Photo credit to Jeff Vinnick/NHLInteractive
I apologize in advance for any spelling mistakes. I spent pretty much the entire day on my couch eating jujubes and jellybeans and watching hockey. If I didn’t contract Type-II diabetes, I’m probably in the middle of a fairly good sugar high.
Earlier, the Toronto Maple Leafs blasted Montreal on the road 6-0. In the late game, Vancouver blasted the Calgary Flames right out of their home building 5-1. It was really not an exciting night for the neutral viewer on Hockey Day in Canada, but given we have two or three or four Canuck fans who regularly read this site, maybe that second scoreline is a bit more appealing than it would be for the neutral viewer. Maybe next time the Flames play in Vancouver I won’t have to sedate myself with sugar.
Also, Jordan Schroeder got his first NHL goal and first multi-goal NHL game. With two career goals and two career game-winning goals, he’s practically Captain Clutch.
-Scoring chances were 17-14 for the Canucks in this game. Earl Kent Wilson of FlamesNation was less generous to his Flames—he had them at 20-13. Perhaps I’m feeling a bit of charity towards Calgary, or perhaps Kent is used to weak borderline snapshots finding their way past Flames goalies in recent years. There was a lot of activity around the Flames’ crease tonight, a lot of pucks bouncing off shin pads. It’s lucky for the Flames that they weren’t on the wrong end of a few more bounces or the score could have gotten really out of hand.
-Henrik and Daniel Sedin were in legitimate 2010 and 2011 form tonight, even if it didn’t manifest itself in a six-point outing for Henrik, the twins worked the boards like they did in their prime years, getting some good powerplay chances in the second period and finished at a +5 in scoring chance differential each. Henrik had a pair of assists, drawing to within one point of Markus Naslund for the franchise record.
-Alex Burrows’ goal, the Canucks’ first on the night, looked to me that it may have banked in off of Jay Bouwmeester, and may have gone in even if Burrows didn’t get his stick on the puck. It was a bit of an ugly goal, but did the job tying the game at one.
-Jordan Schroeder’s first career goal (even though he scored a winner against Chicago in the shootout) was a little nicer. Just a bit. Alex Edler, who played a strong defensive game, lets go with a half-shot, half-pass at the point, as Schroeder described it after the game. Schroeder gets good wood on it. Usually we don’t credit deflections as scoring chances, but there was a very deliberate attempt on both the part of Edler and Schroeder to get this up in the air:
-That second line was doing some buzzing, and it’s going to be interesting to see what Vigneault does when Ryan Kesler gets back. I know the whole world is clamouring for Schroeder-Kesler-David Booth when that becomes available, but I’m wondering if there’s a possibility of keeping this line together and putting Kesler and Booth with Zack Kassian. You’re looking at two second lines either way and a plethora of above average forwards.
-The fourth line had a lousy game chance-wise, but it’s worth noting Manny Malhotra took a team-high 8 defensive zone draws. There was no particular match up for him, especially as the Flames later in the night saw their lines split up as Bob Hartley tried to get his scorers together. Maxim Lapierre took six d-zone draws.
-What does that do? Jordan Schroeder took 10 draws in the offensive zone and Henrik Sedin took 14. Having defensive players being able to shoulder the load like that allows players to show what they can do offensively. The Sedins and Schroeder are going to get some good press for their game tonight, but the third and fourth lines did some work in the fields for them.
-Particularly Lapierre actually. He was only a minus-1 differential tonight despite seeing plenty of defensive match ups. Kassian and Chris Higgins had difficult games, though. Out of place for Chris Higgins to be on the ice for more scoring chances against then for, even when handling tough minutes. Maybe he also misses Kesler and Booth.
-While I’m writing this, I’m also watching Roberto Luongo’s After Hours segment. He took ownership of the @strombone1 account, told the full story of the “Poop Game” in Anaheim, and called Scott Oake a milt. If you were out Saturday night and not watching Hockey Night, I highly suggest finding the video somewhere.
-The defence was good up and down the lineup. I thought if any one guy had a tough game it was Chris Tanev, but they were all pluses otherwise. Tanev made an odd blind pass behind his own net in the first period and got overpowered by Lee Stempniak, of all people, as Stempniak fed Comeau for a good chance early in the second. He hunkered down from there, got an assist on Schroeder’s second goal. Never were the Canucks hemmed in their own end for a while and Calgary couldn’t generate too many excellent shots in sequences.
-They have no Sedins.
-They do have Roman Cervenka, though, who I thought may have been the best Flame on the ice. The problem is that Bob Hartley kept bouncing him up and down through the lineup and didn’t keep him with Jiri Hudler, with whom he’s had some good chemistry with this season. Cervenka is playing on a different playing surface after a long pro career in Europe, but he seems to have adapted to breaking straight for the circles and taking shots on the rush rather than setting up. He had a couple of attempts tonight, one from in close, and set up Jay Bouwmeester on a second period powerplay.
-Free Jarome Iginla.
-The goaltending wasn’t a factor in a 5-1 game, but Leland Irving impressed in the first half, getting post to post quickly and stopping Higgins, Weise and Mason Raymond on lateral chances. He had some issues with rebound control, however, and that ended up being his downfall. Rebound was also the theme to Cory Schneider’s goal against tonight. I think Schneider is more athletic than Luongo, but Luongo probably snares the initial Blake Comeau shot on Calgary’s goal and doesn’t allow Stempniak to grab it and score. Splitting hairs, I think Luongo also allows a goal that game. Schneider played very well.
-Here are the individual scoring chance differential numbers:
|Chances For||Chances Vs.||Differential|
|Chances For||Chances Vs.||Differential|
-And team numbers:
|Calgary (EV)||5 (5)||5 (2)||4 (4)||14 (11)|
|Vancouver (EV)||6 (6)||6 (3)||5 (5)||17 (14)|
Canucks Army Three Stars:
- Jordan Schroeder
- Henrik Sedin
- Alex Burrows