Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick
by Scott Rosenhek
After an exhilarating and frankly undeserving win by the Canucks against the Blackhawks, the boys in blue rolled into the St. Louis to take on the Blues. Ten games to go and the Tank Engine rolls on.
Will the Canucks surprise? Will Alex Biega play as a forward again? YES. The answer to the second one is yes. Or will Team Tank get what they want and the visitors fall back down to Earth? The round one. Right, Shaq? I know you’re just kidding you sly devil, you.
Much to the chagrin to those on Team Tank, the Canucks are still trying to win games. Not to nit-pick, but they chose an interesting time of the season to suddenly snap multiple goal droughts for Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Brandon Sutter (7, 10 and 13 games respectively).
But slow down there, Ric Flair. There is still a game to play. And with that, we get hit with a little déjà vu. The Canucks captain draws first blood in the opening frame of the game. Alexander Edler makes a terrific set up pass and Henrik is able to tap a beauty home.
Now, you might be thinking, “Here comes a snarky comment about the salty tears of Team Tank.” Well…I won’t play that game. I do enjoy seeing the Sedins score, plus there is plenty of game left for the Canucks to give up the lead. And just as I write this, the Blues even things up. Ivan Barbashev makes a crazy play to hold in the puck and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson breaks any hopes of a Ryan Miller shutout.
The second period did not have the same punch as the first regarding goals, but sparks were starting to fly. The refs put their whistles away because the playoffs apparently have started. You stay classy, NHL Department of Player Safety.
One silver lining is the fact that Nikita Tryamkin sticks up for his teammates as you can see here. If only we could just teach him how to fight.
But then Tryamkin almost gets us out of our seats with this rush out of the penalty box. It is not the most impressive breakaway, if you can call it one, but unfortunately the bar is set pretty low in Canuckland. Regardless, I still agree with Wyatt Arndt about getting Tryamkin Shirseys!
You just wonder with all of these consecutive starts, Ryan Miller must be exhausted. It’s not fair when the team in front of him is now frequently surrendering 40 shots or more each game. The sad part: the Canucks are blocking many shots as well. So, you can hardly blame Miller when this happens:
You could run a stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway through that space. Kyle Brodziak with a (tricky?) shot puts the Blues up 2-1 after 40 minutes. On to the third! What do the Canucks do when down a goal. NOTHING. Through the midway point of the third frame, the Canucks had one shot on goal. ONE. The power plays were rather ineffective, which is just the norm at this point. Chalk one up for Team Tank.
However, things take an interesting turn when it appears Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson notches his second goal of the night. But, wait folks! After a very lengthy review on a goal that looked very offside, the referees rule it as a good goal. Yeah, I don’t know how to explain this one. I guess we can say the tank giveth and the tank taketh away.
Paajarvi-Svensson gives St. Louis a 3-1 lead with under 10 minutes to go in regulation. Oh look, 6 shots in the third period when down a pair of goals. You know what that means? It’s time to pull the goalie for the extra man.
The Canucks are already having a hard time winning games. In a different time, I would agree with the Barnacle, but I do understand that we need to lose.
Some people were hoping the Canucks would do this in the second period, but it feels unnecessary. Then again, the Oilers scored multiple empty net goals on Colorado tonight, so who am I to judge? You do you Avs Tank.
And there’s the empty netter I was waiting for. Joe LaBate gets into a fight (albeit a short one) with Ryan Reaves trying to spark anything for his team. Its a shame LaBate slipped, since I was a waiting to see how it would play out. Unfortunately for him, nothing caught fire.
Canucks fall to the Blues 4-1. For our moral victory count, Ryan Miller did not face 40 shots. He only faced 34, but baby steps. Next stop on this road trip will be to the State of Hockey in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Canucks have had it rough at the Xcel Energy Center in the past, but Devan Dubnyk has hit a rough patch in recent starts. March has not been kind to the goaltender, but anything can happen these days when it comes to the Canucks.
NEXT GAME: Saturday, March 25 at Minnesota at 11:00 am (TV: Sportsnet Radio: TSN)
*EDIT: Darcy Kuemper is starting in goal due to a back to back Minnesota will be playing