I Am Not a Human Being II
Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/NHLI via Getty Images
In the second game of a road back-to-back and facing one of the league’s mingiest defensive clubs, the Vancouver Canucks chose a conservative gameplan and at least once the team woke up at some point during the first intermission, they executed it successfully. Not that the two points does anything to make Friday night’s one-to-nothing victory over the Predators any easier on the eyes, in hindsight.
Sure the game was conducted at a stultifying pace and was certainly no diamond in the rough (like a baby in the trash), but Roberto Luongo was excellent and in front of him the Canucks were the decidedly better club over the latter forty minutes. They deserved the two points and also Dale Weise scored the only goal, so we can quote Lil Wayne in the gamer!
Read on past the jump.
– Let’s kick this gamer off with a recap of the scoring chance data, which more than the very beginning are the very best place to start. In aggregate the Nashville Predators recorded more scoring chances than the Canucks with sixteen overall to Vancouver’s nine, and thirteen at even-strength to nine for the Canucks. If you break it down by game-state, however, the Canucks out-chanced the Predators nine to seven at even strength with the score tied which is essential context in this case.
– The first period of Friday night’s game was probably as poorly as the Canucks have played in any one period so far on this road trip, and that includes the second period of Tuesday night’s game against the Blackhawks. The Canucks registered only two shots in the frame, both by defensemen, while the Predators dominated the puck and generated scoring chances seemingly at will. At one point in the first period, Jannik Hansen recieved a lovely breakaway pass from Ryan Kesler and ultimately failed to generate even a shot on the play. Meanwhile the Canucks literally spent their first power-play opportunity in the neutral zone, and on the penalty-kill they permitted three scoring chances against on Nashville’s first opportunity with the man-advantage.
– Luckily for the Canucks, the first period was an aberration because they were so much better in the second period. Mike Gillis spoke at length on the Team 1040 on Friday afternoon about how, in his opinion, almost no team around the league has yet been able to put together a proper "sixty minute" effort so far this season. His team sure proved him right in that first period, and even more so when they came out and handed the Predators their posteriors in the second and third periods.
– From the start of the second period through to when Dale Weise scored the game winner, the Canucks out-chanced the Predators by a margin of eight-to-one, all at even-strength. The hockey wasn’t in the same area code as "scintilating" but considering the Canucks were missing their even-strength minutes leader and were playing the second game of a back-to-back, it was a reasonably impressive performance.
– After a rough outing in Dallas and a woeful performance in the first period on Friday, the Ryan Kesler, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins line had a fantastic shift mid-way through the second. They were unable to score, but they combined to win more fifty-fifty puck battles than you can count on one hand, and recorded two code red scoring chances while cycling the puck in the Predators end of the rink for nearly a minute. This solid shift was the closest this game got to entertaining.
– Early in the second period Kevin BIeksa left the game and appeared to be favouring his right leg following a hit from big Predators defenseman Hal Gill. It’s since been revealed that it’s a groin injury so who knows how long Bieksa might be out. According to Alain Vigneault, Andrew Alberts will draw into the lineup if Bieksa is out for any significant length of time.
– Bieksa has led the Canucks in even-strength ice-time all season, clocking in at just under seventeen minutes per game. With number three in the dressing room on Friday night, every other Canucks defenseman played more minutes than Bieksa has averaged this season. Both Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis picked up the most slack clocking in well over twenty minutes at even-strength on Friday.
– I think that Keith Ballard has looked pretty good playing the right side over the past couple of games, and the chance data backs that impression up. It’s nice to see Ballard find his form this season. If he keeps it up it’ll make his sudden demise as a steady top-four defenseman in 2010-11 and 2011-12 even more inexplicable.
– Weise-y F. Baby says "I ain’t on no hockey team" which is a lie because he scored his first of the year tonight:
– The last time we saw Roberto Luongo he put in his first "iffy" outing of the season in a 4-3 shootout loss against the St. Louis Blues. On Friday he stopped all twenty-three shots he faced, including a really impressive goal-line stand in the first period and stopped all 13 "difficult shots" he faced. If I had to guess, I think Friday’s shutout will be enough to earn Luongo the start in Detroit on Sunday.
Scoring Chance Data
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.
Scoring Chance Totals
|Scoring Chance Totals||1st||2nd||3rd||Total|
|Nashville (EV)||9 (6)||0 (0)||7 (6)||16 (12)|
|Vancouver (EV)||1 (1)||5 (5)||3 (3)||9 (9)|
Individual Scoring Chances:
Individual Scoring Chance Differential:
|Chance Differential||EV F-A||PP F-A||SH F-A||Total F-A|
|Dan Hamhuis||4 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 3||4 – 5|
|Kevin Bieksa||1 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 3||1 – 4|
|Keith Ballard||5 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 0||5 – 2|
|Jason Garrison||3 – 5||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 5|
|David Booth||1 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 0||1 – 0|
|Chris Tanev||3 – 6||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 6|
|Zack Kassian||2 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 0||2 – 2|
|Alex Burrows||3 – 4||0 – 0||0 – 3||3 – 7|
|Ryan Kesler||3 – 3||0 – 0||0 – 3||3 – 6|
|Chris Higgins||3 – 6||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 6|
|Mason Raymond||1 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 0||1 – 1|
|Daniel Sedin||3 – 3||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 3|
|Alex Edler||2 – 9||0 – 0||0 – 0||2 – 9|
|Dale Weise||2 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 0||2 – 2|
|Henrik Sedin||3 – 4||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 4|
|Jannik Hansen||3 – 5||0 – 0||0 – 0||3 – 5|
|Maxim Lapierre||2 – 4||0 – 0||0 – 0||2 – 4|
|Jordan Schroeder||1 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 0||1 – 1|