When the team you root for loses, the way that the Canucks lost to the Devils tonight, there are a number of ways you can respond.
You can choose to rage with the fury of a thousand suns, allowing the hatred to flow through you. You can choose to feign indifference, as though the loss hasn’t crippled you both spiritually and emotionally. You can choose to just be really, really sad, becoming a blubbering mess like Seth Rogen in Funny People.
Or you can focus on the positives, such as Elias Pettersson breaking his goal drought in spectacular fashion, Jacob Markstrom’s phenomenal goaltending, or the fact that we don’t have to confront the monstrosity that is the Oilers mascot on a consistent basis while your team still loses a bunch.
Thanks for being only mildly terrifying, Fin.
Tonight I chose to ignore my existential dread and appreciate the little things (and I don’t just mean Loui Eriksson) while I watched this game.
- Before we get into some detailed hockey analysis, can we talk about how the Devils’ logo kind of looks like a wrench? More like the New Jersey Spanners, am I right? Sorry, I wanted to make fun of New Jersey and that’s the best I could come up with. I hit up google for some fresh Newark jokes, but it turns out New Jersey is just REALLY sad.
- For real, though, without Hall and Hischier the Devils’ lineup is remarkably unremarkable. Which is saying something coming from a fan of a team that thinks Josh Leivo is an acceptable linemate for Elias Pettersson.
- While I’m talking about the Devils, I have to say that as a tall ginger man I was sad to see Cory Schneider on the bench. Partly due to the symptoms of PTSD I experienced when I recalled the last time the Canucks faced Mackenzie Blackwood. But mostly because I desperately wanted to see Bo Horvat score a goal against him. It would have been … perfect.
- Loui Eriksson was notably scratched from Wednesday’s game against the Rangers, and while he didn’t make a tangible impact, you could tell he was trying. Sometimes you just need a wakeup call, like the time my dad took away my Anakin Skywalker action figures because I didn’t clean up my legos. I learned a lot that day, and I think Loui might have learned a little something himself. Also, why did I have more than one Anakin Skywalker action figure. Was my childhood...sad?
- Watching the Canucks’ first few attempts at the powerplay, I think I finally understood how this guy felt. After managing just one shot over their first two powerplay attempts and giving up several shorthanded opportunities to the Devils, I began to question whether the team had collectively decided to give up being good at hockey for Lent. Everything would make a lot more sense.
- Rather than suffer further disgrace, Chris Tanev apparently chose to end it all by throwing his body in front of a Kyle Palmieri shot during the first period. Sadly, he only managed to fracture a bone in his foot, adding to the growing collection of walking boots in the Canucks’ locker room.
- Jacob Markstrom evidently didn’t receive the “let’s play like trash” memo, as he provided some of the few glimmers of hope in the all-consuming garbage fire that was their first period. Markstrom managed to keep the Canucks in it in the first, making several great saves, including gems off of Noesen and Tangradi.
- Our communal suffering came to an end during the second period thanks to very-good-hockey-player/possible-Jesus Elias Pettersson. He took a cross-ice pass from Brock Boeser and redeemed every terrible moment from the first period with a stupendous snap shot over the glove of Blackwood. It filled me with joy and an unfounded optimism that I really should have learned to ignore by this point.
- A lot had been made of Pettersson’s 11-game goal drought, and Pettersson suggested before tonight’s game that maybe he should be more selfish. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD ELIAS, PLEASE BE MORE SELFISH. The goal put Elias one point away from tying Pavel Bure and Ivan Hlinka’s rookie point record, and Boeser’s assist extended his point streak to 5 games.
- The Canucks second goal was slightly less spectacular and featured a significant assist from Blackwood, who attempted to deflect a Tanner Pearson shot into the corner, but instead deflected it into his own net. Congratulations Mackenzie, you played yourself.
- Despite their apparent momentum, the Canucks promptly returned to “hot garbage” status. Another terrible powerplay was followed quickly by a goal from Kevin Rooney, breaking Markstrom’s shutout. With 6 minutes left to play, Stefan Noesen scored off a quick pass from Eric Tangradi to tie the game. And that made me sad. Not as sad as the Devils fan at the game that ran out of green facepaint before he got to his forehead, but still pretty sad.
- Markstrom continued to hold the team in the game with excellent saves off of Travis Zajac at the end of the third, and Connor Carrick in overtime. The Canucks’ best opportunity to win it came on a 3 on 1 where Pettersson forgot that he was supposed to be more selfish and passed the puck twice. Pettersson clearly needs to read some Ayn Rand to learn the virtue of selfishness.
- (Please don’t actually read Ayn Rand)
- The game went to a shootout. And then this happened:
- What an incredible goal. Pettersson’s hands must be connected to the Speed Force, because the speed at which he moved them did not seem physically possible. I would say it was the greatest Forsberg move in Canucks history, except for the fact that Henrik Sedin once did it at full speed at 5-on-5, instead of just in the shootout.
- Ultimately the Canucks would fail to score on their next six attempts, while the Devils would tie the game on a goal from Drew Stafford and win it on another from Damon Severson. But if you squint really hard and focus on the bounty of Pettersson goodness that we received tonight, you can almost forget that they had a 2-0 lead in the third and lost. It’s the most dangerous lead in hockey for a reason, you guys.