Canucks Army Postgame: Just the tip!

You’ll tell your grandchildren about the time these two Canuck legends went at it.

The following blurb was from the preview I put together in advance of Friday night’s game: 

"One final thing before we get to the underlying numbers: I’m calling a Canucks win tonight. I wouldn’t put any money on it, but them finally bucking the trend and winning this one lines up perfectly with their slogan this season.. when you think they’ll zig, they actually zag. It makes no sense for them to beat the Blues tonight, which is why I totally see them doing just that. Classic."

I know that at least a handful of the people on my timeline shared these particular sentiments with me prior to the game, so I’m hardly a prophet. Especially since, while I legitimately thought that the Canucks would beat the Blues – which they wound up doing by a 2-1 score – I’d be lying if I told you I expected Zac Dalpe to score a goal, and spend the majority of the night playing with the Sedins. Did that happen? Of course it did!

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Read on past the jump for the recap.

The Rundown

I guess you could say that I recently raised something of a stink over the team’s cratering possession numbers over the past couple of weeks. Well, the Canucks really did nothing to dissuade my worries with their performance in the early going Friday night, with the Blues being responsible for 15 of the 21 total fenwicks in the opening frame. 

It was quite a horrendous period overall for the home team, but one thing it did accomplish was forcing John Tortorella’s hand in shaking up the line combinations; he moved Zac Dalpe up to play with the Sedins, while relegating Mike Santorelli to mop-up duty with Weise and Archibald on the 4th line. He also moved Tom Sestito up to play with Kesler and Kassian for a while, but that was fleeting. 

The moves paid dividends for the team, twice, as the rejiggered 1st and 4th lines were responsible for both of the goals the team managed to get by Brian Elliott:

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The first bat attempt out of mid-air would’ve probably made for a sweeter highlight reel had he managed to connect, but I’m sure Dalpe will take the tip-in all the same. With the goal, Zac Dalpe is now the 44th player to score a goal assisted by both of the Sedins. If you’ve yet to play this fun game orchestrated by Pass it to Bulis, I highly recommend taking some time to do it. I did it a while back, and think I got something along the lines of 37 or 38 out of 43 (there’s a few very sneaky ones, as you’ll come to eventually realize..)

The Blues tied it up shortly thereafter, sending the game to the 3rd period tied at 1. Then, Mike Santorelli – a rather surprising choice, given that he had been demoted to the 4th line and had only 1 goal in his past 13 games—put his big boy pants on, as he drove to the net and took a few whacks at the puck, before tipping home Jason Garrison’s rebound attempt.

No, this doesn’t mean that the Canucks should quickly give Santorelli a contract, but it sure was nice to see him respond well to plummeting down the depth chart so suddenly (I personally would’ve probably been in a state of shock, as it doesn’t really get steeper than going from the Sedins -> Dale Weise).

I don’t think Brian Elliott will be watching any episodes of Archer tonight. Nor will he be firing up any Wedding Crashers.

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I don’t think there were too many people – either in the building or watching at home – that were overly comfortable with the 1-goal lead as the clock was winding down on the 3rd period, though. After all, the Canucks had somehow managed to snatch defeat away from the jaw’s of victory against Philadelphia (tying goal with 47 seconds left), Anaheim (tying goal with 1:27 left), and Pittsburgh (two goals against in the final 1:11 to tie it).. so it was justified.

Jay Bouwmeester took a delay of game penalty with 3:30 left, and the Canucks took a rather conservative approach instead of trying to step on their throat’s.. which I wasn’t overly crazy about. I understood putting Dan Hamhuis out there (who actually wound up delivering a wicked hip check as a result, that probably drew the biggest pop all night from the Rogers Arena crowd) as a safety blanket of sorts, but the final minute or so of the PP was basically just the Sedins casually passing it back and forth between each other, obviously trying to kill time.

Fortunately, it didn’t wind up coming back to bite them in the rear end on this night, as Eddie Lack managed to hold the fort despite a wild scramble in front of the net in the dying seconds. It was a win that I’m sure the Canucks will take, especially considering their recent slide and what awaits them on the schedule..

The Numbers


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The Canucks once again let an opponent outshoot them by a decent margin, but all things considered, it was actually a pretty solid performance from the 1st period on. The fenwick count from the end of the 1st until the go-ahead goal by Santorelli in the 3rd was 16-16, and it was really that early onslaught plus the late flurry by the Blues that skew the numbers.

With that being said, we can’t just discount that opening frame because it was u-g-l-y. I thought that Eddie Lack did a fantastic job in stopping all 12 of the shots he faced in the 1st – including a couple of really quality scoring chances for Jaden Schwartz, who really impressed me in person – and allowed his team to stay in it despite a completely listless 20 minutes of play. 

One thing I noticed watching the game was that the Sedins were getting hammered at 5v5, and that numbers back it up. They posted a 40% corsi night, depsite seeing much more of the Berglund 2L than Backes’ line. Though I can directly pinpoint a couple of shifts late in the 3rd in which Schwartz-Backes-Oshie really ate them alive, hemming them in their DZ for an extended period of time. 

Dale Weise had the best shot differential for the Canucks on this night (9 for, 7 against), and helped figure into the winning goal by Santorelli. It was a nice little bounceback performance from him after being healthy scratched, and all but assures that Booth will continue to sit in the press box for the time being.

I did want to highlight Dan Hamhuis’ night before finishing this thing off. He once again topped 29 minutes of ice-time, saw a ton of Backes’ line (nearly 9 minutes at 5v5), and still managed to nearly break even in shot differential. He also delivered this absolutely wicked hip check on Max Lapierre late in the game, which I previously mentioned above.

The Conclusion

Things don’t get easier for the Canucks quite just yet; next up on the schedule is another unforgiving trip through California to take on the Ducks and Kings. The last time they were there, they were absolutely slaughtered by both teams (here and here). It was basically anything but bikinis and palm trees.

Also, as you’ll recall, it was Dustin Brown’s recklessness that put Roberto Luongo on the shelf, and I anticipate that if the Canucks have any sort of backbone – which the hiring of John Tortorella was allegedly supposed to give them – they’ll handle their business. If you’re someone who has been reading my work for a while now, you know that I’m not a big proponent of that sort of stuff.. but in this case, given the circumstances, I’m making an exception. 

Anyways, here’s something to lighten the mood and get you in a California state of mind:

  • jung gun

    If we’ve actually managed to convince other NHL GMs that Tanev is a top pairing guy, we should trade him immediately. Gaunce’s ceiling is third line – the kind of guy you can easily pick up in UFA. Hansen’s one of my favourite players, but Kane’s a star and fills a huge need.

  • KleptoKlown

    E Kane could be a superstar, and he’s only 22 years old. Yeah losing Tanev would suck, but the Canucks have the depth on D to do it. Forget Gaunce…Horvat is much better right now, and has a higher ceiling. Hansen is a great 3rd liner, and the team would miss him, but with the Sedin’s killing penalties, Hansen is expendable…especially considering that it’s Evander F’n Kane coming back the other way.

    If this is an actual trade available to the Canucks, I have no idea what GMMG is waiting for.

    • Peachy

      Well, I highly doubt this trade is available. Kane won’t come that cheap.

      If I’m wrong though, I’d speculate GMMG is waiting for Stanton and / or Edler to come back healthy.

      I hope I’m wrong.

      • KleptoKlown

        If this trade wasn’t available yesterday (and I too doubt it was) it sure isn’t available today. With the Jets hiring Paul Maurice, I imagine they will give him a chance with Kane until at least the trade deadline.

  • jung gun

    I’m not sure that’s overpayment. Two midlevel players, a prospect who may or may not pan out, and a low-value pick for a high-end, still very young offensive player? I’d take that deal in a second, and I’m skeptical it was actually offered.

    • pheenster

      Except that Tanev is not considered a mid level player. He is a very young, high level defencemen, playing top pairing on a good team, who can eat 20 + minutes a night, and is doing so against the leagues toughest competition on a nightly basis. Excellent shot blocker, very responsible with the puck, excellent skater, and a great first pass. He has plenty of room to grow, and quite reasonably could become elite.
      Showing offensive possibilities, on pace for 14g 26a this season. Reasonable expectation 10-15g 30pt seasonally

      Hansen is high level 2 way, 3rd line player. Elite speed, excellent defensively, and can play in any situation. Tenacious forecheck, and a good offensive skillset, tough, and durable. Current pace would be 18 goals 12 assists over 82 games playing 3rd line minutes, while having an off year due to injury
      15-20 goals, 20 + assists, 30-40 point expectation seasonally.

      Kanes upside is elite forward, but he isnt one yet. He hasnt has a season that he has had over 60 points yet. He’s not even the best offensive player on his team this season.

      I said I would do Hansen and Tanev for Kane and the 3rd (which I still think would be an over payment, but one worth making), but you are also adding a first round pick, one that has already shown that he is a very good 2 way player with great size, great hands, excellent in the circle, and a team leader. Expected 3rd line C with a 2nd line ceiling.

  • jung gun

    I haven’t looked this up, but to the eye it looked like the Blues blocked a *lot* of shots – I’d be curious how Corsi in this games compares to Fenwick.

    The first ten minutes of the game were absolutely brutal. After that it was a pretty competitive affair.

  • jung gun

    It’s really obvious that we miss Edler and in my mind Stanon even more. The top-4 right now are run ragged. Burrows due back around Jan 18 I hear. I also heard a rumour that Wpg was willing to part w Kane for Tanev, Hansen, Gaunce and a 3rd. Seems like a high price, but my god it would sweet to have a legit top-3 forward. Anybody hear anything similar?

    • Peachy

      That would be an overpayment, even if you removed Gaunce and the 3rd.
      There is no doubt in my mind Gaunce will be NHL ready next year and good enough to to the 3rd line C. Hansen is an excellent 2 way player, who can play in any situation, on either side, in any role, who is just having an off year with injuries and a new system, he is also one of the teams hardest working players, and the teams fastest. Versatile is an understatement no matter what the pundits think.

      Tanev is a top pairing shut down dman with great mobility and a great puck mover, who seems unfazed by whomever he plays against. Exactly what the Jets need.

      I would do the Tanev and Hansen and maybe the 3rd, but no way they get a 1st round prospect without something more coming back in return.

      • jung gun

        Of course its an overpayment. You have to overpay to get a big, tough, fast 30 goal scoring power forwards in this league.

        I would do that deal in a heartbeat and only shed a tear over Tanev. With Stanton/Corrado I’m willing to chance it on D.

        Having Evander Kane and Kassian on a 2nd line with Kesler would be quite a different and enhanced look.

        Then Burrows back with the twins and a third line of Santo/Higgins/Booth.

  • KleptoKlown

    > Having Evander Kane and Kassian on a 2nd line with Kesler would be quite a different and enhanced look.

    Kane: “Dammit, and I *just* left Winnipeg…”

    • pheenster

      Everyone would rather trade Edler than anybody. But everyone seems to want to wish away a full NTC that a)he won’t be asked to waive and b)he won’t waive voluntarily unless his existence here is truly untenable, which is a very long way off.

      Tradeable pieces on the back end are Tanev, Stanton and Corrado. Pick your poison.

        • pheenster

          So they can waive him, or send him to Utica (which means pretty much the same thing as Edler would have to pass through waivers in order to be sent down). In sum, the Canucks could give him away for free if they wanted to, which they would never do. So how exactly does that help?