Party Fowl – Canucks Blowout the Ducks: Recap and Scoring Chance Data

Aaron Volpatti mugs for the camera after icing the game with a second period goal.
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

After being lit up in the first game of the season by the Anaheim Ducks, Cory Schneider – Vancouver’s starting goaltender – was out for a little bit of redemption in Friday night’s game. He got it, and then some, as he recorded a clean sheet to spoil Anaheim’s home-opener.

Shoutouts are something of an over-rated statistic generally speaking. Sometimes goaltenders will make eleven of so saves, five of them difficult and will record one in a game their team completely dominated. That wasn’t the case this evening and Cory Schneider’s efforts kept Vancouver in the game early, and were critical in a blowout win in which Vancouver’s defense didn’t look particularly good, frankly.

While the Ducks were clearly the superior squad five-on-five, they were undisciplined, and Vancouver’s power-play repeatedly made them pay for their mental errors and occasional thuggish shenanigans. The combination of dominant special teams and air-tight goaltending allowed Vancouver to blowout their opponents in a game that really had no business being so lopsided.

Read on past the jump for a recap and analysis.

– We’ll start, as usual, with the most important statistics. The Canucks were out-chanced 22 to 11 overall, 21 to 6 at even-strength and 5-2 with the score tied.

– Usually when you post a scoring chance differential that hideous, the blowout doesn’t go in your favour. So the most important metrics for this game are as follows: the Canucks out-chanced the Ducks 5-1 on special teams, and capitalized on sixty percent of their five power-play chances (for three power-play goals). Meanwhile Cory Schneider faced eighteen "difficult shots" to Jonas Hiller’s ten. Where Cory Schneider stopped every scoring chance that Anaheim directed accurately on net, while Jonas Hiller only managed to stop five. 

– Yes the final score looks lopsided, but don’t kid yourself: the Canucks won this game on the strength of superior goaltending, effective jerk-puck tactics and solid special teams play. After completely dominating the Canucks in the game’s first eight minutes or so, the Ducks completely lost their composure. Following a soft holding call that went against Daniel Winnik, the Ducks took a string of bad penalties on legitimately dangerous plays by Ryan Getzlaf, who smoked Mason Raymond with his stick in a post-whistle scrum, and Bryan Allen, who threw an impossibly late hit on Dale Weise for the interference call.

The Canucks cashed in with power-play goals by Daniel Sedin and Mason Raymond, and the Ducks had dug themselves a hole against a hot goaltender. It’s ironic, really, because the Ducks truly had Vancouver’s number five-on-five in this contest but failed to play the game on their terms. Vancouver suckered the Ducks into mucking it up, picked their spots better than their opponent, and took advantage of  their opportunities on the power-play. I suppose we now know what Vancouver’s gameplan looks like in Ryan Kesler and David Booth’s absence.

– Jordan Schroeder recorded his first NHL point when Mason Raymond took a nice cross ice feed from the rookie and squeezed it through Jonas Hiller late in the third period. Production is cool and all, but far more valuable was Schroeder’s ability to eat up ice-time without being a defensive liability and to win face-offs in the absence of faceoff aces Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra. Schroeder won 58% of his face-offs, skated legitimate third line minutes for the second straight game and contributed on two Canucks scoring chances, so all in all a fine second outing for the rookie.

– Aaron Volpatti had an Eric Bledsoe kind of game, in that he filled up the boxscore despite seeing limited burn. He skated for a shade over eight minutes but scored a goal, registered three shots on goal, recorded two hits and added five penalty minutes in a fight he won against Anaheim’s Matt Belesky. I’ve been impressed with Volpatti’s game for a couple of seasons now (albeit in limited action), and he really looks like the type of fourth liner you can count on to play a limited role when the games start to matter. Let’s hope he can stay healthy this season.

– The Sedin twins were called out by Alain Vigneault after a lackadaisical performance in Wednesday night’s game against the Flames, and they responded with a much better outing this time around. Where they combined on just three scoring chances in Wednesday night’s game, they produced five between them against the Ducks (nearly half of Vancouver’s total scoring chances in the game). Daniel Sedin scored the opening goal on the five-on-three off of a cross crease feed from Henrik, and the two combined to gift-wrap Zack Kassian’s power-play goal early in the third. That goal really strangled any hope of an Anaheim comeback.

– Zack Kassian is now on a three game goal scoring streak, which is neat. For everyone who likes to critique Vancouver’s player development and lack of drafting success, it’s probably worth noting that in Kassian it looks like the Canucks now have a top-line forward on an entry-level contract.

Let’s include Zack Kassian’s goal in this post because it was probably the most aesthetically pleasing Canucks goal that the Canucks scored on Friday:

Kassian’s minutes were down slightly from the nearly twenty he played against Calgary, but that’s more reflective of the score than anything (he skated roughly the same number of minutes as Daniel Sedin did). I was, again, impressed by his improved speed and fitness level, and his ability to make the smart play when making zone-exit passes (something he struggled with a year ago). 

Finally, Zack Kassian adds some much needed backbone to Vancouver’s usual jerk puck gameplan. He’s like the two of hearts in a game of big two. Two moments I particularly enjoyed were when Corey Perry grabbed his stick, and skated away quickly, basically picking the safest way possible to mess with the big man.

The other was on a play early in the second where Kassian was forechecking against Getzlaf. Getzlaf is a very slippery skater (despite his size) but Kassian did well to track him back into his zone and make sure he was able to finish the hit on him. Behind the play they beaked and I’m pretty sure Kassian was trying to goad Getzlaf into a fight (the score was still 2-0 at this point). Getzlaf is a much worthier opponent than Ben Eager, and it’s good to see Kassian be more selective with his potential dance partners.

– Chris Tanev took a couple of shots where, I thought, he got an awful lot of velocity on his shot compared to what we’ve seen in recent years. Obviously he’s not moving up the power-play depth chart or anything, and won’t any time soon, but that’s good to see. Tanev and Ballard are also playing an awful lot of minutes for an Alain Vigneault third-pairing and are generally acquitting themselves rather well in the expanded role.

– The top two pairings, on the other hand, are a cause for concern early in the season. Kevin Bieksa had a couple of really bad shifts to start the game though he calmed down and played a solid physical game the rest of the way. Meanwhile Alex Edler is still good for a poor read and a turnover that leads directly to a scoring chance per game as his struggles to adjust to the right-side continue. As a team, the Canucks are surrendering an average of 18 scoring chances against per game over their past three contests. Luongo and Schneider have played some phenomenal hockey in those games, thankfully, but it’s tough to imagine this team getting very far if they continue to bleed chances against like that. 

– Mason Raymond is so much stronger on his skates this season. I hadn’t thought about it before the season, but it does make sense that he’d benefit more from eight months off of hockey (both to repair his body, and refocus his mind) than your average player. The second goal was a Jonas Hiller mistake, I think, but the first goal was a lovely play and his second power-play goal in as many games. Anyway, what I’m more impressed with is that Raymond is regularly winning puck battles at even-strength. Looks to me like he’s poised for a rebound year, at least in terms of the underlying metrics.

– Corey Perry is a jerk, obviously, but he can play on my team any day of the week. I appreciate that he was frustrated when his team was laying an egg in their home-opener. I like to see that fire, frankly. He dealt with it like a chump (jumping Keith Ballard) but whatever, Corey Perry is still the man.

Here’s the individual skater scoring chance data for the Canucks:

  Chances Taken Chance Assists Totals
Daniel Sedin 2 1 3
Alex Burrows 2 1 3
Henrik Sedin 1 2 3
Mason Raymond 2 0 2
Zack Kassian 2 0 2
Jordan Schroeder 1 1 2
Aaron Volpatti 1 0 1

And finally here’s the scoring chance totals from the game:

Scoring Chances (EV) 1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Total
Canucks 5 (1) 2 (2) 4 (3) 11 (6)
Ducks 8 (8) 6 (5) 8 (8) 22 (21)
  • @Kips. Sorry about that Kips, but yeah it’s a clear shot directed on net from an area surrounding the slot called home plate . In the future I’ll be sure to include an explanation to help newer readers understand precisely what we’re talking about. Thanks for asking, it’s a good reminder to me to slow down!

    @mofans – I’m totally a jerk sometimes (aren’t we all?), though of course I’m not likely to win a Hart Trophy anytime soon! I apologize if my tone came off as too caustic in this review (I wrote it at 2-3am after working straight for about 15 hours). I the point I’m making is that: VAN won with excellent special teams and goaltending, but were the worse 5-on-5 team (by far). That doesn’t bode well going forward, the result of Friday’s game aside (though Kesler and Booth will help a lot on this front).

  • Gunnar

    Actually, I though it was a great write-up.
    Thomas nailed it!

    My expected. Goal formula:

    has this game: Van 4.9 (GF) ANA 5.1(GF)

    How would we of acted if a forward had a 5 point night????

    This was truly an OUTSTANDING goaltending performance from Cory. He was 5 goals above an average keeper! But Vancouver has been getting A+ goaltending for so! long the Coach/media/most fans take it for granted. (I believe in Ana D. Sedin was the first star????)

    Score effects were not an issue as ANA was dominant on ES throughout. My research shows the major issue is that the Canuck Defense are giving up the blue line to regularly & are not aggressive enough in zone coverage.
    As a result, they are not only giving up
    too many chances but they are from closer to the net & are Higher quality!

    Are they out of shape? Have they lost there hunger? JG & AE need time to get familiar with each other but the other two pairs are with familiar partners.

    GMMG said on radio the other day – what a team needs to win the cup is a) excellent goaltending (check) & b) luck???

    Really Mike? how about a third line two way center?like A. Vermette? or B Laich? or M Goc?

  • Gunnar

    Hello Army, first time poster long time reader.

    I’m a huge canuck fan who moved to calgary and has been living here for the past decade. In social settings in this town that makes me worse than a nazi pedophile, I’ve learned to deal.

    One week in and two saturdays in the book I’ve had the opportunity to “discuss” the strengths and weekness of the canucks to the flame faithful.

    Luongo is the big topic of course, and everyone here thinks he’s worth less than a bag of pucks.

    I feel since the season started and teams have struggled that his worth is growing. These are the teams and the deals I’ve proposed, what do you think.

    Florida: Bjugstrad and first round pick Non negotiable take it or leave it

    NYI: Niederreiter and Nielsen Unlikely that lou would go there but one can dream.

    Phi: Couturier and first round. There is room for movement on this deal as long as couturier is involved.

    Stl: The blues you ask? They will never win the cup with the goaltending they have now. I know your never suppose to say never….But the blues will never EVER win the cup with the goalies they have now. So the canucks ask for Berglund and Shattenkirk. Steep price you say, but thats the price won pays to trade in conference.

    Chi Town: Go F yourself not happening. Unless you include Toews…. Second thought back to my first thought Go F yourself, rather trade with boston.

    Oilers This is just a bad idea. Lou will most likely never except a move to edmonton and really who could blame him, but in case of the remote and I mean remote possibility that he would, do we want to face a top 10 goalie (And Lou is a top ten goalie who kicks major rump despite what many of us nucks fans think) with a major chip on his shoulder and something to prove 5 to 6 times a year plus playoffs. I think not. if there is a deal to be made the canucks have to get the moon. What do I mean by that:
    Yakupov, Petry and a first round pick.
    j.Schultz, Paajarvi, and Hartikainnen.

    That is a heck of a lot to pay for a goalie with a contract like Lou you might say and it is, but that is the price to pay for trading in division. Dwayne Rolson cost a first round pick plus and that was before he was Dwayne Rolson. Thats the cost of doing business with division rivals, and thats why this will never happen. To high a cost for edmonton and vancouver can’t accept anything less.

    Finally there is the Centre of the Universe or toronto for those not in the know. I hate that this is the place most people think is the most logical landing spot for lou. The leafs do not have the pieces to satisfy vancouver’s need. Bozak sucks, everyone of the leafs d playing for them now is infinitely worse then what the naucks have now. the Leafs have to give up:

    Kadri, Gardiner, and Frattin

    This is non negotiable, heck I’d want a first rounder thrown in just to compensate for the lack of needs fixed with this crap fest trade. T.O just dosen’t work.

    What do you think Thomas?

    • Gunnar

      I think that’s all pretty far-fetched, personally. “For the moon” usually doesn’t mean “your best prospect, two roster players and a high draft pick”. A good return would be more like a third-line forward, decent prospect and maybe second rounder. Anything better than that is a steal for an older, expensive goalie that everyone knows we want to trade. He’s a damn good goalie, no doubt, but no one’s gonna sell the farm for him.

      Bjugstad and a first, take it or leave it? They already left just Bjugstad.

      Berglund and Shattenk… wha? Who makes that trade? Is Millbury running the Blues? Didn’t Halak and whatsisface win the Jennings last year? And make the conference final? Yeah, who needs goaltending like that?

      Oilers and Hawks will just never happen, Lu would never go to a bottom-feeder like the Isles, and Couturier… yeah, that would be nice, but why stop there? Why not ask for Giroux? No, Giroux, Couturier and a first. I’d let him go for that.

      Man, I really went on here. Sorry, dude, but it was just so far from reality I had to make myself look like a jerk. I’ll try to rein it in next time.

      Back to you, Thomas!

      • Gunnar

        Mitch you seem to fall into the lou is worth less than a bag of pucks group.

        Gillis believes different or a lou trade would have happened by now.

        If Edmonton wants Lou, there has to be a HUGE overpay or the canucks can not make a deal with them. These teams will never make a deal because of this, thats the point I was trying to make.

        Same point really with STL. Lou on that team actually would put stl into the conference finals, last year lost to La in the conference semi finals or second round 4 straight because of spotty goaltending. More likely STL into the cup finals for next couple of years which is in the way of the canucks “window” to win. That has to cost something doesn’t?

    • JCDavies

      A trade with STL would be interesting but I can’t imagine their ownership is stable enough to take on that kind of contract.

      Why are you proposing a take it or leave it offer with Florida? If they offer something different that still makes sense I would take it.

      Although it would NEVER happen, the thought of J. Schultz getting traded to Vancouver after choosing the Oilers over the Canucks last June would be hilarious.

      • Gunnar

        I may be a little pissy when it comes to florida, haven’t liked their hard ball stance so I’ve responded in kind. Still believe any deal with FLA has to be built around Bjugstad. There really is not a lot to like on their roster from a canucks perspective without him included.

  • @Gunnar thanks for chiming in bud.

    I don’t think that, say, Bjugstad and a first makes all that much sense as a Luongo return, frankly. Firstly the Panthers aren’t very good this season I don’t think so they should be very wary of trading a first round pick. Secondly, I think it’s pretty clear that GIllis wants something like: a bluechip future asset, a roster player and a pick (top-60). I tend to think that VAN should hold firm unless they get a top-2 or 3 prospect from a club (say Bjugstad, Goc and a 2nd?) But if teams were willing to pay that sort of price (FLA especially) the trade would be completed already.

    Ultimately I think VAN will have to lower their price and settle for a more run of the mill prospect (Drew Shore, maybe?) in addition to an expiring player who can help this season and a pick. I’d still applaud That sort of return, but until something of that sort of value materializes I’d say Gillis is right to keep both tenders for now.