January 29 2013 01:16AM
Roberto Luongo's performance was worth talking about, despite the result.
Photo credit: Chris Carlson/AP
The Canucks fans that were hoping to get something resembling vengeance - whether it be in the form of blood, or two points in the standings - from Monday night's affair in Los Angeles were left heading to bed with a bitter taste in their mouth, after their team blew yet another two-goal lead. This time, it was en route to a shooutout loss against the hated Kings.
Although I'm sure that before heading to bed, many of those individuals made sure to give their two cents in the form of a snarky tweet about everything that's wrong with the team. The same team, that was a mere 44 seconds from leaving town with a hard fought (if not impressive) win. That's how things work in the land of Canucks, though.
Regardless, the Canucks managed 3 out of a possible 6 points in their saunter through California, and now head home licking their wounds, in desperate need of a day off.
Read on Past the Jump for More (including scoring chance totals!)
A reasonable place to start seems to be with the notion that the Canucks somehow cost themselves this game because of their strategy in the third period. Given the circumstance, I couldn't disagree more. They were quite evidently gassed - rightfully so, with this being their 6th game in 9 days and what not - and could not afford another period like the one that took place in the 2nd (more on this in the paragraph below). They grinded the game down to a halt, but it was out of necessity. I'll conceed that I could not have possibly been more bored in the final 20 minutes, but I cannot disagree with the logic behind the tactic. Even if the result wasn't the desired one. Having the benefit of hindsight doesn't change that.
Let's get to the scoring chance data, which is listed in its entirety at the bottom. The Kings out-chanced the Canucks by a margin of 16-8 (with 12 of those coming at even strength, to the Canucks' 7). What instantly stands out is the second period, which truly was a dreadful one for the visitors. It seemed like the middle frame was an endless loop of defensive breakdown after defensive breakdown. Yet the only puck to get by Roberto Luongo during that time was a shot from in-close by sniper Jeff Carter, which came on the power play.
Things really could have gotten out of control in this one if not for a spectacular performance by Luongo, who helped build quite the highlight reel for any General Manager that wasn't able to stay up for the late start time of this game. Given that he hadn't seen action since last Sunday - unless you count his antics on Twitter - he must be commended for a performance that rivalled Schneider's gem against Anaheim. Even the tying goal wasn't his fault; it managed to go through a maze, and a fabulous Alexander Edler screen on its way to the back of the net.
In his preview for this game, Thomas Drance mentioned that for the Canucks to get a win, they would need their goaltending and power play to step up. I guess it's fitting that they split it down the middle, and took home the one point, then. They did only have 3 total power play opportunities in the game, but I would classify them as underwhelming at best. After last night's game with 84 combined penalty minutes, this one was far tamer; to the tune of 14, and far fewer post whistle dust-ups.
Of note is the fact that Keith Ballard replaced Jason Garrison on the first unit for the final man advantage, though Ray Ferraro mentioned that Garrison was walking around in the tunnel as play was going on. Ultimately, though, this entire topic of discussion would have done a 180 if not for a stellar play by defenseman Rob Scuderi, as he broke up what seemed like a sure power play tally for Zack Kassian late in the game (which surely would have sealed it). A game of inches, indeed.
Speaking of Kassian - I thought he was the best skater for the Canucks through regulation. It's ironic that he has seamlessly transitioned into his newfound role with the Sedins, yet he's practically finding every single seam for the twins to get him the puck. Yes, he scored his 4th goal of the season in this one, but I was far more pleased with all everything he did that may not necessarily be considered 'sexy'. He was terrific in his own zone (a far, far cry from last season), and didn't make me feel like he was a liability at any point. That's huge if he's going to be playing the type of minutes that he has been logging in recent games. What's unclear to me is why he rode the pine for the full extent of the overtime, not seeing a single second of ice-time.
The second best skater for the Canucks in this one was undoubtedly Chris Tanev, who played a whale of a third period. It's fitting that he balanced out what was a dreadful second stanza (including a shift where he did everything but put the puck into his own net on behalf of Jordan Nolan), with such a strong final one. Because, you know, he's quite a balanced player. Am I the only one seeing the parallels here?
And finally, there was Alex Burrows' shootout attempt, which I simply have no words for.
Scoring Chance Data
A reminder for those of you new to reading our site: a scoring chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate (here's an image of "home-plate" so you can get a visual definition). 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.
Here's the total scoring chance data:
And here's the individual chance data for the Canucks skaters: