Canucks dumped by Red Wings, Hockey Gods in Marquee Matchup

Thomas Drance
March 17 2013 02:04PM


That's what you get for wearing a hockey uniform that includes khaki shorts, I guess.
Photo credit: Jeff Vinnick via Getty/NHLI

On Saturday night the Canucks wore their new Millionaires jerseys in a much anticipated game against the Red Wings. While Pavel Bure's number wasn't retired as some in the media reported it might be, this was still the signature game of the regular season for the Canucks and they came prepared scoring just six seconds into the game and putting together probably their best single period of the year in the first period. 

It all fell apart from there, especially in the first ten minutes of the third period as the Canucks ultimately lost 5-2 to the Red Wings.

Read on past the jump.

Let's start with the most important data, shall we? The Canucks out-chanced the Red Wings 15-9 overall on Saturday night and 14-8 at even-strength. Those numbers look excellent but the Canucks did most of their damage in the first period in which they recorded seven scoring chances while limiting the winged wheel to a single measley scoring chance. So the rest of the way the Red Wings narrowly out-chanced the Canucks 8-7.

Roberto Luongo had a pretty rough night, again, against the Red Wings. The Red Wings have now scored three goals on Roberto Luongo that deflected off of skates this season. They've also shot nearly 20% at even-strenght against Vancouver's starting backup goaltender. Tough to win games that way.

The difference in this one really was the goaltending - Jimmy Howard owned, Roberto Luongo had a forgettable outing - though puck luck and the officiating deserve a tip of the hat as well. Some of those second period penalties that went against the Canucks were crazy soft, though that's not a compelling excuse since the Canucks also had their opportunities on the man-advantage and couldn't capitalize. Anyway, Vancouver's five-on-three penalty-killing was excellent and Detroit's power-play goal came off of a lovely play from Pavel Datsyuk. If Vancouver's power-play personnel had managed to manufacture some offense, this would've been a totally different game.

Let's go over Vancouver's rough puck luck in this game. First of all Jimmy Howard got beat early, but then made a couple of nice saves on some point blank chances from Bieksa and Burrows a couple of shifts later. Then, with a delayed Detroit penalty called and Luongo on the bench, Henrik Sedin sent a crazy cross-crease pass to Alex Burrows from behind the net and Jimmy Howard just completely robbed the Canucks sniper with an acrobatic glove save.

Later in the first period, Jason Garrison skated into a slap-shot while Jimmy Howard was prone, but the puck grazed Jakub Kindl's arm and glanced just wide. In the second period Jannik Hansen hit the post on a penalty-shot and in the third period Daniel Sedin made a lovely play to get a shot off in the slot, only to have the puck go the other way, as Detroit sealed the game on a Dan Cleary softy... 

Meanwhile Detroit had two ridiculous Abdelkadder goals that were hilariously flukey, a soft Dan Cleary goal and two nice goals. The hockey gods clearly weren't impressed with the Millionaires jerseys. I'm thinking they thought the khaki shorts were a bit much.

The Canucks played pretty well on Saturday, but sometimes a game doesn't go your way. Yes, the team lost the plot in the second and early in the third period, but they deserved a better result than they got on Saturday. Once again, this Canucks appear to be better than their results, which has become something of a theme lately. If the results don't begin to catch up to the teams quality - which, is particularly possible in a shortened season - I might begin to look pretty silly. 

Alex Edler and Kevin Bieksa had a +5 and a +6 scoring chance differential respectively on Saturday night. But they were on the ice for three goals against at even-strength. That's pretty much the same story as last season, for whatever reason a pairing with Bieksa and Edler controls play absurdly well but bleeds goals against. I can't figure it out beyond "luck," really. After all, Edler worked well with Christian Ehrhoff as a defensive partner in the past. While Ehrhoff was more careful with the puck than Bieksa is (generally speaking), he's not as good a defensive player overall. Why doesn't this pairing work? 

In addition to being second in the NHL in power-play goals from a defenseman a year ago, Jason Garrison scored three goals in five-on-three situations. He's pretty much a specialist and needs to be used there. That's power-play malpractice in my book.

Scoring Chances

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:

Scoring Chance Totals 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Detroit (EV) 1 (1) 4 (3) 4 (4) 9 (8)
Vancouver (EV) 7 (7) 3 (2) 5 (5) 15 (14)

Individual Scoring Chance Contributions:

Individual Chances Taken Created Total
Alex Burrows 4 1 5
Daniel Sedin 3 2 5
Kevin Bieksa 2 0 2
Dale Weise 1 1 2
Henrik Sedin 0 2 2
Jannik Hansen 1 0 1
Max Lapierre 1 0 1
Jason Garrison 1 0 1
Chris Higgins 1 0 1
Alex Edler 0 1 0

Skater Scoring Chance Differential

  EV F - A SH F - A PP F - A Total F - A
Dan Hamhuis 4 - 5 0 - 1 1 - 0 5 - 6
Kevin Bieksa 9 - 3 0 - 0 0 - 0 9 - 3
Jason Garrison 1 - 5 0 - 1 0 - 0 1 - 6
David Booth 2 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 1
Chris Tanev 2 - 1 0 - 1 0 - 0 2 - 1
Steve Pinizzotto 1 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 0
Alex Burrows 8 - 6 0 - 1 1 - 0 9 - 7
Chris Higgins 3 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 - 1
Mason Raymond 1 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 1
Daniel Sedin 8 - 6 0 - 0 1 - 0 9 - 6
Alex Edler 7 - 2 0 - 0 1 - 0 8 - 2
Andrew Ebbett 0 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 1
Tom Sestito 1 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 0
Dale Weise 3 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 - 0
Henrik Sedin 7 - 6 0 - 0 1 - 0 8 - 6
Jannik Hansen 3 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 - 0
Maxim Lapierre 3 - 0 0 - 1 0 - 0 3 - 1
Andrew Alberts 2 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 1

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 Daniel W.
March 17 2013, 02:16PM
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No mention of Booth's injury?! What a season to forget so far...

Well, maybe the results will start matching the effort in the playoffs!

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#2 Dmac in TO
March 17 2013, 02:27PM
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I hated the jersey's particularly the beige pants - Maroon pants would have made the uniforfm more palatable. Here is the thing I dont get - in a game where players are superstitious, always following routine, always doing little things the same way, why do teams insist on these throwback or alternate uniforms. I know it is to make money, but you risk what you had last night - guys just missing, being slighltly off. It seemed to me that the Canucks, particularly after the first goal came so quickly, looked like a 17 year guys wearing a tux for the first time - as if they we so impressed with themselves. The Red Wings on the other hand, and Datusuk in particular, looked liked they were there to collect two points. The good that comes out of this game, is that a) we will likely never see those uni's again and b) the loss came to the Wings not the Wild. Win on Monday, and move on.,

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#3 Mack
March 17 2013, 02:57PM
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I don't understand why the coaching staff is being so stubborn with the powerplay. It's pretty clear to anyone with eyes that it's not working. There's no reason why Dan Hamhuis should be on the 1st unit, especially over the hardest shot on the team, and I don't see any good reason to stick with Burrows upfront. Hamhuis was a turnover machine last night and yet they still stuck with him over Garrison. Just baffling. This team isn't going anywhere unless the coaching staff learns how to adapt.

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#4 loinstache
March 17 2013, 03:52PM
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Sorry I'm a huge Canucks fan but the way this blog uses underlying numbers to justify the result is ridiculous at times. " Yes, the team lost the plot in the second and early in the third period, but they deserved a better result than they got on Saturday."

Seriously? Play one period of hockey and you deserve a better result? I saw a Canucks team that fell flat on their face on the second period onwards and simply did not match the compete level of Detroit. Aside from Burrows the team looked uninspired and defeated after 20 minutes of play. But hey at least they looked really good in that 20 mins right?

Numbers are easily skewed by a 5 min burst of good play (look at the last game against Nashville) but this blog far too often refuses to look past the sheets on to what is actually happening on ice.

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#6 Brian Symonds
March 17 2013, 10:30PM
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"So when the Canucks had their fastball they crushed Detroit in flow of game, but were robbed by bounces/posts/stellar goaltending."

Nice attempt at trying to make us Canuck fans feel better about this team, but I think you are being overly charitable in the tone of your post, and I point to the first 5-10 minutes of the third period in support of that view. Down initially 2-1, then 3-1 after 5-6 minutes, the Canucks had no push and could hardly keep up with Detroit, a team playing its 3rd game in 4 nights. They were outshot something like 8 to 2 in those first 10 min....isn't it supposed to be the other way around in favour of the team that is behind? So much for score effects.

Its disappointing that the Canucks could not match Detroit when they stepped up their play, and when the game was still there to be won. But at least we got a new record to cheer about.

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