Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Canucks Leading Goal-Scorer, Derek Dorsett

Canucks Beat the Red Wings Handily by a Score of 4-1

There was only the one NHL game today, and it happened to involve the travelling Vancouver Canucks. Today they took their show to Detroit to face the Red Wings in the fourth match of their five-game road trip.

Sven Baertschi, who’d been effective but goalless up until today, opened the scoring in the first frame. Red Wings winger Anthony Mantha responded with a goal of his own to knot the game at one going into the first intermission.

Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom was strong from that point onward, shutting the Red Wings out from that point onward. To the Canucks’ credit, they didn’t surrender many high-danger scoring chances, which certainly helps.

A trio of goal-scorers combined for Vancouver in the second period to put the Canucks in the driver’s seat and build a 4-1 lead. Baertschi scored his second on the season, and Derek Dorsett added to his team lead in goals with his fifth on the season. Perhaps best of all, though, was Jake Virtanen getting his first of the season on his eighth shot of the night.

Far from going into a shell, the Canucks continued to own the shot clock in the third period and cruised to a 4-1 victory in Detroit. Markstrom stopped 20 of 21 Red Wings shots, and opposite him, Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard stopped 33 of 37 Canucks tries.


Quick Hits

  • You know everything I said in Friday’s post-game recap about what a great story Dorsett’s been in the early parts of this season? Well, that still applies. Dorsett isn’t going to keep this up. He’s not going to hover around a 40% Sh% all season — duh! And I think that, in the long run, playing Dorsett as often as the Canucks are is going to catch up with them. Dorsett has the worst five-on-five shot attempt share on the team among forwards; he did going into today’s game, anyway. Perhaps it’s time for the Canucks to walk away from the table while they’re still ahead. For me, that means shaving a couple of minutes off Dorsett’s nightly average. Tonight, for example, Dorsett almost played as much as Bo Horvat.
  • Tonight might have been the best of Virtanen’s young career. Virtanen had eight shots on goal, was effective in transition and buzzed the net all night. He was so overdue for a goal by the time he finally scored one near the end of the second period. And yeah, that physical edge that he brought in his first season with the Canucks — it’s back. Just ask Niklas Kronwall.

  • Erik Gudbranson was, well, surprisingly effective in his return from Friday’s one-game ban. Not only did Gudbranson finish with a positive five-on-five on-ice shot attempt differential, but he looked to play one of his better games as a Canuck to the naked eye, too. For those keeping track, yes, that’s an extra $2.00 for the Canucks Army Money on the Board charity initiative to make a child’s dream come true with the Make a Wish Foundation. Make a pledge of your own today!

  • Canucks head coach Travis Green has been fairly adamant in his post-game scrums that he thought Baertschi was on his way to breaking through offensively. Well, tonight Baertschi rewarded the coach’s faith with two goals — Baertschi’s first two goals of the season, no less.
  • Troy Stecher was just starting to hit his stride this season under Green, so of course he left today’s game with a knee injury after colliding with Tomas Tatar in the second period. Stecher never returned from that injury, playing 12:31 and leaving in the black by five-on-five on-ice shot attempt differential with a plus-two rating.

  • Dean S

    Good article J.D. well done. I really like the zone exit tracking. I was pleased when the Nucks signed Nilsson in the off season. Nice to have the Goaltending tandem we do.

    • truthseeker

      Yeah, hopefully it will be like a St. Louis thing when they had Elliot and the other guy….just good solid goal tending from either guy you throw in there.

  • Nucklehead

    Thanks for the game breakdown and for the gif of the Virtanen Kronwall hit, I was looking for it after reading about it. As for the the suggestion of shaving off Dorsett’s minutes, while I can appreciate the concept of an unsustainable shooting percentage, the idea of telling someone who is working hard and putting goals in the net that their minutes are going to be cut pre-emptively because of an expected regression to the mean seems a little Minority Report-ish.

  • BlazerFan

    “Dorsett sucks, just you wait”.
    The guy is having a great start
    He’s an early choice for the Masterson in my opinion.
    Nobody expects Dorsett to win a scoring title, most Canucks fans are happy to see this productive run after a potentially career ending injury.
    But you keep on with the left handed compliments JD.

  • Killer Marmot

    It’s extraordinary how even the ice time allocated to forward was, ranging from 13:30 for Burmistrov to 17:09 for Horvat. This is, I suppose, a reflection of how even the talent is on the team. There is no premium first line, but no obviously weak line either.

  • Killer Marmot

    Detroit’s second period was an embarrassment. I have seldom seen so many defensive breakdowns in a single period. They didn’t just allow 18 shots — many of them were uncontested. The Canucks may not have the best defensive play in the league, but it’s not the worst.

    • canuckfan

      this road trip seems to be played in a lot of empty buildings I don’t think Vancouver is the only city having problems selling tickets. Loved that blind back pass at the end of the second period Wings looking like they are wanting first pick.

  • TD

    Dorsett’s minutes and his poor shot differential are related to each other. Green uses Sutter, Dorsett and Granlund as his shut down line against the other team’s top line which means they will play a lot. They will also generally be outshot by the other teams top lines. As long as they are staying close to above water in 5v5 scoring differential then they are being very successful. I agree that he won’t keep up a 40% shooting percentage, but it may stay higher than normal as their offence seems to occur from quick counterattacks that have led to more dangerous chances.

  • Silverback

    Don’t worry JD, soon Dorsett won’t score and you will finally be right. Why Don’t you cut him some some slack? Whatever minutes he has gotten, he has deserved. You Don’t need to pursue that tired narrative about Dorsett not being able to continue at this pace forever. We know it, and Dorsett knows it as well. Enjoy the moment!

  • Peezy F

    Have the Canucks found their line sets going forward? Jake with the Sedins is going to be one for the ages I think. Watching him there has me remembering how Zach Kassian looked down the stretch in 14-15 playing with them. Jake is a much more talented and complete player compared to Zach. When Jake figures out his clapper and wrist shot and understands where to find his spots playing with them, he will be money.

    I’ve really liked Gagner. He’s going to have a stretch where he puts up points this season but minus production, he has looked good out there.

    Vanek puck skills are unbelieveable. I love how good he is at putting the puck in defenders skates in tight and tapping it through to himself. He is really good at using open ice and using his puck skills to hold on to the puck and find guys. That line of Vanek Burmistrov Gagner played well but just seems one step to slow in connecting on chances. When Gaunce is back, I would imagine Burmistrov could be the extra forward with Gaunce or Granlund playing with Vanek Gagner or Sutter Dorsett.

    Guddy in this system could give Guddy the opportunity to show alot more in a contract year. He is our best penalty killer bar none. Top 10 PK with Guddy in lineup last year, injury to him and Tanev Edler returning pretty much at the exact same time and we go right to the bottom of the league. The Boston game, guess who wasn’t on the ice when the team was putting up a stinker on the PK. Guess who has been in otherwise. Guddy. He has a great clapper. It probably is the heaviest right point shot on the team and he’s hit 3 or 4 crossbar/posts this year. It will be interesting to see if he can start to bury a couple of those and maybe hit the 5+ goal mark for the season.

    Bo looked dangerous today. He was all over the puck, really caused havoc getting in hard on Dmen and turning pucks over in deep. Once he figures out how to use his speed in tight spaces and slowing things down to allow more team play, hes going to eclipse 60+ points no problem.

    I like our look 8 games in. On to the Wild

  • truthseeker

    Good game. Nice to see Sven break out a bit, Jake get rewarded, the Sedins keep playing well, and Dorsett keeping it going. Hope Stetcher’s injury isn’t too serious.

    And again, it’s great to see them pushing play with a lead. Last year the most frustrating thing was that terrible defensive shell they’d fall into in games they were leading or tied. If they are going to lose might as well be with a strong effort to control play.

    Nice to see them string together 2 wins in a row as well. That good game, bad game thing was getting irritating.

    8 games into the year and I think overall things are looking pretty good. If they learn that they have to be mentally prepared every single night and that know they aren’t the type of team that can afford to go into a game thinking it will be anything but a battle, then I think they can surprise a lot of people with a good solid season.

    Good coaching, system play and matching is just so important in the modern NHL. Talent matters, but not nearly as much as it used to.

    • Cageyvet

      This entire obsession with Corsi is ridiculous, as if it alone determines success. Marry that with the prejudice against players who don’t fit the CA model and you get comments like this. Dorsett should play less and Gudbranson was surprisingly effective? How about keep playing Dorsett as long as he keeps giving you the goods, and Gudbranson was excellent. JD is never slow to rip the stats line of Gudbranson, but both the zone exit data and the eye test showed he played extremely well tonight, while also bringing an element that no other defenseman on our team does – consistently physical play.

      I don’t mind the advanced stats at all, but let’s put these things into perspective. The way CA has been pushing this lately, the Sedins should get more ice time than anyone else (they have the best possession stats) and Dorsett should be riding the pine. Possession doesn’t equal results, although obviously it’s a positive indicator. Still, the Sedins need their ice time cut for two reasons that become apparent when you watch the game instead of poring over stat reports –

      • Cageyvet

        1. They don’t produce offensively at anywhere near the rate they used to, or should given the possession time. Without Jake’s outburst tonight, they also don’t produce shots at the same rate anymore. I’m not slagging them, just stating the obvious.
        2. When they don’t have possession, they can subject us to some truly awful defensive coverage and take a lot of stick-related penalties. It’s not always about how long you have the puck, it’s also about what happens when the other team does get the puck, and 5-star scoring chances shouldn’t be happening this often.

        I love the Sedins and want them to keep playing with Jake, and in the role Green has given them. I firmly believe that when not fatigued, and against lesser competition, they can still deliver the goods. They also had a great game tonight, so it’s not the best time to point out their deficiencies, but I suspect that their stats lines haven’t deviated much at all this season from game to game. If you’re watching, however, their performances have been anything but steady.

        I don’t want to beat on poor Megna anymore, but last season the twins were also possession junkies and Corsi darlings, but what were the results like? Some horrid amount of lost ice time with very little offensive threat and even less production.

        I am positive that Dorsett won’t sustain a 35 per cent + scoring percentage all year, but I damn well believe that he’ll keep on showing up and giving it his all. Measure that on paper.

      • truthseeker

        The question I have about possession stats is that they don’t seem to be all that reliable in terms of the sample size required for them to effectively “set in”. Sure if we look at the league over a 10 year period or whatever, I’m sure the stronger possession teams maybe show more wins or whatever and it looks like a good predictor. But 10 years is meaningless when you think about it. All that really matters is what occurs during one season.

        Because after that one season most teams change quite a bit, which renders what they did the year before almost meaningless.

        Look at last year for example. Only one team in the top 5 of Corsi ratings even made the bloody playoffs. By the second round the Caps and the Preds were the only two teams with a corsi in the top 10. So in other words the entire playoffs last year was full of teams that didn’t have great possession stats and the Pens were below 50%. 2016 wasn’t much better for the “corsi” teams either.

        So then this is where the stats geeks say “well of course ‘outliers’ are going to happen at times”

        yeah….but if every single year there are some “outliers” that always seem to have some success and have good playoff runs rendering your stat almost useless as a predictive measure over such a small sample size as a season or playoff run…then what’s the point?

        Someone feel free to explain what I’m not getting about the value of corsi if I’m missing something. I’ll admit to not being super “into” it. Just seems like every year we hear about a team or two who bucks the trend of corsi and wins. lol. To the point where that in itself becomes a “consistency”. Which to me means corsi is not very consistent in predicting success over a sample size of a season, and even worse for the short window of the playoffs.

        • Freud

          You are missing alot. This is like a multi-levelled soliloquy of ignorance. These questions have been answered ad nauseam years ago.

          You’re also misrepresenting last season. You’re using all situations corsi, which is the least predictive. When filtered properly, your claims about last season are way off the mark.

          • truthseeker

            OK..then don’t just say I’m ignorant. Actually respond with points.

            How were they answered? Provide me some links.
            How am I misrepresenting? Why is using “all situations” corsi wrong?

            Filter them by other measures then. Did Ottawa, the Pens, and the Ducks have great corsi stats last year? Every article about the topic seems to say they won without it.

            All I’m doing is looking here


            And whether it’s all situations, even strength, or 5 on 5 it shakes down almost the same. The teams at the top didn’t do very well over all.

            See Freud…just saying things like “you’re way off the mark” and “you’re misrepresenting”…well…they don’t mean anything if you’re not going to prove it.

      • canuckfan

        I don’t think cutting the twins ice time is something I would do, but I certainly would manage their ice time to be sure they stay fresh. Having Jake play with them looks good has them energized and Jake on top of the world. May have been Greens plan all along to be sure that Jake doesn’t take a shift off to sit him when the game is tight so he can watch others and how they act. Hope that Dorset is taking Jake under his wing to get him to understand what energy/tough guys role is on the team and that you have to give it 100 percent all the time because if you don’t the team starts to slip. Jake may be just what the twins need to make the game fun for them again and to add some much needed energy and having a body gaurd to stop the constant glove in the face that Sedins face every night. Having some open ice will give them the ability to make the plays they used to. Can’t wait until Jake and the twins get to know each other more and know where each other are on the ice without having to look.
        Dorset and Jake are good stories and they are being rewarded for the hard work they have put in. Can hardly wait for the time when Jake and Goldie play on a line together with McEwen in the middle.
        The Wild will be a good test if we can get a point or two in Minnesota other teams will start taking the Canucks serious and coaches will have to be sure their teams are prepared or Green will rip them to pieces especially at home when he gets the last shift.
        It is a long season lets take the success Canucks are having now and enjoy it and if it lasts all season all the better. Just hope Edmonton doesn’t win the lottery again if they keep losing there will be a coach getting fired in the next few weeks. Canucks are playing as a team Oilers may be suffering for two players getting rewarded with huge contracts with the rest of the team feeling like crap as all that they did was unnoticed as all the credit went to their top two guys. Managing contracts not only affects the bank account it plays on the dressing room no player should be bigger than the team no matter how talented they are.

    • east_van_joe

      “And again, it’s great to see them pushing play with a lead. Last year the most frustrating thing was that terrible defensive shell they’d fall into in games they were leading or tied.”

      I couldn’t agree with this more. It’s one thing to lose, but it’s another to lose while playing like cowards, which is what Willie did too much last year.

  • acg5151

    You don’t cut someone’s minutes when they have earned them. That is how malaise takes hold on any team. You ride the hot streaks. Yes they are professionals, but if you don’t hand out ice time according to who is earning it you will lose the room.

    • Moderated Post

      Dorsett isn’t being sent out there to score. The fact that he’s scoring, and at such pace, is wonderful, but it’s hiding the fact that others who are being sent out there to score aren’t doing it with the frequency they should. Currently he accounts for more than 20% of the team’s goals, and that should be a bit of a concern for the team, although it’s still too early to panic.

  • Doodly Doot

    I like the puck possession in this one. Virtanen continues to dominate the ‘dangerous’ scoring threat/minutes stat (mine). I like his game a lot right now. On the other hand, Gagner looks like a square peg so far this season. It will be interesting to watch how Green continues with that project.

    • Rodeobill

      I don’t wanna be a downer after this game, as it was a real blast to watch, but I agree with your Gag ner comment, I have seen some flashes this season, but tonight was not his game. It seemed like Vanek carried that line tonight. Its kinda funny, Dorsett looks so happy these last games, a break from his usual “about ready to beserk” expression I have become so accustomed to seeing. On the other side, since Vanek has joined our team, every time the camera pans in it looks like he’s just finished shaking his fist at those darn kids to get off the lawn. Haven’t seen him smile once this year (or even just look even keel.) Makes me laugh.
      Also Daniel passed that puck to Virtanen before he scored I swore i saw kinda a little fatherly “here ya go little buddy” in it. Very generous of Daniel as he could have shot it too, and I think him and hank looked happier than jake did.

  • Flying V

    I’m hoping that a lot of people back in Vancouver took notice of this game and how much more exciting their style is under Green so far this year. No question that not all games will be like the last two, but what a difference from the Willie D snooze fest games. Let’s see some more fans back in those seats and support a team that is working hard and seeing results!

        • LTFan

          If the building was “sold out” then a lot of those paid seats were empty. Vancouver is not a team that is going to draw much interest. Finished 29th last season and has no players that create interest in other NHL cities.

          • DJ_44

            There were a lot of empty seats; but the building was sold out. Cannot force people to sit in what they have paid for.

            It is similar to Vancouver. Most of the lower bowl seats are sold to season tickets cost holders who do not go to the mind week games. Just look at b the secondary ticket market. That said the Canucks are not sold out as was apparently the case in Detroit last night.

  • Steamer

    O man, has Kronwall found his athletic cup yet? Jake is a big, big body – remember his -late- hit on Polak? Keep trash-talkin’ Dorsett, how he doesn’t deserve his ice-time, etc. – it’s the author who looks foolish when the ‘negative’ example you choose continues to dominate opposition.

  • McGretzky

    Through 4 home games and 4 road games, the Canucks are an average team (trending up based on the last 2 thrashings) from a point, goal differential and possession standpoint.

    And while Dorsett will come down, others will go up.

    This is what four balanced lines can do as well as the depth to cover injuries.

    • Giant-Nation

      Rag on Dorsett, speak the obvious that he can’t keep it up. Why not take the line of what it does to a room when a guy like this is playing against the top lines in the league and has more goals than Mcdavid. Basically it’s a shot of freaking adrenaline across the board that hard work gets results. Forget sustainable…. talk about character leadership and win mentality. That’s Dorsett, soft no, take a shift of no, answer the bell check, shut guys down check and now he’s adding offense and the discussion is about “not sustainable” GFY, on my team every time.

      • Cageyvet

        Exactly. The whole concept that these stats aren’t sustainable so Green is overplaying him is ridiculous. That’s like saying a coach is making a mistake by continuing to play his goalie who just posted 3 shutouts in a row because, obviously, that save percentage is not sustainable. Who cares? Ride the hot hand, when they cool off, then bring the ice time back down to their norm.

  • TheRealPB

    Everyone else has already said enough and correctly about the kind of sour grapes on both Dorsett and Gudbranson. I’d really hope that CA writers don’t try to make facts try to fit a narrative rather than analyzing stats to help understand what might be going on, even if it goes against strongly held assumptions. There’s no question that Dorsett has been a pleasant surprise — that he’s put in some goals has more to do in my view with being on a very effective line with Sutter and especially Granlund who is far more effective than he’s given credit for.

    Very satisfying to see the wins but I still have a hard time not taking it with a big grain of salt. It’s early in the season and we have played some clubs who are as inconsistent as us — and some like Buffalo and I’d say Detroit who are really awful. I have no idea how the Wings won four to start the season. The next three games will be a big test – TO especially and the Capitals. I’d love to see us stick with these lines and get some consistency. And when Eriksson comes back I am hoping unless something changes that it is Gagner that comes out of the lineup and none of the rest.