avs first kitten kill starts out with the typical shot and a couple of short-handed opportunities the other way.   After a personnel change, Erik Johnson hammers a shot through a double screen set by David Jones and O'Reilly for the first goal of the game and adds another data point to the anomaly that is the Avs' Power Play. John-Michael Liles and Jones get the assists.

The third line is really buzzin' after the goal and Matt Duchene hops on the ice after a Sedin bangs a one-timer off the post on a bad angle shot.  Duchene carries up ice with some speed and while trying to center the puck to a slot-driving Mark Olver on the even man rush gets the good bounce to go off of the Salo's skate and past Schneider.  Assists on this one go to O'Byrne and Olver just a little over a minute after the first goal.  Of course the Altiboobs start the jinx train by quoting stats and talking about good breaks. They immediately bring up the fact that the Avs have only lost two games in regulation after scoring the first goal of the game. Oh and this is their first two-goal lead since the St. Louis win way back in 1998 or something.  Sami Salo is well on his way to 1st Star if he keeps this up.

Elliott continues to make some tough saves in this period and his defense is helping with some of his rebound issues.  He's positionally strong early though.  Duchene's line seems to have a little jump even if Winnik seems to think he's Gordie Howe for some reason tonight as he's over-handling the puck.  Both teams appear to want to spend their first period allocation of hits in the last five minutes of the period. Colorado is living dangerously though as the Canucks are dictating play behind the Avalanche net and getting great chances.  Another thing I notice is that it looks like the top two lines and the top two defensive pairings are getting 80% of the ice time tonight. Looking at the TOI on nhl.com confirms this. Let's hope that the inevitable injuries in the third period aren't compounded by this.

Another highlight of the period is when Duchene turns on the jets and wins a footrace to a tweener puck in the Vancouver zone and centers a beautiful pass to Olver who rings it off the crossbar.  Good stuff. You know, except for the not scoring part.  The period ends with the Avs having 8 shots to the 'Nucks 9, but a two goal lead.

The second period starts with Manny Malhotra getting two great chances off of another centering pass from behind the net.  I think the Canucks have a game plan for tonight, what about you guys? 

Another superstar effort from Duchene and Olver but can't bang one past Schneider.

Hunwick playing forward here in the 2nd with Brandon Yip and Phillippe Dupius. Malhotra takes a puck to the face and erupts blood all the way across the ice to the bench.  A few minutes later, a Canuck goal is scored off of a CENTERING PASS FROM BEHIND THE NET as Maxim Lapierre bangs the Chris Higgins pass betwixt Elliott's legs to make it a one goal game. It's his first goal as a Canuck. Of course it is.  It's like I know what I'm talking about sometimes, right guys?  The Avs are soft behind the net and it's an effective option to the cycle against this team.  Shocking, I know. Duchene's line rolls out for the next faceoff and generates some good pressure and possession, but no goals.

More good scoring chances, this time from the Ryan Kesler line as pucks just seem to matriculate to the high-scoring slot areas for Avalanche opponents. Mikael Samuelsson was the beneficiary of the centering pass this time, but Elliott is on his angle and makes the gut trap save near the top of his crease. Shot differential REALLY starting to tilt toward Vancouver at this point.  Elliott starting to creep back in the paint a little too.  Of course, he's 6'-3" so he can afford a little depth, but he just seems a tad deep to me as plays are coming from behind the net or out of the corners.

2nd period dragging compared to the first as there are more whistles as Elliott is forced to cover a lot of pucks.  This plays to Vancouver's faceoff strengths.  Jeff Tambellini gets a good scoring opportunity after Ryan Wilson fails to keep the puck in the offensive zone.  Elliott makes the shoulder save even though he is WAY off his angle and showing a ton of net far side.

Duchene still bringing his A-game as the period enters its fourth quarter.  That's good to see.  His new linemate Olver is right there with him as well.  McLeod takes exception to Lapierre's love-tap on Johnson (who barely noticed it by the way) and gives him what is known in the business as "the business."  The next shift has some Canuck jump and Elliott makes a pretty damn good sliding butterfly save on Raffi Torres' one-timer from the boards. He then has to make a sprawling save as the clock ticks to zero to end the 2nd period. Shots after two favor Vancouver heavily, 24-13.

The third period is apparently Vancouver's period according to the Altiboobs and they appear prescient.  Stastny's line starts the period by practicing cycling around the boards but don't actually accomplish much.  Shortly thereafter, Elliott goes awanderin' and almost gets burned. This is followed by more Cory Schneider love from the away team commentators.  Elliott making a series of saves as he's called on early in the third especially as he absolutely robs Christian Erhoff on the doorstep diving across after some pretty tic-tac-toe passing from the Sedin twins. At this point Vancouver has settled into playing a patient, opportunistic game.

McClement having a good third period with a couple of smart defensive plays.  Duchene and Olver have another beautiful play, but still can't find twine as Schneider makes the save.  Lots of back-and-forth play in the neutral zone. Then, Johnson is hobbled after blocking a shot, but (tell me if you've heard this before) the Avs can't clear and he has a pretty long shift on a throbbing appendage.  I wonder if this is the onslaught of injuries starting?  It's nice to see the Canucks' fans anoint themselves referees for the remainder of the period at this point.  The natives, they are getting restless.  Then, about halfway through the 3rd, Foote is laboring after blocking a shot with his left leg.  Scratch that, he's not laboring, he's really hurt.  He was asking for the whistle.  Could this be the last game we see Adam Foote in the NHL?  Does Hunwick go back to D? Can I overuse the question mark at this point in this paragraph?

No time to figure it as out Alex Burrows stands in the crease, gets position on Liles and Winnik and slips a rebound past Elliott. Assists go to a Sedin and Dan Hamhuis.  A couple of quick back-and-forth shifts later and more twin-speak is put on display as Daniel drops a pass to Henrik who uses Holos and his DNA remainder as a screen to net the go-ahead goal.  The Altiboobs immediately log onto Match.com and change their preferences to "Ginger, Creepy, and Swedish."

More domination from the Canucks results in Wilson tripping a Sedin for Vancouver's first PP of the night with just under 7 minutes left in the game.  Hunwick starts on the PK. Let's see what they do...not too bad!   The second unit sees Johnson pop Burrows pretty good along the wall.  No Clutterbucking there. McClement gets a great SH opportunity after Johnson clears a path after almost killing a guy with a missed open-ice hit, but McClement can't put in his own rebound. The road domination of the Avalanche PK continues as the penalty is killed with just over 4 minutes left to play. A Duchene, Jones, Stastny line makes an appearance late in the third.  Joe Sacco getting in the Easter spirit by putting all his eggs in one basket.  Stastny ends up double-shifting as Hunwick is back on defense with Foote out.  Elliott goes to the bench with 1:48 left and a offensive zone faceoff.  Predictably, after a couple of decent Avalanche shots through a ton of traffic, Henrik Sedin gets the empty netter for the required 4 goals scored on the Avalanche in order to balance the universe. The Avs manage some pressure in the final seconds as the net stays empty but nothing comes of it.  Counting the empty netter, Vancouver managed 40 shots on goal to Colorado's 29.  Elliott earned (legitimately) the 2nd Star of the Game. Aquatic aliens occupied the other two slots.

With the win the Canucks clinch the Northwest Division and a playoff spot.  The Tank rolls on...

 

Lines

  • Jones / Stastny / O'Reilly
  • Winnik / Duchene / Olver
  • McLeod / McClement / Porter
  • Hunwick / Dupuis / Yip

Altitude playing games with the lines at the front end of the game as they show Holos as a forward.

  • Johnson / Wilson
  • O'Byrne / Liles
  • Foote / Holos

More Altitude fun as they only list two defensive pairs.  Apparently Adam Foote isn't worth mentioning.  Not like he has a history with the team or an easily identifiable role on the team...

Quick Hits

  • Cloak of Invisibility was shared by Brandon Yip, Cody McLeod, Jonas Holos, and Philippe Dupuis tonight.
  • Avs fall to one win in the last 20 and the 9th straight loss. Elliot is 0-5-1 since being acquired.
  • Have you guys seen this?  It's awesome on several levels.
  • WTF were the Altiboobs doing talking about Phoenix/Winnipeg and divisional realignment?  They didn't have a card for a Canucks fourth-line grinder that they can talk about instead?  Leave the speculation at home, guys. Some of our members don't like that kind of stuff.

Highlights?

 


Next Up

The Avalanche continue the Canadian Road Swing From the Gallows in Calgary tomorrow night.

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