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Canucks, Hockey

Flipt Scripping: Checking Game 2′s narratives against reality

by Brian Beitz

Retrieving a lost soccer ball

"I could've sworn we were supposed to be preparing for something..." (Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Every once in awhile, Smug Nation likes to review the stories leading up to a game and compare them to the harsh realities that came to be. We want to know what the difference makers in the game were. Were the “keys to the game” really just hype? Essentially, after a win or a loss, we just want to know why this is the best or the worst day of our lives.

Find out what the stories were for Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals after the jump!

***

Matchups and Lineups

What was the story?

With my near-namesake Byron Bitz suspended for two games, who would draw into the lineup? Would AV stay with the gameplan or would he mix and match his forwards. The Kings dominated their matchups throughout Game 1. The checking trio of Higgins/Pahlsson/Hansen came up short against Kopitar’s line, and Kesler looked outmatched against Mike Richards, who was having a strong game (his first as a King, so please calm down everybody). Dustin Brown has 8 shots, Justin Williams had 7, and Drew “Overly Touted” Doughty had 6 (mostly because he forgot about the defending part). I’ve seen less shots at the Supervised Injection Site on East Hastings! Hell-o! For the Canucks to gain the upperhand, they will need to shut down some of the Kings top scorers. Oh, and Dustin Penner. Somehow he scored too.

What really happened?

That. Well, kind of that. AV scrambled his lines, splitting up the PhD line (it’s cause they play smart hockey, people. Perverts…), inserting Ballard and Ebbett, and placing Mason Raymond on the 3rd line. The Canucks looked to be better matched against the Kings lines and dominated much of the 5-on-5 play, outshooting their opponents 36-17 and outscoring them 2-1. Reports from the Canucks practice today indicate AV will probably stick with these lines in Game 3, at least to start the contest. Unfortunately, not all of the game gets played at even-strength, and I bet that’s where we’ll see some changes.

Special Teams and Discipline

What was the story?

The special teams battle in Game 1 did not go the way of our boys in blue and green. The Canucks were given 8 penalties, and while we may not agree with some of them, they still gave the refs an excuse to put them in the box. The Kings cashed in with 2 powerplay goals, one scored by some guy named Willie Mitchell (who?). To make matters worse, the Canucks powerplay looked no more effective than it has since January 7th, resulting in Alex Edler deservedly being removed from the top unit. If the Canucks can’t turn things around, the Kings special teams could put the good guys in a big hole heading into LA.

What actually happened?

That. The Kings went 1 for 4 on the powerplay as Jarret Stoll backhanded a shot past Luongo. The Canucks, on the other hand, were as underwhelming as me with my shirt off, going 0 for 5 and allowing 2 shorthanded goals (amazingly, not the only team to do that last night). Edler remained off the top unit but it made little difference as the Canucks were kept to the outside. By the end of the 2nd period, there were a lot of people suggesting a football-like option of being able to decline penalties. The one high note here is that the Canucks only gave their opponents 4 powerplay opportunities, but that will be of little help if the Kings continue to score on 25% of them. My guess is that we see a very different powerplay setup from coach Newell Brown in Game 3, perhaps with Kesler back centering the 2nd unit.

Luongo’s Strong Play

What was the story?

Though the only talk going into the playoffs was about when Schneider would relieve Bobby Lou in net, Luongo kept the Canucks in Game 1, stopping 12 of 13 shots in the 1st period and 15 of 16 in the 2nd. Really, despite some less-than-perfect play from the team, the Canucks were not fully out of the game until Dustin Brown’s empty netter. If Lou could repeat the performance, and the Canucks could show up with a similar effort, they could go back to LA with an even series.

What really happened?

Not that. Luongo let in 4 goals on 26 shots, whereas his counterpart, Jonathan Quick, stopped 46 of 48 (though many of those shots were not what I would call scoring chances). The defensive breakdowns in front of Luongo—including 2 very notable gaffs from Edler and Hamhuis—are what led to the goals, so one can hardly blame Lou. Still, had he pulled out a big stop or two, this game could have been very different. I am in no way getting involved in the Luongo vs. Schneider debate here, but I would be surprised if we don’t see the backup getting the start in Game 3. The Canucks clearly need a change of some sort.

So on we go to Game 3!

I have no idea whether the Canucks can turn this around, but I still believe they are the stronger team. Besides, I think we all know that a team can win a series after they’ve worked themselves into a 2-goal deficit…

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About brianbeitz

I'm a Victoria native who once sat down in front of the TV, saw Vancouver playing the NY Rangers in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, and hasn't stopped watching the Canucks since. Now, I've decided to bring my horrible opinions to a public forum. Enjoy! Follow me on Twitter @oldjohnnycanuck.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Flipt Scripping: Checking Game 2′s narratives against reality

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    Posted by http://tinyurl.com/bomelear47312 | January 14, 2013, 3:56 pm
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    Posted by http://tinyurl.com/micrhust21796 | March 2, 2013, 1:58 am

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