“Luongo earned them a single point,” admitted John Shorthouse at the end of tonight’s broadcast of the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings game, the game itself was a 2-2 tie, though the Kings won in the skill competition and the bonus point went home with the white, black and silver visitors from tinseltown. There wasn’t any hyperbole to Shorthouse’s statement —the Canucks came out flat—and Luongo held the team in the game early with several terrific saves, was strong throughout the game, and made a pair of big saves in overtime before being beaten by Justin Williams and Mike Richards in the shootout.
Final score, I reluctantly accept, officially was 3-2 for the Kings. For detailed analysis, the Statistical Three Stars, and a Scoring Chance Table, please click past the jump.
-As usual, I’ll start with the key numbers: the Canucks were outchanced 11-6 at 5-on-5 with the score tied, 16-10 at even strength and 17-13 overall.
-With regards to the above numbers, it started off much worse than it finished: while the Canucks were down 8-1 going into the first break, they narrowly out-chanced L.A. overall 12-9 the rest of the way. Still it was only thanks to, as mentioned above, a spectacular performance from Roberto Luongo that this game was even within reach. All eight chances in the first were shots on Luongo, he had to make a couple of saves on 2-on-1s and one on a partial breakaway. Dustin Penner, Justin Williams, Brad Richardson, all had terrific opportunities but Luongo moved very well laterally, coming up big for the home side.
-Jeff Paterson tweeted after the game that coach Alain Vigneault may have turned up the heat in the Vancouver dressing room after the first period. Paterson also asked on Twitter what we figured the scoring chance differential had been for the Canucks in the last two first periods. Having the technology, I went back and checked: it’s 15-3 for the opposition in the last two first periods.
-The first Los Angeles goal, a tip from Penner, isn’t recorded as a scoring chance. David Booth, a frequent victim of PDO, was caught on the ice on that play, and while I guess he could have made a better effort to block the point shot, 20 of those shots make it through before one finds the back of the net. I’d rather have a guy who rarely plays in the defensive zone versus one who spends a lot of time there, resulting in him being exceptionally experienced at it.
-Like Cody Hodgson, who is getting an awful lot of practice in his own zone lately. After the first two periods, Hodgson had a team-low in Corsi at minus-10. The unit skating with him, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen clearly weren’t working out. Hodgson’s possession numbers have taken the biggest hit during the recent slump the Canucks have been on, and while I’m not willing to pin the blame of a two-game losing streak on a 22-year old, his 5-on-5 play will need to improve at some point. Luckily, it’s mid-season.
-A pretty rough game from Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa, who were savaged by the Kings’ top trio of Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar, and Justin Williams. They allowed a couple of extra chances where they normally don’t, but they also failied to generate anything offensively. This is unusual as both men on the pairing are quite adept at turning the play around in the back half of the neutral zone. Bieksa likes to jump into the play and take a couple of shots himself, but the openings weren’t there for him tonight.
-On that, the Kings have been a much improved defensive club since being taken over by Darryl Sutter. They went from being a middling possession team under Terry Murray to a top-10 team. Their recent record (now 4-1-3 in the new year) is no coincidence.
-Aaron Rome had a tough outing tonight. He saw the tough zone starts tonight (3 extra in the defensive zone) and saw nearly 10 minutes against Mike Richards, finishing +4 on scoring chances and +4 in Corsi.
-I was unfair to Hodgson above, but he created a good chance on the powerplay in the second period and also set a pick that led to David Booth’s goal, holding Willie Mitchell away from the passing lane for a split second, allowing Hansen to get the puck across. While Hansen’s defensive numbers (7 chances against) are not pleasant, he took part in each of the three chances he was on the ice for, so he was into it offensively, at least.
-Which makes me think… maybe the weak link on that line is Mason Raymond?
-Daniel Sedin took 7 of the team’s 33 shots, and seemed to be the only Canuck creating any type of offense in the first. His goal is technically a scoring chance, since the shot was taken from inside the scoring chance zone and was fired pretty hard, but it stuck to the ice and made its way through a lot of obstacles before ending up in the net. Even when the shots are “quality shots”, it takes a bit of luck for the puck to go the extra mile. Also, of his 9 shot attempts, five of them were considered chances. Those are power-forward-type numbers.
-Shootout blah blah blah blah blah.
The Statistical Three Stars
1 – Roberto Luongo | Stopped 39 of 41 shots, 38 of 39 at even strength, and 15 of 16 that were scoring chances
2 – David Booth | +4 in scoring chances, +1 defensive zone start, 2 shots on goal
3 – Aaron Rome | +4 in scoring chances, +3 defensive zone starts, 1 chance against in 1:20 PK time
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20679
|VAN||2||17:19||VAN G 1-1 D. Sedin||1||14||17||22||23||33||7||8||10||23||32||5v4|
|LAK||2||4:46||L.A G 2-1 Williams||1||14||17||23||29||11||14||23||26||32||33||4v5|
|VAN||3||15:00||VAN G 2-2 Booth||1||7||9||23||29||36||10||25||26||28||32||33||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|