Canucks Army Postgame #3: Party Up

game at a glance 3

It was a battle of the undefeated tonight at Rogers arena with the Canucks, having won their first two games, hosting the St. Louis Blues, who boasted a 3-0 record of their own. It looked as though it may have finally been time for the wheels to come off the wagon, but surprisingly, it was Vancouver that was able to hold on to their record, battling back to win the game in OT. 

Vancouver was full value in tonight’s win, finishing in the black by possession metrics against a Western Conference juggernaut, and coming away with their third win in as many games thanks to timely goals by Bo Horvat and Henrik Sedin.

The Canucks are undefeated in 2016-17. Up is black. Down is white. We’re living in Bizarro World.


chart (2)

chart (3)


(The game-winner was eventually credited to Henrik Sedin, but not before we got to hear Chris Tanev’s goal song- “Party Up” by DMX.) 


– It almost looked for a moment as though Luca Sbisa had opened the scoring by redirecting the puck past Jake Allen while falling down. Unfortunately, the goal was ruled to be caused by a distinct kicking motion by the situation room in Toronto. It’s a shame too, because it was the most Luca Sbisa goal of all time. 

– Canucks fans the world over grew a couple of extra gray hairs tonight when Bo Horvat appeared to be injured by a cross-check from Alex Steen. There was no penalty on the play, but luckily Horvat stayed in the game, and was able to take revenge on the blues late in the third period by scoring the game-tying goal. 

-The Horvat-Baertschi power duo was fantastic tonight, generating a number of chances and finishing in the black by shot-attempt differential despite starting only 14% of their shifts in the offensive zone. Horvat in particular looked good, generating a couple of Grade-A chances all on his own. 

– Not to be outdone, the Canucks third line of Granlund, Sutter, and Hansen also generated a couple of nice chances and finished with the best CF% of any Canucks line. 

– The Canucks’ powerplay really hasn’t been clicking thus far, and tonight was no exception, going 0-4 on the night. I can’t say I really understand what they’re trying to accomplish. The Canucks coaching staff are currently rolling with a four-forward formation that features Brandon Sutter down the middle with a Sedin on either side. Sutter’s never been a big point-producer, and the Sedins are two of the best forwards in the game at cycling the puck. They’ve made an entire career out of making five-foot passes to each other. Having them on opposite is sub-optimal. 

– Ryan Miller was unable to play tonight due to a mystery ailment, leading the Canucks to sign UBC Thunderbird Matt Hewitt to a one-day contract. His assistant coach, former Canuck Sven Butenschon, was in the arena tonight to watch him suit up for the Canucks. In a moment of Chris Levecquian deja vu, it almost looked as though Hewitt would have to take the reins when Patrick Berglund collided with Jacob Markstrom in the third period. The camera immediately panned to Hewitt, who looked visibly nervous. Luckily, Markstrom shook it off and was able to stay in the game.


It’s been an odd start to the season, to say the least. The Canucks are undefeated in 2016-17, with no regulation wins. Brandon Sutter has arguably been their best player, and Luca Sbisa scored a goal (sort of). I don’t expect the good times to last, but for now, let’s all enjoy it. Up next are the Buffalo Sabres, who will be returning to Rogers Arena on Thursday night, and are notoriously not very good at hockey. The Canucks could feasibly be heading into California this weekend with a 4-0 record. What a time to be alive. 

  • Killer Marmot

    What I like about the shot location graph is the lack of shots directly in front of the Canucks’ net. There appears to be a concerted effort to deny opponents high-probability shots this year.

      • Killer Marmot

        There is only so much practice time, and so coaches must choose what they will focus and instruct on. They would like to work on every aspect equally hard, but that is not possible.

        The players commented on denying the other team good shots in the preseason. It may be something Desjardins is specifically working on this year.

      • krutov

        i think the pattern is that if the canucks play well enough that the troll has nothing to say, the next troll move is to impersonate other users here.

        hate to say it, but it’s time for comments to be limited to people who are logged in.

        • Killer Marmot

          I agree. Something must be done about the mimic trolls. It’s getting out of hand.

          I emailed the editor-in-chief of The Nation Network asking for advice, but so far nothing.

          If it ain’t green, it should not be seen.

    • pheenster

      I think we were going to be better in this area purely by kicking Bartkowski and Weber to the curb and replacing them with NHL defencemen. This should have been obvious to everyone even in August.

  • krutov

    that was a fun game. and a 3-0 start is awesome. a lot of guys are looking good to me. i am an early season larsen fan. he is a total surprise in terms of what we are getting in all three zones. he is nothing remotely like a weber so far.

    but we were here last year at 3-0-1. it is tricky to read the tea leaves and predict the rest of the season from early enthusiastic play. i see cause for concern.

    the canucks look better defensively this year but they still have had to work very hard for their offensive chances. even allowing for the fact these were comeback games against road teams who went into a shell, i don’t see the effort level the canucks needed to get scoring chances being sustainable, and i don’t see the effort yielding true pressure. the st louis push back after the horvat goal was stronger than anything we had the entire game.

    it seems to me one thing we lack after the sedin line are playmakers that can hold onto offensive zone possession. horvat, baertschi, virtanen and sutter are all scorers first, passers second. hansen has the right ideas but stone hands. granlund’s offensive game has yet to clearly emerge.

    rodin might help. eriksson on a different line might help. and the defence may help.

    what we also lack are players that patiently cycle the puck and take the body and wear down defenders. skille, gaunce and dorsett are the only guys on the team i can see working the boards with enthusiasm over the season and so far we haven’t seen that combo. horvat and baertschi will get dirty but are looking to make a pass sooner than later.

  • krutov

    We’re living in Bizarro World.

    Bizarro World would be a place where amateur hockey bloggers act like they know more about building a hockey team than a Stanley Cup winning GM, ex hockey player presidents, ex hockey player coaches…

    Maybe, just maybe, there’s a balance between quantitative analysis and, you know, knowledge from ACTUALLY PLAYING HOCKEY.

  • SnatchByThePool

    I wonder how much of an impact Jarvis and Malhotra are making? Even if we dont win them allthis year, the team looks like they match up well so far and are not out of thier leauge like they were most times last year.

    Also skille has some good defensive moves this game, some good checks, and even a few chances im the offensive zone.

    I also agree that the passing was way off this game, maybe something to do with the Blues system of getting into those lanes and making them hard to do?