Henrik Sedin came to play tonight, and managed to thrive against a tough opponent in Anze Kopitar.
Things were nowhere near as bad as some people would have had you believe – quite frankly they rarely ever are – heading into Saturday night’s game for the Vancouver Canucks, but they were still reeling, nonetheless. Two straight poor efforts and an injury to a key contributor will do that to a team.
But in front of a national audience on Hockey Night in Canada, with Don Cherry and Ron MacLean in the house, the Canucks managed to regroup and put together a solid 5-2 win. There were definitely positives to be taken from the performance all the way around.
It’s Saturday night, so let’s bang through this like Jeff Carter bangs through, well, you can finish that sentence as you see fit.
Read on Past the Jump for the Scoring Chance Data, and Analysis.
I guess we should start with the Sedin line, who had what may have been their best game of the season. As Alain Vigneault referenced in his post-game presser, it looked like we were potentially headed towards a long night after two consecutive rough shifts to start the night against the Justin Williams- Anze Kopitar-Dustin Brown unit for the Sedins. But after killing off a Henrik Sedin hooking penalty (drink!), they turned it on in a big way.
They generated two goals, and several highlight reel plays; including a perfectly executed two-on-one where Daniel sniped it past a sprawling Jonathan Quick, and Henrik Sedin having some serious fun at the expense of Jake Muzzin and Anze Kopitar. This was a vintage Sedin performance, and they reminded us all that hey, they’re still pretty decent at this hockey thing!
Obviously talking about the Sedins is a natural segway into discussing Tom Sestito, except not at all. But in all seriousness I thoroughly enjoyed the Sestito Experience on this night, as he seemed to take a healthy run at someone on every single one of his shifts, and wound up taking Jordan Nolan’s lunch money in a spirited first period scrap. It was a positive debut performance. Just don’t try to combine "Tom Sestito" and "momentum" into a sentence, please.
There was some debate as to whether the Canucks would use Alex Burrows or Mason Raymond down the middle, and they went with the latter. The team’s new makeshift second line, like the its first, combined to generate two goals in this one. Mason Raymond’s goal was set up by a savvy Jannik Hansen play along the boards. Keep in mind that Raymond is on an 82-game pace of 25 goals this season, which isn’t all that bad for someone who is reportedly a coward.
Schneider was solid, stopping 28 of 30 shots he faced. Really the only blemishes were the two times he left the net to play the puck, with one of them leading to a Kings goal. When he stays in his net he usually stops the puck, which is comforting.
On the back-end, it was announced prior to the game that Keith Ballard would serve as a healthy scratch. This news caused a stir on Twitter, as there was much speculation as to whether there was more to this story. As of right now, it seems like this is simply a case of Keith Ballard having a run-in with Alain Vigneault’s dog, and nothing more. Which is a shame, because for the most part I’ve been satisfied with Ballard’s work this year. In any case, it’s definitely better than what Andrew ‘Don’t tell anyone but I’m not really an NHL player’ Alberts has been able to bring to the table.
You’ll notice that the Canucks didn’t register a single scoring chance in the final frame. But that’s not for a lack of effort, as I thought they played a fine third period (at least until the closing minutes). They started the 3rd with some serious puck possession in the Kings’ zone, and didn’t seem to be content with their 2-goal lead. Progress.
Finishing on a positive note, I thought the pairing of Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis was stellar yet again. This is a really positive development for the Canucks, but one that shouldn’t be all that surprising; Hamhuis tends to do these sorts of things.
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||Totals|
|Kings (EV)||5 (3)||5 (3)||3 (3)||13 (9)|
|Canucks (EV)||6 (5)||6 (6)||0 (0)||12 (11)|
And here’s the individual chance data for the Canucks skaters:
|Individual||Chances Taken||Chances Assisted||Chances Total|
And here’s the individual chance differential data for the Canucks skaters:
|Skater||EV F – A||SH F – A||PP F – A|
|Dan Hamhuis||5 – 0||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Kevin Bieksa||4 – 5||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Jason Garrison||4 – 0||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|David Booth||0 – 0||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Chris Tanev||2 – 0||1 – 4||0 – 0|
|Zack Kassian||0 – 0||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Alex Burrows||7 – 3||0 – 1||0 – 0|
|Chris Higgins||2 – 6||1 – 2||0 – 0|
|Mason Raymond||1 – 5||0 – 1||0 – 0|
|Daniel Sedin||6 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Alex Edler||4 – 7||1 – 4||0 – 0|
|Tom Sestito||1 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Dale Weise||0 – 1||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Henrik Sedin||7 – 4||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Jannik Hansen||3 – 5||1 – 1||0 – 0|
|Maxim Lapierre||1 – 0||0 – 3||0 – 0|
|Andrew Alberts||1 – 2||0 – 0||0 – 0|
|Jordan Schroeder||0 – 0||0 – 0||0 – 0|