Game #80 Preview – #TeemuForever

#TeemuForever.  The only upside to Teemu Selanne’s possible retirement is
that we won’t see him in this horrible colour combination.
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #80 – Ducks @ Canucks

The Canucks’ regular season is winding down, as is Teemu Selanne’s career (or so we are led to believe). Today will likely mark the final time Selanne visits Vancouver as an NHL player.

And we haz a sad.

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:00 PM PT

Radio: Team 1040

The Setup

It’s not very often (if ever) that an opposing team, its fans and its media are so respectful of a visiting player. But let’s face it – it’s Teemu and he’s just awesome. It seems fitting that, in the year where the Winnipeg Jets made their triumphant "return" to the NHL, Teemu Selanne will likely close out his storied career. He lit the league on fire when he debuted with a 76-goal rookie season in Winnipeg in 1992-93. Since then, Teemu has been among the league’s best year after year, without slowing up. While many feel that Teemu is a Jet at heart, he played less than 4 seasons there. He is a MIGHTY Duck and has been for the majority of his career. In fact, he is The Mightiest Duck. Teemu Selanne is the Ducks franchise leader in: Games Played (853), Goals (436), Assists (500), Points (936), Plus/Minus (127), Even-Strength Goals (259), Power Play Goals (175), Game-Winning Goals (73), Shots (2755), and Shooting Percentage (15.8%).

Absolutely stellar. A true joy to watch, and I’m going to thoroughly enjoy watching him against the Canucks one last time. Well, on second thought – maybe not. In case you need a reminder, Teemu Selanne is the #1 active Canuck Killer.

With the division long since locked up, and a sliver of a lead atop the Western Conference, the Canucks really don’t have too much to play for (again). Sure, the top seed in the West would be fantastic but that only becomes an issue if the Canucks make it to the Conference Final and face the St. Louis Blues. Right now, the Canucks primary concern is staying healthy and correcting any playing problems that have cropped up.

Luckily the health concerns seem like they may be disappearing, to a certain extent, even if the team won’t reap the benefits tonight. Andrew Ebbett has returned, and Kevin Bieksa, Keith Ballard and Aaron Rome are expected back before the playoffs start next week. The only real concern lies with Daniel Sedin, although he is improving, and we’re still over a week away from the start of the playoffs. So the Canucks shouldn’t necessarily be playing for points or wins or even personal statistics. They need to be playing for health.

As for the Ducks, they’re playing for pride and they’re playing for Teemu. The Ducks have had a miserable season, led most ignominiously by Ryan Getzlaf – he of 9 total goals this year. Nine. In 79 games played. Let’s face it though – Getzlaf has had an unlucky year. His career shooting percentage (removing this year’s stats) is somewhere around 12%. This year, he’s shooting at 4.9% and that has resulted in some brutal stat lines. Such as 5 even-strength goals. OUCH. And so far, in 3 games against the Canucks, he has a single assist. A brutal year for Getzlaf and one could argue that he is the biggest reason why the Anaheim Ducks will miss the playoffs this year. The team is 24th in goals-for per game, and Getzlaf has only 9 goals. It’s not hard to draw the line there. 

So now that I’ve talked about Selanne retiring and Getzlaf having a pooey year, expect them to record 5 points each and torch the Canucks tonight. As my buddy’s grandmother used to say, "That’s the way, the things, she goes."

Numbers Game

This table includes what we believe to be the best "predictive" team metrics in hockey. Beyond the self-explanatory stats like record, powerplay percentage and goal differential, the table includes: 5-on-5 Goals For and Against Rate, which measures a team’s even-strength goal differential on a per game basis. Also included are the team’s shot% rates, and Fenwick % rates – both overall and in a tied game state. Pay especially close attention to Fenwick % Tied, it’s as good a metric for judging team quality as we’ve got – and was nearly perfect at predicting outcomes in the 2010/11 postseason. Finally, we’ve included PDO to help contextualize team results. 

  Canucks Ducks
Record 49-21-9 33-35-11
Venue Record (Home/Away) 25-10-4 12-17-9
Last 10 7-2-1 4-5-1
PP% 20.4% 16.4%
PK% 85.9% 81.4%
Goal Differential +48 -24
5-on-5 Goals F/A 1.18 0.93
Shots % 50% 48.5%
Fenwick % 51.3% 48.8%
Shots Tied % 50.7% 49.8%
Fenwick Tied % 52.6% 48.9%
PDO 101.4 99.7

Game Notes

Roberto Luongo will start tonight, with no changes expected to the lineup from Saturday’s overtime win against Calgary. As previously mentioned, Bieksa, Rome, Ballard and Daniel Sedin remain out of the lineup.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Please stay healthy. Just please stay healthy. Please. I can’t stress this enough. The last thing the Canucks need right now is for a top 6 forward to break an ankle blocking a shot (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, KESLER!).
  2. Get your power play working in time for the playoffs. Anaheim’s road penalty kill is terrible (76.7% – 28th in NHL) and the Canucks could certainly use the practice to get their man advantage warmed up. And watch for this early. The Ducks are shorthanded 11.6% more often in the first period than they are in either of the final two periods.
  3. Don’t let Anaheim get back in the game. This is especially important as a rehearsal for the playoffs. Anaheim does not come back when behind (0.179 when trailing after 1, ranked 22nd; 0.061 when trailing after 2, ranked 25th). The Canucks need to make sure that they are playing well with the lead. I’ve noticed lately that the Canucks have let teams get back into games, and allowed their net-minders to be peppered with shots on goal despite holding a lead. It’s time for the Canucks to get this shored up. Take the lead, hold the lead.

The Links

Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Marc-Andre Gragnani finding a place with Canucks (Vancouver Sun)
  3. Ryan Kesler back to defensive basics with Canucks (The Province)
  4. Vancouver Canucks know that first place in West is theirs for the taking (Vancouver Sun)
  5. Canucks can strengthen hold on top seed against Ducks (CBC Sports)