It’s not like the Vancouver Canucks weren’t playing well, but they just weren’t getting the saves from Roberto Luongo early on in the game. Finding themselves down 4-2, the Canucks rallied in front of Cory Schneider and found a pair of goals ere headed to the shootout, where three pretty goals by Alex Burrows, Alex Edler and Maxim Lapierre won the game for the team, their seventh straight since the loss of Daniel Sedin to a concussion.
For further analysis, scoring chance recap, and cheering on your favourite Statistical Three Stars and booing your hated Statistical Three Goats, click past the jump.
-The Canucks out-chanced Anaheim 21-12, although a lot of that came on powerplays in the third period where they were all over Jonas Hiller. They were 12-9 overall on the game, and 6-5 with the score tied at 5-on-5. It wasn’t necessarily a “dominant” performance, but the Canucks did win on process, and we KNOW Alain Vigneault cares a lot about process.
-But you want to talk about Roberto Luongo. Yes, he’s a good goaltender, yes, Cory Schneider is probably better and more valuable as a cheaper alternative, yes he had a bad game, no this isn’t indicative of the type of goalie we’ll see in Game One of whatever series the Canucks play. That said, he came out awful in this one:
-Anaheim didn’t get a scoring chance until there was 6:42 left in the first period. That puck, a shot off the stick of Ryan Getzlaf, went in. Luongo was in net for just seven scoring chances, and four of them went in. You can attribute that to breakdowns or Marc-André Gragnani or what have you, but, truly, a good goalie will allow one out of every four or five chances faced. Luongo wasn’t there tonight. The breakdowns happen, it’s the natural course of a hockey game, and the goalie exists to protect your team against them.
-He wasn’t there, but that happens too. So rarely in his career have the Canucks bailed out Luongo, but they did tonight. He should buy them drinks or something. Also, to the fans who serenaded Luongo with ‘Happy Birthday’ as he came off the ice, that’s pretty weak.
-Schneider didn’t necessarily have to be there. He saw just five scoring chances and none after the four-minute mark of the third period.
-There were forwards in this game too. The damage done on the Canucks’ late powerplays was done mainly by the second unit, with David Booth, Chris Higgins and Andrew Ebbett, of all people, up front. Alex Edler set up three scoring chances from the point, really seeing the passing lanes well, and Ebbett got a few good shots away. It was an odd PP unit, I’ll admit, but it worked against Anaheim’s over-aggressive defencemen.
-The Canucks’ rejuvinated first line at even strength had another strong game. For whatever reason, Lapierre works very well with Burrows and Henrik Sedin. Sedin made, of course, the amazing play on the first Burrows goal…
-…(note, the audio mixing on this video is terrible. CanucksHD is using the Canucks’ radio feed and the horn cuts in abruptly) Lapierre reminds me on this line a little like Matt Cooke after Todd Bertuzzi was suspended in 2004. The agitator and third liner, Cooke, was placed with Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund with six games left to go in the season and the Canucks won all six. Lapierre has found a similar place on the Canucks’ first line, scoring his third in as many games (although this one wasn’t a scoring chance).
-Dan Hamhuis played the tough matchup, saw the tough minutes, and came out ahead, ho-hum.
-Jannik Hansen set up a Chris Higgins chance and a Samme Pahlsson chance in the third period. I was also quite surprised with the usage of Vigneault’s third and fourth lines. Rather than giving them all the defensive zone starts, Ryan Kesler actually saw many of them, 8 of the 13 total, which is a little off base. Perhaps in the absence of goals from that unit, Vigneault would like to see Kesler and Booth push the puck forward like they can. Didn’t hurt, because Pahlsson, Hansen and Higgins kept events low on the night.
-I saw people complain last week about Alain Vigneault’s defensive system, and tonight people took issue with Marc-André Gragnani’s defensive lapses. That’s the exact kind of player the Canucks knew they were getting, and while a lot of scoring chances came against him when he was on the ice, he also plays the game at a high pace and generates a lot of positive opportunities. He was plus-one in scoring chances tonight, and while I know he’ll hear criticism for his minus-two, I think any reader of this blog knows just how bad of a stat plus/minus is in evaluating players, especially in the short-term.
-I like Gragnani on the powerplay. He can shoot the puck, move in deep and sees the front of the net well. He’s a cheaper Christian Ehrhoff.
-You may wonder why Nik Hagman is a Statistical Three Star. Well, he had a pair of shots on net and was the only Duck, along with Corey Perry, who wasn’t lit up on the penalty kill. Both his shots were recorded as scoring chances, as well.
-Remember Jay Bouwmeester’s 0-11 night on Saturday? Well, François Beauchemin may have topped that. Not only was he a minus-six in chances at even strength, but he got torched on the penalty kill. He had as low of a game score for a skater as I’ve seen.
-The clearly-superior Anaheim Ducks blocked 24 shots to Vancouver’s 11.
-Vigneault did what Canucks Army loves: he went with Alex Burrows and Alex Edler 1-2 in the shootout. No complaints with the selections tonight, and he got three goals out of it.
-One final point about goalies. I tweeted during the game that the Canucks have had two goalies with a higher save percentage than Luongo in their existence. Those goalies are Cory Schneider and Tyler Moss. Tyler Moss’ story is an interesting one, because he played just over 22 minutes in a Canuck uniform, as a backup to Petr Skudra in December of 2002. The Canucks were in Denver, and Skudra had allowed four goals on 23 shots. Down 4-0, Marc Crawford made the switch.
-The Canucks would rally late, but would end up falling 5-3. Moss stopped 13 of 14 shots, allowing a single goal to Dean McAmmond, for a .929 save percentage, and he never made another appearance. Schneider may overtake him after tonight’s game, however.
-This may be Teemu Selanne’s last game in Vancouver. Upsetting.
Statistical Three Stars
- Dan Hamhuis
- Nik Hagman
- Alex Burrows
Statistical Three Goats
- Roberto Luongo
- François Beauchemin
- Saku Koivu
A chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate. Shots on goal and misses are counted, but blocked shots are not (unless the player who blocks the shot is “acting like a goaltender”). Generally speaking, we are more generous with the boundaries of home-plate if there is dangerous puck movement immediately preceding the scoring chance, or if the scoring chance is screened. If you want to get a visual handle on home-plate, check this image. A thank you to Vic Ferrari is in order, as his Timeonice.com scripts enabler this entire operation. Yes, there is an app for this.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 21197
|VAN||1||16:23||David Booth PS||1||5||6||7||17||21||1||5||7||14||23||39||5v5|
|ANA||1||6:42||ANA G 1-0 Getzlaf||1||5||7||17||21||23||1||5||10||12||15||17||5v5|
|VAN||1||5:44||VAN G 1-1 Burrows||1||5||14||23||33||40||1||5||8||9||11||17||5v5|
|ANA||1||3:54||ANA G 2-1 Perry||1||6||27||36||41||1||4||8||9||10||15||4v5|
|ANA||2||17:36||ANA G 3-2 Pelley||1||5||7||17||21||23||1||4||9||14||21||77||5v5|
|ANA||2||12:57||ANA G 4-2 Smith-Pelly||1||5||17||21||23||27||1||4||9||11||21||77||5v5|
|VAN||2||8:40||VAN G 3-4 Burrows||2||14||23||33||35||40||1||9||15||23||73||77||5v5|
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|