Coming into this game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Canucks had a ‘Läck” of wins in either regulation or overtime when they scored two or fewer goals. Fans also had a ‘Läck’ of trust in the Canucks when they were ahead by one goal in the third. Starting goalie Edward Läck also had a ‘Läck’ of shutouts in his NHL career, but by the end of the game, it was the Carolina Hurricanes who found that they had a ‘Läck’ of goals scored, as the Canucks won 2-0.
It wasn’t without drama. For instance, at the start of the third period, I had changed the channel and misplaced my remote control. The Canucks got a goal in the first period from one unlikely source, and then an empty-net goal to seal the deal with 74 seconds left on the clock. While Roberto Luongo dropped a shutout a night earlier against Colorado with seven seconds left, Carolina didn’t register any late attempts at net to break Läck’s perfect game.
Thankfully, Jannik Hansen scored the empty-net goal, because our post editor would have rejected the headline “Chris Tanev scores lone goal to secure 1-0 shutout win in Eddie Läck’s home debut” on grounds of the situation being deemed too implausible. (Parts of our posting software seem prehistoric. If you accidentally hit the ‘Back’ button on your browser, you’ll lose the whole post, but it does have some pretty cool features when it comes to managing editorial content).
Indeed, though, it was Tanev’s seeing-eye wrist shot that eluded a crowd and Justin Peters 3:35 into the game, moments after Mike Santorelli had recorded the Canucks’ very first shot of the game:
The best part of this sequence is Chris Tanev faking the slapshot. I don’t recall any instance where a Chris Tanev slapshot ever got over a foot off the ground and wasn’t dipping by the time it made it halfway to the net. He has a pretty good wrist shot though. It’s not hard, but he picks his spots well and his shots aren’t often blocked.
So there was that.
The Canucks got some very good chances through the rest of the period, including two good ones killing a penalty, and a rare two-on-one miss from Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Unfortunately, they failed to extend their lead and played almost the entire game up by a goal, which is just going to be dreadful for the team’s overall Corsi numbers.
Läck certainly earned full value for his shutout. He made some pretty good stops in tight, and the Canes have a lot of offensive talent up front. He made 27 stops at 5-on-5 and 31 overall, including 5 off of Jeff Skinner, 4 off Jiri Tlusty and 3 off Nathan Gerbe, who has had a very good year after being bought out by Buffalo in the summer.
The Canucks went on a pretty good run after their goal and took over the game a little before the 16-minute mark, as you can see. However, score effects kicked in, and Carolina out-attempted Vancouver 16-11 in the third period, counting only unblocked shots.
But they contained Carolina. It wasn’t a real crazy push except for the shift right before the Canes pulled their goal. They got three point shots through to Läck but he kept them all out.
The Canucks’ top pair of Tanev and Dan Hamhuis had the bulk of the possession, the Canucks getting 56.8% and 54.8% of the shot attempts with them on the ice. Tanev again saw big minutes, playing 20:03 of ice-time ice-time at evens, leading the team. That pairing played a little over 11 minutes against the Hurricanes top line, and Eric Staal and Tuomo Ruutu were pretty quiet, though Skinner was a bounce or two away from a big night.
Best forward line was the Sedins, who played the bulk of the game with Hansen. The twins Corsi’d 52%, while Hansen was buried when away from them. No Canucks was able to rack up a good Corsi total due to a limited number of offensive zone starts. Läck covered the puck often, with 24 faceoffs starting in the defensive zone and 10 in the offensive zone, at evens.
And now we wait until a Friday-Saturday back-to-back against Edmonton and Boston. If you’re splitting the starts, who do you send Roberto Luongo out against? It would be nice to see him exorcise his demons against Boston, in my view, but I’m also of the theory that you play your backup against the toughest team in a back-to-back and push hard to get at least a split.
So that’ll be something to argue about this week.