We heard since the start of the series that it would be a physical one. Well, that was pretty much what tonight was: 176 penalty minutes, a few massive hits, Michael Ferland, and a handful of ejections. Playoff hockey, ladies and gentlemen.
I’m not going to waste your time trying to analyze a 4-1 game that was essentially over in less than half of a period. Daniel Sedin got the scoring started early when Deryk Engelland whiffed playing defence. Just pure ugly. 1-0 Canucks.
A few minutes later, Dennis Wideman put the puck over glass in desperation. The penalty kill was initially looking alright, but some defensive breakdowns led to a Chris Higgins goal. May have had to do something with Joe Colborne being on the penalty kill. 2-0 Canucks
That was pretty much the first period. The Flames got killed possession wise, with the Canucks leading 13-3 in shots, and 24-9 in corsi.
The second period was more promising. After Kevin Bieksa got two for slashing, the Flames began to show a glimmer of momentum that looked like a typical Calgary turnaround. Despite spending the better half of the period in the Canucks zone, Vancouver was effective at preventing high quality shot.
This is where the rough stuff began. Brandon Bollig got stuck on top of Eddie Lack after fanning on a tap in shot, and a few punches were thrown by all sides, including Lack landing a few good ones on Bollig. The "legend of Eddie Lack" was growing, according to Jim Hughson. I predict that this will be the high point of the "legend", and that calls for trading him will occur in about six months. Maybe Sunday if we’re lucky.
Sam Bennett also left halfway through the period after taking a hard hit on his surgically repaired shoulder. He did return in the third period, but Bob Hartley wisely chose to rest him, only icing him three times for the rest of the game.
The second period sparked hopes of another third period comeback for the Flames, with Calgary leading 11-9 in shots, and 19-17 in corsi.
All hopes of that were quashed, when Ronalds Kenins sniped one past a helpless Jonas Hiller. 3-0 Canucks.
The rest of the third period looked like this:
The penalties will have to be reviewed by Player Safety, and we might see a few corrections tomorrow with some suspensions, probably.
The fun stuff began when Michael Ferland went on the equivalent of a four-star rampage in Grand Theft Auto. He laid out Christopher Tanev early on, and then gave Eddie Lack a shot, because why not? It only resulted in two minutes, and the Flames killed the penalty without much incidence.
Later, noted meathead Dan Hamhuis tried to start a fight with Sean Monahan while his team was on a 2-on-1. Two minutes for that. Wideman and Yannick Weber were ejected for extra-curricular activity after the penalty had been assessed.
On the ensuing powerplay, Kris Russell repeated his game one performance in a less crucial time. At least the legendary Eddie Lack didn’t have his shutout anymore. 3-1 Canucks.
Would the comeback be possible? Definitely not, as Radim Vrbata scored an empty netter. 4-1 Canucks.
Then the real brawl began. Eddie Lack froze the puck while both teams had their grit line out, and fisticuffs flew. You can watch it here.
Deryk Engelland had to fight off both Derek Dorsett and Dan Hamhuis, who entered the fight as a third man (probably suspension worthy). Brad Richardson pummelled Matt Stajan’s head while he was down on the ice. Also suspension worthy. The entire brawl resulted in 122 minutes of penalties, ten misconducts (four of them against Deryk Engelland for some reason), and a whole lot of animosity.
The game ended 4-1. Vancouver led 32-23 in shots, and 56-46 in corsi. The series is now tied 1-1, and headed back to Calgary.
- Michael Ferland ran up and down the ice bodying everyone he could find. He taunted the entire Canucks bench on his way out of the game; normally something I would hate, but it’s the Canucks.
- Sam Bennett also had his truculence turned up to eleven. He laid a big hit on Jannik Hansen early on, and knocked over Henrik Sedin on his way to the bench.
- A 4-1 playoff loss is demoralizing, but the Flames looked incredibly fired up regardless. I urge all you that are going to the game to bring the ruckus.
- Congratulations to the Canucks for winning their first home playoff game in eight tries. I guess.
- Jim Hughson gives me headaches.
- Canucks fans praising incredibly dirty play is just what you’d expect from them, so I wasn't surprised when I saw it happening (p.s. don’t go on Twitter, it’s a cesspool right now).
Out of town Scoreboard:
In what we all thought would be the fight-filled game tonight, Montreal beat Ottawa, taking game two 3-2 in overtime, and a 2-0 lead on the series. The Capitals and Predators evened up their series, winning 4-3 and 6-2 respectively.
Back at it on Sunday at the Dome at 8 PM. This is an open appeal to Michael Ferland to unleash his inner freight train. Do join us in the gamethread again!