Cory Schneider Puts in a Signature Performance, Flummoxes the Red Wings

Thomas Drance
April 21 2013 12:33PM


Cory Schneider: the man of the hour.
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick NHLI/via Getty

The Canucks clinched a playoff spot on Saturday, in a shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings, thanks almost entirely to Cory Schneider. It was a superhuman performance for the young netminder, who by himself is enough of a reason why opposing teams might prefer to avoid the Canucks in the first round. 

Unfortunately for the Canucks, and their fans, the list of reasons to want to avoid a playoff series against the Canucks is otherwise diminishing. The back-end is banged up, the even-strength play has been mostly subpar since the trade deadline, and the middle of Vancouver's lineup - and the third line in particular - has offered the opposition only token resistance over the past ten or so days.

Yep it was an ugly win on Hockey Night in Canada for the Canucks. Read past the jump.

This will be a brief recap because I've got an insane busy Sunday afternoon ahead of me. The Red Wings out-chanced the Canucks 18 to 12 on Saturday night, which masks how bad it actually was for the Canucks. Vancouver's club permitted eighteen scoring chances against on Saturday at even-strength and only managed four of their own. 

So Cory Schneider was pretty good. In a sequence right towards the end of the game, Johan Franzen busted through Vancouver's defense like they weren't even there (and they might as well not have been) and put a shot on Schneider that Vancouver's rather remarkable young starter turned aside. With the puck loose in the crease, Schneider then swatted the rebound to corner. "He's doing it all!" said Jim Hughson, and quite rightly.

Detroit was putting a lot of quality shots wide on Saturday, so Schneider only faced eleven difficult shots in the contest. But he stopped ten of them and all three of Detroit's opportunities in the shootout. Schneider may have singlehandedly put a nail in the coffin of Detroit's playoff streak.

Really can't say enough good things about Schneider's play on Saturday, even his puck-handling appeared polished. I'd argue, without hestitation, that last night's victory was his signature performance of the season. 

Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison had easily their worst game as a pairing on Saturday night, finishing a -10 and a -8 respectively in even-strength chance differential. They basically gave the Datsyuk, Franzen, Abdelkadder line the sort of time and space that would make for a quality Carl Sagan lecture.

Andrew Alberts led the team in defensive zone-starts, was nails on the penalty-kill, played over twenty-four minutes and acquitted himself pretty well. I wouldn't say that he was good, but he was certainly competent enough. Solid outing. Same can be said for Alex Edler who rebounded from an atrocious outing in Dallas on Thursday and played some pretty competent defensive hockey in addition to scoring the game winner.

Keith Ballard and Cam Barker barely played - Ballard because he tweaked his back, Barker because the Canucks have finally figured out what we knew back in January (though in fairness, Barker has been better than we'd expected).

As for the forwards, the second and third-lines continue to get fed at even-strength - even with Roy and Kesler no longer skating on the same line. Chris HIggins will help on this score, and so will having a second top-four quality defenseman in either Bieksa or Tanev (if either returns on time for the playoffs) but I'm not sure it's enough. Vancouver probably just doesn't have enough middle-roster depth to matchup with some of the deeper teams in the West.

What that means is that they'll need the Sedin twins to carry them. The twins played pretty well on Saturday, I thought, especially when you consider how defense oriented their deployment was (8 defensive zone starts, two offensive zone starts). While they narrowly won their matchup against the Zetterberg/Filppula line on Saturday, they were mostly held in check and certainly didn't generate nearly enough quality chances. With the holes that Vancouver has in the middle of their lineup heading into the playoffs, the twins need to carry this club. For the most part they've been up to it this season, but as the games start to matter, merely being "good" (which is what they were on Saturday) isn't going to get it done.

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 OT Total
Detroit (EV) 7 (7) 2 (2) 7 (7) 2 (2) 18 (18)
Vancouver (EV) 6 (0) 4 (2) 1 (1) 1 (1) 12 (4)

Individual Scoring Chance Contributions

Individual Scoring Chances Taken Created Total
Ryan Kesler 3 2 5
Alex Burrows 3 0 3
Henrik Sedin 1 2 3
Jason Garrison 2 0 2
Daniel Sedin 1 1 2
Derek Roy 1 1 2
Alex Edler 0 2 2

Individual Scoring Chance Differential

Scoring Chance Diff. EV F - A PP F- A SH F - A Total F - A
Dan Hamhuis 0 - 10 1 - 0 0 - 1 1 - 11
Keith Ballard 0 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 1
Jason Garrison 1 - 9 4 - 0 1 - 0 6 - 9
Zack Kassian 0 - 5 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 5
Steve Pinizzotto 0 - 1 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 1
Alex Burrows 3 - 2 2 - 0 1 - 1 6 - 3
Derek Roy 1 - 5 2 - 0 0 - 1 3 - 6
Ryan Kesler 1 - 6 7 - 0 1 - 1 9 - 7
Cam Barker 1 - 2 0 - 0 0 - 1 1 - 3
Mason Raymond 0 - 7 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 7
Daniel Sedin 2 - 3 7 - 0 0 - 0 9 - 3
Alex Edler 3 - 5 4 - 0 0 - 1 7 - 6
Andrew Ebbett 1 - 4 0 - 0 0 - 0 1 - 4
Dale Weise 0 - 2 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 2
Henrik Sedin 2 - 2 5 - 0 0 - 0 7 - 2
Jannik Hansen 1 - 6 3 - 0 0 - 1 4 - 7
Max Lapierre 0 - 3 0 - 0 0 - 0 0 - 3
Andrew Alberts 3 - 5 0 - 0 1 - 1 4 - 6

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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 Josh
April 21 2013, 01:05PM
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This seems to be a common theme all year, regardless of how we play the Canucks seem to be constantly in the negatives for scoring chances. They might have solid possession stats but it's a worrying sign come playoffs.

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#2 Concern
April 21 2013, 05:01PM
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remember last season when some of Canucks nation started to panic a few weeks before playoffs started. Their underlying numbers started to fall through the floor, the goaltenders stole every game? Ya, it's deja vu.

Since trade deadline, Canucks fenwick close have dropped, they're relying almost soley on goaltending.

I think this team has a good roster, unfortunately Daniel, Raymond, Hansen and Kassian have disappeared after strong starts. Kesler has been ineffective at EV (surprisingly). Roy isn't what I had expected after reviewing his underlying #'s on trade date.

I can't figure out what is wrong with this team. Then they say things like Hank did post game last night, "though we played one of our best efforts in a while". SAY WHAT. This is the problem. Thinking that type of effort was good enough to get them past a Chicago, or STL or LA. Those series would last 5 games - max. Or until the goaltending became unsustainable.

My concern level is as high as last year heading into the playoffs.

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#3 antro
April 21 2013, 05:56PM
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Nice to hear that Alberts played that well. I didn't really notice, though I did notice Edler.

I generally agree with the concerns. Kesler especially looked out of sync yesterday. (Probably Kesler and Roy were together for a while in an attempt to get Kesler going, rather than the stated reason of "loading up" two lines.) The injuries have taken an enormous toll on Vancouver's team strengths. And those holes were not patched. This is the first time I really feel that GMMG just couldn't quite get things to happen to really improve this team. And when he signed Barker, Joslin and Vandermeer, he should have known that the team was only a few injuries from actually playing the likes of them. (At the same time, I do think it is an unusual season, and no one knew that the cap would go down that much, esp a couple of years ago when they had to sign Luongo. But sometimes you have to cut your losses and let go.)

Maybe if they get some puck luck and manage to catch Anaheim (unlikely), they can play Minnesota or Columbus in the first round.

Or maybe Schneider steals a few games against one of LA/St.L/SJ, and they manage to get to the second round in time for Bieksa and Tanev to come back. But that's a lot of ifs.

The one other thing that might happen if Schneider manages to steal a series or two is reminding other GMs how useful good goaltending is.

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#4 islander
April 21 2013, 06:09PM
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So Bieksa and Tanev are out for the first round? Any chance Booth will be back in the first round? I just can't see them going very far this year.

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#5 Lemming
April 21 2013, 06:13PM
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Pretty bang on game recap. I think, in particular, Booth being out is hurting the team more than people think. He may not have been scoring much, but he's so good at getting the puck down the ice, and the Canucks are really low on wingers that can do that right now. It looks a lot like Pittsburgh right now, the Canucks are strong down the middle and really kind of weak on the wings. The only problem is that Henrik and Kesler aren't as good as Crosby and Malkin.

Also, a Carl Sagan reference means this is by far the best game recap ever.

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#6 BrudnySeaby
April 21 2013, 11:28PM
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So stand-out goaltending once again gets the job done. But without his teammates scoring some goals, and by that I mean more than 1 per game, Schneider can stand on his head al he wants, but unless he posts shut-out after shut-out, it still won't be enough to win a series.

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#7 Graham s
April 22 2013, 03:05PM
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Quality work there Tom with that sagan reference

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