January 24 2012 11:18PM
In the last game before the week-long All-Star break, the Vancouver Canucks had plenty to play for. If you believe in momentum, I guess it's good to go into the break on a positive, and, despite Edmonton's record and their perpetual ineptitude over the last five years, they're still a division rival who have played Vancouver tough this season.
The Canucks played to a tie, but picked up the extra point in the shootout thanks to a stellar performance by Roberto Luongo. The Canucks starter stopped 4-of-5 shooters, and Vancouver's club got the game-winner from Cody Hodgson on a simple forehand, five-hole shot that beat Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk. For more analysis, a scoring-chance breakdown, and the Statistical Three Stars (you can't get them anywhere else!), click past the jump.
-First, the important numbers. At 5-on-5 with the score-tied, the Canucks won the scoring chance count 8-5. They were 17-13 at even strength on the night, and 19-13 overall. Taylor Hall's goal, the tying goal for the Edmonton Oilers, was not registered as a scoring chance, but the other three goals in the game were.
-The second period was dull, but given how poorly the Canucks have played in the second frame, we should probably consider it an excellent result for the Canucks! Perhaps, given their struggles in the middle frame, they're best off playing a low-event game where there aren't many chances at either end. The game truly opened up in the third period and overtime and there was a stretch of 90 seconds with 7 scoring chances recorded.
-Ryan Kesler had three shot attempts through two periods, one on-net and two more that were blocked. He really stepped his game up in the third period, with three shots on net, two of them scoring chances, and two more chances created. Not a bad night in the end for Kes, who also got an assist on David Booth's third period marker.
-Speaking of David Booth, remember when he was playing with one of the lowest PDOs in the league despite being a terrific possession player? He is starting to regress to the mean, with goals in three straight, and in four of six. That's the kind of player that Mike Gillis traded for.
-Mike Gillis, during the second intermission, said two very smart things to Dan Murphy during an interview. When talking about team toughness, he stated that "unfortunately, people are really focused on a four-game segment from last season" and "guys that fight don't really play in the playoffs." Those are words that echo the editorial slant of this humble Canucks blog. Gillis' comments were roundly mocked by a few Boston Bruin fans on Twitter (I guess they don't understand what Gillis meant about small samples) but for me, it was good to hear the captain of the ship pick two-way talent over one-dimensional brawn.
-Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist, but he was shut down by Kevin Bieksa tonight. Bieksa saw the majority of minutes against Hall, was +8 in scoring chances and +9 in Corsi. With both players on the ice, the puck was more routinely in the Edmonton Oilers zone, which is very important. While we can also point to "oh, well Hall had a goal and an assist, therefore he had a good game" and award him the 2nd star, let us also point out that the Oilers' star was on the ice for 14 shots against at even strength: two of them went in.
-Sami Salo had a very rough first night back. After the first frame he was minus-2 in scoring chances and minus-7 in Corsi. He got more comfortable as the game progressed, but still finished a finished minus-2 in chances and +4 in Corsi. He hit the first of four posts, as well, at 17:18 in the second period.
-Other posts on the night: Jannik Hansen at :20 of the second period, and David Booth and Henrik Sedin at 19:45 and 13:18 of the third period, respectively. John Garrett commented on how good a game that Dubnyk for the Oilers, and while he was certainly no slouch, Dubnyk also enjoyed the benefit of the bounces. Including the posts they hit, the Canucks missed the net on five scoring chances.
-Roberto Luongo was pretty capable, making some excellent saves, particularly the ones off of Ryan Smyth and Sam Gagner in overtime. I thought he was very good in the shootout, though I noticed something peculiar: obviously, the Oilers gameplan was to deke to the right and move Luongo to his left. Jordan Eberle, Gagner and Hall tried this, but none of them scored.
-The Canucks had two chances-at-chances that were obvious screw-ups. Alex Burrows missed one at 15:45 of the first period on a 2-on-0, and Mason Raymond later in the third (the time escapes me, I didn't write it down). Guess which player drew the criticism from Twitter?
-Aaron Rome was jumping up into the play often. Nothing ever resulted from that. Stop doing things, Aaron Rome.
-Anything else you noticed but that I didn't cover here? Don't be afraid to chime in via the comments.
Statistical Three Stars
1 - Kevin Bieksa (+8 in scoring chances vs. Edmonton's top scoring line)
2 - Dan Hamhuis (+8 in scoring chances vs. Edmonton's top scoring line)
3 - Daniel Sedin (+3 in scoring chances, 5 shots on goal, 1 chance created)
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20734
|VAN||1||9:36||VAN G 1-0 D. Sedin||1||2||3||14||22||33||4||5||10||40||58||83||5v5|
|EDM||2||10:17||EDM G 1-1 Horcoff||1||4||27||29||32||40||4||5||10||40||58||83||5v5|
|VAN||3||15:00||VAN G 2-1 Booth||1||2||3||7||17||20||4||10||24||25||40||83||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|