Game #34 preview: Avalanche @ Canucks

Patrick Johnston
March 28 2013 01:43PM

 
Can a tough week for the Avs get any tougher? Possibly...

Those poor, poor Avs. The team can't score and gets mediocre goaltending. How bad are the inheritors of the Sakic/Forsberg/Hejduk legacy? Worst in the west (yes worse than Calgary), that's how bad.

This means they're ripe to knock off the Canucks, right? Maybe. The Canucks have 'won' 5 straight but the real deal is that the Avs have lost 10 of their last 13. Colorado is performing just as their numbers suggest they should- they just aren't that good.

But no one thought the Blue Jackets would put up much of a fight, either. In that case, they didn't but still came away with a point. What will Colorado manage? No one is expecting much from them, so it should be an easy call, right? But like any preview we do at CA, focusing in on the numbers will give a strong sense of just how the tale will go tonight.

Jump on in for a preview with numbers and such.

BROADCAST INFO:

Puck Drop: 7 PM PST

Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: The Team 1040

SETUP:

The Canucks are coming off their mostly-derided 1-0 shootout 'win' over the Blue Jackets. The Canucks were so dominant on Tuesday that they out-chanced CBJ 21-7; Columbus manged a woeful two chances through two periods. People in the building said it was entertaining enough, but most of the folks I follow on twitter said the same as me - it was boring, with little opposition to the Canucks' effort, it felt like watching a practice. The only thing worse than watching a practice would watching a practice with no goals. We crave results. 

At least one can hang their hat on the process in this one. Playing against a non-playoff team like the Blue Jackets, it was essential that the Canucks dominate the chance count; the lack of scoring hardly matters in the long run. Sometimes the bounces go against you. 

Sorting out the power  play would go a long way towards solving that problem.

The game before that should be equally instructive - that's Sunday's game, a 3-2 win for the Canucks over these same Avs. The thing that CBJ has going over Colorado is at least they've been getting quality goaltending. The Avs have not. In a game where the Canucks managed a piddly 10 chances for, but still came away with three goals. That's not going to happen very often.

Cory Schneider is starting again, for the sixth straight game. Luongo-watch is assumed to be on again, but it also seems possible that this is another Hodgson magic trick. If so, then Schneider is doing just the trick. With Tuesday's shutout in the book, Schneider has now stopped 128 of 133 shots; that's a 96.2 per cent clip. That's not exactly sustainable.

Colorado has just two players at a point-per-game pace: Matt Duchesne and PA Parenteau. No one else is even close. Paul Statsny is third; his 19 points in 31 games is nothing to write home about. It's a deep chasm after that. Even worse? The Avs have just two goals from a defenceman all year. Yes, all year.

A quick numbers below tell a tale: the Canucks have been pushing play all year, even if the results have been less-than-beautiful. They've also had good goaltending, pushing their PDO a touch above the mean. Colorado on the other hand have spent the season chasing the puck more than possessing it, and their goaltending is killing their PDO.

NUMBERS GAME:

  Avalanche Canucks
Record 11-17-4 18-9-6
Goal Differential -22 +3
PP % 15.5% (23rd) 13.1% (29th)
PK % 79.5% (22nd) 81.5% (14th)
FO % 51.1% (11th) 47.2% (28th)
Corsi % 48.2% (22nd) 53.2% (5th)
Fenwick Close % 47.7% (22nd) 54.1% (6th)
Team PDO 98.4 (24th) 101.4 (6th)

GAME DAY LINKS: 

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Patrick Johnston is a Vancouver journalist. In addition to regular contributions here at Canucks Army, his work has appeared in The Province, Hockey Now and on the CBC. Check out his blog and other writing at http://johnstonwrites.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter: @risingaction
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