Canucks Escape Hairy Contest with a Bettman Point

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 11:29PM

David Backes mocks Zack Kassian's locks.
Safe to say if those two ever throw down, it'll be a mane event! Heyo!

The St. Louis Blues are a blunt instrument of a hockey team.

St. Louis's goaltending is iffy and they can't score a lick, but they play hard and dirty, they take the body, they dominate play, and they absolutely strangle teams with their no-event stylings at even-strength. Luckily for the Canucks, their massive goaltending advantage over the Blues showed up on Tuesday night, and Vancouver's club nearly won a game they had no business even being in.

Read past the jump for scoring chance data and analysis.

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Afternoon Headshots: April 16th

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 05:25PM

Massachusetts native Cory Schneider will pay tribute to those hurt during the Boston marathon bombings tonight...
Via @VanCanucks and PicStitch

Today at Canucks Army we recapped Monday night's 5-2 Canucks victory over the Nashville Predators, previewed Tuesday night's contest against the St. Louis Blues, advocated for Christian Ehrhoff to get some Norris buzz and looked at whether or not Ryan Kesler "fixes" Vancouver's power-play issues. 

We're going to do this briefly today since puck drop in the Blues game happens shortly, but read past the jump for more.

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Christian "King Felix" Ehrhoff Should be Getting Norris Buzz

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 04:53PM

Photography by: Daniel Fischer -

This past weekend, Cam Charron wrote a piece about analytics for the Province and dropped a line that might strike your average hockey fan as rather silly:

Ehrhoff might be a Norris Trophy contender if the Buffalo Sabres had a single other notable hockey player.

Here's the catch: Cam didn't go far enough. Who cares that the Sabres are terrible, Christian Ehrhoff's performance has been good enough that he should be nominated for a Norris Trophy this season. Of course, he won't get more than a couple of homer fifth place votes, but read on past the jump anyway.

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Game #43 Preview: Canucks @ Blues

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 02:15PM

Photograph by: Jonathan Hayward/Associated Press

The Canucks, winners of seven of their last ten, are on something of a hot streak down the stretch. Since the trade deadline they've won five of six, recorded four "clear victories" over that stretch, shutout an opponent on two occassions and have averaged four goals a game. But angst still reigns in conversations about the team in the Vancouver sports market, in part becasue all of the team's past six contests have come against non-playoff teams in the Western Conference.

That'll change on Tuesday evening, as the Canucks roll into St. Louis for the second game of a road back-to-back, to face a very good Blues team. The Blues aren't the league's best team on home ice, but their goaltending has begun to regress (in a positive direction) and they've won six of their last ten, with three shutouts in their past five. The Blues will have a good deal more to play for on Tuesday night too, they're only a single point clear of ninth place in the West, but only four points out of home-ice advantage in the first round (with a game in hand too). So they've got to mind both the carrot and the stick. 

Should be an interesting tilt. We'll preview it at length past the jump.

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Has Kesler's Return Fixed the Canucks Power-Play?

Thomas Drance
April 16 2013 11:57AM

Ryan Kesler might be the key to a dangerous Canucks power-play.
Photograph by: Rich Lam/Getty Images North America

Headed into the lockout shortened 2013 season, the Vancouver Canucks had boasted one of the league's most fearsome power-play units for about three years running. Conversion rates in the low-20s were the standard, and the team made a game plan of both "using the power-play as their enforcer," while also goading the opposition into taking penalties with a type of mental warfare we like to call "jerkpuck." 

This season the power-play goals dried up, and so have the power-play shots. It's inexplicable really, I mean, how is it even possible for a team that employs two guys named Sedin to be in the bottom-five among all NHl teams in both power-play conversion rate and 5-on-4 shot rate? As it turns out, the key to Vancouver's power-play success may have all along been, and is now again, an American centreman named Ryan Kesler.

Read on past the jump.

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