From astral-plane Perry to disappearing Petey, Canucks game four loss to the Oilers had plenty of lowlights

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      Holy shit, did we ever get our asses handed to us—not only in the game, but in the game within the game. 

      Last night’s series-tying tilt in round two of the NHL playoffs between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers was officially decided in the dying seconds. Vancouver’s best player in the playoffs not named Artūrs Šilovs delivered an against-the-grain tying goal with just under two minutes remaining, with Brock Boeser bank-shotting the puck off Dakota Joshua. And then, with 39 seconds left in the game, Oiler Even Bouchard lasered a winning shot from the blueline. 

      That Vancouver was even in game four at that point was a gift from the Gods to one of the NHL’s longest suffering franchises. Apart from the Canucks waking up for a five-minute stretch late in the second, the first two periods looked like a crack-jacked Harlem Globetrotters playing a BC-bud-baked Washington Generals. 

      Boeser’s goal was a lucky one Vancouver didn’t deserve, mostly because, despite what every generation born after 2001 has been taught, no one should get a ribbon just for showing up. 

      Just as disconcerting was what happened in the game within the game. The Canucks didn’t show up there, either, with the Oilers sweeping the board in the physical punishment, shit-talking, and weirdness-between-the-whistles sweepstakes.

      In his postgame press conference, Vancouver coach Rick Tocchet was visibly disgusted, noting that a good half-dozen Canucks seemed confused as to what time of year it is.

      “Some guys, I don’t know if they thought it was the playoffs,” he said. “We can’t play with 12 guys. We’ve got to figure it out quick.”

      In the meantime, let’s dissect some of the lowlights.

      Beaten in the alley

      Ug. Evander Kane. With the doubly horrific thing being that he played a huge part in the winning goal. With overtime a seemingly sure thing, the Edmonton forward terminated Filip Hronek on the forecheck, freeing the puck up for Leon Draisaitl to pass to Even Bouchard for the winning goal.

      Game three of the series had the Canucks physically punishing the Oilers in ways made for highlight reels. You know how you rally one fan base while demoralizing another? Let’s start with Nikita Zadorov knocking Evander Kane right off the ice and into the Edmonton bench. The Canucks most GOATed player this playoffs received, somewhat inexplicably, a two-minute minor for roughing, even though the sequence included Kane kicking him in the head.

      Kane—famous for being disliked by everyone from his teammates to the NHL brass to his ex-wife—stood there laughing, horse-like, as Zadorov skated to the box. And then the referees wiped the smile off his face by assessing a bench minor to the Oilers. As if that wasn’t great enough, there was the double-decking of Connor McDavid at the end of the game for a two-handed slash he delivered to Carson Soucy when Edmonton lost. 

      And then, game four gave us moments like this. That one hurt.

      The invisible men

      Let’s forget, for a second, Sam Lafferty, Ilya Mikheyev, and scoring sensation Ian Cole. When Tocchet talked about players not showing up, and being seemingly unaware they are in a playoff series, he was talking about some of the big guns. J.T. Miller owned it in a postgame interview, blaming himself for not getting into the shooting lane on Bouchard’s goal. (Because it's how Miller rolls, he also texted Tocchet this morning to apologlize for his play. Others should have followed his lead.) 

      Inarguably, no one has been more invisible this series—and arguably playoffs—than star centre Elias Pettersson. Tocchet put it bluntly: Pettersson has to get going. Because Vancouver fans are forever desperate for some glimmer of hope, there’s been speculation that the centre is playing hurt. Recall, if you will, Nurse driving him headfirst into the boards in game one. Or maybe it’s just—and lord knows this is what it looks like—that’s he’s a boy caught in a man’s war right now. 

      Out-trashed talked

      Spot the instant meme. Draisaitl was a fucking beast in game four, opening the scoring, setting up the winning goal, and basically terrorizing Vancouver all night. In the opening game of the round, he looked like a man who might be sitting for at least part of the series with an “undisclosed upper/lower body injury.” Someone on the training staff has clearly been busy with the freezing spray.

      For all of his puck mastery yesterday, Draisaitl’s true master stroke came when Canuck forward Elias Lindholm appeared to chirp him with, “I’m coming for you.” His response? The miming equivalent of "Ooooh-scarrrry." And following that, he certainly was. Sorry, Vancouver, there’s no way to spin this into a positive. 

      The refs. Again

      You know who shouldn’t have been on the ice to free the puck for Draisaitl on the winning goal? That would be Evander Kane. The first period saw him crosscheck Tyler Myers in the face, drawing blood. Kane was assessed a double minor, the problem being there is no double minor for crosschecking—it’s either two minutes, or five minutes and a game misconduct. He should have been out of the game, not helping set up a winner in period three. (As to whether or not Vancouver would have scored on a five-minute power play, um, did you see the way the team played yesterday?)

      And then there was the winning goal. Replays suggest that Draisaitl might have knocked down the puck with a high stick before Bouchard ended things. No review was made and the goal stood. There’s a reason, Mark Spector, that Vancouverites are convinced the NHL really doesn't want their team to win.

      Corey Perry being Corey Perry

      At the risk of stating the obvious, career agitator Corey Perry can’t really play anymore, but his asshole game is still unparalleled. Long famous for his thousand-yard stare, the veteran forward appeared to be on another astral plane yesterday in one of the game’s scrums.

      X tweeters suggested that he looked like he was offering Brock Boeser a Scarface-sized rail. Except, as usual, Perry had the weird, wild eyes of a crazy person who’s already done all the coke. Which explains why Boeser stood there looking at Perry like someone thinking, “You’re an idiot you sad, coke-eyed old fart.” Also: "#lockupyourmums".