I feel like this photo does a fairly adequate job of summing up Thursday night’s game.
Photo Credit: Jeff Vinnick.
Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Edmonton Oilers had won 5 games in a row, outscoring their opposition 25-7 during the streak. Once you combine that with the fact that the Oilers – a franchise that hadn’t even sniffed anything resembling (non-draft related) success over the past few years – were sitting in 8th place, naturally their fans were beginning to get a little rowdy. If you don’t believe me, check the comments section of the preview for this one.
As you may have expected, things got awfully quiet on that front as the game went along. The Canucks came out of the gate with a strong first period, and really sustained it throughout without any real hiccups along the way. The final result was a sound 4-0 beating, which made amends for the thrashing the Oilers dished out last Saturday night.
Read on Past the Jump for Analysis, and Scoring Chance Data.
It’s impossible to start anywhere other than by discussing the performance by the newest Canuck, one Derek Roy. I’m sure that even in his pregame nap dreams he didn’t have as good a game as he actually wound up having. Given his pedigree, none of us really should’ve been caught off guard by how slick he looked out there, but still, it was hard not to be pleasantly surprised. He seamlessly slotted into the second line, centering Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen.
At least by the scoring chance data (below), that line was about as dominant at 5-on-5 as you’ll ever see one be. Their most memorable play of the game came on a perfectly executed 2-on-1 between Roy and Higgins that essentially put a bow on the game. As soon as news of the trade broke on Tuesday, I pictured Derek Roy’s presence allowing Ryan Kesler to be unleashed on the right wing – which quite possibly still very well may be the final product – but if those three continue to play anywhere near the level they did on this night, it’ll be difficult to split them up.
Speaking of Higgins – I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of the fact that this is two straight superb efforts by him. I wrote about how badly he was struggling a few weeks ago, and sometimes people think I’m overly critical of this team (despite the fact that I really have no hidden agenda, and would like to think that I call it like I see it), so I’ll give him some love. I mean, it’s almost as if he began to look better once he started playing with more talented players..
I thought that the Sedins had some questionable moments in the early going against Taylor Hall’s line, but they regrouped, and looked like their vintage selves second period. The second goal of the game came on a ridiculous saucer pass from one Sedin to the other; except this time around, it was Henrik on the receiving end (of the pass, not something else, you silly little jokesters). It’s moments like those – and there have been a handful of them this season – that make you go, "oh, right, they still got it!"
If I have to pick one thing that I really didn’t like in this game from a Canucks perspective, it would have to be the team’s power play. I am not at all a fan of having both Hansen and Burrows out there, forcing Daniel to the point. What exactly did Jason Garrison do to warrant being taken off of the top unit? Please let me know if you find out. Now, they actually got a power play tally on a 5-on-3, which was really a 5-on-2 after Jason Garrison killed Jeff Petry with a bomb from the point. And despite all of their troubles, their play with the man advantage as a whole looked fabulous when stacked up against what was a woeful Oilers power play on this night. That wasn’t something I would have expected, personally.
Zack Kassian had himself a very strong game. There were definitely a few times where he tried to do too much by getting overly fancy, and this probably isn’t the time for him to be going around doing that. But miraculously – probaby thanks to the score of the game – he wasn’t glued to the bench at any point, and wound up logging 15:36 of ice-time. He showed glimpses of the play we saw from him early on in the season. It’s nice that he was rewarded for his play by scoring one of the most garbage goals of the season with just 4 seconds left. A perfect ending.
Oh, and Cory Schneider had himself his third shutout in the last 7 games. Ho hum. While he wasn’t called upon too often, he stopped all 23 shots he was faced with, and made the saves when he needed to. It’s nice to have games every once in a while where he doesn’t have to be the main story.
So what are the implications of this game for the Canucks? Thanks to Minnesota’s sound defeat in Los Angeles, they now have sole possession of the Northwest Division with 11 games left in the season. And hopefully Oilers nation settles down now a little bit, after the Canucks knocked their team around and restored order. All is right with the world once again, at least for the time being.
Next up: they play host to the miserable Calgary Flames on Hockey Night in Canada this Saturday night.
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:
|1st Period||2nd Period||3rd Period||Totals|
|Oilers (EV)||3 (3)||5 (5)||5 (2)||13 (10)|
|Canucks (EV)||9 (6)||7 (7)||3 (3)||19 (16)|
Individual Chance Contributions:
|Individual||Chances Taken||Chances Assisted||Chances Total|
Individual Scoring Chance Differential:
|Individual||EV F – A||PP F – A||SH F – A||Total F – A|