November 04 2011 11:09PM
Another game, another frustrating loss.
I have to admit, I saw this coming when I looked ahead at the schedule last week. A Minnesota, St. Louis road back-to-back was pretty obviously a recipe for frustration and indeed that's how it turned out, though frustration might be putting things too mildly. While earlier in the season the Canucks were victims of bad-luck in most of their losses (the 2-0 loss in Detroit being the exception), in the last two games the Canucks have been soundly defeated.
When the score was tied tonight, St. Louis out-chanced the Canucks by three, and overall the Blues out-chanced Vancouver by seven at even-strength. Most worrisome, the Canucks had only one chance in the third period (Kesler's early goal) until they pulled Luonogo. That's not as disturbing as allowing the Wild 29 total chances in sixty minutes of play, but it smacks of a lack of cohesion and overall effort from the team.
The Sedin line were beaten soundly in their matchup at even-strength, and with the exception of one prolonged stretch of pressure late in the second period were functionally silent all game. Credit goes to Sobotka-Backes and Oshie who were fantastic in this game, but the Sedins still need to be better. On a late power-play in the third period, both twins struggled to complete simple plays in a particularly frustrating sequence. The twins started eleven shifts in the offensive zone, and only a single shift in their own end and still finished in the red in terms of chance differential... That's a stat that causes me to lurch for the pepto.
Worse was Ryan Kesler who is leagues away from the level of play that he demonstrated last season. His somewhat flukey rebound goal aside, he was out-chanced by three at even-strength and finished the game with a -10.4 adjusted fenwick number. Ryan Kesler has been an adjusted fenwick hero for much of his career, even when his offensive skills were doubted by many, so clearly something is not right with one of the NHL's premiere two-way forwards.
I wasn't a huge fan of the pairings at the time, but Vigneault has got to get Andrew Alberts out of the top-4. Until Alberts was stapled to the bench (in roughly the 52nd minute), he was skating with Kevin Bieksa on a top-four pairing that was a major liability. Worse was Edler on the right side - again. I know what Vigneault is trying to do with that, but everything about Edler's game falls to shreds when he's asked to switch sides. He gets hammered in terms of possession, and chances and his offensive creativity falls by the wayside... Something has got to give with the Canucks back-end, because it is a mess currently.
I thought Luongo played reasonably well for the most part, caught an unlucky break on Backes' game-winning goal and was especially strong in the second period - but he definitely wasn't excellent. In particular his movement post to post on wrap-around attempts seems to consistently leave him vulnerable, and that was how Oshie scored both of his goals tonight. I'm not a goalie scout, or any type of expert, but I have to admit to being worried when I see those sorts of plays because they've happened a number of times already this season. The first Oshie goal, for example, was basically a carbon copy of the goal Horcoff scored on the 25th of October against Luongo...
Finally Andrew Ebbett played poorly tonight and looked especially bad on the David Backes winner. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him waived in the near future - he doesn't really make sense as the teams depth forward anyways, especially with Hodgson (a fifth center) skating on the wing. Also David Booth has, in my mind, been playing pretty well despite his total lack of offensive success. His fight tonight against Scott Nichol was clearly his attempt to "contribute in a way outside of scoring," which, is understandable but it wasn't the best decision as I see it. Losing Booth is a bigger blow to the Canucks than losing Nichol is to the Blues, and Booth clearly isn't the most talented fisticuffist
Anyways here's your advanced stat tables courtesy timeonice.com.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20182
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|