March 25 2013 12:28PM
Weird how no one is criticizing Jason Garrison's play lately, huh?
(Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Canucks rolled into Denver without their time on ice leader, their best two-way forward, a couple of top-nine powerforwards and a pair of useful bottom-six grinders. It was also the team's fifth game in six nights. So a let down game - even against a reeling Northwest Division opponent like the Avalanche - would've been understandable (albeit disappointing).
But that's not what happened. Instead the Canucks got some stellar goaltending from Cory Schneider and his three pals (his posts and the crossbar), scored a power-play goal (what even?) and dominated the contest from a possession standpoint on their way to a gutty regulation victory.
Read on past the jump for chance data and more analysis.
I'd like to start this gamer not with the core numbers but rather with an apology. This is the first gamer post that had to wait until the next day so far this season, and I apologize because that lateness is on me. Now that I'm doing the writing thing full-time, I have a bunch of deadlines with a variety of other digital publications and last night I bit off more than I could chew. Really I should've managed my time better and assigned this post to Dimitri. Lesson learned and thanks for reading anyway.
By the core numbers the Canucks were out-chanced thirteen to ten overall by the Avalanche on Sunday night. At even-sterngth the Avalanche controlled the run of play by a twelve to eight margin, though with the score tied the Canucks were the better team recording six of their scoring chances while the game was in doubt.
I might criticize the Canucks for a lacklustre performance if they'd played like they did on Sunday in another game. But considering the recent density of their schedule and the parade of injuries in their forward group, I think this earns a strong passing grade. Sure the Canucks were lucky that the Avalanche hit so many posts, but on the other hand, with the game in doubt the Canucks were the better team and they pretty handily controlled possession throughout despite playing with a lead for most of the game. So I think we can fairly describe it as a strong outing on the whole.
By the chance data Vancouver's best defenseman on Sunday night was Andrew Alberts. Cam Barker also had a strong game. Dan Hamhuis meanwhile fared the worst among all Canucks blueliners in terms of quality look differential. So pretty much up is down, water is dry and Breaking Bad sucks. Sorry folks!
Chris Higgins and the twins was an interesting combination and for the most part I think they looked pretty good together. Any time the Canucks separate Alex Burrows from the Sedins they incur an opportunity cost, but Chris Higgins - two-way mastery aside - simply isn't good enough to drive the bus on a third line that includes a journeyman like Andrew Ebbett and an out of position defenseman with Keith Ballard. Luckily Alex Burrows is, and that third line was pretty good on Sunday. Not only did the Canucks outscore the Avlanche with that third group on the ice, but they outshot them too. Not too shabby.
Jordan Schroeder's line was reasonably good again, and look to have become a fixture. On every game of this recent roadtrip Jordan Schroeder played legitimate second line minutes and came out ahead in goal differential and the possession data. Nice run of success for the rookie who, I think, has proven himself to be a legitimate NHL player.
That's all the analysis I've got for today. Let's enjoy Alex Burrows' goal and then also the chance data below:
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:
|Scoring Chance Totals||1st||2nd||3rd||Total|
|Vancouver (EV)||5 (4)||3 (3)||2 (1)||10 (8)|
|Colorado (EV)||6 (6)||4 (3)||3 (3)||13 (12)|
Individual Chance Contribution:
Individual Scoring Chance Differential:
|Chance Diff.||EV F - A||PP F - A||SH F - A||Total F - A|
|Dan Hamhuis||0 - 3||0 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 4|
|Kevin Bieksa||5 - 5||0 - 0||1 - 0||6 - 5|
|Keith Ballard||2 - 2||0 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 2|
|Jason Garrison||2 - 2||1 - 0||0 - 0||3 - 2|
|Chris Tanev||4 - 4||0 - 1||0 - 0||4 - 5|
|Alex Burrows||1 - 2||1 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 2|
|Cam Barker||4 - 3||0 - 1||0 - 0||4 - 4|
|Chris Higgins||4 - 3||0 - 1||1 - 0||5 - 4|
|Mason Raymond||3 - 2||0 - 1||1 - 0||4 - 3|
|Daniel Sedin||4 - 3||1 - 0||0 - 0||5 - 3|
|Andrew Ebbett||1 - 3||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 3|
|Tom Sestito||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 0|
|Henrik Sedin||4 - 6||1 - 0||0 - 0||5 - 6|
|Jannik Hansen||3 - 3||1 - 1||0 - 0||4 - 4|
|Maxim Lapierre||0 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 1|
|Andrew Alberts||5 - 3||0 - 0||1 - 0||6 - 3|
|Andrew Gordon||1 - 2||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 2|
|Jordan Schroeder||3 - 2||0 - 1||0 - 0||3 - 3|