Phoenix Coyotes vs. Vancouver Canucks @ GM Place
Initially, I wasn't going to blog on this, but the game told me otherwise.
Once you read this, you will know why!
Little debriefing before we commence. Taylor Pyatt made his first return to Vancouver since signing with the Yotes. A lot of emotional attachments, but I think Pysie is making his way to stitching up all the wounds.
Christian Ehrhoff enters tonight's game with NHL's highest ranked +/- with a plus-22. That's right, a Vancouver defenceman with +22 leading the NHL. Eat your hearts out! And Henrik Sedin is the League's leader in points with 59 (just one above Joe Thornton).
Now the game. Nucks never miss a beat at home. Sami Salo picked the rebound up in the open ice and drew the crowd away from the net. Hank got the puck, shot, but was blocked. But Alexandre Burrows traced the puck, picked the rebound off the post, and wristed the rubber disk over Ilya Bryzgalov's head into the far corner!
The what-would've-been-boring first period, turned interesting in a bad way (for Nuckleheads (no I did not spell it wrong)). Aaron Rome got the puck but got hit (cleanly) by an oncoming Pyatt. Rome had no clue that Pysie was coming towards him. Rome went to the ice hard! If you watched the replay it was BAD! Rome went to the ice and the first thing to hit was the left side of his face. He'd come up slowly with blood whooshing out and wouldn't come back from the dressing room.
The Russian goaltender finished the period with a couple of sloppy saves and ugly rebounds.
Second period we thanked our lucky stars that we have Roberto Luongo for a goaltender. If we didn't have him (or someone that played like him (which would ultimately lead to him)) our pretty little necks would be on the chopping block.
A little bit of ugly must come before the pretty. Another nasty would come out down in the Phoenix zone this time. Our Finnish Olympian Salo got clipped by the toe of Willie Mitchell in front of the net. The accidental contact opened a cut mere centimeters above Salo's left eye.
Now the pretty (or at least something to look at). Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows are infamous for being our best pair to kill penalties and are usually the first two on if they aren't serving the penalty. Frick-and-Frack usually produce some offensive chances while being short-handed. But tonight, they weren't the only ones creating some SH-chances. Many others stepped up and get a couple of chances! Steve Bernier's chance was a good one, but Bryzgalov got the puck away.
Late into the period, Canucks got a chance to double their lead! Mason Raymond was awarded a penalty shot after being tripped by the ex-Canuck, Adrian Aucoin. On his first PS of his career, Mase was denied by the Russian!
But 2 minutes after the PS, we get a lesson on Communication 101. Kesler picked the puck off of the endboards and passed it to the side of the net to a hollering Mikael Samuelsson. Samuelsson directed the puck on goal and barely got it past the skate of Bryzgalov. The goal that came 4 clicks before the buzzer became the (left out) Swede international's 100th career goal! A milestone reached as Steve Bernier and Kyle Wellwood play their 300th game.
After a not-so strong first period, Bryzgalov finished the second with strong(er) saves and only one went in.
A different type of 101 is learned in the third period. At 1:01, Daniel Sedin pick-pocketed the (other) ex-Canuck Ed Jovanovski of the puck. The Jovo-free puck was sent to ahead of the net for Hank who sent the puck Burrs's way. Burrs quickly released the puck against Bryzgalov and got his second of the night.
If you don't believe me, check the NHL and Canuck site. ALEX BURROWS GOT HIS THIRD CAREER HAT-TRICK IN JUST TWO NIGHTS! That's right! The first time a back-to-back hat-trick was recorded since 1986! Burrs was just 5-years-old then! Let's replay that in words, shall we? Dany passed to Hank behind the net. Hank brought it above the goal line and passed the rubber across the crease. Burrows picked it up on the other end and released his snapper against the Russian to earn the magical hat-trick! Alex is on-track to beating the career-high 28 goals he set last season.
After 4 goals, Darcy Hordichuk decided it was safe enough to fight the young Paul Bissonnette. Hordini laid a MONSTER right shot that ended the fight! Guessed all the MMA work in the off-season is really paying off.
Then Tanner Glass and Vernon Fiddler sized each other up. Glass sent Fiddler's head back with a shot, but don't expect that to end the fight because the linesmen do. While all this went down, Kesler limped back to the net after taking Shane O'Brien's shot off of himself. Put a little worry in me because as much as I don't like Team USA, I would like to see Kesler wear that jersey and skate in the Olympics (no matter how much I'm going to boo him).
You'd never expected this game to get so heated in the third. Everything was going quite nicely on the Vancouver end and the Yotes dominated the second period despite being down by 2. Now, down by 4, they allowed their frustration seep into their play and permitted the feeling to dictate how they played.
As that final buzzer sounded around GM Place, ROBERTO LUONGO WITH HIS 50TH CAREER SHUTOUT! Tonight is a great night for numbers. Louie with his 50th shutout, Samuelsson with his 100th goal, Bernie and Welly with their 300th game, Burrs with his 3rd hat-trick and 2nd in two nights, and now Ehrhoff has +23 and Hank Sedin has 61 points (a full 3 points ahead of Big Joe Thornton)!!
To believe, I almost chose to study French and Biology over this! It would've SUCKED if I missed it!
(1) Alexandre Burrows
(2) Roberto Luongo
(3) Henrik Sedin
Feel Kesler's pain:
Man of the Match: