Canucks Army Postgame: Kings act out, Canucks can’t win anyway


(It resulted in a loss, but hey! Who’s counting, really?)

Good things never last, so the Canucks – who up to tonight were undefeated and on top of the NHL – finally lost a game. 

The good news, of course, is that it came in the shootout. Experts agree that the shootout is essentially the dumbest thing ever rolling the dice, so the win could have gone either way – who was to know that Peter Budaj would stonewall all three shots he faced after some of the goals he allowed in regulation? Replay that shootout five times, and you’ll probably get a different winner each time. 

The bad news, though, was that the Kings still look like a better team than the Canucks. Vancouver has started out hot, but they still have a long way to go before they truly look like cup contenders – and tonight was a stark reminder of that. 

Still – a point is a point, and that’s now five straight games without a regulation loss. 

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Now, let’s talk about how the Canucks actually won:

Let the enemy outplay themselves

If there’s one thing the Canucks did that put them well above the Kings all game, it was play with discipline. 

The Canucks started out the game taking a slew of penalties, but then tapered off as they gained momentum. The Kings, on the other hand, took the only penalty of the second period and the only three penalties of the third period – including a penalty in the final two minutes of play. 

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Two of Vancouver’s three goals – the final two, nonetheless – came on the man advantage. The Kings were the stronger possession team from the second period on (sup, weak-third-period-hockey-playing Canucks?), but the Canucks managed to finish the game fairly close in shots simply by virtue of getting more shooting opportunities with the man advantage. 

The Kings had a weak goaltender, and playing with an extra skater on the ice as often as Vancouver did certainly helped them take advantage of that. 

Which, speaking of goaltending…

Battle in the Crease

The Kings ultimately walked away with the win, but that can’t be placed on Jacob Markstrom at all. 

Vancouver always gets knocked for dealing away promising goaltenders, but Markstrom certainly seems like he has a strong future as a starter. His depth was excellent – I’d nitpick that he occasionally plays too deep when the play is behind the net, but there’s not much else to criticize there – and he exercised good rebound control and strong tracking against a barrage of shots. His biggest flaw, ultimately, was that his upright stance burned him on the shootout-winning goal. He doesn’t drop too early, and that’s a strength – but sometimes, that means he drops too late. That happened when Tanner Pearson fired five-hole, and so it goes. 

The Canucks definitely benefitted from having Budaj in net, though. Make no mistake; if Markstrom didn’t lose Vancouver the game, Budaj certainly didn’t win his team the game, either. Behind a weaker defense, the Kings wouldn’t have made it to the shootout at all. 

HIs depth was a bit too aggressive, and he made a few positioning mistakes that burned him. Add that to that one goal he probably wants to get back, and the Kings were certainly a tale of two teams when you looked at their skaters vs. their goaltender. 


Numbers for the Nerds


Read it and weep, calculator-carrying number crunchers.  

Bottom Line

The Kings are so effective because… well, they understand the purpose behind all these possession stats. 

We can mock Corsi to the ends of the Earth, but the bottom line is this: if your team is constantly throwing pucks at the net, your odds of the game going in your favor simply go up. There’s uncertainty in probability, but why not gamble with house money and put the shots in your favor? 

LA ultimately took home the win in the shootout, and there’s plenty the Canucks did right to help them get to that point. With a weak goaltender and plenty of penalties, though, the Kings certainly put the Canucks in a position to win situationally – then their possession stats, as per usual, helped them stay in a game they were doing their best to play entirely a man down. 

The Canucks hurt themselves so much with weak late-game shooting metrics. When they aren’t playing a team taking a ton of penalties, they’ll run the risk of continuing to lose games due to late-game play. 

  • Cageyvet

    Pretty weak recap, Cat. The Kings are a better team? We have a long ways to go to be a cup contender? Stellar insight. I’d rather hear what you thought of the altered lines, or the play of a returning Virtanen.

    In any case, I don’t care how it happens, when you are down 3-0 and end up earning a road point, it’s all good. I hate our new power play alignment, and the dreaded drop-pass entry has returned, but at least it got a couple of goals tonight.

    Keep it going Canucks, I have no delusions of a parade this year, but it’s fun watching them find a way to exceed my already limited expectations.

  • chinook

    Quick work getting the post game summary up. Van took two minor penalties in the first, not exactly a slew as you said. Overall, penalties were 6 to LA, 3 to Van besides the offsetting majors. LA really made it hard on themselves in the third and Van had much the better chances to score. Shots were 32 by LA to 25 by Van.

    The Sedins didn’t look good in OT when they were out together. But none of the Canucks did for that matter. Next time try Eriksson in the SO.

  • GLM

    “weak-third-period-hockey-playing Canucks” seems to be an odd choice of words to describe a team that has actually outscored their competition by a 6-1 margin in the third period this season…

  • Bud Poile

    The Canucks are tied for first place overall after five games played.

    There are plenty of positive story lines from this game that were not told in Edler’s goal,the Sutter-Granlund-Hansen scoring consistency,Larsen’s two assists,the aging captain’s two-point night,yet another comeback performance,etc..

    Not a fan of fancy stats but instead this fan wants to know how many times have the Canucks started a season without a loss in their first five games? When was the team’s last five game streak without a regulation loss? The start to this season is excellent and I got nothing.

  • Suzycue123

    Bottom line is that no one cares about the Canucks. It’s alllll bandwagon. Everyone knows it. All the “hockey experts” picked this team to finish last because they THOUGHT of the Canucks LAST.

    A boring team to watch with NO succession plan for when the sedins gain entry to geriatric care. I mean Brandon sutter is your successor for no.1 center??

    Come on now. This team should’ve and still should trade all the vets- wait no one wants Canuck players. No free agents want to come and play here. That’s a fact.

    Oooooo loui eriksson oooooo big one guys.

    • LTFan

      “Come on now. This team should’ve and still should trade all the vets- wait no one wants Canuck players. No free agents want to come and play here. That’s a fact.”

      Probably tell us in your next post they want to go to Calgary. BTW Monahan and Gaudreau were both
      – 4 last night.

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      Culture? Yeah, that’s not a real thing as it applies to sports…you’ve been listening to Benning again, haven’t you? Do yourself and the rest of us a favour and lay off the Kool-Aid, OK?

  • CroBear

    Having not watched the game, I don’t really find this recap useful. I can’t find out what the score was, let alone who were the scorers. CA focuses on advanced stats so much (except when they show good Canucks play) that they decline to write basic stats.

    • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

      Relying on Nucks Misconduct for your sports news is a lot like relying on Fox News for your world news: yes, there’s a lot of shouting and rah-rah-rahing and that may feel good in the moment, but you’re missing the bigger picture and probably getting misinformed at the end of the day.

      And to CroBear: in the year 2016, if you can’t read the above Corsi chart and get the gist of how the game played out, I’d recommend a different hobby aside from sports spectating. I recommend Lego or stamp collecting.

      • CroBear

        Lol, corsi is all there is to the game, is it? I didn’t say I can’t read the chart (not really sure what could possibly unclear in it), but I can go to hockeystats for that, I came here for a recap of the game. If corsi chart=recap to you, I guess you don’t even watch the games anymore. Love your condescending approach, keep going with it.

        I used to visit nucksmisconduct before I discovered CA back in the day, the difference in quality and approach was such that I had no need for NM anymore. But times have changed, I guess.

        • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

          I guess I misinterpreted your comment, so I apologize for that. Also, I had to prop your comment simply because you said you abandoned NM.

          However, we may disagree in that yes, I am a follower of the prophet Jim Corsi. I don’t need to watch the games anymore. I’ve made enough money over the last ten seasons of predicting the eventual Stanley Cup winner from the outset of the playoffs to believe otherwise. I’d encourage yourself or anyone else to do the same.

      • Bud Poile

        I read Nucks Misconduct and it is insightful hockey journalism for a devoted Canucks fan.

        Being trolled is misinformation and we know which site has served up it’s fair share,especially as of late.

        The stats professionals in Florida and Arizona are having their day in the sun as stats are a tool and will forever be a part of the game but are a bit player in a huge production.

        CA considers it a religion whereas the overwhelming majority of the hockey world views it as one tool in a large toolbox.

        I guess if you can score cash or a job out of stats all the power to you but the vast majority of us fans consider hockey as sport and entertainment.

  • wojohowitz

    Up until this game I was wondering why Loui wasn`t fitting in with the twins but now I`m wondering if there`s something wrong with Henrik. His passing was inaccurate and that overtime pass was really weak. It kind of explains the lousy PP. They should of won that game with three PPs in the third.

    Number one line; Sutter and Hansen.

  • TheRealPB

    Missed the game entirely due to a poker game and being stuck with people insisting on watching the Cubs-Dodgers game in the background; the possession stats show the Canucks getting their teeth kicked in most of the time. Is that accurate? How did Virtanen look in being reintroduced into the lineup? Two out of five games have had the Canucks coming back from a 3-0 deficit to at least get a point. That is troubling in terms of falling behind by that much (and in falling behind in 4 out of 5 games) though I also don’t remember the last time the Canucks made ONE three goal comeback let alone two. I’m assuming Miller starts tonight?

    • Killer Marmot

      It difficult reconciling iCorsi numbers with what happened in the game.

      Even ignoring their power plays, the Canucks outplayed the Kings in the third, rarely allowing them to have the puck for long. And yet the iCorsi statistics suggest that the Kings had a slight advantage.

      That’s not the game I saw.

      • chinook

        I agree – Canucks were the more dangerous team in the third. Outshot the Kings and felt inevitable they would tie the game. Corsi doesn’t tell everything.

      • Vanoxy

        Corsi is a useful stat, but only for large sample sizes.

        Looking at corsi numbers for 1 game, or even a 10 game stretch is useless.

        Over the course of a season, or 1/4 season, a team controlling the puck and firing the bulk of shot attempts at their opponent will usually be a team with a winning record. But, using corsi to break down a single game will end up with a mixed bag of results.

        • Freud

          Agreed. Who ever said “Corsi tells everything” Not sure why people have the need to argue against something that has never been said.

          Using possession to evaluate is complicated, with many moving parts. To suggest possession stats don’t work because they don’t match the play over a period shows ignorance.

          • Vanoxy

            I get it. You’re not a stats guy.

            But, to ignore empirical evidence, because it doesn’t fit your argument is naive at best… or, as the comment you quoted, and responded to suggests…

            “To suggest possession stats don’t work because they don’t match the play over a period shows ignorance.”

            When applied correctly, corsi is actually one of the best tools in the arsenal for evaluating the way a team is constructed. But, it has it’s limits. I won’t even bother reviewing the Canucks corsi stats until at least Christmas.

          • Steampuck

            Fair point, but doesn’t that sky view risk rendering the information equally problematic? Presumably a team that plays a greater portion of road games or plays in an especially tough conference during a subset of ~20 games or so might look comparatively weaker than another team in a weaker conference. I don’t mean to disparage corsi or the statistical analysis it represents, but it lacks some contextual information that might help to colour our understanding.

  • Steampuck

    I’m hoping we can have a conversation about Larsen by the end of the month. He looked suspect on the first and third Kings’ goals, but did contribute two PP assists last night. Frankly, I noticed the gaffs and not the assists (until I looked at the boxcars). Which is to say: I’m torn.

    • RIP

      yes we should. I have been speaking to this for some time. He is not defensively strong enough to be in the lineup. Also he is so fearful of being hit it is leading to turnovers or Dustin Brown goals all to often. True he got 2 assists but what decent D man would not have 2 assists on the first line PP unit that has seen what 18 PP opportunities? He is so physically ineffective I just can’t stand seeing him out there.

      • Steampuck

        I was less thinking about that, and more about a deep dive into the first month’s data surrounding his usage. I don’t like the optics, but maybe the data tells us more. By the same metric, I was never sold on Christian Ehrhoff.

        I’ll trust management to roll out the players they think will best suit the squad, but it would be interesting to see what Larsen’s bringing to the table in a more comprehensive analysis.

        • chinook

          Larsen looks good when Canucks have the puck. Brings the puck up-ice quickly with his skating and passing. Moves the puck in the O-zone with his shooting and passing. But Stetcher might do just as well and not be such a liability when Van doesn’t have the puck.

  • Saundero

    Actually I like getting the post game wrap from Pass it to Bulis.

    Gives you enough information to know what happened. Plus they definitely do not take themselves too seriously, unlike this site.

    A breath of fresh, irreverent, air.

    And no I’m not Daniel nor Harrison.

  • Jimjamg

    I find these Corsi stats hilarious. The chart shows the Canucks playing LA even in the first while LA built up their 3-0 lead, and then LA dominating the last two periods while the Canucks scored all the goals. All of which has to be rationalized by a narrative of “luck” and power plays – hilarious. I guess that’s why the game is played on the ice, not a spreadsheet.

    It perhaps also explains why the genius analytic Coyotes are in 30th place again.

  • Buula

    I came into this game just around the midday point in the 2nd. Looked at the score and saw 0-3 againdt the kings and had to fight my urge to shut the game off.

    Unlike previous years the Canucks fought back against the Kings, I thought it was a good 2nd half of the 2nd period and decdnt 3rd. Frustrating PPs for the Canucks but we finally got it.

    Sven looked ok with Twins, Eriksson looked ok with Horvat. I didn’t see any major goofs by Virtanen or notice any hits, he does shoot the puck, I did notice a fee shots by him.

    Nice to see the guys fight back again and not be the same pushover Canucks vs the Kings weve come to see.

    Good way to break the winning streak.

    I agree Corsi chart isn’t representative if the eye test like others are saying

    • Saundero

      I totally agree. I’m on the east coast in the states. The last couple of years if the Canucks were down going into the second I could basically go to sleep at 11pm.

      These Canucks are killing me. With these comebacks, I have to watch the whole game now. Not getting to bed until 1am.

      Boo. 🙂

  • Killer Marmot

    On hearing of the Granlund-Shinkaruk trade, I thought the Flames won the deal.

    Sure the Canucks got an established NHLer with a decent two-way game, and he was a badly needed centre besides. But the Flames got a prospect with far more potential, and if you want to build a dominant team then those are the chances you must take.

    What I didn’t see is that Granlund might be a bona fide second-line player. I may have to begin entertaining the idea that Benning knows more about hockey than I do.

    Naaaaw, that’s just crazy talk.

      • Dirk22

        If we’re looking at small sample sizes don’t forget Willie Nylander’s 7 pts in 5 games. If only the bone-heads could have predicted that one. #Virtanen

        • Bud Poile

          #2 Dirk22
          October 15 2016, 02:38PM

          Name a team in the NHL that is in worse shape than the Canucks as far as current roster or what they have in the cupboard coming up. I can’t think of any.

      • defenceman factory

        There is no doubt Benning knows more than the writers for CA however I don’t consider them bone heads.

        The intellect and analytical abilities at CA are often impressive. Unfortunately it seems it is only applied to vilify Canuck management. Some balance is appropriate. There are numerous metrics the Canucks have improved on over last year. Clear improvements have been made in shots against, pizza deliveries, the 4th line and Willie’s deployment of that line.

        A combination of even modest improvements in several key metrics should project this years team above 30th place. An evaluation of that thesis would be interesting.

        • The_Blueline

          Great post. I really appreciate the work the CA staff puts into analysing the game. But the attitude seems to be unbalanced.

          I’m really no hockey expert, so just a humble opinion.

        • The_Blueline

          Great post. I really appreciate the work the CA staff puts into analysing the game. But the attitude often seems unbalanced.

          I’m really no hockey expert, so just a humble opinion.

  • DJ_44

    Last night was an example of a Western Conference game that many cite as the reason you still require size in the line up. To that end, no mention of our D-corp performance in the game?

    I continue to be impressed by Gudbranson. Most of the critiques had obviously never seen him play, other than a couple of Youtube videos. The guy is solid, and, from what I see, makes the strong first pass. The clean hit against Clifford (I believe in the 2nd but maybe the 3rd) appeared to open up some eyes on the Kings team.

    Kudos to Sbisa for another strong game as well. I like the Sbisa-Tanev pairing. Again, Botchford-ites will point out his giveaway/poor decisioin on his one pass (it was bad, not doubt) but on a whole, he looked good and provided a physical prescence as well.

    I thought Larson was okay, not good, not terrible. He could have done better on the short-handed goal, however I think it was a quasi 2 on 1 and he was caught in two minds……which allowed Brown to turnstile him. Although he was the closest to McNabb on the Kings first goal, it is difficult to fault him for not covering and open point-man. I like him on the PP. He provides speed moving up ice which makes zone entry easier and he commands the point.

    I am continue to be a bit concerned about Hutton in the defensive zone.

    • Cageyvet

      Good comments. I agree Gudbranson has been all we could hope for at this point, and Hutton has perhaps taken a bit of a step back, but he’s just starting his second year so I’m OK with some growing pains.

      Larsen is alright, and it’s my opinion that as the lone man on the point, he’s not really being given much of a chance to utilize traditional power play skills. Offensively he’s been fine, defensively it’s clear why he’s on the 3rd pairing, and may be out of the lineup sooner than later to roll in Tryamkin or Biega. Stecher may well fill the role as well as Larsen, but you couldn’t plan on him this season any more than Hutton last year.

      Sbisa is good for one really, really bad decision every game, but that’s an improvement over last season where he did that every period. I think that he has offset that by very solid play the rest of the time, and on balance hasn’t had a bad outing yet. Edler has actually driven me crazy by trying to pass or shoot into opposition skates numerous times, turning play back against us and resulting in a mass scramble to regain our position.

      I have high hopes for both Tryamkin and Stecher, and hope that Pedan keeps improving as well, but I don’t think there’s much doubt that right now, they are playing the right 6 defenseman. When it comes to the mix of skills, you need a bit of offensive flair from the back end and those guys usually come with a bit of risk defensively.

      It’s interesting that Willie is mixing the D pairings and that it’s not hurting us, I like the flexibility. I think the twins with Baertschi expirement can end, the problem with the line is not Erikkson, it’s more that the twins aren’t really rolling yet, IMO. Hansen might be the answer, but I wouldn’t mess with the Sutter line under any circumstances. The twins are vets, let them work it out, and keep Bo and Baertschi together.

      The 4th line with Gaunce centering Burrows and Dorsett has been solid as well, I don’t see a need to revamp anything. The tinkering Willie has done so far is fine with me, nothing too drastic, but keep guys on their toes and have a look at what adjustments might work when the inevitable injuries arrive.

  • Dirty30

    The Canucks ‘lost’ the game? Yikes!

    To me, a ‘loss’ happens in regular play. Getting to O/T is simply a tie with a couple shots at earning a bonus point.

    Love the bias toward the negative. If this was TO they’d be heralded as WINNERS and Bloor Street would be shutdown already as the parade was planned out to the final inch.

    Here we are at 4-0-1 — nada in the ‘loss’ column, and the Canucks are painted as losers who didn’t make the vig on their Corsi.

    I don’t expect Unicorns and bedazzle, but a little fairness and balance would be appreciated.

  • Me

    Canucks win.

    CA: It’s a fluke, won’t last.

    Canucks win.

    CA: It’s a fluke, won’t last.

    Canucks win.

    CA: It’s a fluke, won’t last.

    Canucks win.

    CA: It’s a fluke, won’t last.

    Canucks come from 3 points down and take arguably one of the strongest teams in the NHL to a shootout.

    CA: See! Told you the Canucks suck!

  • Roy

    LA does a couple of things really well. Obviously they play a physical game, but where they really excel is how they are hungry for the puck. They are so quick with both the body and their sticks. They disrupted so many passes in the neutral zone.

    I don’t really trust the Corsi stats as the puck was turned over and battled for so consistently.

    Kudos to the Canucks for another comeback. They found a way to get to Budaj and lo, it was the power play.

    Also, the shootout is bush league. Unless we win it. How do we not win a shootout against a fat, aged D-league goalie?? My only complaint, but I can live with a road point in LA.That is actually pretty awesome for the fifth game of the year.

  • wojohowitz

    Botch explains the twins slow start;

    It’s not often you see the twins struggle to maintain possession, especially in a game they’re losing, which means their opponent is protecting a lead.

    There’s just something off to start this season and it’s more than their linemates, who haven’t been good.

    I asked Henrik about it, and here’s what he said:

    “The World Cup did change things. It changed a lot,” Henrik said. “It was really good to play those kind of games.

    “But there was no build up. Training camp, you go through two weeks of training and then four or five games. You build up to the start of the season.

    “We were way up high for (the World Cup), then we’re down. Then you have to get up for two preseason games.

    “That was hard.”