December 17 2011 08:20PM
(It wasn't quite this, but it was something)
After losing two games to the lowest-ranked teams in each respective conference, the Vancouver Canucks faced a team that they've had a bit of recent dominance against in the Toronto Maple Leafs, coming off a close loss to the Buffalo Sabres a night prior. The Canucks got an early goal, had it tied up, got an early goal in the second, had it tied up again, but then pulled away in the third period to cement their ninth straight win against the Leafs.
Follow us after the jump for detailed analysis, scoring chance data, and a new favourite feature of ours, the Statistical Three Stars...
-On each team's first chance of the game, the teams either got a goal, or a rebound kicked out to the middle of the wide open ice allowing for a goal. It didn't look like it would be a very low-scoring game, but the goaltenders really took over the play in the first period. First, Roberto Luongo robbed Colby Armstrong (11:38) and then, at the other end of the ice, Jonas Gustavsson robbed Alex Burrows just seconds later (10:49).
-Mason Raymond had a very strong game, showing off a lot of confidence on national TV. It's like he's playing a different game out there. Of his seven shot attempts, four of them were considered scoring chances. He also set up a Kevin Bieksa chance in the 2nd period.
-The Sedins were positively dangerous all night long, although they did get the benefit, as usual, of Alain Vigneault's offensive scheme. They started 8 of the team's 20 offensive zone faceoffs tonight.
-Manny Malhotra, Cody Hodgson and Jannik Hansen were the only players who had more defensive zone starts (the Canucks kept the puck at the right end of the ice all night) and yet, the three didn't give up a chance against. They played the majority of the night against the Phil Kessel-Tyler Bozak-Joffrey Lupul line, and at one point the CBC broadcast noted that Kessel had gone 14 shifts without a shot on net. Sure enough, it was the first and second lines that gave up those goals to Bozak and Kessel, but they were hard up against the third line all night.
-Mark Mancari switched his jersey number from #18 to #24. The fourth line played a strong, low-event, low-minute game. They had a couple of "chances at chances" but the line just doesn't have the offensively capabilities to score. Is there any team who can give up two more of Maxim Lapierre?
-I see your 14-3 chance differential, Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa. They were part of the group that torched Kessel, who, despite all the scoring, is a pretty marginal possession player. Joffrey Lupul's backcheck attempt that led to Alex Burrows' goal just goes to show how brutal defensively those guys are.
-Mikael Grabovski, Toronto's strongest two-way player, was held off the scoresheet, but his line was pretty dangerous. They went head-to-head with Keith Ballard and Aaron Rome, beat those two, but couldn't beat Roberto Luongo.
-Toronto's most dangerous player was probably Matt Frattin, who had three chance attempts. Tim Connolly had a pair as well, but no other Leaf did more than one. I'm not sure if that speaks to whether or not the Leafs are deep at forward, but they're lucky they got the chances up and down the lineup, because none of them were coming from their top line.
-Glenn Healy was awful tonight.
-The Canucks did a great job at holding Toronto off the chance chart with the score 4-2. Toronto went nearly 20 minutes without getting a scoring chance, and there was a great shift without about 7 minutes left in the game where a tired Canucks team, left in their own end, needed a great shot block from Rome off a Cody Franson attempt that would have certainly been a scoring chance had it got through.
-Not taking penalties was key, particularly because the Canucks looked bloody awful on their one PK opportunity. It's probably also good this wasn't a special team's battle, because the team didn't come out ahead on their one PP chance. Phaneuf, for some reason working in deep, centred it for Connolly, but he was stopped by Luongo.
-How about Jannik Hansen posterizing Phaneuf on the clinching goal, eh?
STATISTICAL THREE STARS
1: Dan Hamhuis (+12 chance differential, one chance assist, four shots on net)
2: Kevin Bieksa (+13 chance differential, two shots on goal)
3: Henrik Sedin (+7 chance differential, four chance assists, two shots on goal)
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20467
|VAN||1||18:58||VAN G 1-0 Higgins||1||6||17||20||21||23||2||19||42||50||51||81||5v5|
|TOR||1||16:02||TOR G 1-1 Lupul||1||6||14||17||23||3||19||24||42||50||81||4v5|
|VAN||2||19:11||VAN G 2-1 Raymond||1||2||3||17||20||21||4||19||24||42||50||81||5v5|
|TOR||2||12:27||TOR G 2-2 Bozak||1||6||22||23||33||3||36||42||50||81||4v4|
|VAN||2||0:45||VAN G 3-2 Burrows||1||2||3||14||22||33||3||19||36||41||50||84||5v5|
|VAN||3||5:54||VAN G 4-2 Burrows||1||3||14||22||23||33||2||9||42||46||50||51||5v5|
|TOR||3||2:43||TOR G 4-3 Kessel||1||2||3||17||20||21||4||19||24||42||50||81||5v5|
|VAN||3||1:40||VAN G 5-3 Hansen||1||2||3||17||20||36||3||19||42||50||51||81||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|