This might have been the most fun I’ve had at a live NHL game. I’m not a huge fan of any team any more, but games like this is what it’s all about.
I saw after the game a lot of people saying that this is a game you can’t analyze. I say rubbish: it’s worth 60 minutes and 12 seconds of analysis, and just because a handful of goals went in doesn’t prevent that.
Usually a high scoring game means the absence of goaltending, but it was a little different here. Scoring chance counts were elevated (normally a team gets about 15 5v5 chances in a game. This game finished 22-19 for Montreal) and neither team defended particularly well. It wasn’t because pucks were zipping around the offensive zone, but every couple of shifts there was some breakdown or turnover, or near turnover that caused enough chaos for the attacking players to strike.
In another universe where Montreal are good, they could be a team conceivably in the running for Brock Boeser, an imperfect player with a good shot who needs the puck given to him in good spots, who has trouble creating on his own. What they are in reality is a rare team whose group of six defenceman is worse than Vancouver’s, a team that does 60% of the game right but not the 40% of the game that’s the most important.
Watching this live, I never really felt like the Canucks were out of it. Even down 4-0 in the first period, I figured we’ve seen strange stuff in the league this year, the Montreal team is prone to meltdowns, and all they needed was a bounce and a powerplay to get right back in the game. Conor Garland benefit from Arber Xhekaj blowing a tire in the absolute worst spot. The Canucks didn’t get a powerplay to get back into the game, but had the next best thing, which is Elias Pettersson on the ice in 2022. Down by two entering the third and knowing Montreal was on its heels, after the first goal went in early on I think we knew it would be tied at some point.
I kept joking with my father who was seated near me that the Canucks left Montreal too much time (after Studnicka scored to make it 5-4) and then joked that the Habs left Vancouver too much time (after Hughes’ own goal made it 6-5).
I had a blast. The numbers that follow are a snapshot of the 60 minutes plus this game had to offer.
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