The debacle that was last night's game against Buffalo began with some seriously flat play and bad communication on the part of Vancouver. It was pretty clear from the first drop of the puck that Buffalo knew they were going to have to work for it, there were at least three occassions in the first couple of shifts where the puck was either chipped into open ice, or poorly passed up by a defenseman, and the forwards closest to the puck hesitated like they weren't sure which one of them was going to take it, in the end a Saber's forward hopped on it and kept the pressure in the Canuck's end. One of them lead directly to the first goal. In all honesty, after we got out of that first period it was pretty clear who the better team was, unfortunately the better team had no puck-luck last night. By the time the second period rolled around, the giant was awake and you could see from the way the Saber's scrambled around their own end that they knew they were fucked if the hockey gods weren't going to look favorably on them and bless them for their early efforts at the beginning of the game. In the end a post, a crossbar, a couple of lucky bounces for Miller, and Aaron Rome's skate, sealed the deal for Buffalo on the scoreboard. But that wasn't what did the Canuck's in.....
Kassian. Holy Shit can this kid play some hockey. 9 hits going into the third period! Then he adds a goal and an assist. There was one hit he threw in the third where all I saw was this blue blur fly into the corner and absolutely decimate a Buffalo player. Couldn't believe there was no red cape behind it, was even more shocked to see a Canuck's jersey on the player in question. Final score? Kassian 2 - Hodgson 0.
Booth. 2 goals, worked hard, brought his game, played smart hockey.....right up until his last shift. I have to say though, that empty netter is not, repeat NOT, Booth's fault. That was a terrible time for Vigneault to call Schneider to the bench, and a terrible time for the majority of the team to head off on a line change. Booth should have played it into the Saber's zone, and that was a bit of a screw up, but the team was just out to lunch on that one.
Higgins. Solid effort, turned pucks over, played a tough game.
Malhotra. Nothing to complain about on his part last night. Played well, went to the net after pucks, went to the net and got a good look close in on a turnover and quick out from behind Miller.
Lapierre. Absolutely thriving since the addition of Kassian. He has totally stepped up the intensity and the work on the forecheck and along the boards.
Kesler. Good game. Worked like we know he can. Just no results. The one time he should no question try and shoot the puck on a 2-on-1, and he tries to Sedin it through a sprawled defender while Miller is even cheating a little for that attempted pass.
Hansen. Typical game from Jannik, hustle and effort. Could have been better and a bit smarter with the puck, but so could many others.
Luongo. 3 goals on 6 shots and all in the first 5 minutes (yeah whatever, 5:10). The first goal is the only one I think he should have had, and even it was a cannon from just above the circle in a prime scoring position. It was the result of a turnover at the blueling, into the corner and then a quick pass for a one-timer from a WIDE OPEN Ville Leino. Went 5-hole, but was still simply blown through him. The second goal he made a save, lost his goalstick as the Saber's and a defender went into the net, scrambled, made a great save without his stick, scrambled some more, made a good play to get the puck with his blocker, but couldn't stop the rebound that was swept into the open net. If he has his stick on that play, the puck is easily cleared into the corner and out of harm's way. Terrible defense. The third goal, well nobody is getting that rocket that just catches the inside of the corner like that. I don't fault Luongo at all, his team came out and abandoned him to the stampeding herd. Had he turned aside even one of those I would have put him in the "good" category.
Rome. A -3 on the night and actually put the ultimate game-winner into his own net with his skate. Not really much you can do about that, but when you start off the way he did, with terrible reads, coverage, positioning, and just sloppy play, you are just asking for the hockey gods to curse you thrice. And they did. You know you suck when you get 11:50 TOI and still end up a -3.
The Sedins. Our worst forwards last night. They actually killed the team. After the team woke up and got going, the push was on, Booth scored twice, the second and third line had some good chances and really took over with some great energy. The 4th line was flying out there. Can't say enough about what Kassian did on multiple lines. But every time the twins came over the boards the energy just went the way of a fart in the wind. They would settle down the play, try and setup shop, work it around the outside, never get a real shot at the net, let Buffalo recover from the mad scramble they had been forced into by the quick movement of the Canuck's other lines, and then ultimately get nothing going and the Saber's would clear the puck. Henrik needs to be benched if he won't start shooting. The one shot he takes last night is the weakest shot I have seen from an NHL player in all my years of watching hockey, I'm not even kidding, Luongo could have gotten more on that. Miller probably thought he was back in Atom or Midget for a second, until he realized that the puck was moving so slow it belonged in a TimBits camp. I'm not even kidding when I say that Henrik could probably score 20 goals between now and the end of the year by surprising the goalie if he would just shoot the puck even one out of every four times he see's the net. The way the Sedins were nullified, and then nullified the Canucks, last night has me very worried come playoffs.
The PP. The first unit anyways. Unreal how bad the Sedins look on the man advantage right now. They've gone back to the stand still, move the puck up and down the boards, and wait for something to happen, style of hockey that stagnated the team a few years ago. You want to talk dead-puck hockey, look no further than Henrik and Daniel on the powerplay of late.
Raymond. Other than managing to be in front of Miller (for once) on Booth's first goal (a beauty of a setup by Burrows btw) MayRay did nothing other than fall over. The guy needs to sit for a while, it has classically been what he has responded to. Every time Vigneault has demoted or scratched Raymond, the guy responds with some inspired play. Looks like we are there again with him.
I'm going to simply be content with the fact that I got watch Kassian absolutely dominate his old team.