Improbable Comeback Against Hawks Comes To Halt in Skills Competition: Recap and Chance Data

It’ll get lost in the shuffle, but Cory Schneider’s performance (despite the loss) was worth talking about.

The Vancouver Canucks started off their four game road trip by taking an undeserved point from the Chicago Blackhawks, before ultimately losing in the glorified skills competition that is the shootout. 

I watched this game from start to finish – in fact, I watched many sequences more than once as part of the chance counting process – and I can’t quite figure out how the Canucks managed to steal that point. Well, that’s a lie, because I can; it was thanks to the Cory Schneider show. Let’s just say that the members of the team’s defense owe their ‘tender a few rounds after this one (I’m sure Patty Kane can throw a recommendation for a good hangout spot their way).

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Read on Past the Jump for Scoring Chance Data, and Analysis.

If you watched this game, your eyes surely told you that Schneider put forth a spectacular effort. But let me try to quantify it for you – the Blackhawks managed 30 scoring chances on this night, which is a number that you won’t see far too often in an NHL game (especially against a team that isn’t terrible). Unfortunately, we don’t categorize the chances in terms of how dangerous they were. A scoring chance is a scoring chance. But I’d venture to guess that quite a few of the ones on this night were of the "Grade A" variety. It’s remarkable that only 3 got by him, really.

A classic example of what he was faced with came roughly halfway through the first period, when the Hawks managed to get two shorthanded breakaways in a row. Just moments after the Canucks had managed to barely kill off that brutal power play of theirs, Patrick Sharp was sprung for yet another one, which Schneider stopped as well. You would have figured that he would have fared better in the shootout considering the practice he got early on.

Somehow, the Canucks still managed to take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite being out-chanced by a margin of 10-2. Ironically enough, Daniel Sedin – who was stoned on the team’s only two chances early on – managed to get a weak one past Sugar Ray Emery from a brutal angle. Classic Emery.

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We preach about the process, and eventually, it bit the Canucks in the rear end. The Hawks continued to dominate play in the 2nd, scoring 3 unanswered to take what seemed like a commanding lead at the time. The second one came after Max Lapierre, who had been stuck on the ice for 1:56 during a penalty kill, committed a penalty of his own. Shortly thereafter Ryan Kesler broke his stick, and the Hawks’ lethal power play took advantage of a prime opportunity. The third tally was pretty much just a case of Marian Hossa being significantly better at hockey than Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison, combined. Not too much you can do about that, unless of course your name is Jannik Hansen..

.. settle down, I’m just joking. I hope that Hossa is okay. Concussions are serious business, and you never want to see anyone get hurt that way. Especially a player of the caliber of Hossa, who is so exciting to watch. He makes being a fan of hockey a more fulfilling experience.

I’m not going to comment on what Hansen did, though, because I have no idea what his intentions were. As fans of the team know, he’s not exactly the type of player to stoop to that sort of thing. And from my point of view, it sure looked like he was making a play at the puck. Given the history between these two teams, there will understandably be skepticism whenever something like this happens. Still, I find it difficult to believe that he meant to hurt Hossa. Who really knows, though (except for Hansen, himself). Let’s all stop pretending to. I’m not sure if he’ll be suspended; instead, I’ll just wait to see how this all turns out, then feign outrage regardless of the outcome. It seems like a trendy course of action these days.

Let me just point out that Hansen will be made to look like a dangerous villain who was "head hunting", despite the fact that – in the same game, no less – Brandon Bollig punched Dale Weise in the face three times before Weise could defend himself. Those darn Canucks, with their head shots and what not.

Back to the game now, since this is a game recap after all. I really thought things had a chance to get out of hand in a bad way at several points during the 3rd, especially if the Hawks got that 4th goal. Things got quite chippy. But instead, the Canucks used two instances where they had the extra attacker (one on the power play, then another with their goalie pulled) to tie the game up. Those goals came 101 seconds apart, and since they both came in the final three minutes, I’m led to believe that means they were "clutch".

This game will likely be remembered for Hansen’s elbow on Hossa, and for the two late goals to get the Canucks their single point. But the main story for me was Cory Schneider, who put forth an otherworldly effort, reminding everyone out there that he’s still a pretty sweet goaltender.

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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: 

  1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Totals
Canucks (EV) 2 (2) 5 (5) 3 (2) 0 (0) 10 (9)
Blackhawks (EV) 10 (8) 9 (5) 8 (8) 3 (3) 30 (24)

And here’s the individual chance data for the Canucks skaters: 

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Individual Chances Taken Chances Assisted Chances Total
Ryan Kesler 3 0 3
Henrik Sedin 0 3 3
Daniel Sedin 2 0 2
Alex Burrows 2 0 2
Mason Raymond 0 2 2
Jannik Hansen 1 0 1
Chris Higgins 1 0 1
Alex Edler 1 0 1
Max Lapierre 0 1 1
Jordan Schroeder 0 1 1
Dan Hamhuis 0 1 1

  • Always look forward to these.

    Wondering if you have the data for d-men and how many scoring chances each was on the ice for? Now that would be telling in this game.

    I can’t believe what s#$% show I was watching, and they still got a point. How is this possible? Oh ya, the gingy in net stole the night. Unreal goaltending. Unreal.

    Oddly enough, the last 2 games Canucks were the better team but didn’t win. Tonight, they were a horrible dreadful team and they still got a point. Such is hockey. And such is a reminder about small sample sizes. Hawks are due for regression, especially in net. Can’t wait till the sky falls in Chicago when they come back down to earth over a large sample size.


    • Dimitri Filipovic

      Unfortunately, the site we use for that hasn’t been in action thus far this season. And I wasn’t able to manually get it done. But I assume everyone’s were ugly, just based on the pure size of the chances against.

  • It is funny to see the Blackhawks getting so outraged at perceived injustices while Duncan Keith sits sheepishly on their bench. Just heard Toews. He’s certain what Hansen’s intention was- he must have some mindreading gypsy in him.

    • JCDavies

      Nah, he just got a quick preview of Ron Mclean’s next segment on HNIC. Now Ron, he is the mind reader.

      But yeah, I like all the outrage about the “headshot” by Hansen. Lets face it, around a half dozen worse headshots were thrown in the scrum afterwards. And it happened right in front of the ref, who signalled exactly nothing for 10 seconds while play carried on until they realized Hossa was out.

      I hope he isn’t injured, but this is a play that wouldn’t warrant a card in soccer, let along hockey.

  • JCDavies

    For me, the two stories in this game were the play of Cory Schneider (which is obvious) and the way this awesome rivalry continues to feed itself. I really hope the NHL and the NHLPA don’t find a way to eff this up during the realignment process.

    Also, I really hope the Blackhawks were just being careful with Hossa and he isn’t seriously injured.

    Mini rant:

    What was with the replays on the Hansen “headshot”? The NFL would’ve had at least a dozen different camera angles and distances and the clips would’ve been looped endlessly on ESPN for the next 24 hours. But for the NHL we get a couple of horrible replays from the worst angles. It’s like the United Center only has 3 cameras …

    Rant over. Sorry guys.

  • JCDavies

    Crazy game! I’ve watched both games against the Hawks, and they seem to disrupt the Canucks’ transition too well. The D just looks disorganized, and I’m now a believer that they are the team to beat. With Hossa that is. He’s playing unbelievable hockey. (I was surprised though that the first period chances were so lop-sided. I guess the Canucks were getting near to chances, but not quite controlling.)

    Anyway, I’ll probably be in the minority of Canucks fans, but I think Hansen should be suspended, and intention doesn’t matter here at all (it doesn’t matter if we can read minds or not). Here’s the thing, even if he was trying to make a legitimate play at a high puck with his hand, and just timed it wrong, he managed to hit Hossa in the back of the head pretty hard. It’s a borderline thing, but on headshots, it’s time to move the border. Like with high-sticking, if you catch someone by accident while carrying your stick up, you get called. It’s time to do make those calls on head shots. Now, the problem is they only gave Keith 5 games last year for his pretty intentional hit on Daniel. So, with the few replays I’ve seen, Hansen’s hit probably deserves 2 as a first time offender.

    And I agree with Dmitri that they should start suspending guys like Bollig who start throwing punches at the head before the other guy is ready. Head shots are ruining the game, and ruining the lives of players.

  • The Goalie 1976

    Another Diving penalty for Ryan Kesler.

    In other news ….. The NHL just changed the name of the “Diving” penalty to “Keslering.”

    So from now on the announcers will say, “wow did you see that player flopping and Keslering all over the place, what an embarrassment.”

  • The Hawks shot the puck poorly last night. I suspect Schnieder has a rather sore chest this morning. Having watched a lot of Hawks games this year that was easily Pat Kanes worst performance.

    On hansen vs hossa. The end result is a “forgettable” takes out an all-star and that is unfortunate. I didn’t see much malice in the effort but the way hossa folded does seem to indicate a substantial applied force. Given that by appearance Hansen was attempting to glove the puck im not sure why that force was even present.

    Seems odd. I suspect his elbow pad hit him right on the button and the net effect was optically egregious.


    He flat out forearm shivered him in the back of the skull with his titanium reinforced armour. 😉

  • Sadly the return of Kessler does “seem” to corresponded to a return to old vices.

    I was quite impressed with the perceived reformation of the nucks as they battled their a**es off with a depleted lineup to start the year. And i saw scant if any evidence of the head snapping and forward half gainers. Even from notorious (agitators).

    Perhaps its just a phase but its definitely back on the radar… and it remains an embarrassment to the game. (such that it is).