November 24 2011 12:37AM
Cory Schneider Robs You.
Though it was a snoozer in Denver this evening, the Canucks got on track with their even-strength defense, and largely controlled play for sixty minutes. The victory was Alain Vigneault's 247th as the team's head-coach, making him the franchise's all-time wins leader. While the Canucks required a few moments of pure brilliance from Cory Schneider to get it done, they turned in a tidy effort to earn their coach that franchise mark.
Alex Burrows returned to the Sedin line for the first time in a couple of weeks, and I thought he looked motivated to stay there. He tied with Henrik for the best even-strength chance differential among Canucks forwards, and he looked to have that extra bit of gumption throughout the game. I'd even venture to say that he out-performed both twins. While Henrik and Daniel both finished marginally below water in terms of possession, Burrows' was among the team leaders (zone-start adjusted). It's not a coincidence that neither twin assisted on Burrows' beautiful game sealing posterization of Shane O'Brien in the second period:
Ryan Kesler got off the proverbial schneid with an empty net goal, but had another underwhelming performance. His line spent most of the evening playing against Duschene, Landeskog and Lindstrom, and it was the only matchup that the Canucks narrowly lost. He also squandered a couple of choice opportunities on the power-play, and has yet to really recover his Forsbergian form from last season.
But at least he's not David Booth. David Booth, whose fitness is a concern, was snake-bitten but largely effective in his first few games with the Canucks. That's no longer the case, as his underlying numbers have cratered over the past week. He was the worst Canucks forward in terms of chance differential, and it showed.
While Vigneault calls Booth "a project," his string of underwhelming performances could well cost him a regular spot in the top-9 once Mason Raymond returns. If he doesn't start driving play, and soon, Booth's Vancouver tenure might morph into something of a bad horror flick titled: "Former Panther In The Dog-House: The Sequel."
I thought the combination of Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen in tonight's game, showed promise. They seemed to have some chemistry and jump, and I wonder if their playing styles may be well-suited to one another. Both players pass the puck really well, and I like the idea of combining Hodgson's ability to control the puck down low, with Hansen's ability to be disruptive, and keep the play alive during breakdowns. They combined on for an impressive passing play on Manny Malhotra's first goal of the season, and controlled possession throughout the game despite being assigned some tough minutes.
The defense rolled only five men after losing Rome to an apparent hand re-injury late in the first. Nonetheless it may have been the unit's most complete sixty minute performance of the season. The only glaring mishap was Bieksa's turnover in the game's 19th minute, that resulted in two five-alarm chances for Avalanche skaters Kyle Porter and Ryan Jones. Aside from that one glaring error, however, Bieksa was probably the Canucks best skater tonight. He was aggressive, excellent on the penalty kill, led the team in ice-time, and filled in for Rome on three shifts in the third stanza. I was also really impressed with Andrew Alberts who had a strong, intelligent game and really justified his continued presence in the lineup.
Cory Schneider has been the best Canucks player over the last two games, and finally pulled his record up to .500 with the win tonight. The saves he made on Porter and Jones in the first period were impressive, but the unbelievable series of stops he made on Ryan O'Reily to preserve the two goal lead in the third were true game-savers. It was a masterful performance from the young tender, and one that should earn him the start on Friday night in Phoenix.
Now to the advanced stat links and scoring chance table. All of the information below comes courtesy Vic Ferrari and timeonice.com:
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20310
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|