A physical affair broke out on Tuesday night, but Mason Raymond was up to it.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward/AP
On Tuesday night, the Vancouver Canucks went on to win their 6th game in a row thanks to a 2-1 defeat of Minnesota’s professional hockey team. Ironically enough, this game was anything but "wild", despite what the title may imply. Sometimes you need to skew the facts in order to incorporate a good pun. At least that’s what Thomas Drance taught me my first day on the job. Plus, it really all depends on your perspective; for example, I think Bryan Reynolds thought this was a heck of a game.
Regardless, a win is a win. All of ’em count the same at the end of the day. And I’m sure that the Canucks will gladly take yet another 2 points against a Northwest Division rival.
Read on Past the Jump for Scoring Chance Data, and Analysis.
What may have been the most exciting part of this game came before the puck even dropped in Rogers Arena. Canucks fans were tuning into TSN around 7 PM only to find the Tampa Bay Lightning mustering up a furious comeback against the Montreal Canadiens. Why is this important? Well, TSN refuses to put a buffer between its doubleheader games, and it seems that the first game is always bound to drag on into the beginning of the Canucks game. This time was no different as former Canuck Sami Salo tied it up to sent it to overtime.. wait, I’m not recapping that game? Fine.
I must mention that I thoroughly enjoy Canucks games on TSN, though, even with their bizarre scheduling patterns. Ray Ferraro is always packin’ some serious heat between the benches, providing us with commentary that we don’t usually get to hear from John Garrett (to be fair, those hot dogs aren’t eating themselves). My favourite Ferraro bit came moments after a post-whistle scrum resulted in roughing penalties for Alex Burrows and Zenon Konopka. We went on to learn that during the commercial break, Max Lapierre had made it abundantly clear to the Wild that he would be coming after some of their smaller guys (Jared Spurgeon and Zach Par
iseeezee, in particular) if they didn’t cut it out. I quite enjoyed that.
The Canucks started off slowly, registering their first scoring chance of the game 11:33 in. Fortunately, it resulted in a power play goal for Kevin Bieksa. What made the play was a beautiful pass by Zack Kassian, whose passing ability has been on display all season long. I find it to be a really positive thing that he has been able to continue contributing to the team despite what could be viewed as a "demotion" in recent games. It would have been easy for him to sulk, but we’ve seen none of that.
The Canucks made it 2-0 in the second period thanks to a noteworthy shift from Mason Raymond and Jordan Schroeder. They managed to win a puck battle along the boards against the big bad Wild, before a tic-tac-toe going from Raymond to Ballard to Hansen wound up in the back of the net. Right before the goal Ferraro was talking about how fast these guys are. Their passing did it on this instance; it reminded me of my basketball coach who would always preach that you "can’t outrun the pass".
Minnesota’s first shot of the 2nd came 10:15 left, which sounds about right. Up until that point they hadn’t exactly showed any real desire to force the action. They wound up cutting it to a 1-goal game shortly after, thanks to a play in which Jason Garrison looked rather soft on the puck, getting rubbed out by Granlund.
It’s worth pointing out that the Canucks only had 2 power play opportunities in this entire game. That’s a little eyebrow raising for me, given the way the Wild went about playing this one. It sure seemed like there was plenty an occasion where a Wild player would take a late run at a Canuck after the whistle.
Ultimately, the Canucks wound up hanging on for dear life in the final period. They practically treated it like a New Year’s Eve countdown, where they were all looking at the clock waiting for the final seconds to tick off. Frankly they’re rather lucky that the Wild are as incompetent offensively as they are. A good hockey team probably would have made them pay on this night. But then again, maybe they would have submitted a more spirited effort if they had been presented with a more competent opponent. Chicken or the egg, right?
Scoring Chance Data
A reminder for those of you new to reading our site: a scoring chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate (here’s an image of "home-plate" so you can get a visual definition). 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.
Here’s the total scoring chance data:
And here’s the individual chance data for the Canucks skaters:
*Edit: Zack Kassian had a chance assisted, obviously, on Bieksa’s 1st period goal.
Fun with Numbers
This game featured no fun. Check back next time.