March 10 2013 11:26PM
I can't possibly imagine a photo that better sums up Sunday's game.
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
On Sunday the Canucks rolled into Minnesota on the heels of three straight losses, to play for first place in the Northwest Division. They had every incentive to show up, tighten up their game defensively and maintain their Northwest Division supremacy. Also they were facing a team that isn't really all that good and was coming off of an emotional game in Nashville the night before. Against a tired, inferior opponent, the no-show the Canucks put in on Sunday is pretty much inexcusable.
It started off badly for the Canucks, as Zach Parise beat Cory Schneider with a relative softy just twenty-four seconds in. It only got worse from there as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Canucks in possession, chances and on the scoreboard too. It's true that the Canucks have a "stinker at Xcel" quota that needed filling this season, but that's an easy excuse that obscures a pretty pathetic effort...
Read on past the jump.
Let's get this train rolling with the very ugly scoring chance data. On Sunday the Wild controlled the scoring chance battle to the tune of nineteen to eight, and fifteen to six at even strength. With the score close the Wild handled the proceedings with ten scoring chances to Vancouver's four. Like a glass of orange juice directly following a flouride rinse, that's some nasty stuff.
For the second straight game Cory Schneider allowed a goal against on the very first opposition scoring chance. He got off to a really shaky start on Sunday night, allowing three goals against on Minnesota's first nine shots on goal and giving up some rebounds so juicy they'd be fit to be served up medium rare at Gotham's.
Schneider found his form in the second and the third. He made some big stops and arguably gave the Canucks a chance to come back over the balance of the game. But he didn't really give the team a particularly good chance to win in this one. So far this season Schneider continues to put in mostly average goaltending, which is fine, but probably falls short of what his current backup could give the Canucks...
The power-play continues to struggle and failed to produce a goal in this one. But at least they recorded nearly a shot per minute of power-play ice-time. That's a pretty hollow silver lining but it's an improvement of what the power-play had produced of late and if it keeps up the goals will come. Speaking of which, Jason Garrison led all Canucks with a +2 power-play goal differential in four and change minutes of power-play ice-time.
This was probably Dan Hamhuis' single worst game as a Canucks defenseman. Matched-up primarily against the Parise line, Dan Hamhuis was gutted on Sunday with a -6 scoring chance differential at even-strength and a -4 scoring chance differential on the penalty-kill. He was also primarily responsible for the coverage breakdown that led to Minnesota's second goal late in the first period. WIther Kevin Bieksa?
Other defenseman who had bad games: Keith Ballard and Chris Tanev. They also didn't play together at all and I wonder if perhaps they should. They've had a synergistic relationship as a pairing in the past, and with Vancouver's blue-line group short-handed at the moment it might be worth a shot.
Jason Garrison was probably Vancouver's best defenseman tonight - sure, that's a pretty low bar to hop over - but he played relatively effective physical hockey and buoyed Dan Hamhuis when they were paired together. He hit a cross bar late in the third, and a weird bounce off of Suter's back led directly to Henrik Sedin's early third period goal that momentarily made this contest interesting. He also had a +3 scoring chance differential on special teams, even as the Wild were superior on both the power-play and penalty-kill.
Mason Raymond, Maxim Lapierre and Jannik Hansen had -5, -5 and -4 even-strength scoring chance differentials respectively. Jordan Schroeder and Zack Kassian added in a -3 for good measure (and Schroeder lost an awful lot of puck battles, most memorably to Charlie Coyle on the play that led to Parise's second tally). The depth forwards had a brutal outing tonight, and while Vancouver remains a decent possession team on the season, it's hard to shake the feeling that this group Mike Gillis has assembled just doesn't have enough skill. Like the Mario family, there's just too many plumbers.
That's really all I've got. The Canucks organization from the players to the coaches to management needs to give themselves a long hard look in the mirror following this one. Based on the possession data and the true talent of the power-play and goaltenders (two areas the Canucks have inexplicably been below average this season) I still think this team is good enough to tread water sufficiently well and win the Northwest Division as currently composed.
But to do that they'll really have to tune up and give a more consistent effort. They were out-hustled and embarrassed all over the ice on Sunday, and I'd imagine that Mike Gillis' trigger finger is getting itchy (like a cartoon mouse from the Simpsons)...
Scoring Chance Data
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.
Scoring Chance Totals
|Minnesota (EV)||7 (7)||6 (3)||6 (5)||19 (15)|
|Vancouver (EV)||4 (3)||2 (2)||2 (1)||8 (6)|
Individual Scoring Chances
|Individual Chance Totals||Chances Taken||Chances Created||Total|
Individual Scoring Chance Differential
|Skater||EV F - A||SH F - A||PP F - A||Total F - A|
|Dan Hamhuis||1 - 7||0 - 4||1 - 0||2 - 11|
|Keith Ballard||1 - 5||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 5|
|Jason Garrison||3 - 4||1 - 2||2 - 0||6 - 6|
|David Booth||3 - 2||0 - 0||0 - 0||3 - 2|
|Chris Tanev||1 - 3||0 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 5|
|Zack Kassian||2 - 5||0 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 5|
|Alex Burrows||4 - 4||0 - 3||1 - 0||5 - 7|
|Chris Higgins||1 - 2||1 - 0||1 - 0||3 - 2|
|Mason Raymond||0 - 5||0 - 1||1 - 0||1 - 6|
|Daniel Sedin||4 - 4||0 - 0||1 - 0||5 - 4|
|Alex Edler||2 - 4||1 - 0||1 - 0||4 - 4|
|Tom Sestito||0 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 1|
|Dale Weise||0 - 1||0 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 2|
|Henrik Sedin||2 - 4||0 - 0||1 - 0||3 - 4|
|Jannik Hansen||0 - 5||1 - 0||1 - 0||2 - 5|
|Maxim Lapierre||0 - 4||0 - 3||0 - 0||0 - 7|
|Andrew Alberts||2 - 4||0 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 4|
|Jordan Schroeder||1 - 4||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 4|