April 23 2013 01:46AM
LoL Duncan Keith
Photograph by Jeff Vinnick via NHLI/Getty
The Canucks have been reeling somewhat of late, partly as a result of injuries along their backend, but they got some relief on Monday night in the form of Chris Higgins. Higgins' presence alongside Derek Roy and Ryan Kesler in Vancouver's top-six was key to a dominant first period performance for the Canucks. The Sedins took over from there, and Vancouver's club didn't look back, completely crushing the Blackhawks by a three to one score that flattered the away side.
It was something of a cathartic victory for the Canucks, and a memorable one that included Daniel Sedin moving into second place on the all-time franchise points leaderboard, and Frank Corrado's rather impressive NHL debut.
Read past the jump for more analysis and scoring chance data.
Let's start, as always, with the key numbers. The Canucks took nineteen quality look in this game, and surrendered only eight to the Blackhawks. At even-strength the margin was similarly impressive as the Canucks took fifteen of their scoring chances with five-a-side, allowing only six against. With the result in doubt - actually wait, it never really was - the Canucks took five scoring chances while permitting zero in a score tied game state.
Cory Schneider wasn't busy but he was good when he was called on to deliver a big save. He made a couple of key stops on Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad in particular that were relatively impressive. His counterpart, Corey Crawford, was similarly good - he had to be or this game could've gotten way out of hand really early.
The Derek Roy line was phenomenal in that first frame, and I thought Ryan Kesler looked pretty good on the wing too. They carried the Canucks in the first period and Roy was actually Vancouver's most involved offensive player according to the "scoring chance contributions" data. That surprised me, as some of Daniel's chances (in addition to his goal) seemed somehow louder in my recollection of the game. But that's why we take notes.
The Sedin twins took over in the second and third periods and completely pulverized Duncan Keith and Nicklas Hjalmarsson in their matchup. Dave Bolland may have hurt his groin early in the game, either way he left the game at some point in the first period, so in a weird quirk both of Vancouver's top-lines were primarily matched up against Jonathan Toews. Toews is a pretty good defensive player (though not as good as his reputation suggests, frankly) but asking him to check two scoring lines might be a bit much...
On the one hand, the Kesler line was dangerous all game and the Canucks significantly outshot the Hawks with them on the ice. On the other, Vancouver's depth players gave back much of what the top two lines and Garrison and Hamhuis produced at the other end. Andrew Ebbett, Mason Raymond, Jannik Hansen, Tom Sestito and Maxim Lapierre all had tough outings by the possession data (less so by the scoring chance data though). Which leaves the team with a quandry: do they have enough wing depth to ice two scoring lines without Roy and Kesler playing together? It might be a luxury the club just doesn't have enough depth to afford. But on the other hand, it might be a necessity that they can't afford to do without...
Frank Corrado made his NHL debut on Monday night and was impressive right off the bat. He laid out several big hits, one in particular on Marcus Krueger on Corrado's first shift left the Swedish checking centre clearly winded, and looked competent while handling legitimate second pairing minutes. Corrado fared better by the scoring chance data than the possession data, but he handled himself well and he sure looked like a player...
Cam Barker, however, continued to not look like a player. In a game in which the Canucks out-chanced their opponent by a 19 to 8 tally, Cam Barker somehow finished with a negative scoring chance differential in ten minutes of ice-time. How is that even possible? Based on how seriously Barker has been exposed in the absence of Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev, I'd say it's a safe bet to describe Frank Corrado as already Vancouver's eighth best defenseman. It's not quite yet time to light one up and burn that first year of Corrado's entry-level contract, but he should definitely be in the lineup for Vancouver's next couple of games.
Zack Kassian didn't play very much, but he had a solid game when he did. A goal and two scoring chances taken in less than nine minutes of ice-time is pretty neat, if I may say so. I was particularly impressed with his second goal, scored from Dustin Bfuglien's office in the slot, and a sequence in the first period where Brent Seabrook went to check Kassian behind the Chicago goal and bounced off like green goo in some weak ass Robin Williams film.
Daniel Sedin's second point of the night was lovely, and made that much more enjoyable by Duncan Keith's petulant, useless slash. What a piece of work that Keith guy is. Let's watch him slash Sedin without even a pretense of going for the puck:
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)||7 (6)||6 (6)||6 (5)||19 (17)|
|Chicago (EV)||2 (2)||2 (2)||4 (3)||8 (7)|
Individual Scoring Chance Contributions:
Individual Scoring Chance Differential:
|Scoring Chance Diff.||EV F - A||SH F - A||PP F - A||Total F - A|
|Dan Hamhuis||9 - 2||0 - 0||2 - 0||11 - 2|
|Jason Garrison||8 - 3||0 - 0||1 - 0||9 - 3|
|Zack Kassian||2 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 1|
|Alex Burrows||4 - 1||0 - 0||1 - 0||5 - 1|
|Derek Roy||6 - 3||0 - 0||0 - 0||6 - 3|
|Ryan Kesler||7 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 1||7 - 2|
|Cam Barker||1 - 2||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 2|
|Chris Higgins||7 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||7 - 1|
|Mason Raymond||2 - 1||0 - 0||1 - 1||3 - 2|
|Daniel Sedin||7 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 1||8 - 3|
|Alex Edler||8 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 1||9 - 3|
|Andrew Ebbett||1 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||1 - 1|
|Frank Corrado||7 - 1||0 - 0||0 - 0||7 - 1|
|Tom Sestito||2 - 2||0 - 0||0 - 0||2 - 2|
|Henrik Sedin||8 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 1||9 - 3|
|Jannik Hansen||2 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 0||3 - 1|
|Maxim Lapierre||2 - 2||0 - 0||1 - 0||3 - 2|
|Andrew Alberts||0 - 3||0 - 0||0 - 0||0 - 3|