Hitch may not like to think about weathering storms... but if that's not happened in this game...let me know. Please stop the 30 minute long prevent defense. We quickly reverted back to the 2004 Columbus Red Line Warriors. My gosh it is nerve racking to watch.
Vancouver wanted this win badly. After two losses on the road and an impending 20 game road trip, British Columbia was up in arms. This was the home opener which is never a desired trip for the road team. We matched their intensity in the early minutes, but down a goal and looking at 5-3 disadvantage, things didn't look good. Before you know it. The penalty is a killed and we put one in there net. A great play by Mathieu Roy (yesterday's whipping boy redeemed himself today) set up a tic-tac-toe goal to Antoine Vermette in the paint. All made possible by the long toes of Rick Nash that held onto the blueline to "avoid" going offsides. Going into the intermission tied was an accomplishment.
My oh my did the Canuckleheads turn on Luongo. Raycroft was getting the Bronx cheer all night. They better get over it because they have him for a decade and a deuce.
3 quick minutes in the second period turned this game on its head. In a positive direction. Luongo lost his mojo. Three quick CBJ goals gives a glimmer of what this team is capable of now. All three of these pucks were probably stoppable, but they found the twine tonight off the sticks of Juice, Klesla, and Filatov. All were the product of great plays off the rush. How often could you say that in CBJ history? That indicates some strong puck movement from the defense. Yay!
While some will criticize the powerplay... and that is fine, I'm impressed. I'm impressed at how fast we are moving the puck (save our last extra cautious powerplay). Players are considering options before they get the puck. When the puck is coming, we are ready for it. We are gaining the line, I see a lot of positives. The skill is a wonderful thing. We will need to break the habit of over passing the puck and we need to get more pucks funneled to the net, but to be honest it is fun to watch the puck movement. We've never had anything remote close to it. I'm not sure I dig the 3 different PP forward lines though. I'd rather trot our top unit back out again than give the time to Andrew Murray.
The unit certainly came through when we absolutely needed it. Raffi causing havoc in front of the net is his ideal spot. I hope he embraces his role on the team: energy, physical play, and sacrifice is what we will need from him. 12-0 when Raffi scores. I can't remember too many clutch Powerplay goals last year.
Another typical, quiet Jan Hejda +3 night.
I'd hope the league takes a look at the Hordichuk hit on Boll. Boll was in a defenseless position after having been checked. The puck was long gone and Hordichuk went for a second hit. It doesn't make sense. Props to Roy for immediately challenging him, I would have loved to seen someone pound Darcy's face tonight.
We need to see more physical play because I felt we were pretty soft tonight. I'd like to see Blunden and Dorse. I'll beat that horse until it happens.
Mancrush of the Night: Steve Mason, he was under assault most of the night. but he stood tall all night long. His rebound control was pretty strong night. Consider we stopped playing offense at about the 30 minute mark, Mase was the only reason we got a point. Vancouver probably had about 25 scoring chances tonight. Counting blocks the Canucks may have had 80 shots. I wish I were joking.
Whipping Boy: Whoever makes the prevent defense call. It was not entertaining hockey. I'm not sure I'll get to sleep with all the brain chemicals I had to release tonight.
The win is exactly what the doctor ordered. I was concerned about opening a couple buildings with a thin blueline. This win certainly puts my thoughts at ease.
2-0 on pace for 164 points.
Thoughts? Prevent Defense? Genius or Madness? Fire Away?