The Vancouver Canucks came to town with only one of their top six defensemen. And that’s Sami Salo, who’s barely hanging on, himself. They’ve just been ravaged by injuries this year and I feel for them, because we’re having a similar problem, although not quite as bad. Still, they definitely gave us a game.
Vancouver got the first goal, and when they did I thought, “We’ve got ’em right where we want ’em.” It seems to actually help when we give up the first goal. Coming into the game, we were 13-14-2 when giving up the first goal. That record seems impressive because (a) we’re now at .500 when we give up the first goal, and (b) we’ve won 14 games when we started from behind, but it’s also kind of disturbing that we give up the first goal so often.
Brenden Morrow scored the first goal by banking it off the skate of Alex Burrows. That’s the kind of goal where I wish Halpern could get an assist. He essentially dragged Burrows into Luongo without touching the goalie or the puck, taking Luongo out of the play. It couldn’t happen without him, but he gets no points for that goal. Still, I’m confident that the coaching staff recognizes that kind of thing. (Actually, I see now that he did get an assist, but I still like my point. If Halpern hadn’t given the puck to Ribiero first, to give to Morrow, he wouldn’t have gotten a point, even though the play at the end was the most important part.)
I’m a big Jeff Halpern fan and have been since he came to town. I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to defensive forwards, but I am. People will say that poke-checking and puck-stealing and faceoff-winning and penalty-killing aren’t sexy, but I beg to differ.
Jere Lehtinen scored a power-play goal in the second period. He sure hasn’t wasted any time getting back into the swing of playing real games. He got an assist in his first game back, and tonight he got a goal. It’s just so great to see him back in the lineup.
Brenden also got an assist on Jere’s goal. And he had the shootout winner, as well. Morrow likes to pretend that he’s just a grinder that gets lucky occasionally, but he has a very good shot. His shootout goal was very pretty.
Both Luongo and Turco did well in the shootout, taking it to six rounds. Nice to see Jokinen get one, and I was happy to see Nik Hagman get a try. Without Zubov (and with extra rounds) we got to see some fresh faces taking a turn.
Oh, and Ribeiro got two more assists. While I’m yelling at him for constantly losing the puck. How does he do that?
The broadcast was excellent. It was in glorious HD, so all minor complaints are moot. Because it looks. So. Great!
While I still prefer Ralph and Razor to do the call, Craig Ludwig did a fine job standing in for Razor. He had interesting points and didn’t step all over Ralph or just sit there saying nothing. And his mic was well-set so we could hear most of what he was saying.
And Philippe Boucher was outstanding again standing in for Luddy during the pre- and post-game shows with John Rhadigan. Gosh! He looks good. He’s articulate and interesting, and he and Rhadigan have some good chemistry. Rhadigan seems to have extremely long video-clip intros, though, which leaves poor Bouche to just sit there with no good place to look.
I’m all for this new development. Maybe in 10 years, when Bouche is ready to retire, Razor can groom him to take his place and move on to Versus or something.