The Canucks dominated, but Niklas Backstrom was stopping the puck from all sorts of positions.
On Tuesday night, the Vancouver Canucks fell to the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-1. They actually managed to do a lot of things well; they fired a ton of pucks in Niklas Backstrom’s direction, and controlled play for much of the game. However, they also did some other things not so well, too. You may be told by some that the differences in the game were hits and blocked shots, but by now I hope our audience knows that that’s not the case. You block shots and throw hits when you’re scrambling in the hopes of gaining possession of the puck. That’s how it works.
Really the big issue was the fact that they scored only 1 goal, while giving up 3 the other way. It’s as simple as that. With the defeat, the Canucks now sit in 2nd place in the Northwest, a rather unfamiliar position, as the Wild took sole possession of the division.
Read on Past the Jump for Analysis, and Scoring Chance Data.
Let’s get to "the process", because it’s something that we routinely preach on this blog. However, as Drance mentioned in his recap of Saturday night’s loss to the Red Wings, sooner or later the results need to catch up to the underlying numbers. We’re now nearly 60% of the way through the season, and at some point, it’ll either happen or it won’t. I’m not suggesting that it’s necessarily time to start panicking, because it’s not. At least not for myself. I’m just trying to explain the rationale.
After a slow start, the Canucks really did dominate the play, and the possession, for large chunks of the game. They outshot the Wild 36-25, and had 12 scoring chances at even-strength compared to Minnesota’s 9. After 40 minutes of play, they had directed 53 shots towards the net, versus only 28 for the Wild. So how did they only manage to score 1 measly goal, then?
Niklas Backstrom was really good. He was the better of the two goalies. For Luongo, this makes a third straight relatively shaky performance. It has already been announced that Schneider will get the nod on Tuesday night against St.Louis, and I think he has a pretty good shot to get the ball and run with it now. I don’t care who does it, but someone needs to make a save or two. $9.33 million for the 19th best save percentage at 5-on-5 probably isn’t what Mike Gillis had envisioned heading into the season.
Alain Vigneault finally shook the power play up, as he replaced Hamhuis and Burrows with Garrison and Hansen. I thought the power play looked dangerous. It sure seemed like Garrison was told to go to the point, and fire every single thing that came his way towards the net. Which makes sense, considering it was his bread and butter last year. Unfortunately for him, he struggled with it tonight, but I think good things will come if they stick with it. The goal that broke their ridiculous 0-for-36 streak came after a Garrison one-timer struck Daniel Sedin, falling right into Henrik’s lap.
Jordan Schroeder, the team’s best player on this night – by quite a significant margin, mind you – managed only 9:53 of ice-time. Perplexing to say the least. After spending the first two periods making Tom Sestito and Dale Weise look like world beaters, he was bumped up to a line with Pinizzotto and Higgins. I can’t even tell if that "promotion" could be attributed to his play, or the fact that while Lapierre was centering the two, the Wild did anything and everything they wanted to them.
After dominating the first half of the 2nd period in a big way, the Canucks took two penalties consecutively that really swung the game. To think, momentum changed and there was nary a fight. The Wild took advantage thanks to a wicked shot from the point to tie it up, before utilizing a tipped shot early in the 3rd to take the lead.
Then, Keith Ballard happened. He took an ill-advised run at Matt Cullen as the Wild broke in on a 2-on-2, and when he whiffed, Cullen was left all alone for an uncontested break. The incredulous look that Chris Tanev game him afterwards sums things up. God knows what Alain Vigneault has up his sleeve when it comes to Ballard after that gaffe.
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:
|1st Period||2nd Period||3rd Periods||Totals|
|Wild (EV)||5 (5)||5 (2)||2 (2)||12 (9)|
|Canucks (EV)||4 (1)||7 (6)||5 (5)||16 (12)|
Individual Scoring Chances:
|Individual||Chances Taken||Chances Assisted||Chances Total|
Individual Scoring Chance Differential:
|Individual||EV F – A||PP F – A||SH F – A||Total F – A|