As mentioned before, I've picked the Canucks as my girlfriend team this season, not to mention my SC winner. So needless to say I was watching them play the Rangers in a really fun game to watch last night. The game was a little ho-hum in the beginning, but the first two periods were worth sitting through to get the enjoyment out of the third.
The big story was the non-brawl that happened at about four and a half minutes into the final frame. Perpetual shit-starter Ryan Kesler gave glorified savior Marion Gaborik a little push on the knee with his stick (it is, after all connected to that 'wonky' groin of his), during a stoppage in play (1:55). Both teams were changing at the time, so you see Aaron Voros coming off the bench to give Kesler the ol' horsecollar, and then everybody wants a dance. Problem is, the Rangers have 10 guys on the ice, while the 'Nucks have seven, (Puck Daddy's got a great shot of this highlighting all 10).
After the replay of the start of the brawl in the video, (at about 2:25) you can hear the Canucks telling Avery to 'Shut the fuck up,' (very appropriate). Hordichuk and O'Brien are the two Canucks having a friendly chat with Sean. As the Parm points out, O'Brien, as a defenseman, came from the other end of the bench to get at Mr. Avery. After speaking, O'Brien gently nudges Avery with the butt end of his stick, until Sean rudely rips it out Shane's hands, and throws it to the ice after taunting him with his own stick. Classic. AV comes over to pull O'Brien away in the whole "hold me back, coach/let me at 'em!' act, as Torts comes over to tell Avery to sit down, and wait until he is called on. Eventually, the penalties are handed out, five misconducts, O'Brien tosses himself, and Bieksa gets an extra two while serving his ten. Awesome.
Would have loved to see O'Brien actually get at Avery, since his passion was burning so bright it brought him from the other side of the city. Or let Hordichuk pound his ass, either one would do. But Avery did his job without even stepping on the ice, he agitated his opponent and got him to take a stupid penalty. The penalty didn't mean anything, but still it falls within the job description. Kesler did the same exact thing, going after the prized member of the Rangers, and stirring the pot. The TSN announcer said it best with, "Well a game that didn't have a whole lot of emotion is now chockful of it."
And the game got good after that. Just after the Vancouver penalty expired, Chris Higgins put in his first of the year to tie it at one. A little over two minutes later, Kesler took over, fired up that he only got a two minute minor instead of a ten. After his linemate peeled off for a change, the pain-in-the-ass dumped the puck into the corner, hit the gas to beat the defenseman to the puck, shielded the puck around the net to distribute a picture perfect pass to Rypien. The least Rypien could do was hit the net after that play. It was all Kesler's. His determination on that go-ahead was awesome.
After that Samuelsson banged home a rebound for his second on the night, and Henrik Sedin got the empty netter from an unselfish play by Steve Bernier, to set the final score at 4 to 1.
Raycroft got another W, and moves to 3 and 1 while filling in for Luongo. Nothing fancy, probably could and should have stopped Higgins' goal, but a win is a win.
The Rangers power play hums even though it came up empty last night. They move the puck well and quickly, and having Gaborik on the half boards or lurking in the slot is always dangerous. But the real asset is rookie defenseman Mike Del Zotto. I was very impressed with his play, calm, cool, collected, like he's been in the league for years. Its surprised me that a lot of the young defenseman this year have jumped right into the play, and are aggressive offensively while still trying to prove they're defensively responsible.
Other than that, very enjoyable. Highlights.