March 11 2012 12:36AM
PK Subban and the Montreal Canadiens held off the Sedins, on their way to a 4-1 rout of the Canucks.
The Canucks came out flying tonight, and thanks to the Amex line they mostly dominated the first period. Unfortunatelywere held off the board thanks to the stellar play of Montreal netminder Carey Price. The third period was a bizarro version of the first, in that the Canadiens handed the Canucks their collective asses, but Roberto Luongo far from keeping them off the board, allowed a couple of brutal softies to cement the Habs rout.
The Canucks have now dropped three of their last four, and have looked unfocussed and dispirited for weeks. There's still no cause for panic (probably), but that's a difficult story to sell following tonight's putrid effort. The Canucks need to find a way to motivate themselves over the balance of the regular, or at least play for pride. Tonight, and especially in the third period: they didn't show much of it.
Read past the jump for a more thorough recap, the statistical three stars and scoring chance data.
- Let's start with the essential numbers. The Habs out-chanced the Canucks 23-19 overall and 18-15 at even-strength. The Canucks out-chanced the Habs with the score tied 16-11, which means to some extent they were unlucky this evening. "Unlucky" in this case is just another way of saying that their goaltending was lousy.
- The American Express line brought their black card version in the first twenty minutes tonight, and carried the team to a dominant performance in the period. They had six chances for, and only one against. David Booth took four of those chances, and set up a fifth on a nice pass to Ryan Kesler. Chris Higgins took the other chance from his knees, directing a back-hander on Carey Price after losing his balance in a puck-battle with Josh Gorges. If the Sedin line had brought an ounce of the Amex line's gumption to tonight's game, the result would have been very different.
- For most of their "slump" the Sedins have at least been generating chances. Tonight, they didn't, they got their teeth-kicked in at even-strength. This was rock-bottom for the team's three all-stars (Henrik, Daniel and Alex Edler) who finished the game with a -3, -3 and -4 chance differential respectively.
- Roughly mid-way through the 2nd period, Jannik Hansen had several consecutive dangerous rushes into the Habs end. He recorded a scoring chance, and set up a chance at a chance (Henrik Sedin whiffed) on an impressive shift that lasted well over 90 seconds. While the team as a whole had a miserable game, at least it's possible that Jannik Hansen's vacation has finally come to an end.
- The Sedins were bad tonight, but so was Alex Burrows. It just looks like that line is desperate for a shake up of some sort. If Hansen continues to bring the effort and speed he brought tonight, what about reuniting him with the twins for a spell? Hey, it's not like the top-line can get any worse!
- The Canucks top-line was so bad tonight, that Habs head coach Randy Cunneyworth didn't even bother matching Habs "tough-minutes" centre Lars Eller against them in the third period. After matching the twins up against Eller religiously through forty minutes, Cunneyworth decided that Eller should check the Kesler line in the third. Pretty telling.
- Vigneault experimented with his defensive pairings in the second using: Bieksa-Edler, Tanev-Hamhuis and Salo-Gragnani in the middle frame. Hamhuis-Tanev were good, Salo-Gragnani were excellent and Bieksa and Edler were terrible. Both #3 and #23 looked lost on Geoffrion's game-tying goal late in the second frame. Bad goals happen, but I still like the idea of a Bieksa-Edler pairing, and I hope they get an extended chance to play together over the balance of the season. Tanev-Hamhuis is the ultimate possession pairing, Salo-Gragnani have a fair bit of offensive punch, and I have to think that Bieksa can basically do what Ehrhoff did last season - while playing better defense - on Edler's right side. Yeah so the early returns were far from positive, but I still think it's worth a longer look.
- PK Subban had his way with the twins tonight, but he still plays like a punk at times and I'd suggest he needs to tone it down slightly. Late in the first, he nailed Ryan Kesler with a clean and awesome hit. Kesler cross-checked Subban in retaliation, Subban responded. Subban then lost his footing and ended up accidentally whacking Kesler with his stick and taking the Habs off of the power-play. It was a borderline call, but Subban needs to walk away from Kesler's reaction check when his team has the man-advantage.
PK Subban is an exciting player, and he was extremely effective tonight (as he is most nights), but that was a stupid play. Part of what makes Subban so good is his edge, but in this case, he needed to be more judicious - that "edge" cost his team. I'd like to see Subban make an Olympic team someday, and that will only happen if he picks his spots.
- Zack Kassian had his first fight as a Canuck, and his tilt against Brad Staubitz was basically a microcosm of tonight's loss. Kassian started the fight well and looked to have the upper-hand but Staubitz fought back hard, landed a couple of massive lefts and earned the clear decision.
Statistical Three Stars
- Erik Cole
- PK Subban
- Carey Price
Statistical Three Goats
- Alex Edler
- Roberto Luongo
- Henrik Sedin
A chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate. Shots on goal and misses are counted, but blocked shots are not (unless the player who blocks the shot is “acting like a goaltender”). Generally speaking, we are more generous with the boundaries of home-plate if there is dangerous puck movement immediately preceding the scoring chance, or if the scoring chance is screened. If you want to get a visual handle on home-plate, check this image. A big thank you to Vic Ferrari is in order, as his timeonice.com scripts enable the entire operation. Yes, there is an app for this.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 21024
|VAN||1||8:34||834 (Lapierre) V||1||2||3||9||27||40||31||67||71||72||74||79||5v5|
Scoring Chance Totals (Canucks on the left, Habs on the right).
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|