— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) January 20, 2015
The Canucks traveled down to Tampa Bay for the last game of their road trip to face a surging Tampa Bay Lightning team. As Rhys wrote about in the Game Day Thread, the Bolts are stocked full of offensively gifted talents and look to be good for a long time in the future, as well as this year. This game was no easy task for the Canucks and it showed up on the ice, in their underlying numbers, and in their results.
As the Canucks played last night against the other Florida team and were starting with Ryan Miller in net again, the game didn’t start off in their favour. Because of their lack of rest we can be like certain ex-Oiler bloggers and chalk this one up to a “schedule loss” however.
Continue past the jump for analysis of this game!
- The Canucks were clearly out-classed in this game, partly because of being tired, and partly because the Lightning are a legitimately great team. The shot totals make the teams seem closer than they actually were in the game with the Canucks posting almost sub-45% Corsi in the first two periods. In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Canucks only had 1 single shot attempt (a block) and it was not until 14 minutes into the game when the Canucks put their first shot on net.
- Coming into the game Ben Bishop, goaltender for the Lightning, and Ryan Miller had similar statistics. Miller did not look too bad in this game given that he was playing in a back-to-back, even making some nice saves in the second. The end result did not work out for him as he let in 3 goals against, including a soft one off a Brian Boyle one-timer. You can’t blame Miller for the loss though, as the team only scored one goal late in the third period for him.
- The Canucks managed to keep the game tied until part way through the second period when Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa were defending a rush, Bieksa went to play the man (that Hamhuis already had covered) leaving Valtteri Filppula wide open to receive the cross-ice past and finally get the Lightning ahead. It was an ugly game as he finished a minus-2 with a 42% Corsi.
- With four minutes left in the game down 3-1 and on the power play, Willie Desjardins pulled Miller to give the Canucks the extra attacker. I have split feelings on this; it’s good to see Desjardins pull the goalie early, a move that analytics have said is a good idea for years, but on the other hand we’d seen the Canucks on the power play 7 times tonight, including 4-on-3 and 5-on-3, and quite honestly the Canucks looked more dangerous at even strength. Vancouver should be glad their empty net save-percentage was so high as the Lightning had multiple chances they could not capitalize on.
- Canucks earned themselves ANOTHER “Too Many Men” penalty in this game – you would think they would learn to count in Medicine Hat. That or Desjardins should hire The Count as an assistant coach.
- The lone goal for the Canucks was officially credited to Alex Burrows but Frank Corrado was actively involved in that goal and it’s arguable that he should have earned the credit. Nice to continue to see him acheive excellent results in the NHL. He was a team worst though in Corsi Rel tonight at -22.75% with 15:29 minutes of ice time (lowest of all defencemen), and he spent 12 of those minutes with Dan Hamhuis playing against some of the Lightnings weaker forwards, but he bailed the Canucks out a couple of times, pulling pucks out of Ryan Miller’s crease.
- In the 3 minutes away from Corrado at 5v5, Dan Hamhuis was a +7.21 Corsi Rel.
- Surprisingly, know who lead the team in possession statistics? Linden Vey with a +22.28 Corsi Rel, earning himself some 3rd line ice time. He looks to be settling in on the wing.
- Playing in the middle-6 with his “trade me, I don’t care” attitude was Zack Kassian with a +0.09 ES Corsi Rel. On the night he was a -1, had 2 shots and 1 more attempt.
- Bo Horvat, centring the 4th line, went 4 for 11 in the face-off circle and was a -5.53 ES Corsi Rel.
Next Tuesday, the Canucks will return home to face the Anaheim
Mighty Ducks and Ryan Kesler. The Ducks have been seeing some excellent results this year so far as they are sitting first in the division, but their results seem largely to be luck driven as they have have been only the 14th best team in Score-Adjusted Corsi. More recently, over the last 10 games, the Ducks have been demolishing teams seeing them rise to 6th though. Like always the Canucks need to earn every point they can if they want to meet their goal of just making the playoffs. With not having earned any points against Tampa they Canucks will want to make sure they don’t drop two games in a row.