Canucks Army Postgame: Le Blew, Blanked et Rouge

That's Offside!
February 06 2014 10:18PM

 

It's usually disingenuous to label a matchup between two teams as "PLAYER A VS. PLAYER B" especially when those two players are goaltenders, but since we are just days away from the beginning of the Sochi Olympics, the allure of billing Vancouver-Montreal as Luongo vs. Price for Canada's starting job was all the more tempting. As it turns out, the head-to-head goaltending battle never really materialized as Max Pacioretty and the Canucks' hilarious defence stole the show in a 5-2 Canucks loss to the Habs.

For a recap of tonight's events and a look at the root of some of Vancouver's recent troubles, read past the jump.

The Rundown

As expected in a matchup between the 23rd and 24th highest scoring teams in the NHL, the game didn't exactly get off to a brisk and exciting start. There was a lot of chip-and-chase and neutral zone play, resulting in a whole lot of nothing early on. Ex-Canuck-turned-analystCanadien Dale Weise actually had the best chance early, as Weise pushed his way by Raphael Diaz to shovel a backhand on Roberto Luongo, who turned him aside.

Montreal would get on the board first however, as Jason Garrison blocked a P.K. Subban powerplay slapper that deflected right back to Subban. The superstar defender then wristed a shot on net which deflected off the knee of Max Pacioretty and by Luongo to make the score 1-0 for the home side.

Then, just over a minute later (side note: why does it feel like every time I write one of these, I end up writing the phrase "the opponents added to their lead seconds later.") Montreal's vaunted fourth line that isn't really vaunted at all went to work, as the aforementioned Weise threw a puck on net, Michael Bournival kicked the puck out of Luongo's hands and right to Ryan White who went backhand shelf for his first goal of the season. Now, have a look at the screenshot of this goal:

That's Alex Edler and Raphael Diaz gang-tackling Bournival right into Luongo. I give Diaz a bit of a pass on this one since that's his guy and all, but I'm not quite sure what Edler's doing. Maybe he sees Diaz's diminuitive frame and was like "DON'T WORRY LITTLE BUDDY I GOT THIS," but really that's an awful breakdown. I mean, there are only two Habs in screen, so it shouldn't be that hard to figure out that no one should be uncovered enough to have the time and space to pull the puck forehand to backhand and pick the top corner.

Alex Edler probably had "The Most Alex Edler Game Ever" tonight, truth be told. He was unstoppable at both ends of the ice, finishing with a goal, an own goal, a couple of massive misreads, a game high eight shots and fourteen(!) shot attempts, +10 5v5 Corsi and a -3 +/-.

Vancouver finished the 1st down 2-0, but started the 2nd period with back-to-back powerplays. There was nothing doing on the first opportunity, but shortly after Roberto Luongo robbed Brandon Prust on a shorthanded 2-on-1, Chris Higgins redirected a soft Jason Garrison shot past Carey Price to cut Montreal's lead to 2-1:

After this, the play appeared to be tilting in Vancouver's favour, but Max Pacioretty made his second major appearance of the night. Catching the Vancouver defence flat-footed, he was sprung on a partial break but was fouled by the Vancouver defender, earning himself a penalty shot. Thankfully Roberto Luongo was up to the task, turning Montreal's best forward away to keep the score 2-1. 

After this, the play appeared to be tilting in Vancouver's favour, but Max Pacioretty made his second third major appearance of the night. Catching the Vancouver defence flat-footed, he was sprung on a partial break but was fouled by the Vancouver defender, earning himself a penalty shot. Thankfully Roberto Luongo was up to the task, turning Montreal's best forward away to keep the score 2-1.

Yes, the same thing happened twice:

Thanks to Luongo's heroics (and Pacioretty's lame penalty shot skills), Vancouver was within just one goal going in to the 3rd period. But Max Pacioretty would totally redeem himself, scoring to give the Canadiens a 3-1 lead just 5 minutes in to the 3rd period. Once more, I would like to draw your attention to the defensive zone coverage on this goal:

My favourite part of this and the first screenshot is Zack Kassian standing in good position to watch himself get hung with a minus on both occasions thanks to a clusterbum around Vancouver's net. My least favourite part of these screenshots is that these are the Canucks. Well, really these are the Utica Comets wearing Canucks uniforms, but they don't withhold losses because your team has too many boo-boos.

As if a 2-goal 3rd period defecit wasn't insurmountable enough for Vancouver these days, Alex Edler's Most Alex Edler Night Ever continued as he kicked a Tomas Plekanec shot off a 2-on-1 into his own net, bringing the score to 4-1 for the Habs. Edler would kind-of-but-not-really atone for his gaffe by scoring a goal of his own, on the powerplay nonetheless, with roughly seven and a half minutes to go:

Vancouver controlled most of the play in the 3rd, but by that time it was all score effect induced. Vancouver would come no closer, and Max Pacioretty would add the empty netter for the rare hat-trick despite missing two penalty shots, helping Montreal to the 5-2 win.

The Numbers

Courtesy ExtraSkater.com but you know that by now.

There's not really a lot to discuss about the game tonight as it's the same old song and dance. Can't score early, give up a couple of quick goals, watch the score effects kick in. If you're really looking for positives, Vancouver carried a 61% 5v5 Fenwick Close tonight, but we need to wait until they string a few games together at that level before we declare "their possession game is back rounding in to form!" Also, Montreal is awful at the Fenwicks so there's that little thing too.

No, what I really want to discuss is the performance of Yann Sauve and Frank Corrado. As you probably know from Josh's weekly prospect reports, the Utica Comets are a terrible hockey team, and Corrado and Sauve haven't exactly been standouts on a blueline that has struggled handling AHL opposition. Well, it's showing at the NHL level. Through 10 games, Corrado is 243rd out of 257 NHL defencemen in 5v5 Corsi%. He has started above 50% of his shifts in the offensive zone, faced the easiest minutes of all Canucks defensemen, and the 6th worst competition in the entire league. He is getting crushed.

And Yann Sauve has been just as bad, if not worse. Although 3 games are an extremely small sample to draw from, Sauve's 36.5% Corsi would rank him dead last in the NHL. By comparison, John Scott manages to carry a 40.5% Corsi. The rookie pairing is by far and away the weakest part of Vancouver's lineup, and they're getting just killed. 40% is kind of the "Mendoza Line" of hockey, and if you can't crack that over a full NHL season, chances are you never see a shift in the league again.

The good news is that Vancouver basically has an entire above-average NHL defense corps sitting out with injuries right now, so Sauve and Corrado aren't in the long-term plans and will presumably be buried far down the depth chart once Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev and Andrew Alberts and Yannick Weber all return to action. Should they all miss extended time down the stretch though, Vancouver will probably miss the playoffs all together.

The Conclusion

The last game before the Olympic break is Saturday night in Toronto on Hockey Night in Canada against the Leafs, so get ready for a deluge of "oh, what happened to the Canucks??" stories, when the truth is that half the roster is on the IR and they're basically a bad AHL team right now beyond the top-6 F and top-4 D. Also, Vancouver hasn't lost to Toronto in 9 years, so maybe the Leafs are just what the ailing Canucks need to get themselves a win here. Whatever happens, we'll see you Saturday.

 

10df053f41f4bdaf4d65eca6e982e46d
Covering the WHL - with a focus on the Vancouver Giants - for the Nations. Helping feed your sea-to-sky boners. Follow my inane ramblings on Twitter @Thats_Offside.
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#1 NM00
February 06 2014, 10:45PM
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On the bright side, Luongo looks like he could be well rested for the stretch run in quest of a wildcard spot.

#moralvictory

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#2 Matt
February 06 2014, 11:28PM
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No sensible person would blame this loss on Luongo.

Canucks actually looked pretty good in this game for long stretches, and then the D would go and do something absolutely ridiculous and they'd get scored on.

What's the deal with Corrado? He looked so great in junior and in limited NHL minutes last year. Is he being dragged down by Sauve? Was last year an aberration? Can he be a good complementary player if he has a decent defensive partner?

WHAT IS THE DEAL!?

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#3 GeezMoney
February 07 2014, 05:05AM
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This is not professional hockey!

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#4 Lemming
February 07 2014, 06:48AM
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How does playing with Sauve make Corrado suddenly make stupid mistakes?

The obvious answer is it doesn't. It's gone to his head a bit, and he's flustered. He's young. He shouldn't be in that position to begin with. I don't mind Sauve, he hasn't been to blame more than any other depth defenseman (which is what he projects as at this point anyway).

I, for one, hope we get a nice high draft pick out of this season, because it's a wash at this point anyway.

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#5 JFR
February 07 2014, 07:19AM
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Wow can't believe Edler scored two goals last night...wait?!

Thank god the Olympic break is almost here. This is the most embarrassing stretch of hockey I can remember. I have a feeling Price will out duel Luo for top goalie. He looked solid last night and moved with confidence. Plus since 1998, it seems every Olympics the torch is passed, with Roy passing to Broduer, then Lou.., now.?? Price isn't on the same level but he looked more confident and moved well. Confidence is a big factor in high level competition.

People out there looking for a yard sale at the deadline or tank for a high pick are going to be disappointed.. Don't be a prisoner of the moment, and that moment is watching the Utica Canucks. Everyone save Santo will come back after the break and this team will make the playoffs. Hopefully MG can pull something off like a Vanek that would give the twins a true sniper? That would send all other forwards to right full positions and give the team a chance. The Kings made the playoffs the last day of the season and ripped through the playoffs. Because they shook their team up the right way.

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#6 JFR
February 07 2014, 07:19AM
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Wow can't believe Edler scored two goals last night...wait?!

Thank god the Olympic break is almost here. This is the most embarrassing stretch of hockey I can remember. I have a feeling Price will out duel Luo for top goalie. He looked solid last night and moved with confidence. Plus since 1998, it seems every Olympics the torch is passed, with Roy passing to Broduer, then Lou.., now.?? Price isn't on the same level but he looked more confident and moved well. Confidence is a big factor in high level competition.

People out there looking for a yard sale at the deadline or tank for a high pick are going to be disappointed.. Don't be a prisoner of the moment, and that moment is watching the Utica Canucks. Everyone save Santo will come back after the break and this team will make the playoffs. Hopefully MG can pull something off like a Vanek that would give the twins a true sniper? That would send all other forwards to right full positions and give the team a chance. The Kings made the playoffs the last day of the season and ripped through the playoffs. Because they shook their team up the right way.

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#7 van
February 07 2014, 07:20AM
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Is Kesler hurt? Played 20 mins last night, but 5:30 of that on the PP and none on the PK. Would've thought we'd lean on him a bit more with Henrik out and Schroeder and Richardson our only other centres. Or maybe Torts has realised all his top guys are gassed from playing too much.

Schroeder's done alright though. 14mins of EV TOI per game at 52% Corsi since he came back.

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#8 Darryl
February 07 2014, 07:38AM
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Four points away from the #6 pick!

The rebuild will happen with or without Gillis. If he does not want to trade players with NTCs, I am sure we can find someone who will.

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#9 PB
February 07 2014, 09:10AM
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@JFR

I wondered if anyone would hold out the Kings example but they aren't the same. That season Quick was single-handedly holding them into the playoff hunt but there was a lot of poor puck luck for the Kings as I recall. They also made two big gamble trades to land Richards and Carter. We are closer to what Burke said in his desire NOT to have the Leafs stumble into 8th (as much as most of what he did and said made little sense) -- the current team shows little evidence that even when healthy we can necessarily make a long run. We clearly aren't as bad as we've looked the last six weeks but that doesn't diminish the underlying truth that we need to start looking more to the post-Sedin era than right now and restocking the shelves with better prospects than currently in our system seems a better idea than treading water now. That's the logical part; I still watch every game because I love the Canucks and love watching a good game so I irrationally want them to win, but it's not happening now. I'm looking forward to the Olympics so I can at least watch some entertaining and not soul crushing hockey for a change.

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#10 Ted
February 07 2014, 09:56AM
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I am a little concerned about Gillis and that he may actually think this team can compete if it was 100% healthy. He talked to the 1040 mid-day crew an suggested as much. I really hope that was for public consumption only and that he is trying to make some moves. Stil hoping Canucks are sellers at the deadline so they can rake a few teams over the coals in a trade or two.

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#11 Ruprecht
February 07 2014, 10:43AM
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Ted wrote:

I am a little concerned about Gillis and that he may actually think this team can compete if it was 100% healthy. He talked to the 1040 mid-day crew an suggested as much. I really hope that was for public consumption only and that he is trying to make some moves. Stil hoping Canucks are sellers at the deadline so they can rake a few teams over the coals in a trade or two.

Mike Gillis 101:

The opposite of what he says is true. With a couple of half truths sprinkled in for legitimacy purposes, and perhaps to keep the legal team happy.

Example: Holding out for a "Hockey Trade" that will "Help the team now". Equates to giving up good roster players for picks and prospects.

Feel free to add to this. I may just make it a wiki.

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#12 5minutesinthebox
February 07 2014, 11:53AM
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@van

Schroeder is looking really good out there and is excellent at creating opportunities. He just needs to realize that the only one likely to finish them is himself and just start shooting, and shooting a lot.

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#13 NM00
February 07 2014, 12:05PM
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@PB

"We clearly aren't as bad as we've looked the last six weeks but that doesn't diminish the underlying truth that we need to start looking more to the post-Sedin era than right now and restocking the shelves with better prospects than currently in our system seems a better idea than treading water now."

Very well said...

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#14 5minutesinthebox
February 07 2014, 01:10PM
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PB wrote:

I wondered if anyone would hold out the Kings example but they aren't the same. That season Quick was single-handedly holding them into the playoff hunt but there was a lot of poor puck luck for the Kings as I recall. They also made two big gamble trades to land Richards and Carter. We are closer to what Burke said in his desire NOT to have the Leafs stumble into 8th (as much as most of what he did and said made little sense) -- the current team shows little evidence that even when healthy we can necessarily make a long run. We clearly aren't as bad as we've looked the last six weeks but that doesn't diminish the underlying truth that we need to start looking more to the post-Sedin era than right now and restocking the shelves with better prospects than currently in our system seems a better idea than treading water now. That's the logical part; I still watch every game because I love the Canucks and love watching a good game so I irrationally want them to win, but it's not happening now. I'm looking forward to the Olympics so I can at least watch some entertaining and not soul crushing hockey for a change.

Well I think puck luck has been a huuuuge problem for the Canucks this season. Burrows, Daniel, Hamhuis, Garrison, Kesler, Henrik, Edler...the list is long and all of these players shot % are down by a large amount from last season to this one (Interestingly Hansens is up this year...he has been much better of late). This is not just core players aging and abilities fading, and its ridiculous to assume thats what it is. Yes players regress, but not entire teams all at once. There is a ton of bad puck luck for this team, and the lack of confidence has rubbed off on everyone. Im not putting a lot of stock in these last games before the break...we are just a shadow of a team with the amount of injuries. But something need to change and fast, and that is on Tortorella and his staff (ahem PP). If the core was even scoring at the same pace as last season, with the improved play of Higgins, and Kassian, and with the additions of Santorelli, Richardson, and Stanton, this team is in the mix of the west and likely well ahead of LA at this point.

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#15 JFR.
February 07 2014, 05:24PM
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PB wrote:

I wondered if anyone would hold out the Kings example but they aren't the same. That season Quick was single-handedly holding them into the playoff hunt but there was a lot of poor puck luck for the Kings as I recall. They also made two big gamble trades to land Richards and Carter. We are closer to what Burke said in his desire NOT to have the Leafs stumble into 8th (as much as most of what he did and said made little sense) -- the current team shows little evidence that even when healthy we can necessarily make a long run. We clearly aren't as bad as we've looked the last six weeks but that doesn't diminish the underlying truth that we need to start looking more to the post-Sedin era than right now and restocking the shelves with better prospects than currently in our system seems a better idea than treading water now. That's the logical part; I still watch every game because I love the Canucks and love watching a good game so I irrationally want them to win, but it's not happening now. I'm looking forward to the Olympics so I can at least watch some entertaining and not soul crushing hockey for a change.

Agree with the fact Quick was a monster that playoff and Luo won't pull that type of circus off for sure. The Dec run gives fans some hope in that they won games the way the Kings did, in low scoring one goal games. Don't get me wrong I'm not buying Stanley Cup tix in advance by any stretch. If the Canucks get healthy, make a chemistry changing (positive) trade and play well there is a chance they can make a run. 2 things I do know:

1. There won't be a fire sale, Sedins and Kess will remain

2. The team won't tank and get a top five pick.

I'm hoping for health and a scoring winger for the Twins and then role the dice.

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#16 argoleas
February 07 2014, 05:52PM
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5minutesinthebox wrote:

Schroeder is looking really good out there and is excellent at creating opportunities. He just needs to realize that the only one likely to finish them is himself and just start shooting, and shooting a lot.

We also have to remember that Schroeder has played just 8 games since basically not playing for 9 months. I like what he has shown so far and expect he will get much better by the time the regular season ends.

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#17 Ted
February 07 2014, 06:02PM
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argoleas wrote:

We also have to remember that Schroeder has played just 8 games since basically not playing for 9 months. I like what he has shown so far and expect he will get much better by the time the regular season ends.

Yep. I think the jury is still out on the guy so there's reason to have some optimism there. Torts is giving him some good spots and a fair shake right now so fingers crossed (although the Daniel and Burr may not be the ideal wingers right now).

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#18 argoleas
February 07 2014, 06:05PM
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PB wrote:

I wondered if anyone would hold out the Kings example but they aren't the same. That season Quick was single-handedly holding them into the playoff hunt but there was a lot of poor puck luck for the Kings as I recall. They also made two big gamble trades to land Richards and Carter. We are closer to what Burke said in his desire NOT to have the Leafs stumble into 8th (as much as most of what he did and said made little sense) -- the current team shows little evidence that even when healthy we can necessarily make a long run. We clearly aren't as bad as we've looked the last six weeks but that doesn't diminish the underlying truth that we need to start looking more to the post-Sedin era than right now and restocking the shelves with better prospects than currently in our system seems a better idea than treading water now. That's the logical part; I still watch every game because I love the Canucks and love watching a good game so I irrationally want them to win, but it's not happening now. I'm looking forward to the Olympics so I can at least watch some entertaining and not soul crushing hockey for a change.

First of all, any Kings vs Canucks comparison is wasted considering the age difference of the core. The other is indeed Quick was a monster then, but it also helps to have a team that played well in front of him.

I generally dont like such comparisons because they are simply not instructive. Suppose we say what if Burrows finally gets hot, and Booth has net luck, and the Sedins are healthy, and Edler plays to his potential, and.... well we get the picture. If everything is perfect for them, and similarly not perfect for everyone else, then they would go far. Never bet on that. Clubs win the cup not just due to luck but also in spite of it.

I agree completely that we are entering the post-Sedin era in the sense that they are stepping back as the first line. I still say that if they are surrounded with a bigger and quicker team, then they will put up lots of points, and be an important piece for years, but the team can no longer assume it will win because of them.

If the team wants to pursue the Detroit paradigm, it must indeed continue to restock the shelves, and that means looking for trades where a piece is subtracted for picks (preferably high), not the other way. I'm sure there has to be a few NTC players on this team that are thinking that they may want to jump to a team that looks like it could win this year, like Iginla last year.

But please no more BS about Horvat for Vanek. That is a capital offense.

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#19 argoleas
February 07 2014, 06:09PM
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Ted wrote:

Yep. I think the jury is still out on the guy so there's reason to have some optimism there. Torts is giving him some good spots and a fair shake right now so fingers crossed (although the Daniel and Burr may not be the ideal wingers right now).

I have many beefs with Torts, like his overplaying some people, and being too quick to punish others. But I still see that he can be a good judge as to how one is performing, and not just blindly judging just on the points they put up. I think his overall approach with Kassian's development has been the correct one.

I hope that Torts learns an important thing about playing in the West - roll 4 lines.

So Torts, if you find yourself looking at the player sheet and a defenseman is playing close to 30 minutes, I recommend calling for a search party, because your brain cells have gone missing.

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#20 Fauxrumors
February 08 2014, 08:31AM
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And the Canucks hit he Olympic break out of the playoffs! Looks good on you Nucks!

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