(Jimmy Howard loves Jannik Hansen by now)
After a 4-0 win against “division-leading” Minnesota on Monday night, the Canucks took to the ice against an actual good team, something they hadn’t done since they beat San Jose on the 26th of November (the team went 7-3 during their cupcake schedule period) so a test against the Detroit Red Wings was definitely something the team probably needed.
And, as expected, it didn’t matter how little the Canucks have been tested lately, since they controlled the game in the early going, and then shut down the play late, allowing goaltender Roberto Luongo to shine, make 38 stops, and the Canucks picked up a real marginal insurance short-handed goal on their way to a 4-2 victory.
-I went to this game, and, while Roger’s* Arena is a very nice place to watch a hockey game, it’s also pretty morguish most nights. Wednesday night was not one of those nights, with a pretty impressive atmosphere and loud crowd that was buzzing at the quality of the two teams on the ice. In the first two periods, with the game wide open and there were scoring chances at either end with minimal hitting or post-whistle scrums. It was hockey as it was meant to be played, between two of the very best teams in the NHL.
*(I refer to the building as if it were Roger Neilson’s and not purchased by a telecom company. Hence, “Roger’s Arena”)
-In the third period, the game closed up and for some reason Vancouver decided to take a few runs at Detroit players after Niklas Kronwall made a completely legal hit on Ryan Kesler. I can’t deny that the tactic was effective in keeping Detroit chances off the board, and, dare I say it was very Jerkpuckish, but Kesler going after Johan Franzen for some reason allowed Detroit an opportunity to tie the game on the powerplay.
-But they didn’t tie the game on the powerplay. Alex Edler knocked Henrik Zetterberg off the puck, Jannik Hansen took it forward, cut to the net, kept cutting to the net, lost control of the puck, crashed into Jimmy Howard and Alex Edler came up and banked it in off Hansen. The goal was credited to Edler (despite it going in off Hansen) but probably wasn’t given to Hansen (because he was on top of the goaltender and it would have looked bad).
-Oddly enough, Jimmy Howard didn’t break any NHL infractions in the ensuing scrum after he went after Hansen, trying to throw punches.
-15 of 18 Canuck skaters recorded shots on net, which is impressive since the Canucks only got 25 in total. The ones who didn’t have attempts recorded were Andrew Alberts (obviously) Henrik Sedin (surprisingly) and Alexander Sulzer, which I know is not true because he took a shot 1:33 into the second period (recorded as a chance) that I have recorded as a shot off a scoring chance. But the Roger’s Arena scorers, who are usually pretty awful at their jobs, recorded it as a miss and it stuck there. Poor Alexander Sulzer.
-Mason Raymond is amazing and continues to impress. He wasn’t a statistical three star selection, but he was close. Two of his three shots on goal were recorded as scoring chances, and he also set up two of them.
-The best shift of the game didn’t belong to Dale Weise-Henrik Sedin-Daniel Sedin, weirdly. While those three kept possession of the puck for a good minute inside the Detroit end, that shift didn’t result in a scoring chance, probably because Dale Weise is far more offensive on the Internet than he is on the ice. The best shift of the game belonged to Detroit’s Danny Cleary-Darren Helm-Drew Miller line that got three chances for late in a Sedin shift and scored pretty goal on a great deflection off a close shot.
-The final scoring chances were 16-15 for Vancouver, but it’s worth noting that, with the score tied at even strength, the Canucks got five of the six chances. Detroit got most of their chances during, and after, the shift that led to their second goal.
-Daniel Sedin head the puck forward, which was very cool. But we aren’t Pass It To Bulis, who will indubitably write six posts on the matter. We are Canucks Army, who will point out that the Sedin header did not lead to a goal, a scoring chance, a shot, or even a Corsi event. Daniel Sedin is 0-1 off of creating offense from his head, so we advise him to never do it again.
-Actually, Andrew Alberts did okay defensively tonight. If he plays limited minutes against soft competition, he’ll actually win matchups, which you can’t say about every 8th defenseman in the NHL. He was +4 in scoring chances, starting defensive zone shifts against the Detroit fourth line.
-With what Detroit was throwing at the net late in the game, the only Canucks to wind up with a positive Corsi number in this game were Mason Raymond (+6) and Dale Weise (+3).
-Finally, Roberto Luongo looked very strong. His Canuck career started with a 3-1 Vancouver win against the Red Wings, making 28 saves off of 29 shots, as far as this very prehistoric-looking box score tells me. That was also Alain Vigneault’s first game coaching the Canucks. Luongo is looking a lot like 2007 Luongo lately; he has six quality starts in his last eight.
STATISTICAL THREE STARS
1 – Ryan Kesler (+3 chance differential, 2:45 of chance-less special teams play, 8 defensive zone starts, one knee-on-knee on Henrik Zetterberg)
2 – Roberto Luongo (2 goals against on 13 scoring chance shot opportunities, 38 saves on 40 shots, one chippy exchange with Todd Bertuzzi)
3 – Jannik Hansen (2 chance assists, 20% offensive zone starts, +3 chance differential, two shots on goal, one goalie bowled over)
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20498
|VAN||1||10:24||VAN G 1-0 Higgins||1||2||3||17||20||21||18||26||35||40||51||55||5v5|
|VAN||1||10:03||VAN G 2-0 Hodgson||1||9||27||36||41||52||5||11||18||20||35||43||5v5|
|DET||1||6:15||DET G 2-1 Bertuzzi||1||6||9||14||23||25||5||13||18||35||44||93||5v5|
|VAN||1||4:20||VAN G 3-1 Burrows||1||14||22||33||41||52||11||20||23||35||43||55||5v5|
|DET||2||3:40||DET G 3-2 Miller||1||2||3||14||27||33||11||20||23||35||43||55||5v5|
|VAN||3||16:30||VAN G 4-2 Hansen||1||6||23||27||36||5||26||35||40||44||51||4v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|