Canucks Army Postgame: Clipped Wings

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Via Canucks.com

The Vancouver Canucks entered Saturday night’s game looking to put Thursday’s loss to the Los Angeles Kings behind them, and they did just that on the back of another strong performance from Ryan Miller and the Sedin twins. Vancouver’s powerplay scored twice, Henrik Sedin scored his 200th and 201st career NHL goals, both into empty nets, and Miller held the Detroit Red Wings off of the scoreboard for most of the night, en route to a 4-1 win.

Read past the jump for a recap of tonight’s performance.

Highlights

Quick Hits

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[Canucks.com Recap] – [Willie Desjardins Postgame] – [Game Summary] – [Faceoff Report]

[NaturalStatTrick Report] – [War-On-Ice Report]

  • First and foremost, Ryan Miller was very strong tonight. He stopped 29 of 30 Red Wings shots and held the visitors off the scoresheet until they were already trailing by two goals late in the third period. Miller is not 4-1-1 in his last six outings with a 0.937 save percentage in that same span, which has pulled his average save percentage on the year up to 0.911 – close to the lower bound of what we expected. This means that we can reasonably expect Miller to have another stretch or two like this before the season is out. On the other hand, we can also expect another run of poor play too. Such is life with goalies.
  • The play-by-play team of Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson made a comment in the first period that I found kind of odd. They said something along the lines of “with Kassian’s size, no one should be able to stop him when he goes to the net!” This was a bit of a throwaway comment, but I think it represents a line of thinking with Kassian that’s a bit misguided – mainly that his physical tools should make him some kind of invincible behemoth when he sets his mind to it. The fact of the matter though is that while he is big, he’s not that big.
  • I asked Josh (who’s actually bigger than Kassian) run some numbers. Kassian is less than one standard deviation larger than the average NHL player in both height and weight, meaning that most guys are near enough to the same size as him to not have a significant physical disadvantage.
  • Nick Kypreos tore into Nick Bonino in the first intermission, highlighting all his “soft” plays. I don’t think this type of analysis is always fair, but it is worth noting that Bonino has all but vanished since the beginning of December. You know the numbers by now: one goal, one assist, and pretty much invisible on most nights. While we’ve been lamenting the possession deficiencies of the fourth line, the fact of the matter is that the guys playing eight minutes a night aren’t going to sink you so much as your second line not scoring will.
  • The biggest reason why Vancouver won tonight: special teams. Their penalty kill has been phenomenal all year, and the powerplay looks to be shooting the puck more since Alex Burrows was moved to net front duty on the first unit, and scored twice tonight. If the Canucks hope to be competitive going forward, they’re going to need to lean heavily on their special teams, since 5-on-5 looks like it’s going to be an issue.

Conclusion

The Canucks have another tough test ahead of them as they play host to the resurgent and dangerous New York Islanders on Tuesday night. The Isles have rode the offseason acquisitions of Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, and Mikhail Grabovski among others back to not only relevancy, but into contention for the Eastern conference title. It’ll be a fun game, and hopefully not a repeat of last time the Isles came to town. We’ll see you then.

  • Serious Gord

    totally sick of all this kassian talk lately. he’s a fine young player. he plays with blue collar players who lack his vision but perhaps have played in the league long enough to not make stupid plays. if this team wants him to get points, then they need to put him in a position to get points. most of the time that his line is in the offensive zone, his line mates are just fighting unpredictable battles on the boards because of their lack of vision and kass is just reacting. when richie and matthias break out, rarely can they give him the type of pass he has been able to send their way. kassian should be helping bones on the second line with his offense. hansen should be skating around fast with the 3rd. if they trade this kid, i feel they’ll lose the trade. please benning, understand what you have instead of being let down it’s not what you want.

  • Serious Gord

    2 PP goals and 2 empty netters. Nothing to be that proud or happy about after this game, other than Miller’s play and a lucky 2 pts. Too bad he couldn’t be a little more consistent.

    • Serious Gord

      When did PP goals become lucky? As far as I know the best PP score only 1/3 of the time. That’s not luck genius and empty net goals are the result of being ahead in a game and the other team trying to catch.

      Being ahead in a hockey game is generally not the result of luck

      • Serious Gord

        If you could read I said a lucky 2pts, not lucky PP goals. Read first next time. It’s ok if it takes you a few times, not everybody’s reading skill is the same.

        If it weren’t for Miller they would have been smoked once again. That’s the only reason they were ahead.

    • Serious Gord

      You’ll get a lot of thumbs down because the Canucks did walk away with 2 points, but my twitter feed was filled with Canucks fans complaining about the way the ‘Nucks were getting dominated for long stretches. The only difference between the LA game and the Detroit game was a lucky bounce or two.

      This team is sweep-fodder in the first round. In the year of a McDavid draft, that sucks.

      • Serious Gord

        Goaltending during the pivotal moments of the game was the biggest difference.

        Sweep fodder maybe, but do you honestly think we had a chance to out-tank the Oilers to get a crack at McDavid? I’d be happy with getting some playoff hockey this year just for the extra step/experience it means to young guys like Horvat, Kassian and Stanton. Win or lose, they still need those type of games to develop in my opinion. What really sucks is it comes off sounding like you’d prefer the draft lottery to watching what this team can do.

        • Serious Gord

          I already know what this team can do. It’s better than the minnows, a part of the pathway for the giants.

          And really, I don’t care much for getting Stanton or Kassian playoff experince since neither one will be here for any extended playoff drive.

          It’s fine that this is a wasted season, I suppose. But this team needs a first line centre of the future and right now — nada.

          • Serious Gord

            Meh, every team can lay claim to needing a first line Center of the future and now. If only they grew on trees. I’ll take a franchise winger and generational defenceman while you’re at it.

            Say both Stanton and Kassian stay within the organization, which is within the realm of possibility. What would they gain as developing young players by not seeing playoff hockey? How does that help the future if it’s full of needs as you suggest?

            Sacrificing today for the future doesn’t work in this NHL, ask any Oiler fan.

  • Serious Gord

    After a couple of subpar games this was a far better effort (the previous poster and his rant about “lucky” PP goals is best not even acknowledged for the idiocy of his comments). Miller looked confident — maybe it’s playing against his brother or having his mom in the stands that helps him out. Other than a couple of iffy shifts in the first and third the Canucks looked quick and smart. Hansen and Matthias were driving all night and I thought despite some calls against him Stanton has been really solid the last month.

    As for Kassian I don’t know what the CBC announcers’ problem is but for a first game back I thought he was excellent. My only complaint would have been the lame dive but he drove play, cycled well, threw some hits to dislodge the puck and was generally solid. I’d much rather have an early 20s PF with soft hands and an amusing personality than a fourth line center getting minimal points and remaining a locker room problem (apparently)

  • Serious Gord

    Adding Burrows to the PP was a very smart move by Coach Willie! Burr will screen and clean up junk in front of the net. Part of the biggest failure of the PP was guys just standing around waiting for passes, which lead PKs to just stay in their lanes and disrupt passes. Burr creates a little havoc in front and that is a good thing.

    Second line scoring is a problem, but not as big as one would think. The Canucks need solid goaltending, their Top line to produce and Secondary scoring. It would be nice to have a scoring second line, but the third and fourth lines are equally capable of scoring, so as long as there is Secondary scoring the Canucks will be all right.

    While Kassian is not a monster size wise he is above average and needs to play more physically to be successful in the NHL.The Canucks need Kass and Mathais to play more like the Ducks and Kings play.

    • Serious Gord

      the kings are effective not because 2 big guys on their 3rd line throw hits. they’re effective because at least 2 big guys on all 4 lines throw hits.

    • Serious Gord

      You’re right: the Sedin line (a second line) is doing just fine. There is no first line on this team. That’s the problem. If Bonino and Higgins were a factor then you could live with a declining Sedin line. But with them MIA, this team will struggle mightly to put up points down the stretch.