Seattle reclaims 1st place in the U.S. Division and 1st place in the Western Conference with the win. Their 24 points moved them 1 point past rival Portland (23 points) and sets up a showdown on Friday night at Showare Center.
A few notes I had from the game, let's go straight to the bullet holes.
- Branden Troock was back in the lineup, his injury from the other night must not have been too bad.
- Seattle won the game with pace and hitting. I know that seems a bit strange to say but when the Tbirds are throwing the body around and being physical they generally win and that was certainly the case last night. There were so many solid checks that I lost count.
- The biggest and most controversial check of the night was landed by newcomer Jaimen Yakubowski (Quick side note - look here Jaimen, that name is wayyyy too long when I'm trying to bang out tweets so we're just going to call you Yak. Good by you? Good by me.) I have to admit that my initial reaction was that it was *probably* a headshot since Taylor Green is 6'7" and his helmet popped off. In real time I think it's a pretty difficult call to make and I wasn't the least bit surprised to see him given a 5 and a Game for the hit. I was later told by a few different people that they had seen the replay during the 1st intermission and thought it was a pretty clean shoulder to shoulder hit and that Green's helmet popping off was just a circumstance of a big hit and Green's head snapping back on the hit. I have yet to find video of the hit but if I can find it we'll analyze it. I'm guessing it will hit Hockey Fights in the next few days.
- I know we talk about how good Mathew Barzal is all the time... but I just can't get over how elite his vision is. His puck control and ability to skate with the puck and then deliver a great pass far more often than not is just super impressive.
- Erik Benoit has a nifty little saucer that sprung Seth Swenson on a breakaway and resulted in a penalty shot. Benoit won't get credit for an assist... but he should.
- The reports I had received on Yak and Sam McKechnie (Geeezzz... we're going to have to find a shortcut for that one too) were generally glowing. In addition to the comments left on this blog by a Lethbridge blogger I had been told by several people that what they really liked about Yak and Kech (doesn't feel right) was their ability to score "greasy goals". They were hard working types that didn't try to do too much and just played the game the right away and that resulted in points. McKnee (that's terrible) did exactly that last night, going hard to the net to poke in a rebound for his first Seattle goal. More to come, including a better nickname. (Mickey? meh.)
- That was a pretty nifty empty net goal by Shea Theodore eh? Picked up the loose puck in his own zone and banked it off the glass and all the way down the ice to seal the victory.
Big weekend for the Tbirds but let's not think these are "must-win" games yet.