Canucks Army Postgame – Falling on Their Own Sword

For a brief moment, it appeared as if a flaw had appeared in Tim Murray’s master plan. His Sabres, victors of 13 consecutive greatest tank battles, had somehow found themselves ahead 1-0 in the 1st period against the Vancouver Canucks. But General Ted Nolan is nothing if not resilient. He rolled out his armoured division in full power at the start of the second period, ensuring that the fantastic streak of tanking prowess would remain intact.

The Canucks dominated the Sabres for rest of the night, coming away with a 5-2 win. Read past the jump for a recap.

Highlights

Quick Hits

G48 v Buffalo

G48 v Buffalo2

[Canucks.com Recap] [Willie Desjardins Postgame] [Event Summary] [Faceoff Report] [War-On-Ice Stat Pack] [NaturalStatTrick Stat Pack]

The Sabres are bad. Very bad. They are so far and away the worst puck possession group we have on record that it’s insane. They can’t score goals (last in the NHL with 92) and they can’t prevent goals (last in the NHL with 174 against). Their penalty kill sucks and their powerplay is somehow worse. Cody Hodgson, who was expected to develop into a top-6 forward, is a possible buyout candidate. They have lost a staggering 13 games in a row, all in regulation, and haven’t won a hockey game in over a month. There are literally zero redeeming qualities about the team other than the fact that they are frontrunners for Connor McDavid. This Travis Yost chart was two weeks ago, and the Sabres have since broken the minus-1000 Corsi mark, becoming the fastest team to ever do so. They should catch the 2014 Leafs at minus-1092 within the next week or two.

  • As expected, the Sabres got stomped in the possession battle. The final EV Corsis according to Natural Stat Trick? 60-16 for Vancouver. If this trend holds, the Sabres will be the most out-attempted team in the Behindthenet era by their 50th game of the season, smashing through Toronto’s record minus-1092 mark set last year.
  • Shawn Matthias was snakebit tonight, as Sabres goalie Matt Hackett absolutely robbed him on a handful of chances. It’s kind of ironic, because scoring goals is really the only thing Matthias does above a 4th line level, and he’s really good at it.

  • Matthias was also an astounding +18/-1 on the night for a 94.7% Corsi. Frank Corrado led all players at a +20/-1 for 95.2%. Good lord the Sabres are bad.
  • Chris Higgins scored a goal tonight, his first since December 22nd. As much heat as Higgins has been getting, he’s one of only three Canucks forwards with a positive Corsi since December 1st, and has been the best possession forward on the team. The other two guys that have out-attempted their opponents? Brad Richardson (50.1%) and Zack Kassian (50.3%).
  • Ryan Miller didn’t have to be particularly great to pick up the win against his former team, giving him a victory over all 30 NHL teams. He stopped just 20 shots, and was unlucky to let in a fluky second goal.
  • Cody Hodgson was invisible tonight. Wow, eh?

Conclusion

The Canucks are back in action on Super Bowl Sunday morning, taking on the Minnesota Wild at 12:00 noon. Devan Dubnyk has been a godsend for the Wild, but they’re still just 4-5-1 in their past 10 games and are trying to desperately claw their way back in to the playoff race. Hopefully the Canucks can gain some confidence from beating up on the cellar-dwelling Sabres and put forth another strong effort against a much better and more desperate Minnesota team.

Other than that, go Seahawks!

  • Brent

    Whats with the anti Matthias BS. I think he has played well. He has been very effective on the penalty kill, and has been decent as a winger. Is he a center, probably not. Is he a big body on the wing who has speed and effectiveness, yes. In addition I think the analysis fails to take into the account the 10 or so games just after he took an illegal hit to the head (for some weird reason not penalized), He played for a while like he was in a fog and that definitely impacted his numbers. Is he a second line winger, probably not, but he is more effective than Higgins. Actually, I am hoping that Higgins and Kassian could be sent as a package back East. (and yes I know Higgins has a no trade, but I think he might like to get closer to home. The other youngster who impressed me last night was Kenins. I hope he stays up for at least a few games, and perhaps it is time to call up Jensen as well.

      • Fred-65

        I don’t know exactly when Matthias was moved to the wing — I guessed November 20th — since then, he has a 49.9% CF. Quite respectable considering linemates and what the d-core has been this year. Maybe he can be a reasonably good possession third-line winger.

        Also it’s not just goals that are above a 4th line level for Matthias, but also points and scoring chances / 60.

  • Fred-65

    Matthius game last night was the reason people who eat stats fro breakfast should take a time out. Matthius played a great game ( best I’ve seen…against questionable opponents mind you ) but came away with very little to show for it….stats wise. I wish he displayed a tad more grit in his game …. his style seems to be rubbing off on Kassian. Over all a good night for SM

  • Fred-65

    Solid game from most of the team but it was against Buffalo.

    I thought all of the lines were solid 5 on 5 but the Sedin line is not a true line 1 anymore. I don’t think that’s news to anyone.

    Botchford mentions Benning is close to making another deal. I think Benning does have a realistic idea of what the team is but you can’t do everything all at once. Add to that the greedy owner wanting the team in the playoffs and winning . It’s tough to go in one direction (rebuild or go for it all). I think Benning has a much better eye for talent than Michael D and I think the Canucks will make multiple, lesser moves prior to the deadline.

  • Fred-65

    Looks like the Kass/Hodgson trade was pretty much a wash. Two under acheievers, but Kassians salary is half that of Cody’s. Try trading that!

    Mattias should not be the focus of anyone’s ire. The guy was a throw in, in a throw away trade of Lu. His size and speed has been impressive. At least once every two or three games, the cat gets a break away…. He needs to finish better, but there is room for improvement. I would really like to see a Mattias/ Kassian/Bonino line excel, but ???? Kassian is a constant question mark.

    Waste of talent