Five games. Five games for Benning and co. to decide what to do at the deadline. That’s the plan, Benning said.
Game one? They lost to the St. Louis Blues. Not unexpected, really.
Game two? They were seconds away from winning the game on a dump in goal from centre ice. The ol’ Cloutier special.
Then, as if the ghosts of Alain Vigneault and Roberto Luongo were passing through, Calgary tied the game up with seconds remaining, breaking the shutout. This, after a third period in which the Canucks turtled to the tune of being outshot 18-2.
Then, as if the Edler goal wasn’t weird enough, the game was decided by a Chris Tanev breakaway goal in overtime, winning the game for the Canucks 2-1.
No no, really.
Here, look at the gif:
See? I told you it happened.
So the Canucks are now 1-1 in the all important ‘Five Games of Fate’ and it’s kind of crazy to think this 2-1 win over the Flames could have any bearing over the trade deadline. A game that was almost won by a dump in might be used in Benning’s formula of what to do at the deadline.
That’s all sorts of frightening.
I mean, this Flames team looked awful. Watching them tonight made you wonder how they’ve ever scored an NHL goal. Even the artist formerly known as 18-year-old Sam Bennett looks decidedly average this year. Johnny Hockey should probably get his trademark revoked if things keep going this way. Johnny Cakes might be available. The pastry business could be good.
But hey, maybe Benning is finally starting to play the game. Maybe, as Friedman suggested tonight during intermission, Benning is just trying to avoid making noise in Vancouver by hiding his motives more than he has in the past. Maybe Benning is getting ready to rip his mask off to reveal it was Vince McMahon all along.
“It was me Canucks Nation, it was me all along!”
Nothing Benning has done in the past has shown him to be very sneaky (one of his calling cards is how upfront he is about things) but maybe he’s finally trying a new approach.
Or he still doesn’t know what he’s going to do at the deadline yet. Which makes the ‘Five Games of Fate’ both fascinating and horrifying at the same time.
1. The Knucklepuck
If you’re one of those “GO BOYS GO, **** YOU IF YOU DON’T CHEER THE BOYS ON AT ALL TIMES, HAHAHAH I HOPE YOUR ANKLES DON’T BREAK FALLING OFF THE BANDWAGON WOOOO I LOVE YOU FIN, HOLY GOD WHERE DID I LEAVE MY PHONE!” types then you had yourself a game tonight!
Not only did the Canucks win, they won on two really bizarre goals.
The goal everyone will be talking about is the Edler shot from centre, a nice homage to Nick Lidstrom.
A knucklepuck so good it was authenticated by an OG Mighty Duck:
— Josh Jackson (@VancityJax) February 19, 2017
That is glorious. That puck dips quicker than office morale when meetings are booked for Monday morning.
Brian Elliott, who has had a rough season, now has to join the club of goalies who have nowhere to look but down on the ice in shame, staring into their reflection, trying to search for whatever remains of their soul.
Ryan Miller would have lasered someone, of course. But not many goalies have the laser eye abilities quite like Miller. He’s basically Cyclops out there.
CBC was even nice enough to put the goal side by side with Dan Cloutier’s infamous attempt to ruin my life:
Dan doesn’t even look down on the ice in shame. He looks forward as if that happens every day.
“Well, what can you do, we’ll get ’em next time.”
But you didn’t get them next time, did you Dan? DID YOU DAN?
God damn it, I thought I buried this rage long ago…
End point is, Alex Edler’s stick didn’t break, and he scored from centre. This almost won them the game.
What a time to be alive.
2. Meg-Meg-Megna-an, Lover of the Extra Man
There was a cat that really was gone!
There's a 27-year-old with 19 career points on the Canucks. And he plays on their first unit power play.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) February 19, 2017
— SPK (@MCSPK12) February 19, 2017
— Jas Kang (@jaskang21) February 19, 2017
We get it Willie… You love Megna #canucks
— relief happy (@YSaidDream) February 19, 2017
Can someone with access to the postgame presser just ask Willie "For real, Megna? MEGNA?"
— who even cares (@HockeyDipshit) February 19, 2017
So hey, Megna got some power play time tonight. Again.
People were not happy. Again.
It’s as if Coach Willie feeds off of unhappiness, and he decided to go all out tonight when he made sure to get Megna out there for the 5 on 3 power play. That’s when social media really got vicious. One man started openly weeping. Periscoped it and everything.
I mean, we can all admit it’s pretty weird, right?
Megna had 5:06 of power play time. That was third on the team, trailing only the Sedins.
He’s not a prolific scorer at the NHL level. He spells his name with a Y. There’s not a ton of reason to keep going back to that well, is there?
If Skille, who injured his groin tonight and didn’t finish the game, is out for a while, why not throw Boucher in there to see what he can do with that shot of his?
3. Random Highlights
The game had a few moments of energy but for the most part was 1/3 “Wait, did that go in??” and 2/3 “Can we not cross the red line ever again and still somehow win this game?”
So, here are some of the things that stood out.
Here’s Michael Chaput passing in a spot that only Henrik Sedin would find advisable.
“Well that’s a great pass right there, nobody would see that one coming!”
Alas, no one did.
Here is Troy Stecher going end to end and yolo-ing at the end because why not.
Troy From Richmond does what he wants! Troy actually got stripped of the puck several times tonight, which is kind of odd for him, but he’s Troy From Richmond so we can let that go for now.
And lastly, here is Troy Brouwer trying to cause a ruckus in front of the net before Tryamkin moves in to crush him. Suddenly Brouwer decides he has to search for his missing contact at that very second rather than fight Tryamkin, who looked like he actually wanted to throw down there.
When will we see Tryamkin in an all out fight? Who will step up to the plate?
4. Late game heroics
With the game coming to a close, the Flames sent a shot to the net that somehow tied the game up:
Ryan Miller, who had been excellent on the night, was unable to track the puck.
So Giordano scores to tie it up, but luckily Vancouver fans know how to deal with this. Wait for the shootout where Ryan Miller is a God, and get the two points.
Except Chris “The Muffin Man” Tanev somehow gets in a 2-1 rush to win the game in OT. We already showed the goal earlier but I still feel like you don’t believe me so let’s look at it again:
That’s kind of glorious. Take away the “Five Games of Gate” implications and that goal is all kinds of bad ass.
Chris Tanev, noted sniper.
5. Old Man Ryan Miller
That's it. Nothing else needs to be said. #Canucks
— Gab (@ThrustyPrusty89) February 19, 2017
Part of the reason the Flames looked so bad offensively is because Ryan Miller had himself a very strong game. Strong enough to be a trade chip at the deadline? Hold your horses, we have three games left to find out!
But he did play very very well tonight, especially in the third period on the penalty kill. Ryan Miller continues to quietly go about being a very decent goaltender for the Vancouver Canucks. He also continues to make former coach Glen Gulutzan’s life a living hell.
The Canucks were outshot 36-19 tonight by the way. No big deal for Old Man Miller though. He’s been there before.
Markstrom will have to match that game tomorrow-
Desjardins said it's possible Miller starts Sunday vs. Philadelphia.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 19, 2017
But he’s old! He’s so old! Rest Old Man Miller! He’s better when he’s rested! Boo!
6. Tony Stretcher
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) February 19, 2017
Well played Canucks Twitter. Well played.