12.28.2010

Game of the Night


Philadelphia Flyers vs. Vancouver Canucks @ Rogers Arena
2-6 Final
What would you do with a seven day break and were a hockey player?  Eat, drink, and be merry?  Tonight, the Flyers looked to continue their Vancouver-ice winning streak against the Canucks after a seven day winter break.  Are they rested or rusted?

In a bit of personal-interest news, after tonight's game Roberto Luongo (who gets the start tonight) will be boarding a private jet and will fly off towards Florida where his wife Gina has a scheduled c-section for their second child.  A lot better of a scenario than in March of 2008, eh?

And do we discover what Jeff Tambellini's magic is to his great season start, which is on-pace to beat all previous season highs he's had before?  Is it the fact that Tambellini wears Cory Schneider's pants?!


Right off the bat Philly looks a little rusty.  The bench is quite, the ice is quiet, and Philly is just getting played by the Canucks!  And then came the goal.  After winning the face off, Manny Malhotra scored his sixth of the season on a deflection off of Christian Ehrhoff's shot.

Now it's time for those "You Know You're __ When __" moments!  You know you're rusty when you attempt to fight, but get a 2 minute roughing instead of a 5 minute fighting major.  And some random teenager says, "Awk...ward..."  That's right; there was an (and I dub) awkward scuffle between Canuck call-up Aaron Volpatti and Sean O'Donnell.  But when they step out of the box, Volpatti gets his first official NHL fight against O'Donnell in a better bout with a couple of seconds left in the period.  Maybe they can look past that awkward fight now...

In the opening minute of the second period, the Flyers try to chip the puck into the Vancouver zone to get an offensive edge.  Too bad it was picked-up by Kevin Bieksa who feeds Ryan Kesler, and sends him off to the races!  Next thing you know, "Bam, snap, and goal!" as the puck goes over Brian Boucher, far-side.  Down 2-0, the Flyers didn't seem to get the idea to wake up.  So Vancouver showed them again what happens when you come to a game asleep.  Alex Burrows receives the puck from Henrik Sedin and you know magic is about to happen.  Burrows fakes the shot, but when a Flyer comes zipping across his lane of fire, Burrows elects not to make a move just yet.  He stops, the play and his motion, and ends up making a saucer-pass to Daniel Sedin who tips in the rubber into the back of the net!

After Dany Sedin's little goal, Flyers get the idea that they should start scoring.  Philly finally breaks the goose egg 3:29 into the second and breaks Roberto Luongo.  Daniel Briere forces the turn-over from Mikael Samuelsson and does no wrong with the puck as he scores under Luongo's arm.  But then they go right back to sleep.

Being award a power-play, Vancouver's #1 PP unit gets to work.  Kesler parks himself in front of Boucher and for good reasons.  Henrik Sedin just makes a shot towards the goal and Kesler does this fancy tip-in between his legs for the Canucks' fourth goal and gets Boucher out of his net to boot!  No thanks to his team, Boucher is replaced by Sergei Bobrovsky after facing 28 shots, 22 coming from the first period.  Seems like a lot when you see that Luongo has only had to make eight in the first.

Third period meant one thing for Kesler: hunt for the hat-trick.  But that attempt has to take a backseat to Jannik Hansen.  Hansen is fed the puck from Daniel Sedin and - I don't know what he was trying to do at the time, but he hits the inside of Braydon Coburn's skate and into the net is slips just 51 seconds into the final period.

And then came Kesler's hat-trick attempt.  Kesler beat Jeff Carter for the puck in the defensive zone and then floored it towards Bobrovsky!  His eyes were on the prize and it looked like he would score, but like most times, the crossbar rings with the shot made, but didn't make it.  But Tambellini was there to pick up the trash and buries the rebound into the net for the Canucks' sixth of the night!

Emotions and frustration start to run amongst the Flyers as the clock ticked down 12:29.  A scrum ensues and in the rugby-like scrum, Jody Shelley sucker-punches Andrew Alberts in the face.  Alberts goes straight down and did not get up until much later, but then later moves from the bench to the dressing room.  As Shelley walked the walk-of-shame to the Philly dressing room, he wins the death glares from every Canuck player and a boo from every Canuck fan.  Shelley was also rewarded with a match penalty for the sucker-punch which Alberts wasn't prepared for nor was he looking at Shelley.

Living a little off of the kick-out, the Flyers get a PP when the Canucks were called for a delay of game penalty.  On the PP, the Flyers get a squeaky goal that goes accredited to Jeff Carter.  In a mini-scrum in front of Luongo, Jeff Carter ends up flat atop of him and as many try to get a stick on it, the puck ends up pushed in by Malhotra into the back of his own net.

Despite having a couple of goals against him, Luongo did a splendid job and made the big saves when he needed to.  He made the stops, he was the Luongo of old and great, and the Canucks were just there for him and themselves!  After a look at the Flyers, I think the Canucks were the team that deserved to be second in the West.  And now, off to Florida you go, Roberto!  Go enjoy the birth of your child!

3 stars:
(1) Ryan Kesler
(2) Henrik Sedin
(3) Roberto Luongo

My 3 stars:
(1) Ryan Kesler
(2) Jeff Tambellini
(3) Roberto Luongo

Honourable mention: Daniel Briere, for being the only one awake on the Philly bench next to Boucher.












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