The Go-To Guy: The return of the Höglem Globetrotterssons and “T.J. Miller” propelled Canucks over Flames

I think it’s safe to say that Saturday night was a good one for me. While I was absolutely addicted to the new Porter Robinson song prior to the game between the Canucks and Flames, I wasn’t actually looking forward to the game, in all honesty. I wish there was a concrete reason as to why, but all I know is that I just wasn’t feeling like watching a hockey game last night, like, at all.

But I knew that there was important work to be done: I knew that there was going to be something magical.

I don’t even think the Canucks played all that great, to be honest; they never really dominated the game at any point and were relatively leaky defensively compared to most nights. But all of that doesn’t matter when you play a team that is an absolute turnover machine a-la the Calgary Flames.

I’m not entirely sure what Ryan Huska is doing over there, but it ain’t pretty. Almost everyone’s defensive numbers on that team have plummeted compared season’s prior – funny enough, one of the guys who’s results didn’t plummet was Elias Lindholm – and it showed last night. That team is an absolute tire fire when they have the puck in the defensive zone. It’s like the snowball scene from Elf, but instead of Will Ferrell chucking snowballs at 13 year-olds, it’s guys like Oliver Kylington and Martin Pospisil launching pucks to any Canucks player that’s in their vicinity.

Also, man, as bad as the Canucks are at generating chances off the rush, Calgary made it real easy for Vancouver to do so.

Yeah, there was a lot that happened, especially in the first half of the game: So, buckle up and enjoy the guide on what happened at Rogers Arena last night.

It was a fun one.

The Hög, the alien, and the buzzsaw + Superman Teddy

A common theme with this Canucks squad is how they love to play with the lead. While they’ve been doing that all season, it seems that, lately, they’ve been scoring in the first ~ten minutes of play with ease.

Nils Höglander thought that 5-10 minutes was far-too long of a wait, so, he opted to score just 48 seconds into this one.

Don’t worry, Nils Höglander will receive some flowers from yours truly in rather short order; but how about this play from Conor Garland and Elias Pettersson?

The buzzsaw (8) hits the Flames with the NHL 24 strategy of simply holding the puck on the forehand… and holding it…. and holding it. He then zips a pass on the tape to the alien (40) and, oh, there’s the Hög (21) parked all alone in front. Easy pickings for the Canucks’ current top line.

I know that Darryl Sutter was the NHL coach equivalent of an internet troll (he was such a hater), but wow was he ever an infinitely better coach than Huska, at least from what I’ve watched this season.

Calgary seriously played an ugly, ugly game last night and it can’t be overstated.

On the contrary, the Canucks played an ugly game, but their version of “ugly” is probably what Calgary hockey people consider to be “classy”.

1-0 for the good guys.

The score would stay the same for the remainder of the first frame, but the first period had plenty of entertainment value. Casey DeSmith made a brilliant save on Daniil Miromanov, who was rocking Sean Chesman’s PeeWee number 62: And, you know, some big hits here; some big saves over there; and is that Teddy Blueger full on Superman diving to deny Martin Pospisil a partial breakaway?

I’m glad that this market has fully embraced the likes of Teddy Blueger and Pius Suter. While you’re not going to get consistent point production from either party, they provide exceptional two-way value, which is such a boon for this team’s bottom/middle six.

Nikita Zadorov also continued to provide aura for this team, yet again, as he served Rogers Arena a big hit at center ice towards the end of the first frame.

The first period was just flat out entertaining. It may not have been the prettiest hockey, but it was a lot of fun, and I have time for fun hockey. I wasn’t at all thrilled to watch this game, but I had already gained value from it just 20 minutes in.

A man that wasn’t even excited for this game was impatiently waiting for the 2nd period to begin.

Canucks hockey in 2024 is different.

The return…

Okay, the start of the 2nd period didn’t have the fireworks the 1st-

Well, Filip Hronek just belted Conor Zary in open ice. Lovely stuff.

I’m not entirely sure what happened to him (maybe he was upset that the Canucks posted a video of him and his dog) but Filip Hronek was unhinged in last night’s game. He was throwing big hit after big hit and, simply put, he was awesome.

This is why Zadorov is an important piece: He’s giving other Canuck defenceman his same aura. 

Look, the hit on Zary was a “hell yeah moment” if I’ve ever seen one, but we know what the highlight of this hockey game was. No, it wasn’t Elias Lindholm’s empty netter against his former team… although that was really funny. The best moment of this game, and frankly, one of my favourite moments of the entire season was the Canucks’ second tally of the night, as it marked the long awaited return of a certain duo…

Hello to all: The Höglem Globetrotterssons are BACK!

Conor Garland makes a beautiful stretch pass to Elias Pettersson- Okay, I’m sorry, but what on earth are the Calgary Flames doing here? This could very well have been a 2-on-0 had Pettersson decided to carry the puck, but he instead passed it to Nils Höglander who just came off the bench.

And it’s him, in alone, 1-on-1 against Jacob Markstrom. Höglander could have, you know, shot the puck like a normal person, but he knew what was at stake: He knew that the Globetrotterssons had a chance to make a statement.

And that’s exactly what happened.

The Hög paid homage to Alex Burrows on this one, going for the leg kick backhand top shnizz combo that brought out a childlike reaction from me. Burrows was instrumental to my hockey enjoyment growing up and I would steal that move any time I got a breakaway; so, seeing my current favourite Canucks forward replicate a move from my favourite Canucks forward of all time is something that I’ll probably remember for years.

Oh, and he went bar-down for good measure.

Nils is such a rockstar.

T.J. Miller?

While Greg Millen had a tough night in the broadcast booth, J.T. Miller – or “T.J. Miller”, according to Millen – had a tough night of his own. I don’t know if he was upset that he couldn’t star in Silicon Valley or not, but none of it matters since he was able to make a positive impact in the end.

Miller clearly wasn’t happy with his performance (judging by his post-game presser), but Rogers Arena didn’t care; chanting his name ’til the sun went down.

Elias Lindholm would eventually seal it with an empty netter (HAHA), ’til Chris Paul hit a huge three to cut the lead down to 42- I mean, Joel Hanley scored with 19 seconds left.

Calgary’s ugly, ugly brand of hockey was no match for the Canucks; easily handling them, 4-2. The Canucks are now 4-1-1 through the first six of a nine-game homestand and sit atop both the Western Conference and the overall NHL standings.

Monday night could be a big one, as a win vs the Kings and a Blues loss to Vegas can clinch a playoff birth for Vancouver; their first legitimate one since 2014-15.

I say they do it. We’ll talk then.

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