Pred a Manger: Canucks Light up Rinne, Win 5-2

Thomas Drance
April 15 2013 10:01PM

 
The second Power-Play unit celebrates Jason Garrison's game winning goal on Monday night.
Photograph by: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

On Monday night, the Canucks bounced back from a woeful performance this past weekend against the Colorado Avalanche, and scored early and often in a relatively convincing 5-2 victory over the toothless Nashville Predators. It wasn't the club's smoothest game of the season, nor was it their best sixty minute defensive effort, but in terms of offensive execution it might have been one of the team's more impressive performances this season. 

Execution in their opponent's end aside, the club very nearly lost the plot entirely in a gaffe-tastic second period in which they completely blew a two goal lead against an offense so feeble, it would be an insult to popguns to invoke their name in a description. So kind of a mixed bag, but overall an entertaining and interesting game. 

Read past the jump for more analysis and scoring chance data.

- Let's start with the key numbers, shall we? The Predators controlled the scoring chance battle on Monday night by a count of 15 to 14. That number look as close as it does thanks to Vancouver's special teams play - the Canucks had three power-play scoring chances in the first period, and a short-handed scoring chance late in the second - but at evens the Predators controlled the contest recording fifteen chances to Vancouver's ten.

- Those numbers don't quite tell the whole story in this one, however, as the Canucks were pretty clearly the superior team. Why? Well they had six scoring chances when the score was tied, while only permitting a single chance against. In other words, the Canucks looked vulnerable at times in this game, but the result wasn't ever really in doubt.

- Beyond the fact that the Canucks crushed the Predators in a score tied game state, Roberto Luongo came through for Vancouver while Pekka Rinne was, well, not particularly good for the golden sweatered Nashvillians. Luongo faced twenty-two shots from outside of homeplate on Monday and stopped all of them, he also stopped eleven of thirteen "difficult shots" directed at Vancouver's net. That's a serious quality start.

- Luongo's Finnish counterpart Pekka Rinne? Rinne stopped seven of eight shots from outside homeplate and only got in front of seven of Vancouver's eleven difficult shots. Not a memorable night for one of the league's better netminders...

- We'll deal with the negatives in a moment but the major positive that the Canucks can take away from Monday night's contest is that, in the offensive end, the team's best players were heavily involved and the execution was solid. Ryan Kesler scored twice, his first on a lovely power-play feed from Henrik Sedin and his second a gimme set up by his new linemate Derek Roy. He also hit another post and took four scoring chances overall. Henrik Sedin meanwhile set up four scoring chances, three of them on the power-play and collected a couple of assists. Derek Roy had a goal and an assist, even as his line lost their matchup against the David Legwand line handily. To cap it all off, Alex Burrows was at his pesky best, Jason Garrison's howitzer looks playoff ready and Zack Kassian bounced back from a pair of underwhelming games this past week despite playing on an undermanned third line with Andrew Ebbett and Mason Raymond.

- One other big positive for the Canucks? Henrik Sedin played less than 17 minutes in the first game of a road back-to-back, thanks to Andrew Ebbett and Maxim Lapierre logging over thirteen apiece. Meanwhile no Canucks defenseman played more than 23 minutes - Jason Garrison played just a tick over 19 - because Andrew Alberts and Keith Ballard managed to play over fifteen minutes each. Credit where it's due: Alain Vigneault, whose new look lines were obnoxiously criticized as nauseum before the game, executed a "keep everyone fresh" gameplan with precision.

- The negatives? How about the first ten minutes of the second period. The Canucks went into the period with a two goal lead and the Predators went on a 7-1 scoring chance spree, scoring two goals to tie the game. The Canucks found their legs later in the frame - mostly thanks to the Sedin line and Alex Burrows putting in a couple of epic back-to-back shifts - but those sorts of lulls against bad clubs have been all too frequent over the past week...

- Scary moments with Derek Roy and Jannik Hansen both leaving the ice hurt in the second period. Kevin Bieksa, who has collected maintenance days like crazy all season, also was slow to get up from a collision in the early second period. Luckily all three players played in the third period and looked fine. As I've written previously, getting through games without sustaining any further injury is more important than winning games at this point in the season. So yeah: phew.

- Loved Zack Kassian cross-checking Pekka Rinne back when the Preds goalie got frustrated late in the third period. What a crazy person. Kassian was fighting the puck in transition a bit in this one, which happens, but his defensive play was way better tonight than it was this past weekend or last week in Calgary. Always good to see a young player respond the right way to a demotion...

- Also thoroughly enjoyed Alex Burrows' extended battles with both Hal Gill and Shea Weber. The penalty he drew on Gill turned out to be critical, while the penalty he should've drawn when Shea Weber tagged him with an eight strider was critical in my head.

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 6 (3) 5 (4) 3 (3) 14 (10)
Nashville 4 (4) 7 (7) 4 (4) 15 (15)

Individual Scoring Chance Contributions:

Individual Chance Contributions Taken Created Total
Ryan Kesler 4 0 4
Henrik Sedin 0 4 4
Alex Burrows 3 0 3
Daniel Sedin 2 1 3
Derek Roy 1 1 2
Andrew Ebbett 1 0 1
Dale Weise 1 0 1
Zack Kassian 1 0 1
Dan Hamhuis 1 0 1
Alex Edler 0 1 0
Jannik Hansen 0 1 1

Individual Scoring Chance Differential:

Chance Diff. EV F - A SH F - A PP F - A Total F - A
Dan Hamhuis 4 - 6 1 - 0 0 - 0 5 - 6
Kevin Bieksa 3 - 7 1 - 0 0 - 0 4 - 7
Keith Ballard 4 - 4 0 - 0 0 - 0 4 - 4
Jason Garrison 3 - 4 0 - 0 1 - 0 4 - 4
Zack Kassian 2 - 2 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 2
Steve Pinizzotto 1 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 1
Alex Burrows 4 - 3 1 - 0 3 - 0 8 - 3
Derek Roy 3 - 7 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 - 7
Ryan Kesler 3 - 7 1 - 0 3 - 0 7 - 7
Mason Raymond 1 - 4 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 4
Daniel Sedin 4 - 3 0 - 0 3 - 0 7 - 3
Alex Edler 3 - 6 0 - 0 2 - 0 5 - 6
Andrew Ebbett 2 - 3 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 3
Dale Weise 1 - 2 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 2
Henrik Sedin 4 - 3 0 - 0 3 - 0 7 - 3
Jannik Hansen 3 - 6 0 - 0 0 - 0 3 - 6
Maxim Lapierre 2 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 2 - 1
Andrew Alberts 3 - 3 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 0

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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 van
April 15 2013, 11:23PM
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Should we keep Roy on the wing? If we did, by the 2nd round we could have bottom 9 wing pairings of Higgins-Roy, Booth-Kassian and Raymond-Hansen. That depth is a bit of a waste if you can't give lines significant minutes because of poor centre depth though.

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#2 Unknown Comic
April 16 2013, 10:11AM
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I think Roy only plays wing if he's with Kesler on the 2nd line.

My sense is this was an experiment that was mitigated by a weak opponent.

How the lines look tonight against a much tougher opponent will give us a better idea of how the playoffs lines might look.

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#3 Senrik Hedin
April 16 2013, 11:55AM
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Roy has shown pretty good chemistry with both Higgins and Kesler. Kesler and Higgins played well together. I would like to see those three play together before the playoffs ideally.

I don't think it's realistic to expect Booth back by 2nd round.

Kassian probably isn't ready to play important minutes in the playoffs.

Raymond, Schroeder and Hansen was a pretty good line too and we've seen Lappy step up in the playoffs two years ago, so he may be an option on the 3C spot if Roy sticks on the 2nd line.

Interesting options, but I just want AV to stick to something and give them a chance to play with some consistency.

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