Canucks Army Postgame: Canucks beat Leafs in chippy, 4-0 affair on Bure night

 

More than the victory, what should really matter for the Vancouver Canucks is that they were able to get out of Saturday afternoon’s chippy affair with the Maple Leafs in good health. After taking an early 1-0 lead, the game turned bleak, with Phil Kessel fighting Alex Burrows, Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren’s presences looming large, and perhaps a Leafs team looking to send a message after an unfortunate collision between Zack Kassian and David Bolland left Bolland en route to surgery on his leg in Vancouver tonight.

For an early season non-conference game, it was a very violent game, and you could tell that the result meant more to the players in the game than the value of the two points up for grabs. There are going to be theories as to why, but both the Leafs and Canucks play aggressive styles that happened to clash tonight. Because the game was pretty one-sided even before the score was one-sided, tempers flared over.

Vancouver won 4-0.

THE RUNDOWN

Here are the shot counts in Toronto’s recent wins:

43-22 for Calgary.
43-26 for Edmonton.
38-30 for Pittsburgh.

The formula for the Leafs has been simple all season. Have the goaltender weather the storm, respond on the powerplay or get a fluky goal on a rush, usually from Phil Kessel, and grind out a victory relying on the goalie. Looked that way early. After the Canucks dominated the first period with several early chances, the score was just 1-0 headed into the break.

That goal? Daniel from Henrik, but not exactly Sedinery:

Early in the second though, the game broke the way of the Canucks. Zack Kassian banked a goal in off of Cody Franson. Christopher Higgins took advantage of a rare lapse of concentration from James Reimer on a partial two-on-one, and the Leafs took four minor penalties that prevented them from being able to generate or sustain an attack. This was when it got a little silly, and the Leafs soup can-niest player Frazer McLaren waved a white towel like a white flag in the penalty box to protest a penalty call for boarding Alex Edler. Some of the calls broke the Canucks’ favour and Vancouver got some things uncalled, but the Maple Leafs skating around making borderline plays isn’t exactly safe.

Darren Archibald earned his first career point in the third period when Dan Hamhuis chipped a stray puck in from the front of the net. Though the Canucks heavily out-shot the Leafs, Roberto Luongo made the Leafs go off script, stifling the Leafs on several good chances before the score got out of hand. He stopped all 21 shots he faced, including six on Leaf powerplays, and opened his November with his second shutout on the season.

WHY THE CANUCKS WON

Better team. Duh.

But is it that simple? I thought the Canucks did a good job after the second period of not coming fully unglued, and though they certainly got the benefit of the calls tonight, they began to skate away from the after whistle stuff. Or so it seemed. Who knows.

But, yes. It was a 63-30 unblocked shot differential, 44-19 at 5-on-5 and 20-12 in close score situations. James Reimer was lights out, but he would have had to have been even more lights out for the Leafs to have even a chance.

THE NUMBERS

Towards the end of the first period, you can see the Leafs making an attack. Fun fact: the Canucks held the Leafs to 13 unblocked shots between their first goal and the end of the first period, and then held them to 15 unblocked shots in the last two periods:

The big line was Mike Santorelli, Alex Burrows and Chris Higgins, who had that amazing first sequence that required Reimer to make three (or four, depending on your count) highlight-reel stops. More than that, they dominated possession, with Corsi numbers of +19, +17 and +15 respectively. That was against the Maple Leafs’ big line of Nazem Kadri, Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk (Santorelli saw 7.7 minutes against Kadri) and kept that line out of the offensive zone, where they are really, really dangerous.

Defence. Matters.

Also, Dan Hamhuis and Chris Tanev had similarly high Corsi numbers (figures all from ExtraSkater by the way) and perhaps they had more of a role in keeping the Leafs big line off the board.

Canucks again generated a lot of powerplay shots. Eight at 5-on-4 and three at 5-on-3. It’s only a matter of time before this really blows open, I think.

  • Good god the Leafs looked awful tonight. There’s not many of those penalties that looked really uncalled for (maybe the JVR on Archibald) but the Leafs looked undisciplined, tired, and out of position on a LOT of plays. The Canucks looked like they were on the power play the entire game, not just the 8 actual chances they had. There were only a few shifts the Leafs looked dangerous at all. The first line’s minutes were skewed by all the PP time; I am sure Tortorella wouldn’t have played them this much by the middle of the 3rd given the nature of the game if not for all that extra time. Ironically all the failed PP chances made the victory a little less satisfying than it otherwise would be. The Leafs victories against Edmonton and Calgary just go to show how truly bad both of them are.

  • andyg

    I was lucky enough to be at the game tonight. Best seats Ive had..club 107 row 13. Thanks to my brother in law for the birthday gift. It was a pretty special affair with the Bure tribute, my friend Adam releasing his latest Johnny Canuck video, and a total domination of the Leafs. Oh and not to mention the scattering Leafs faithful making a hasty exit about 5 minutes into the 3rd.
    I can guess what the seats go for, but it was worth every penny 🙂

  • elvis15

    Interesting to read the two different synopsis – one for us and one for the Leafs – and the comments from both fans. The soup cans for each team, and the perspective tailored for each makes for a little extra fun on a night where I thoroughly enjoyed a Canuck win to celebrate Bure’s jersey retirement.

  • acg5151

    Hey Cam, I have a question.

    How hard is it for you as both a a Leafs fan and a Canucks fan to watch one team spank the other.

    I liked both your recaps on here and Leafsnation btw.

  • acg5151

    Well that was sweet! I was actually a little worried going in. Leafs are good on transition and I thought with the aggressive forecheck we might get caught. PLus the fact that games I’ve watched when the team has some kind of memorial at the beginning, they lose. Not sure if it is the distraction or the other team just being pissed off having to sit around so long. So that all made it even better! Especially since we have so many players out with injury.

  • That game was a distinct difference between torts style and AVs style. I loved the fact that Torts got pissed off because of the Sedins being called soft. He takes it the way the Sedins should, get mad and prove other wise. AV would have shrugged it off then made some flippant comment and laughed. The Canucks can play with any team out there…., when they are on their game. That’s what they need to do it is play at a high level for extended periods of time. Not up and down

    • argoleas

      I took a look and his treatment of the stats is pretty questionable. He doesn’t seem to have a handle of what the numbers mean and makes some silly interpretations of them. Not impressed. Not knowing how to spell “Dalpe” or “Welsh” doesn’t help either.

  • andyg

    Where is all the highly intellectual comments from NEMO. He seems to enjoy it more when the Canucks loose.

    One of the things that I was pleased to see was that we got production out of 3 lines.

  • argoleas

    It was a good, solid beat down of the P.O.S. Leafs. I love watching the idiot Leaf fans at the games…epic! Leafs have come here and had their asses handed to them for 10 years. Awesome.

    Canucks do need that PP to click! It is such a big deal and they’ve been struggling there way too long.