The Canucks are back in Anaheim and looking to build off of the street fight team effort they displayed against the Los Angeles Kings. Will the Canucks be continue their “us against the world” mentality with another fight filled affair? Or will they revert back to the skilled team that hasn’t been able to consistently produce this season? Based on Monday’s game, I can’t wait to find out.
Oh boy. We all knew that the Canucks were going to be gunning for Dustin Brown’s head after what he pulled the last time these two teams met. However, I don’t think anyone can say they expected the level of hatred that was on display against the Kings. Right from the start of the game, Zack Kassian attempted to get Dustin Brown to answer the bell for knocking Roberto Luongo out of action, but Brown wasn’t having any of it. Kassian took a stupid penalty that should have been avoided but the Canucks were able to kill it off. At this point, we thought that maybe things would settle down. Then Jordan Nolan decided that was a naive thought and charged Henrik Sedin. Tom Sestito finally had enough and beat the living hell out of Nolan while he turtled, refusing to answer for his hit on the Canuck captain. Sestito was charged with an instigator penalty, a fighting major, a 10 minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. This equaled a total of 7 minutes of power play time for the Kings who could do nothing with it as the Canuck penalty killers were clearly on Sesitito’s side.
There was simply too much going on and I could go on for a while about everything that happened (this really deserves its own blog) but I should wrap this up. More players fought and more players got hurt. The end result was a 1-0 victory for the Kings courtesy of (because if there is a God, he hates us) Dustin Brown. I hope this makes you feel better!
The Anaheim Ducks:
The Anaheim Ducks are continue their strong play and now sit in first place in the entire league, five points clear of the Chicago Blackhawks. The usual suspects are absolutely killing it for the Ducks. Corey Perry has carried the offensive load while fellow Olympian Ryan Getzlaf was injured. Getzlaf will be back though which poses an even greater challenge for the Canucks. Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has to be putting something in their Gatorade, because they are simply playing out of this world right now.
- Darren Archibald has been sent back to Utica which means David Booth will slot back into the lineup. According to John Tortorella, there will be another recall from the farm team which means Nicklas Jensen could see some game action. But this is yet to be seen. If the recall gets into the lineup, bet on Dale Weise to be the one sitting. What lines John Tortorella will start with are anybody’s guess (I’m guessing he will juggle them), but here is how they started last game:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Dalpe
Kassian - Kesler – Higgins
Sestito - Richardson – Hansen
Weise – Santorelli – Booth
Hamhuis – Tanev
Weber – Edler
1. Team Identity
I don’t think I have ever seen a mediocre player become a fan favorite in such a short amount time. Maybe Jeff Cowan “The Brabarian”. The moment that Sestito decided to take justice into his own hands could be considered a watershed moment for this group of Vancouver Canucks. We have all heard the stories about how they never stand up for each other and never seem to get retribution for the cheap shots we’ve seen over the years (Duncan Keith, Brad Marchand). Jordan Nolan’s attempted hit on Henrik Sedin wasn’t the worst thing I have ever seen, but he was clearly picking his spot. When Sestito mauled him, it signaled to the rest of the league that the Canucks don’t care if they have a 7-minute penalty kill. If you try to hurt our best players, we will hurt you. It’s just a shame that Nolan is a coward and wouldn’t answer for his actions.
2. The Power Play Still Sucks
The power play blew it last night. Even though this loss is being considered a moral victory, the power play actually had a decent chance to turn it into an actual two point victory. Seemingly out of ideas, assistant coach Glen Gulutzan threw Yannik Weber and Kevin Bieksa out of the first unit in the final minutes of the third period when the game was still in reach. That’s what giving up looks like. I have two suggestions:
-I suggested this earlier in the season, but why don’t they at least try to split the Sedins and have each quarterback a powerplay unit. All you need is one passer to get Garrison/Weber/Edler the puck.
-Kassian as the net front presence on the first unit. He’s no Kevin Bieksa, but still worth a try at this point.
3. How Will the Team Respond?
After such an emotional game, will we see the new badasses of the West challenge the Ducks? Or will we get a tired and emotionally drained team? Since it’s Anaheim, I hope they can carry over some of that spunk into this game. Someone just needs to remind them that Kyle Palmieri ran Eddie Lack last week.
I’m putting some money down on a Canucks win. Last time in Anaheim, they choked big time. Tortorella won’t let them forget that. Canucks win 4-1 and it is slightly less violent than Monday night.