Anatomy of a Collapse

Jonathan Willis
April 22 2011 01:54PM

Last night, the Canucks failed to eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks for the second consecutive game. Also, for the second consecutive game, they not only failed to win but they failed to keep the score within five goals, as the Blackhawks chased Luongo from the net and routed Vancouver in convincing fashion.

What does shot quality tell us about the way the series has gone? Are the Canucks more porous than they were early in the series, or should the blame fall on goaltending?

It’s a combination of the two, as it turns out, although the goaltending deserves a lot of the condemnation. What follows is a comparison of shooting locations for the Canucks and Blackhawks throughout the series. Vancouver is on the left in all cases, Chicago on the right.

Scoring areas are defined as follows:

  •  

    Prime scoring area: between and below the two playoff dots

  • Secondary scoring area: beneath the top of the two playoff circles, but outside the prime area 

  • Long shots: everything above the two playoff circles

Game One

Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 13 2 15.38% 11 0 0.00%
Secondary 8 0 0.00% 7 0 0.00%
Long 12 0 0.00% 14 0 0.00%

Game Two

Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 9 2 22.22% 10 3 30.00%
Secondary 7 1 14.29% 6 0 0.00%
Long 11 1 9.09% 10 0 0.00%

Game Three

Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 10 2 20.00% 10 0 0.00%
Secondary 7 0 0.00% 12 1 8.33%
Long 9 1 11.11% 10 1 10.00%

Game Four

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Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 7 1 14.29% 15 5 33.33%
Secondary 3 0 0.00% 13 2 15.38%
Long 13 1 7.69% 7 0 0.00%

Game Five

Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 9 0 0.00% 10 2 20.00%
Secondary 6 0 0.00% 3 1 33.33%
Long 21 0 0.00% 13 2 15.38%

Total

Location Shots Goals SH% Shots Goals SH%
Prime 48 7 14.58% 56 10 17.86%
Secondary 31 1 3.23% 41 4 9.76%
Long 66 3 4.55% 54 3 5.56%

The Takeaway

  • Through the first three games, Luongo was absolutely the difference between these two teams. Chicago and Vancouver had been almost completely even in shot totals and shots from given locations, but the shots the Canucks took had a much better chance of ending up in the net.
  • In game four, we see a shift. The Canucks were outclassed in every area, and aside from that Luongo started letting in goals – one in every three shots from a prime scoring area went in, one in every six from a secondary scoring area.
  • In game five, the Canucks did get more shots from scoring areas than in game four, although the total was still below their series average. Unfortunately they still bled chances against, and Luongo wasn’t able to stop them. The Blackhawks goals weren’t really bad goals, but Luongo simply allowed too many given the number of quality chances against.
  • The Canucks need Luongo to bounce back. The entire team can be better, but the fact is that the three games to none lead was built on the performance they got from their goaltender, and to win this series they’ll likely need to get that kind of performance again.
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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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