Mason Raymond had a strong game in a losing effort, as the Canucks blow a late lead in Texas.
(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
You just know the Canucks’ panel of sleep experts circled today’s game early on in the season as a potential "let down" or "trap game." It was the team’s sixth game in eight nights, a run that started with a game against Toronto in Vancouver, followed immediately the next day by a game against Edmonton. The team then made a pit stop in Tennesse, followed up by another "travel double header" this week in Michigan and New Jersey. Having logged all of those miles, and played several grueling games – it was obvious that the Canucks were going to be lethargic in this one, an afternoon game in Texas.
These concerns aside, the Canucks came out-strong this afternoon and did what they had to do to win. Through 40 minutes they were the superior side and had built a one goal lead. To their credit – they didn’t "sit on" on that lead in the third – they continued to trade chances with the Stars for the first fifteen minutes of the third period.
In the last five minutes of the game, however, the tide turned. There’s a lot of excuses you can make for this: Dallas is a desperate bubble team and needed these points and their players don’t want to be shipped off tomorrow. Also, score effects become stronger in the games waning moments and the Canucks have, as mentioned above, criss-crossed the continent – seemingly at random – over the past week. Finally a linesman called a borderline icing on the Canucks (as I see it, it could’ve gone either way – but those are the breaks) with a minute to play and that gave Dallas one last chance to tie it with their goaltender on the bench.
Dallas, of course, made good on that chance as a lovely Ribiero deflection beat Luongo. From there the energized home-town team absolutely dominated the tired visitor, handing the Canucks their first OT loss in over 13 months.
Click past the jump for a more detailed recap, the statistical three stars and goats, and scoring chance data!
– As usual we’ll begin with the core numbers. The Stars out-chanced the Canucks 22-20 overall, 17-13 at even-strength and 11 to 5 with the score tied. Dallas’ hockey team deserved to win this game, even though those numbers are inflated by their dominance of over-time.
– Did you pick up on the modification Alain Vigneault has made in his deployment of the team’s forwards? Ryan Kesler and Cody Hodgson have switched line-mates, and Kesler is now playing the sort of difficult minutes that he used to play before Manny Malhotra joined the team. Kesler started 7 shifts in the defensive end tonight, and only 2 in the offensive end – meaning he was used as a checking forward today.
– Despite seeing sheltered minutes with quality two-way wingers – Cody Hodgson had a rough go of it this afternoon. The rookie posted a negative chance differential at even-strength, and had some rather sordid possession stats too. Without getting too fancy, in nearly eleven minutes of even-strength ice-time, the Canucks managed a single shot for with Hodgson on the ice, while the Stars tallied six against.
– In the first period we got a fun Tanev-Edler shift, which, I really wish we could see more of. Tanev doesn’t have top-4 size, but I think he can handle top-4 minutes because of his passing ability, situational intelligence and his smart stick. The young defenseman and Edler have taken four shifts together over the last three games, and on each one the Canucks have controlled play and looked extremely dangerous in their opponents end – but the pairing have yet to produce a scoring chance. If they get more time together: I suspect they’ll be the rare defensive pairing that can legitimately "drive play."
– Also in the first, Vernon Fiddler cracked up Canucks head-coach Alain Vigneault by mimicking Kevin Bieksa’s over the top angry face. Eye-witness and Legion of Blogger "Steve in the KT" described Fiddler’s impression as " Equal parts Chicken lady and mild seizure." That means Fiddler nailed it. So did Harrison Mooney, who got a post up on AV’s laughter outbreak during the 2nd intermission, and didn’t miss a second of the game itself. Kudos, Harrison.
– Mason Raymond has now scored two goals in back-to-back games off of shots that were not recorded as scoring chances. After all of his bad-luck over the past month, he’s now scored on two absolute softies, and sometimes that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Now we can all hype up how Raymond will look to extend his goal-scoring streak on Tuesday! Anyone? *crickets*
– Dallas’ win gives them some cushion ahead of the other teams battling for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. It also may have been the type of win that convinces Stars GM Joe Niewendyk to sit tight at the deadline, rather than sell off assets. Kiss goodbye do your Steve Ott related third line fantasies Canucks fans.
– Stephane Robidas was a beast for the Stars tonight, and functionally neutered the Sedins at even-strength. Loui Erikson was also a force for Dallas, and has to be one of the NHL’s best 4-on-4 players. I don’t have data to back this up (aside from tonight) but I’ve watched him single-handedly dominate the extra-frame several times this season. Tonight was no different, as he was responsible for the zone-entry that led to his eventual game-winner.
– The Canucks looked tired, and beaten in OT, but there was one sequence worth highlighting. Chris Tanev took a big hit from Eric Nystrom, but bounced back up and marauded down the ice, setting up the Sedins for a chance at a chance (they didn’t manage to do anything with that chance, but that’s not Tanev’s fault). I just wanted to highlight this because the sequence illustrated perfectly why Tanev is the real deal. He’s already able to compensate for his lack of size with quickness, and intelligence: and he’s shown it consistently in nearly 50 NHL games.
Statistical 3 Stars
- Stephane Robidas
- Mason Raymond
- Loui Erikson
Statistical 3 Goats
- Adam Burish
- Mark Fistric
- Trevor Daley
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 big thank you to Vic Ferrari is in order, as his timeonice.com scripts enable the entire operation. Yes, there is an app for this.
Scoring Chances for NHL Game Number 20927
|VAN||2||19:04||1-0 VAN (Higgins)||1||2||3||14||17||20||3||16||23||29||32||44||5v5|
|DAL||2||1:56||2-1 VAN (Ribeiro)||1||6||23||36||40||3||21||32||33||63||73||4v5|
Totals (Canucks on the left, Stars on the right).
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|