Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn - USA TODAY Sports

CanucksArmy Post-Game: Zzzzzz

Canucks Finish Off Road Trip with 1-0 Victory Over the Wild

The Canucks didn’t need goaltender Anders Nilsson to stand on his head tonight. They held the Wild to 29 shots, but only six of them qualified as high-danger chances. Nilsson was there to stop them all, though, backstopping the Canucks to a fourth-victory to close out their five-game road trip.

As the score might suggest, not a lot happened tonight between these two teams. It was like a throwback to the mid-2000s brand of Minnesota Wild hockey that I grew up watching. Then again, perhaps it’s the Canucks who are to blame given the pace they’ve played with this season…

Whatever the case, all it took was a Jake Virtanen snipe from the slot in the third to secure the Canucks victory. With just half a period remaining in regulation, Virtanen skated into the Wild zone, shot the puck into a defender’s shin pads, recovered the puck and used a quick release to sneak one past Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk.

The Canucks never relinquished that lead, securing the 1-0 victory and capping off an encouraging 4-1 road trip. Nilsson stopped all 29 of the Wild’s shots, and Dubnyk stopped 24 of 25 Canucks tries.


Quick Hits

  • Coming into tonight’s game, Nilsson sported the sixth-best delta save percentage, according to Corsica.Hockey. Delta save percentage is the difference between a goaltender’s actual save percentage and his expected save percentage. In this instance, a high delta save percentage is the goal. Have to think that sees another increase after tonight. The goalie controversy? Yeah, it’s definitely back on. The Canucks didn’t ask a lot of Nilsson, certainly, but he delivered on what was needed. The Wild scored 1.38 expected goals by Corsica.Hockey. In reality, they had none. Nilsson now has two shutouts in three Canucks starts. Jacob Markstrom doesn’t have one in his career.

  • This was, in my humble opinion, Derrick Pouliot’s best game as a Canuck. In the first frame especially I thought Pouliot had a couple of great looks on the Canucks one power play opportunity. Pouliot led the Canucks in five-on-five on-ice shot attempt differential, too, with a steady plus-seven mark; his transitional data was sterling as well. I’ve been mostly “meh” on Pouliot since he joined the Canucks, but his underlying results have been impressive throughout. The Canucks are leaving the ice with their heads clear above water by five-on-five shot attempt differential with Pouliot on the ice, and by a fair amount at that. Pouliot seems to be improving, if only slightly, with each passing game, too.
  • Derek Dorsett led all Canucks forwards in ice-time tonight. Yeah, that one. The one leading the team in goals with five. Dorsett also came into tonight’s game with the third-worst Corsi For percentage on the team. I get that you have to play the hot hand, but this is getting a little wild. Dorsett is a career fourth-liner coming off of career-threatening neck surgery. Great story or not, there is no way he should ever lead your team in ice-time. Related, the Canucks were a minus-seven tonight by five-on-five shot attempt differential with Dorsett on the ice, and he took a hooking penalty in the final seconds of today’s game while helping defend a one-goal lead.
  • We had Jeremy Davis on this week’s episode of Nation Network Radio on TSN 1040 AM to discuss Jake Virtanen, Canucks prospects, and yes, Ben Hutton. Davis advocated for Chris Tanev as the Canucks’ best option to pair with Hutton at even strength. Well, that’s looking like a “w” for Davis after tonight. This might’ve been the best that Hutton’s looked in a few games. You know, the Canucks might have something there.

  • Sandpaper

    Really enjoying this little streak, as well as watching our top minute eating line of Sutter Dorsett and Granlund. Gudbranson also looking good on defence, much better than a 3rd pairing guy.

  • Jimjamg

    Pouliot is looking very strong. One inch and he would have had a bar down beauty coming out of the corner. With some confidence showing in his game this could turn out to be one of JB’s better pilferings.

    • Rodeobill

      yeah they are almost looking like the best players on the team again. I think the Sutter line is the secret lynchpin to it all, Just use them to shut down the other team’s top line, and let the other 3 have at it!

  • NeverWas

    You guys gotta clean up that defense zone exit spreadsheet. I care about 3 numbers, fails vs success, controlled% of success, skate vs pass. Highlight a couple of those or do some sort of weight average to get a total score. Sifting through some generic spreadsheet data on my phone is terrible… send that sheet to me and I’ll fix it right up for yeah! It’s good stuff, give it the presentation it deserves!!

  • defenceman factory

    Dorsett’s big minutes are not a function of Green playing a hot hand or not understanding what limitations there might be in his game. This is more a function of the Horvat and Burmistrov lines not being able to handle the top line of other teams. Granlund, Sutter and Dorsett have done a decent job matching up against those top lines. They are working really hard and with some favourable bounces generating some goals.

    The ice time of the Sedins seems about right (maybe less PP time) so lowering Dorsett’s TOI means moving it to one of the other lines. I don’t think the results would have been as good. Dorsett leads the team in hits and all forwards in blocked shots. We’ve also seen him beat out some icing calls and not make too many horrible mistakes. I hope the Horvat or Burmistrov lines step up and some ice time can move but until they do Green is playing the hand he has. Dorsett’s lack of skill is being adequately masked by hard work and sound defensive play.

    Great game tonight by the Canucks defence. Nice to see the “Big Tuna” pot another goal but even more impressive is the improvement in his defensive game.

        • Bud Poile

          JD’s troll has climbed out from under a bridge to grace us with his douchebaggery.Must be hell witnessing a winning Canucks team,eh,Dud?
          FYI,I played the position and I’m neither a Brit nor a loyalist so I’ll spell it however I damned well like.

          • Penn Tickton

            blah bla bla YANK!

            ‘with his douchebaggery.’ – Dud Poile
            ‘Second paragraph douchebaggery’ – Locust

            same moron using multi accounts – ban this troll JD, ffs do your job kid!

          • Locust

            I coined that phrase some time ago and a number of people have used it – quite effectively I would say…… but I’m not telling you anything you already don’t know JD.

    • Killer Marmot

      Derek Dorsett led all Canucks forwards in ice-time tonight.

      Dorsett and Sutter did nearly all of the penalty killing for the forwards, totaling over three minutes a piece. Even handed or better, they had pretty typical minutes.

    • Betty

      It’s almost weird how oblivious CA writers are to deployment. Green is matching Dorsett/Sutter against top lines. Those lines are going to be better at possession than most opposition they face, that’s what makes them top lines. Conversely, our kids playing against weaker competition are going to, yup, have better possession numbers.

      This isn’t complicated but it seems beyond Canucks Army. Maybe because it’s a clear demonstration of the weakness of corsi as a measurement which goes against CA’s entire ethos which is of course, Corsi uber alles.

  • Holly Wood

    Sutter’s play has been a pleasant surprise so far. Healthier and in a different role which seems to suit him a lot better. Green seems to getting a lot out of the lineup.

  • Doodly Doot

    I was really impressed with Pouliot’s whole game. Great skating, passing, joining the rush, …pretty much everything. He’s got decent speed and very creative. If he keeps getting minutes, and sticks all season, we could be seeing the start of something excellent. Nice job JB!

  • jaybird43

    I realise these aren’t the top teams we’re beating, but it tentatively shows that the Canucks aren’t slated for the bottom either. A good season would be finishing 20th or so. Particularly with more good prospects ready soon; Pettersson, Gaudette, Goldobin, Dahlin, Lind (currently tearing it up in Kelowna). Nice. Plus maybe Pouliot becomes a third or fourth defenceman. There’s some youthful foundation a’building. Plus I haven’t had to read one more “DimJim” slag. He’s done a great job rebuilding the prospects; he’s learned his lessons (it appears) on overpaying vets (e.g Sbisa, Eriksson) as he resisted tbat this summer. Good GM, learning, and the team is looking better. Yes, a boring game, but we won it somehow (Thanks Virt’s, Nilsson!).

  • KCasey

    Oh neat, look at that cool little chart of good ol fun. Those Oilers sure are fun to watch and boy are they good. Montreal too, there so fun to watch that peoples jobs are gonna be on the line for all that fun that the owners and fans are having. Look at the Vegas Knights too, what a terrible team they are being one of best in the league so far, nothing more boring than watching an underdog rise above expectations. That entire chart is a complete sham as far as proving your stats above all no matter what narrative. You know what always proves a team ‘good’ and is always ‘fun’? Playoffs….to bad half those good fun teams wont be there this year.

  • Flying V

    Good road game tonight to close out the road trip. The Canucks played a low event game, which if you ask any coach is just fine before you pack up and fly home.
    At some point Green is going to have to start playing power vs power (ie matching top lines at least some of the time) and cutting back minutes for Sutter et al. I’m impressed with the 4th line’s play, but this team will not be successful long term with them.playing so much. Horvat needs to figure out how to play in his own end so he starts to see more minutes.

    • Betty

      You match top lines when you have a top line to match with. The Canucks don’t. I love Bo and hope he can do it soon, but right now, he’s simply not as good as the true #1 lines out there. Especially with a rookie and a still unproven Bae on his wings.

  • canuckfan

    There is no reason why Sutter’s shutdown line cannot play the minutes they are playing now. They are all in good shape and match up best against the other teams top line. Sutter, Dorset, and Granlund have had careers that had them unnoticed for their talents. Sutter has been the whipping boy for all the Canucks woes since he arrived. Willy wasn’t the best coach to judge any player under as he was not the best strategist in how to deploy players or what needed to be changed within a game.
    Sure it is early season and November will be the time the standings shake out to have teams start lining up where they will be at the end of the year. Green is a good chess player and won’t be out coached each and every night as Willy was. Willy was stubborn and din’t adjust or tinker. Green isn’t afraid of changing lines up or his lineup. The team hit the road at a good time and had success which will bond them as a team. They are not full of super stars so will need to play as a team and adjust game plans depending on who they play to have success. Not sure what is more fun watching Canucks this year or reading the comments on this board that go from crapping all over the team to they are going to win the cup. Benning is building a team one year at a time and has had to make moves to try and remain competitive so that people will buy tickets I am sure after this road trip there will be a few more people in the stands. Glad that Green chose to remain with Canucks and with Jake.

  • TheRealPB

    I’ve seen CA say many times that looking at certain kinds of metrics are just part of the overall analysis that you want to have when determining what makes for optimal performance and outcomes. And yet things like possession and zone starts seem so often fetishized, as if these are the only underlying “realities” that will accurately tell you what a team or individual player is like. I feel like you fall into the false and misleading dichotomy of “eye test v. analytics” when I read these kinds of recaps, in which there’s this grudging acceptance of success even when it shouldn’t happen. It’s kind of bizarre. How do you write up a game summary like this without acknowledging the fact that different game-plans are called for in different contexts? In an earlier era that would have been called a great strategy for the last game of a 5-game road trip. Would you really like to have gone for a high-event game and trade chances to see what happens? Does that set young guys up for success later in the season or the playoffs when things tighten up or just pad stats (maybe)? Does this acknowledge the fact that Minnesota significantly tightened up its own play missing key personnel and being unhappy with the number of goals it was giving up (even as it has scored more this year)?

    I get that you’re frustrated that Dorsett is doing well, even if it feels completely irrational to me. I have never been a fan of Dorsett — either acquiring him, signing him to the contract when we didn’t need to or even him getting the minutes he was. But all props to him for making this comeback — and really the narrative shouldn’t even be about his Masterson season so far. You go into all kinds of hyperbole that makes no sense — that his contract is outrageous (it’s not) and that no other GM would take him (they would). He is literally costing us 3.84% of our cap. Of course he’s not going to maintain that shooting percentage but he’s been a very effective bottom six player. Yes he’s getting more minutes but he’s playing the PK and is a regular on the shutdown line with Sutter and Granlund.

    Instead of griping about specific players and their ice-time or contracts (like Dorsett or Gudbranson — who also looks far better than you give him credit) it would be great to see more nuanced analysis not just of zone entries or exits or possession and chances, but quality of some of these. One thing I noticed in both of Nilsson’s wins was the number of shots that went to the outside — in fact I see that in Markstrom’s too, only he has a tendency to let at least one of them squeak in. Additionally the outlet passes from almost all the d seem to be working better and that seems to be far better structure and support both from the d partners and from the forwards who are staggered leaving the zone more effectively. Overall it just feels like a better structure in the game and while it’s taken a while for the lines to settle out, it feels like it’s working better. Of course all of this has to be taken with a grain of salt because the teams we’ve faced have been inconsistent, but I would say that’s the rule across the league. There have been some surprises (how good the California teams have been, how bad the Alberta ones have been, Las Vegas and TO) and some that should be acknowledged by the Tankistas (Arizona and Buffalo for starters). But I think you’d do well to park the attitude about Dorsett and Gudbranson and deal with what is working and what could be improved (the article about the PP was a good start). Will it kill you to say that Dorsett is having a good season and is relatively effective on the cheap? Do you believe right now he is really worse value than Gagner or Hutton (both of whom make more than him)?

  • Penn Tickton

    Too right, an absolute snooze fest. This is Willie D hockey all-over again and this utter nonsense about Green employing a more uptempo speed game is a laugher, it’s the same core and the same dull Canucks hockey as Willie got fired for! No wonder the rinks in Buffalo and Detroit were like a morgue… gonna be even worse when they get home!

    The game going fans aren’t mugs like the armchair old goats and shut in young punks that make up the vast majority on here. Right?

    Brutal on-ice product, and even winning is actually losing for a team that needs Rasmus Dahlin like a fish needs water!

  • Steamer

    Maybe time to ease off the sniping, JD; in spite of your dependence on analytics, it appears the coach may actually know what he’s doing with Dorsett & Co. You see, it isn’t just about Corsi & ‘primary’ assists (?!) – coaches tend to have an intuitive sense for the game – Green an especially good a ‘game-day’ coach -as Baertschi pointed out – and coach accordingly rather than sifting through endless, restrictive & often arbitrary metrics. Let’s assume – at least as long as Green’s formula works – that the coach knows what he’s doing when deploying Dorsett & others.

  • Locust

    Second paragraph douchebaggery “perhaps it’s the Canucks who are to blame given the pace they’ve played with this season…”
    JD, you are like a vegan working in a slaughterhouse ….. and it shows. Life is short man, why do you do a job that you obviously hate?

    • Penn Tickton

      So seriously, why are you here all day, every day, sad f((k???… you hate the site, the staff, JD and any comment that tells it like it is… but here you are, without fail, same old tired whining bs… WHY?

      • KCasey

        Because it Canucks content and any die hard fan worth a dam will scour the web looking for anything and everything related to the team they love. So in short most of the good posters here come for the information in all its forms, good and bad. A select few such as yourself come here for the comenters and try and throw shade on everyone so as to have the spotlight all on you for a few moments. Congrats to ya little Tick…your a fabulous superstar.

  • apr

    The analytics takeover has set the Panthers back for 5 years, and Arizona may never win a game. Just sayin’. That said, the Habs and Rangers look quite done as well.

  • 4-1-0, that’s an impressive road trip. Even with key injuries, we have enough depth to ice a competitive team. Good job guys.

    Minnesota needs to invest in new camera gear. The picture quality was awful. These guys are still using analog or what. Compare that to the high definition feed in the Pittsburgh-Oilers game and what a difference.

  • Naslund

    I for one think it’s awesome that Dorsett is leading the team in ice-time. It really bodes well for the success of the team. I recall when the Oilers were winning those cups, Gretzky didn’t play much at all and Semenko led the team in ice-time. Also, who can forget Mario Trembley leading the Habs in ice-time when they won all those cups? I’m sure if Tom Sestito had led the Pens in ice-time last year the Pens could have won the entire playoffs in only three games. Why did the Canucks let that guy go? Were they tired of winning?
    I think if the Canucks actually want to win the cup this year, they shouldn’t even let Dorsett come off the ice. If he plays every minute of every game, they can’t lose!

    • Killer Marmot

      Defense is as important as offense. Preventing an opposing goal is as valuable as a scoring a goal.

      Green almost certainly sees Sutter and Dorsett as the best defensive weapons among his forwards for penalty killing, defensive-zone face-offs, and for shutting down opposing first lines. Any offense they produce is gravy.

      But such players are not likely to have the best Corsi in the world.

      • Naslund

        “Defense is as important as offense.” I’ve heard this theme or variations of it over and over. It has almost become a truism, yet it’s not true.
        Example: How much do Crosby and McDavid make? How much do players like Dorsett make? Obviously, teams value offense more because they pay offensive players a lot more than checkers. Also, it’s harder to do. If it was easy to score goals, and hard to check, wouldn’t players just score more and collect the big money?
        So, my original facetious point remains. If a checker is leading the team in ice time and points, it’s not the time to sing the praises of the checker or the team. It’s time to either ask why nobody has enough offensive talent on the team to get more ice time than Dorsett, or why the coach is playing a plumber more than a scorer.

  • TK Smith

    Very well said! Thank you for writing what so many of us are thinking. Although, I fear that anyone with a balanced point of view is just shouting into the wind on this site. Do you think that perhaps JD has his own agenda and will select and bend the magic numbers to fulfill that plan? JD has clearly seen that a lightweight troll like Botchford is making a living producing thin, sarcastic, biased material and it looks like he aspires to be permitted into the inner circle of Price, Halford, Brough, Botchford and Paterson. Thank goodness for Ferraro, Hirsch, Auld and Tomlison whose experience, and not handpicked numbers, gives their commentary credibility and quality. I just hope that JD will revoke the banishment of Vanessa and let her once again add some light to this site to balance all the heat produced by JD, Jackson, Always90Four et al.

  • TK Smith

    Very well said TRPB! Thank you for writing what so many of us are thinking. Although, I fear that anyone with a balanced point of view is likely shouting into the wind on this site. JD has his own agenda and will select and bend the magic numbers to fulfill that plan. JD has clearly seen that a lightweight troll like Botchford is making a living producing thin, sarcastic, biased material and it looks like he aspires to be permitted into the inner circle of Price, Halford, Brough, Botchford and Paterson. Thank goodness for Ferraro, Hirsch, Auld and Tomlison whose experience, and not handpicked numbers, gives their commentary credibility and quality. I just hope that JD will revoke the banishment of Vanessa and let her once again add some light to this site to balance all the heat produced by JD, Jackson, Always90Four et al.

  • rgishere

    We basically have a 2nd line. Two 3rd lines and a 4th line. By being able to shut down the other teams top line with our 3rd/4th we are given a chance to win. Let’s see how long it last though. I’m rooting for the Canucks but I still see us finishing around 26th place

    • Killer Marmot

      I see the Canucks as having three 2nd lines and one 3rd line.

      A typical team will have about six forwards who get 30+ points during the regular season. That’s it. It doesn’t take much offense to produce like a 2nd line forward. The 1980s are long gone.

      All 12 current Canucks forwards have a reasonable chance of reaching that level. Some won’t, of course, due to injuries and under performance, but it suggests strong depth.