by Scott Rosenhek
So, that game was…something. Les Habitants were in town to pay a visit to Rogers Arena on the night of the Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon. Before I get into the game itself, I just want to mention the incredible efforts put into raising money for an equally incredible cause. At the time of writing this post, Canucks fans and members of the community were able to generously raise an astounding:
This truly is something special since only half of that amount was raised last year!
With feelings of hope and positivity from the fundraiser, we shift gears to the game, which was less hopeful and more negative. Due to the many Canadiens jerseys at Rogers Arena, I almost forgot that this was a home game for the boys in blue and green.
To be fair, there are a lot of passionate Habs fans in Vancouver, it is just a shame that the home team can’t feel the support of a crowd behind them. Honestly, there may be fewer Canucks fans since the ticket prices to see Montreal are so expensive, but I digress.
The Canucks fell to an early deficit within the first 4 minutes of the opening frame. A lost board battle and a missed check by the Canucks captain allowed Torrey Mitchell to tip in a shot by Andrei Markov, putting the Habs up 1-0.
To be honest, much of the game was rather uneventful from an offensive perspective. Ryan Miller was hard at work tonight, making 36 saves on 38 shots. Carey Price only had to face 15 shots from the Canucks in the first two periods. However, Miller wasn’t the only positive during the game. First, Nikolay Goldobin is pure fun to watch when he is on a line with Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.
Unfortunately, when the Canucks are losing, head coach Willie Desjardins likes to shorten his bench. This was different for a brief period. Goldobin swapped places with fourth line energy player, Joseph Cramarossa. This reunited Goldobin with Sarnia Sting linemate, Reid Boucher. The pair combined for 163 points in one season in the OHL, so maybe this is a combination that will be used in the future. One can only hope, but seeing as the pair had few shifts in the third period, I guess I can only dream.
Secondly, I think Alex Biega quietly had a great game tonight. He had 3 dangerous shots, an impressive Corsi For and of course, he did this:
Bulldog certainly showed why he is very deserving of that nickname tonight. As the third period progressed, the Canucks were more aggressive in controlling the puck and directing it towards Price. Late in the third period, Michael Chaput brough the Canucks contingent to life with this beautiful goal, spoiling Carey Price’s bid for a shutout.
Things were looking up for the Canucks at this point. They headed to overtime tied at one goal a piece. Maybe, just maybe, they could steal a win from Montreal. But alas, this is what happens instead:
I can’t blame Ryan Miller as that bounce was just unlucky. It isn’t fair to Miller since he played very well, but sometimes you just don’t get the bounces. Goldobin and Boucher did not see any shifts in the latter half of the third period or overtime, which was disappointing. I know there is a defensive risk with the pace of 3 on 3, but why not risk it with a pair of forwards that have a known chemistry together? Maybe they could put something together if they just had the opportunity.
Don’t worry, Loui, we all feel the same.
Furthermore, Willie Desjardins continues to make head-scratching decisions. Brandon Sutter is unable to use one of his arms because of a wrist injury, yet he is leaned on for high minutes and a lot of faceoffs (he was only able to win 21% of them tonight). Jayson Megna is still getting more of a look over the younger talent on the team in games meaning less and less each day.
At the end of it the Canucks were able to steal a point despite losing the game, which is a moral victory (if you like keeping a tally of those).
NEXT GAME: Thursday, March 9 vs Islanders at 7 pm PST (TV: Sportsnet; Radio: TSN)