Performance of the Week: Chris Tanev’s Birthday, OT Winner
Thanks to Chris Tanev’s OT winner, the Canucks finally put an end to their 5-game losing streak on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames. For his efforts, we bestow him with this week’s Performance of the Week honors.
First, let’s set the stage. The
Flames Canucks opened the scoring early in the first period, thanks to a Calgary own-goal on a delayed penalty — watch it one more time, if that’s your sort of thing. Shades of Shane O’Brien’s own-goal against the Coyotes a few years aback.
The goal was eventually credited to Yannick Weber, and especially after Radim Vrbata doubled the lead with another goal shortly after, the Canucks looked pretty dominating for the first half of the game. At least they were until Jannik Hansen took a hit and collapsed on the bench in the second period. (Luckily, Hansen’s okay — you never want to see that kind of thing happen, but at least he’s alright.)
However, perhaps with the health of the Honey Badger still on the Canucks’ minds, the Flames took over and subsequently scored two unanswered goals to tie it up and the game went to overtime — something I think the Canucks were lucky to get and walk away with two points in the end.
Enter Chris Tanev — the golden birthday boy on this Saturday evening. (Sorry, Derek Dorsett, I know it was your birthday, too, but between Chris T.’s overtime birthday goal and your birthday fight and penalty, just sayin’.)
Tanev’s goal came 18 seconds into overtime, his second of the year and first game-winning goal of the season, thanks to an incredible pass by Henrik Sedin (oh Captain my Captain). His first goal came a couple of weeks ago in Toronto, but we all remember how that game ended (if you don’t, Toronto won, and that’s all you need to know).
Let’s watch this goal one more time, with feeling, because not only did Tanev snap the Canucks out of a 5-game losing streak, he also extended the Flames’ own losing streak to 8 games. It also extended the Canucks’ domination over the Alberta teams — they’re 6-0 against the Flames and Oilers this season, and an incredible 37-10-3 against them since the 2010/2011 season — and, well, winning against the Flames or the Oilers never gets old, even though sometimes it’s all we’ve got.
What a goal, what a goal, what a goal, what a mighty good goal.
On a blueline that’s still clearly missing Dan Hamhuis (if last week’s Performance of the Week wasn’t enough of an indicator), Tanev has admirably filled in, moving the puck well and making some pretty solid defensive plays. Quiet and unassuming, he’s not the most aggressive defenseman, but he obviously has the ability to be a difference-maker — and he does it while remaining cool as a cucumber. As Kevin Bieksa said about Tanev’s cool play during the 2011 Stanley Cup run, “he could have played with a cigarette in his mouth”.