What…we’re in the same division as Detroit now?
I mean, we’re playing them for the fourth time in two months. The venerable (or vulnerable, if you like) Mike Keenan said of their recent home game against the Wings that it was a benchmark game. A game that would allow his Flames to gauge where they stood as a team. And of course, the Red Wings kicked their ass.
But they haven’t kicked ours yet. Even with a humiliation like the Washington game or the Buffalo fiasco (forgot those did you…repression is a marvelous defense mechanism) we managed to beat the Wings on our best nights.
As for what to expect tonight, please read on of my earliest blogs on predictions. Actually, George W. believes that history is for suckers but I think it’s predictions that makes fools of us all.
Obviously, I have no idea what to expect tonight.
So let’s play the old Sergio Leone movie game, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The Good: Taylor Pyatt’s quick release on a Shane O’Brien set-up. One wonders how an apparent lug like Pyatt can have such quick hands. Osgood is still looking for the puck.
The Bad: The same Shane O’Brien inadvertently sends the puck into Wellwood’s feet and Jiri Hudler completes a highlight reel goal. Easy to point fingers, but it was more bad luck then bad passing or positioning.
The Ugly: Shane O’Brien and Willie Mitchell stands still as Hudler picks up the breakaway pass and catches Sanford going the wrong way. Four years ago Hudler was considered too small and too slow to have a regular position in the NHL.
The bright spot was the Canucks’ PK, handling the dreaded four on three that became a five on three against the best PP in the league. The line of Kesler, Burrows and Hansen, to my way of thinking, could fit in on the Wings tomorrow. They keep their feet moving to maintain puck possession and they swarm the puck when they lose it.
The second period sees a reverse in the momentum as the Canucks suddenly seem to believe that they can play with the Wings.
The Good: Mason Raymond does what all goal scorers do…score from any angle. He is on another mini-streak and it is hard to believe the kid already has seven goals in only 25 games. Not bad for a guy who travels between the second and fourth lines.
The Bad: Osgood’s post coverage on Wellwood’s goal. Osgood had lots of time and left an opening just big enough for Wellwood to snipe the puck through. A puck size opening for Wellwood is usually all he needs. Nice comeback Welly… after booting the puck on the first Detroit goal.
The Ugly: The shifts where Detroit plays a minute to a minute and a half in our D-zone. I said in my first game blog about the Wings that they often remind me of the Red Army. Tonight as they honour the great Igor Larionov, they put on a clinic of puck retrieval and possession and one simply shakes the head and says “Damn they’re good!”
Interesting to note, is that in a game that features two of the better defensive teams in the NHL, we’ve seen six goals in only two periods.
The third period continues this odd display of defensive ineptitude.
The Good: We didn’t throw in the towel when it was six to three. Most teams would have. We didn’t. It’s a small thing, but we’ll take it.
The Bad: The outcome of the game. Hard fought til the end, we are now embarrassed to be the owners of four straight losses.
The Ugly: Well, for the first time since the injury, Sanford made me miss Lou. But more than ever, I don’t want the Captain to come back early. And if anyone starts a Bulin Wall to the Canucks’ rumour they should be tarred, feathered and run out of town on the rail they used in O Brother Where Art Thou?
The Dawg’s Three Stars:
1) Nik Lidstrom: There is no better defenseman in the game. He never panics and he killed us with the shot after the PK that Cleary tipped in.
2) Hudler: Set the tone early and had the puck on a string all night.
3) Wellwood: He scored a beauty on the PP and made one of the best moves any Canuck has made this year for a breakaway. If he was rewarded with a goal, the outcome would have been different. Of course, if my aunt had nuts she’d be a squirrel!
Unsung Hero: Janik Hansen: The kid never stops working and he is getting better with each game.