Canucks Army Postgame: Canucks win Corsi Cup, Lose Game

Smile, Tom, you silly man.

I kind of like the idea of a ‘Corsi Cup‘, now that I actually think about it. Maybe we should’ve made coming up with what that would entail/look like the task for our contest (you still have time to participate, and potentially win a pair of sweet tickets against the Blackhawks!).

But I’m sure the fact that the Canucks controlled the majority of the game against the Anaheim Ducks will do nothing to appease the fans of this blog, after their team lost for the second time in two nights to finish off a road trip that saw them go 1-2-1. It’s a long season, though – this particular game accounts for 1.2195122% of the season – and there were definitely some positives to take away from the performance, regardless of the result.

Read on past the jump for a look at what some of those were, if you’d like a little pick-me-up.

The Rundown

After his, for lack of a better term, "energetic" performance on Saturday night – where he ran around the ice throwing his body around and getting in a fight in the midst of a rather lethargic performance by his teammates – Tom Sestito was bumped up to the 3rd line on Sunday night. 

Things didn’t start well for the newly instated trio of Sestito-Richardson-Kassian, as they looked largely unimpressive in the opening 20 minutes of the game (I think they were something like a -4 in shot differential). I was all set to tweet about how they were, for all intents and purposes, looking like they were basically the team’s 4th line. The trio of Dalpe, Welsh, and Archibald were buzzing on the other hand, creating a few legitimate chances in the offensive zone. The two units were going in different directions, and I was planning to be very snarky about it.. but then my wifi situation got a little shaky, and I could get the series of tweets through.

Guess that’s a good thing because Sestito went ahead and scored what would wind up being the team’s only goal in the latter half of the 2nd period:

For the record I still think that Tom Sestito is a relatively useless hockey player, and that he definitely shouldn’t really be playing 11+ minutes when guys like Dalpe, Archibald, and Welsh are all playing just barely over 6.. but good on him for shutting my mouth for the time being and doing something tangible to help the team’s cause.

Unfortunately, Frederik Andersen stopped 35 of the other 36 shots he faced, stymieing the Canucks. But it wasn’t for a lack (heh) of effort, as you’ll see in the numbers section below. So hang tight.

Eddie Lack stopped 20/22 pucks he faced in his 4th start of the season, and was the hard luck loser of sorts. The first goal came following a very weird bounce that went off of Corey Perry’s glove, behind his back, and then into the net after he had no idea where it was. The second goal came on a beautiful pass by Etem on a 2-on-1 after a poor change had the defensive pair of Hamhuis/Bieksa out of position. It happens, but it’s hard to blame Lack on either goal that he surrendered. He once again gave his team a chance to win and you can’t really ask for much more from your backup goalie. 

And finally, it looks like Alex Burrows is doing his best Chris Higgins impersonation from earlier on in the season, as he can’t buy a goal to save his life at this point. 8 games, 26 shots on goal, and not a single one has gotten by a goalie (and actually counted). He could’ve easily had a couple on this night, and you have to figure it’s going to come eventually.

Let’s get to the numbers.. 

The Numbers

Image via Extra Skater

At 5v5 the Canucks had 42 unblocked shot attempts compared to just 28 for the Ducks. In "score close" situations, they held a favourable 29-19 differential. 

Now, Ryan Getzlaf was out and that clearly weakened the Ducks substantially, but they’re still a good team – that remains undefeated at home – that the Canucks pretty handily outplayed on Sunday night. They got lucky on this night that the Canucks weren’t able to bury a few of those extra chances, and that they’re goaltender was very good, but considering that they’ve got the 2nd highest PDO in the league, I think they’re a little used to that by now. 

On the special teams front they were shorthanded twice, and their penalty kill gave up just 1 shot attempt to a Ducks PP that may actually be worse than their own. They were only on the PP twice themselves, but generated 9 shot attempts in those 4 minutes (with 7 of them hitting the net).

They can generate all of the shots they want but 20 games is becoming a large enough sample size to suggest that something is wrong. 6/62 won’t cut it, and it sounds like they’re getting fed up with it themselves:

Then there’s Brad Richards trolling us all: 

I’m pretty ready for Dan Hamhuis to not be on the top unit anymore, but maybe that’s just me. I’d be fine with either Edler or Garrison – even though he admittedly didn’t pan out like I figured he would at the start of the year – in his stead on the point. 

Finally, the Sedins were split up for what seems like the bajillionth time this season in the 3rd period, as we saw Tortorella and Co. utilize Higgins-Henrik-Burrows, and Daniel-Santorelli-Kesler in an attempt to spark the team. This is now 3 games in a row that the Sedins have failed to register a point, and Daniel had the following things to say following the game:

“Little things are costing us now — especially when Hank and myself aren’t playing the way we should. If we play the way we can, we should win this game. We should create way more than we have the last few games. Our third and fourth lines have played well the last few games. We haven’t.”

These guys spoil us with their perpetual consistency.

  • This game was frustrating as hell, and I hope our injury situation improves to the point that having Tom Sestito in the lineup is no longer a necessity.

    That said, it’s hard not to smile when he gets one of his rare goals. You go all out on your celebration, ya big goofy kid, you.

  • Entertaining game although disappointing result. Basically a hot (and lucky) goaltender, a lucky goal, a brutal line change followed by some questionable defensive choices was the story. Disappointing lack of push back in the third, thought there would be more spark to pull out the tie and possibly the win. Well they will get some rest and then what, 6 games at home?

  • pheenster

    Yes, the Corsi Cup: a more telling stat than goals (except when determining who wins games, because that is still goals).

    The Canucks powerplay is officially awful. I can’t make head or tails with it. I wait and I wait for the breakthrough, but for some ungodly reason they just can’t convert at all during their opportunities. Hamhuis at the point makes sense, but I’m not sure taking Kesler away from the net makes all that much sense. And since he’s a weak puck distributor, perhaps it is time to put Garrison back there (what happened to the guy who was once leading all defenceman in scoring??).

    That said, and I always want to end on a positive note, their penalty killing is humming along nicely. It has the appearance of looking weak because the forwards aren’t pressuring the points, but by dropping down to the faceoff circles and blocking shots from the point, they’re left with the ability to take the board-side play out of the game. Topped with really solid goaltending, and the Canucks are just as suffocating as any Torts team when down a man.

  • ALL the top PP units have a capable PP QB. Not an all around really good D-man, not a shooting type forward – but a distributor that can shoot. Look at the top 5 PP %’s, you’ll see Washington (Green), Montreal (Subban/Markov), Minnesota (Suter), St. Louis (Pietrangelo), Chicago (Keith). Pittsburgh (Letang, although he’s been injured but you have Malkin and Crosby), LA (Doughty) and San Jose (Boyle) are all in the top 10 as well.

    Get Hamhuis off the PP unit, get Garrison back on the point with a puck distributor, maybe Santorelli? (not Edler, he’s mistake prone) and stop being so damn predictable.

  • Canucks win a couple games; Canucks fans: Hey, team is starting to look good, [any player] sure is coming into their own.

    Canucks lose a couple games; Canucks fans: This team is just drifting lazily everywhere, [any player except the plugiest of plugs who managed to score] needs a swift kick in the ass.

    Canucks fans, so predictable.

    • You are actually more predictable than Canucks fans. Taking the chance that information may actually seep into that thick bulging forehead…….
      The Pacific division is so strong that a team could finish with 100 pts and still be #7 in the playoffs. Losing back to back games vs division rivals is a big deal, especially when the effort is beyond dismal. I guess when torts calls out his teams effort, he is predictable.

      • pheenster

        I think you’re being a bit unfair on the effort level in the games. The Phoenix game they played them pretty evenly, the SJ game they were obviously very good, the first ten minutes of the LA game they were really excellent and the score looked much worse than I think the game did. And the Anaheim game again they looked solid but had some bad puck luck and didn’t bury chances. I would be more worried if they looked as they did against Columbus and Detroit earlier in the season but I never had a sense during this road trip that the Canucks are totally overmatched against their opponents. Contrary to some of the predictions, I actually think the Canucks can hang tough with the rest of the pack in the Pacific — they clearly won’t dominate and run away with the standings as they have in the past, but nor have they dropped a significant tier. Some of these other teams have issues of their own — injuries in LA and Anaheim, for example. And for all the talk of SJ retooling on the fly and looking like world beaters, they seem to be following exactly the same script as for the last decade — awesome for a while, pretty pedestrian for a while. Maybe Boston was onto something dumping Thornton for a bag of pucks…

  • I don’t mind Sestito ion the line up, the guy plays about 7 mins and is a threat to throw the gloves. Not many other guys on the Canucks team will. The problem I have is two games versus kings and Ducks, teams Canucks will be battling all year and hammy and Sestito score the 2 goals. Unacceptable.. There were chances that have to be buried and not this bad luck stuff.

    One thing that has to change is the teams attitude. In the past the Canucks have built up a big game vs Boston or Chicago, played well then lost their edge for the next few games. Seems they built up the Sharks game , broke a 9 game losing streak, then skated through the Kings and Ducks games. The forwards aren’t skating back in D especially in the kings game. Something has to change.