Canucks Lose Thrilling Game They Shouldn’t Have Lost: Recap and Chance Data

"You stole those two points for your team, Antti."

Here’s the question if you’re a Canucks fan: would you rather see your team play a thrilling game in which they dominate, only to have them eventually lose, or would you prefer to see them squeek out a forgettable yawner and take home the two points?

For me, personally, it’s the former; every single day of the week, and twice on this particular night. Especially when you’re talking about a regular season game in March, shortened season or no shortened season.

The Vancouver Canucks wound up losing to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout on Tuesday night, yet it’s nearly impossible to fault the process that they put forth. They should have won this game, and if they continue to play like this, more often than not they will.

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

That was fun, wasn’t it? The two teams came out guns a’blazing, combining for 8 scoring chances in as many minutes to start the game. As you’ll notice if you scroll down to the bottom, the Canucks did in fact wind up out-chancing their opposition. But given the way they played, you would have figured that it would be by a wider margin. They out-shot them 38-30, and dominated in the puck possession game for large chunks of it. The result wasn’t necessarily there, but that’ll happen every once in a while. Playing the way that they did is a recipe for success if they can maintain it going forward.

I am loving what the Canucks currently have working up front. Obviously you know what you’ll get from the Sedins, but the Higgins-Raymond-Hansen line was once again a force. They generated 6 scoring chances, and buried the goal that wound up getting the Canucks a point on this night.

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The combination of Zack Kassian and David Booth were not to be outdone, generating a few quality chances of their own. Booth was flying out there, and Kassian did a good job of getting him the puck. Now I’d just like to see what they’d be able to do with a legitimate center between them, like perhaps, a Ryan Kesler. I’m as big a Max Lapierre supporter as there is out there, but he’s out of his depth right now.

The biggest concern coming out has to be the team’s power play, which failed to get anything resembling dangerous action going on 4 of their 5 opportunities. And they gave up a shorthanded goal to Adam Burish of all people in the 2nd, to boot.

But at the end of the day almost none of that mattered as their man advantage late in the 3rd was a thing of beauty. They kept the Sharks hemmed in for the full two minutes, displayed tremendous puck movement, and peppered Antti Niemi with quality chances. I’m still not quite sure how they didn’t score, frankly. You’ve got to give it up to Niemi; he was clearly the 1st star, and was up to the task all night long.

Let’s finish off with a few rapid fire notes before we get to the chance totals:

-Dale Weise and Tom Sestito generated a 2-on-1, on which they failed to register a shot on net. Let’s just say no one will be mistaking them for the Sedins any time soon.

-Fans of the team are irrational about Alex Edler as is, but he nearly played an integral part in injuring both Henrik Sedin (with a slapshot from the point) and Chris Tanev (with a sloppy turnover which forced Tanev to block a shot that appeared to sting him). 

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-Speaking of the team’s defense, Jason Garrison and Dan Hamhuis were once again sparkling. Am I crazy or are the Garrison doubters getting less and less vocal? Now if he could just find his way back onto that top power play unit..

-Keith Ballard left the game with what was termed a "lower body injury". I’m no doctor, but I think this will make it even tougher for him to sneak out of Alain Vigneault’s doghouse.

-But wait..

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. 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: 

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  1st Period 2nd Period 3rd Period Overtime Totals
Sharks (EV) 4 (3) 2 (0) 4 (4) 3 (3) 13 (10)
Canucks (EV) 6 (6) 5 (4) 7 (1) 1 (1) 19 (12)

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

Individual Chances Taken Chances Assisted Chances Total
Jannik Hansen 3 1 4
Henrik Sedin 2 2 4
Daniel Sedin 2 1 3
Zack Kassian 1 2 3
Alex Burrows 2 0 2
Alex Edler 2 0 2
David Booth 2 0 2
Chris Higgins 2 0 2
Mason Raymond 1 1 2
Jordan Schroeder 1 1 2
Dan Hamhuis 1 0 1

  • peterl

    Great recap.

    I always wait to read these before I jump onto the “Get rid of Edler”, “Trade Luongo”, or “Fire AV” bandwagon. lol. Tonight I’m of the “why can’t this team score goals” bandwagon.

    Small sample size, but this team is sitting 16th league wide with most goals per game. The high octane Calgary Flames, New York Islanders and ‘trap it up’ St. Louis Blues have scored more. Yes, you are seeing what I’m seeing. I get that Keslers injured but every other NHL team, short of Chicago, have serious injuries. Alex Burrows, David Booth and perhaps a Raymond need to figure it out.

    Burrows on a 19 goals pace, David Booth hasn’t score a goal in nearly a calendar year. It’s well, pathetic. If AV pressboxes anyone, it needs to be them. I hope Dreger was right when he said Booths being used as trade bait. Maybe not he’ll get a sense of what those poor bears fet like (couldn’t help myself 🙂 )

    • JCDavies

      @Color me pink I don’t know if Burrows is the problem.

      Yes, he is “only” on a 19 game pace (pro-rated for an 82 game season). But while he is off the pace for a usual year, a top line winger being 10 goals down over the course of a season shouldn’t derail a team.

      The secondary scoring hasn’t been bad either. Higgins, Hansen, Raymond and Kassian are on pace for 20-22 goals as well. Kassian of course has been cold for a month, but the other three are scoring pretty consistently recently.

      If we had five forwards score 20+ goals who don’t have Kesler or Sedin on the back of their jersey, I’d think we’d consider that a good season usually, right?

      The problems as I see it are:

      A) Kesler – injuries of course
      B) Booth – like you said, he isn’t scoring. Driving play, but I don’t know if we need the four million dollar version of Tanev up front, at least not once the cap lowers in the summer.
      C) Power Play. This is the big one IMHO. The secondary scorers are doing their job, even with Burrows being off his usual pace. But the powerplay is killing the Canucks. We should be scoring an extra goal per game almost if it went back to the PP % from last season.

  • JCDavies

    I’ve never really liked teams using 4 forwards on the PP – especially when you have someone like Jason Garrison you can throw out there. Why risk giving up a SH goal when you can run out a good two-way d-man with a big shot?

  • DCR

    I look at the power play and I just don’t get it. Sometimes they seem to be completely off, other times they look to be doing everything right and it just doesn’t matter.

    The puck doesn’t go in no matter what they do.

    I know some of it’s just luck, and running into hot goaltending, but unless they get some results there’s no way to tell what’s working and what isn’t because nothing’s working.

    Yes, I’m frustrated watching the power play (though I think the Nucks would make a killing if they could decline penalties they draw to offset penalties against them).

  • Mantastic

    Burrows is shooting 6% this season, while his career avg with the Sedins is about 16.5%. He also played a third of the year as a centre on the 2nd line. His goals are bound to come.

    Booth has played 7 games after a lockout, a groin injury and the flu mixed in. His centres thus far have been a rusty Kesler with a broken foot and Lapierre.

    This site has always spoken about process over results, so, can we please keep these things in prespective when critiquing their scoring amounts?