April 01 2012 12:40PM
The so called "French Connection" celebrate the games opening tally against the Flames last night.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
The Canucks came back from a one goal deficit in the third period, and managed to stick a stake into the heart of a once bitter rival, with an OT victory over the Flames. Calgary's overtime loss (combined with Phoenix's confident handling of business against the Ducks) mathematically eliminated them from postseason contention.
For the Canucks, it was their sixth straight victory, as the team has refused to lose since suffering an OT loss against the hated Blackhawks. The Canucks are now first in the West, a full point clear of the Blues, and control their own destiny. If they can win out (and their remaining games are against Anaheim, Edmonton and Calgary) they'll guarantee themselves home-ice advantage through to the Finals.
A more thorough recap, chance data and the statistical three stars after the jump!
- Let's begin as usual with the most important numbers. The Canucks out-chanced the Flames by a combined tally of 21 to eleven. At even-strength they controlled eighteen scoring chances to the Flames ten, and with the score-tied they handled business winning the chance battle 12-4. Basically, the Flames were extraordinarily fortunate to make it to over-time last night.
- Chris Tanev played over twenty minutes last night for the third straight game. He's getting a shot in the top-4, and as his Ice Time has increased, so has the quality of competition he's faced. Prior to the last three games, the Canucks were controlling 57% of shots with Chris Tanev on the ice. Those numbers have since cratered, as the Canucks have controlled only 39% of shots with Tanev on the ice playing top-4 minutes. Last night, the team was outshot 14-6 with Tanev on the ice, and while, he still had a positive chance differential (suggesting that many of those shots weren't high quality scoring chances), that sort of rough outing is atypical for Tanev. Tanev remains a quality defensive player - especially for a defenseman his age - but the trend suggests that he's not quite ready for a regular "tough minutes" role yet.
- The pairing of Alex Edler and Marc-Andre Gragnani drove play in a big way last night, though they played somewhat sheltered minutes. Gragnani for example, spent only two even-strength minutes matched up against Jarome Iginla. The Gragnani-Edler pairing probably isn't one you'll see handing the oppositions top-line their teeth anytime soon, but they were extremely effective last night, as each defenseman finished with a +5 even-strength chance differential.
- Maxim Lapierre had another quality game on the top-line, and now has four points in two games since being bumped up to play with Henrik and Burrows. I find that highly amusing.
- Nice to see Gragnani score his first as a Canuck, he had been totally unable to buy a bounce in his Vancouver stint up to that point. Going into last night's game, Gragnani had a sub 95 PDO, and an on-ice shooting percentage well below 2%. If he continues to crush the possession side of the game (which, he did again last night) he'll put up some impressive numbers over the next couple of seasons.
- Andrew Ebbett scored his second over-time winner of the season last night, which, is no surprise because he's clutch. Okay, that's stupid, but Andrew Ebbet's return to the lineup was a triumphant one and he posted some stellar underlying numbers on top of his "big goal." The Flames managed no scoring chances for with Ebbett on the ice, as he Kassian and Malhotra thoroughly man-handled the line of Kostopolous, Jones and Jackman.
- Speaking of Kassian, that was probably his best game as a Canuck. His underlying numbers are still worrisome, but his ability to control the puck down low really excites me.
- Here's Ebbett's big goal. The point-to-point pass that Edler made to Salo to set this one up was too slick. Who knew that Edler uses Murray's pomade?
- Other thing I hadn't realized: that the Opera Singer from the Fifth Element is a Canucks fan.
Statistical Three Stars
- Alex Edler
- Dan Hamhuis
- Marc-Andre Gragnani
Statistical Three Goats
- Jay Bouwmeester (-11 even strength chance differential? Yikes).
- Chris Butler
- Curtis Glencross
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 this entire operation. Yes, there is an app for this.
Quick note, today's count was done by Kent Wilson and originally published over at FlamesNation.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 21179
Totals (Canucks on the left, Flames on the right)
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|