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Blackhawks 1, Canucks 0 – Iron & “Flower” Too Much for Circus Monkey

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The Chicago Blackhawks Brandon Hagel scores the lone goal of the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Final Score: Chicago Blackhawks 1, Vancouver Canucks 0

It’s the first shut-out result for the Canucks this season, win or lose. The Canucks outshot the Blackhawks 40-24. Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was the first star. Brandon Hagel scored the lone goal of the game at 4:12 of the third period at even strength.

Both teams’ power plays went 0-for-3.

Note: As we’ve spelled out previously, Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic will not travel to the US with the team when it leaves on its road trip this Monday. He’ll join the club in Montreal (November 29) and Ottawa (December 1) for NHL games on Canadian soil. It’s expected he’ll finally be through protocols in time to travel without limitation beginning with the trip to San Jose on December 15th for the game on the 16th.

Posteosis …

… The disease of the post.

Sometimes you’re just unlucky. Two minutes into the second period, Brock Boeser took a pass from Jason Dickinson and rang a wrister solidly off the post.

Mid-second, Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit the post on a two-one-one and on the very next rush, Elias Pettersson hit the outside of the post on the short side stepping through the right wing circle.

During sustained pressure in the 2nd period, Visaly Podkolzin deflected a pass from Conor Garland off FLeury’s blocker and then off the bar.

Eight-and-a-half into the 3rd period, Tanner Pearson ripped one off the cross bar and Blackhawks goalie Fluery, known as “Flower”, spent some time conversing with, massaging, and thanking the iron.

Five posts or crossbars, at least.

The Road Game

Knowing what was coming, I tweeted this at the start of the third period.

What the Blackhawks are thinking: We’ve survived 40-minutes after playing last night in Edmonton, we’ve kept it scoreless. Getting the goaltending, keeping it simple, let’s sneak out of here with a point or two. Dangerous reality for Canucks. All the CBH need is one.

It set up perfectly for Chicago. A road team that managed to be outplayed through two-periods, with limited energy, started the third with a clean slate. Often in this situation, they’d be happy enough to be down a goal. Instead, even-steven against a team still unsure of itself.

So what did the Blackhawks do? Came out with the expected push, took the lead, held it, and through the first fifteen minutes of the third period outshot the Canucks 10-to-2. Game over.

Circus Monkey

Conor Garland has a new nickname. I’m pulling it out of the archives after using it for a former All-American, college national champion who was playing in the minor leagues twenty-five years ago. I won’t mention his name because then I’d have to explain the similarities in their games, of which there are none. They’re two different kinds of circus monkey.

There’s no other way to describe him. Garland took the pirouettes, spins, flips, stops and starts, dangles, and spin-o-ramas to a new level during this Canucks homestand, particularly against the Chicago Blackhawks. At times he simply reaches the point of “worth the price of admission”, on top of creating scoring chances for his club.

Garland led the Canucks with six shots in the game, fired another one wide and had another one blocked. He gave the puck away twice, but stole it from opposing skaters four other times. He played 19:25 in the game and sat in the penalty box for two more for an absurd hooking call at 11:35 of the second.

They Said it:

“I don’t think I’m playing that great right now to be honest with you,” Canucks forward JT Miller stated. “I’m finding ways to contribute at the other end of the rink but offensively I feel like I have a whole ‘nother gear to get to, I think I can help this team a lot more. I don’t mean being flashy; I don’t think it’s all there with my game right now and I can do a lot more to help my linemates. I don’t think I’m creating that much five-on-five, that’s frustrating for me, I know I have more.”

“It’s frustrating that we lost, but I’m not disappointed in how we played,” Head Coach Travis Green said. “I’d take that game every night, probably win it eight or nine times out of ten.”

Simmer’s Canucks 3-Stars:

3) – Elias Pettersson – Took another step in looking more like himself. The biggest difference on this evening was his physical leverage. He was using his body to protect pucks and to win battles. He’s also quicker in his decision making and seems more instinctive. He fired five shots on goal, had three more blocked, and fired one wide. Now he can get back to working on his face-offs. He won 2 of 7 Sunday.

2) – Thatcher Demko – Quiet for stretches, he came up big a couple of key moments, including on a clean third-period breakaway from Dominik Kubalik. Stopped 23 of 24 shots.

1) – Conor Garland – His numbers above. His value is increasing, he played the second most shifts of any Canuck and he pushed twenty minutes in ice time. He had chances of his own, kept plays alive in-zone, and created chances for others.

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