Photo Credit: James Carey Lauder - USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs Winnipeg Jets Post Game Recap: Jets Fly By Canucks

The Rundown

The Vancouver Canucks are off to an improbable 4-2-0-0 start and played their final game of a six game road trip tonight that many thought would quickly position the Canucks in the bottom tenth of the league – sitting in a prime seat for the draft lottery. Instead, the team has conquered Eastern Conference juggernauts including the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins, the latter without Elias Pettersson in the line-up. Could the Canucks continue their winning ways on the road in Winnipeg, or did Probability Hockey Gods help bring their misleading record back down to earth? Lets check it out.

The correct take,

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1st Period

After a brief flurry of shots from the Canucks to start the game, the team couldn’t handle the aggressive forecheck and neutral zone defensive style of the Winnipeg Jets during the first period. The Canucks only managed a few controlled exits and a handful of controlled entries during the opening 20 minutes. The lack of organization which is on display below resulted in the Jets pummeling the visiting Canucks in shot attempts, 21-11.

With Alex Edler in the box serving one of his three minor penalties on the night, the makeshift penalty killing crew forgot about Patrick Laine who has all the time and space he needs to one time this sweet Blake Wheeler royal-road saucer dish home to make it 1-0 for the Jets!

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2nd Period

After struggling during his first three games in which he spent nearly exclusively with Erik Gudbranson, Derrick Pouliot has been moving the puck incredibly well during his last three games. He’s been meshing well with Troy Stecher lately and it showed tonight as the pairing was the only one to finish with a positive shot share for Vancouver.

Speaking of Pouliot moving the puck, how about this pass, hitting Bo Horvat in stride with speed to burn through the neutral zone, slick move on the Jets defender with the nice finish! Horvat ties the game at one with his fourth goal of the season!

3rd Period

Nearly five minutes into the third, with the Jets on the power-play, Bryan Little sneaks past Chris Tanev and fools Anders Nilsson with a backhand shot going against the grain to make it 2-1 Jets.

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The third goal against was a tough one for me. Erik Gudbranson chases the hit in the corner where there is absolutely zero danger, and not only takes the wide lane back to the front of the net, but is beat there by Andrew Copp (the forward he hit) who taps in the crucial 3-1 goal.

Gudbranson finished, yet again, with a team worst shot-share among defenders at just under 37% in the game. The countdown is on! Seven games down, 239 to go on the fresh three year deal.

Neither Ben Hutton or Gudbranson looked any better on the 4-1 goal late in the third. This goal is a disaster, if Hutton is going to make that read, he has to be certain he can block that pass or its going to end up in the back of the net, and that’s exactly what happened.

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On the bright side, at the beginning of the year, even the most optimistic Canucks fan would take the 4-3-0-0 record after seven games with this schedule. Regression/reality hit the Canucks tonight, this style of play is clearly not a sustainable model for winning, but some young players are showing signs of improvement, and I’ll take that.




  • Chris Tanev picked up the pace late to finish with a team leading controlled exit rate of 43%
  • Alex Edler continues to struggle moving the puck
  • Gudbranson, team low controlled exit rate, team high failure rate. I thought the healthy Guddy was supposed to be better? He’s somehow gotten worse.

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  • Props to Tim Schaller on gaining the offensive zone ten times tonight, six with control. After a slow start in the preseason, Schaller’s been displaying he can be a serviceable forward. Clearly, this type of contribution gaining the zone isn’t sustainable, but it’s encouraging to see he’s capable with the puck.
  • Other than Schaller and Baertschi, this type of performance simply isn’t going to get it done in the NHL. Five forwards without a controlled entry isn’t going to cut it.

  • Nikolay Goldobin continues distributing the puck at an elite level, how many plays does this guy need to create to earn your respect? He’s currently generating 20.01 primary shot assists/60, which tops Henrik Sedin’s team leading rate from last year of 15.92/60 by a mile. As the sample grows, his level of play is becoming more impressive, and he hasn’t slowed down without Elias Pettersson.
  • Granlund, yikes!



  • Schaller has been effective in the neutral zone defensively and it’s showing as the pace of the game slows down considerably while he’s on the ice. It’s what he’s paid to do and he’s getting it done.
  • Jake Virtanen’s entry and shot numbers may be down so far this season, but his defensive contributions and puck distribution numbers are up and it’s encouraging. Last year I think we can all agree he was a little, we’ll say, one dimensional. So far this season he’s averaging over 11 primary shot assists/60 which is up from last years rate of 6.57, which was good enough for last place among Canucks forwards. Jake has also been a consistent presence in the neutral zone on the defensive side of the puck. Whether he’s breaking up plays or forcing dump-ins, he’s weaponizing his speed for the benefit of the team. Two-way Jake is blossoming and should continue to do so under Travis Green who deserves some credit for his unconventional development techniques. For a player as unique as Virtanen, perhaps the consistent tough love approach is exactly what he needed.


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  • NeverWas

    Love the advance stats… little bit of a cynical right up at certain times but they didn’t play great either so I’ll give it to you. Other than that, great write up… best post game review of the year for sure. Keep it up!!

    On the canucks side of things, tough opponent on the end of a grueling road trip. Not to worried, I’ll let this slide as long as they beat Boston on Saturday!!! Go canucks go!!!

  • argoleas

    Good stuff. Seeing the stats illuminates the game on a completely new level. Mass, por favor.

    2-way-Jake is Green acknowledging that Jake is not ready for a top 6 role (and he may never be), but at least he will be a defensively responsible middle 6 forward. Expecting PK time at some point. He will find NHL employment for a while.

    *furiously pushing away memories of Jake’s draft position*

    Goldy is just not getting rewarded with points for all his work. But that will come. Good for Green in recognizing his progress tonight.

    • Cageyvet

      I’m also happy that Green is seeing the same progress in Goldy’s game that we see, and giving him both verbal praise and ice time.

      He has enough skill to be a legitimate top 6 forward and is a playmaking winger with some finish, not a sniper.

      He has meshed well with Petterson because he sees the ice well and doesn’t panic with the puck in the offensive zone, he often puts sneaky passes through to his linemates. He is unlucky to not have more points, he’s seen some larcenous saves and plays like Hutton’s crossbar where he could easily have had an assist. The points will come for this young man if he keeps it up, and this is a big win for JB getting him plus a 4th for Hansen in an expansion year. Given the flooded market, the trade deadline deals he made getting Goldobin and Dahlin were damn near miraculous.

      Other teams were adding players and picks to protect certain players, and he managed to move 2 acing vets who don’t play in the league now for 2 very solid emerging prospects plus a pick. No complaints on JB’s trades the last few years, for all the whining about Vanek, Motte has also shown he can play. Holm is out of the league but we have a very serviceable Leipsic riding the pine. Beats Megna, Chaput, Cramarossa, etc. Let’s give some recognition that in addition to our solid drafting, the trades have given up little and contributed significantly to the team’s depth and competition for roster spots.

  • Gino's 3rd Cousin

    Nice to see D Keeping on the post-game. I feel like I learn new things. I like Cole’s post-games for the most part, but I now find myself focusing on the “woulds” after so much discussion about their use.

    • wjohn1925

      I know, I would rather no one had mentioned them; they’re like a stupid jingle that you can’t get out of your head. Even so, this year the write-ups have been a major step up from last year, so kudos to both Cole and Darryl.

  • The_Blueline

    Great post game article. This is why I Come to read Canucksarmy.

    One comment one the zone entry stats, where it shows an ugly 0 for Guddy. Couldn’t watch the game but in the nhl.com game highlights video, it shwos Guddy cutting doen on the wing to the Jets net and giving a nice shot to Boeser for a high danger chance. Just wonder why it doesnt show as a zone entry

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        People could, but they’d just be lying. There does not exist any discernable measuring stick by which one can come up with positives on Guddys game (same applies to Eriksson). I used to rag on Sutter (to a much lesser extent), but he’s been quietly doing his job of 3C quite well IMO this year. So kudos to him!

        • Cageyvet

          I never ragged on Sutter, and stood up for Guddy to get a chance.

          I find myself now solidly in your camp. As it stands, neither has a great contract, but Sutter is a legit 3rd line center (even if my plan would be to supplant him with Gaudette) and Guddy is a ticking clock as to when and how I would move him.

          I don’t begrudge their contracts, they’re both very movable, and we stunk (stink?) on defense and couldn’t just let Guddy walk for nothing. They’re both placeholders now, but Sutter does his job, whereas I’m thrilled when Gudbranson doesn’t have a subpar night. I’ll give him good marks on the PK, but the rest of his game is trash, let’s face it. Maybe if he actually played a mean-ass physical game, but instead he’s like a nuclear missile instead of a conventional weapon – he’s all deterrent but never gets deployed, so what’s the point.

  • Kanuckhotep

    Yet again the Canucks were in the hunt going into the third period which has to be encouraging despite the outcome of the game. It’s not totally shameful to lose to the ✈️Jets whom many pundits have picked to win it all. 4-3-0 with only one game played at home so far has surprised everyone. Now they’ll re- group to take on the ?Bruins, another tough test. Good posted article though.

    • DogBreath

      … and yes, strength and intimidation are a part of the game. It can cause the smaller opposition players to think twice and smaller teammates to play bigger.

  • DogBreath

    Go the The Province write-up of the game and watch The Guddy Rush. Cleary, he makes a controlled entry. Gudbranson’s shortcomings are obvious. Bloggers love to hone in on his miscues after most games and point out why he’s a terrible defenceman. However, I cannot imagine how soft this defence would be without his physical play.

    At some point, the analytics community should do a piece (hopefully unbiased) on some of the weaknesses they see in analytics as a tool to describe hockey outcomes. Data is data, but like anything, there are often inherent biases in data manipulation, model weaknesses, analyst biases etc. The case for analytics would be strengthened if it gave a balanced view of its strengths and weaknesses.

    • DJ_44

      The entry/exit stats that the author promotes are flawed both in calculation theory. They do nothing to consider the system employed by the offensive or defensive team, and specifically by pairing. I mean, it is not as useless and Jannik
      Belcher trying to analyze video, but in is getting up there.

    • North Van Halen

      Yeah, I got the Athletic. Literally every game Botchford shows 2 or 3 Guddy mistakes and most of them are borderline at best. But the bloodlust and hatred for Guddy is so strong it’s just a big blogger inspired hatefest.
      I don’t love Guddy but put under that microscope I could find 3 mistake a game for Drew Doughty. He was doing it after the wins in Tampa and Pitt. When the most popular columnist in the city has an agenda to point out every flaw Guddy stands no chance at ever being given a fair shake.

          • North Van Halen

            That was mean. Good Canuck coverage despite JD somehow being employed there (seriously, i’m paying now I won’t read his stuff). Botch, Halford, Brough with guest spots from Biecher and Harman. Decent fantasy coverage and at least you’re not using the same lists as everyone else.
            Their approach is pretty cool, a few national columnists for every sport, like Rosenthal, Glazier, Lebrun but heavy local coverage for every team. Literally you have ‘insiders’ for every pro team in North America. Also they have Pronman and a lot of good prospect coverage.
            Overall, because I’m huge into fantasy football (one league is 21 years old) I like having a different source of info than the hordes so it’s worth it to me ( I was probably not going to renew before fantasy was introduced). If you’re a Botchford fan of the Provies (Athletties now) or of JD (how) or Halford or Brough it’s worth it. As well is you’re a prospects fan, they stole the prospect countdown from here so that was nice/obnoxious and Pronman is here too so it’s probably the best source for that.
            It does depend though on how much of a sports/fantasy junkie you are and how much you want local coverage of different teams to be at your fingertips. I like it, but if it went away tomorrow I wouldn’t be crushed.

      • Tedchinook

        I hate the thought that Botchford is the “most popular columnist” in Vancouver because he’s a hack. When he was writing full time in the Sun/Province I found about every 4th or 5th column actually had something interesting and informative in it. For the most part I found him to be a Gallagher wannabe, writing negative stuff to try and stir the pot.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        If you think Botch is the only one with a hard on for hating on Guddy, perhaps you should listen to JPat, or Price, or Sekeres, or IMac, or Hirsch, or Taylor, or Moj, or Kuzma, or the 1040 morning guys, or the SNET guys over at 650. Its not one guy on a mission.

        Also, yes, even Doughty and other stud men make mistakes each and every game, but IMO their mistakes don’t directly lead to goals against or high quality chances for the opposition literally every time. Maybe Guddy just has abysmal luck? Who knows, but boy does the guy make BIG mistakes at what often end up being THE worst times.

        • North Van Halen

          After wins he shows the pucks Guddy iced. It’s not that he’s only pointing out the huge gaffes that causes goals, he’s literally watching every game to find 2 plays he can turn to GIF’s and embarrass Guddy with.
          I’m not a Guddy fan but how can you possibly get a fair view when the most read columnist in Vancouver is watching games just to look for the things you did wrong.
          Icing GIF’s after wins c’mon man, thats just a man with an agenda.

        • DogBreath

          Last year and the year before, it was a similar Sbisa narrative. Before that it was It was Bartkowski and before that it was Edler. Sometimes wonder if it’s just the need to have a whipping boy to write about.

          • Cageyvet

            I agree with all the whipping boy comments and certain players getting targeted unfairly. I have to say, however, I have seen too many players blossom late, to our chagrin, to give up too soon, but Sbisa and Guddy both took me to the point of calling it enough already. Both are bottom 6 defensemen on poor teams only, they have no place in a contending lineup, that’s just reality at this stage.

    • Darryl Keeping

      That entry was 4 on 4, my chart is strictly 5v5 entries. When Gudbranson picks up his first 5v5 controlled entry of the season, I’ll be sure to catch it! I’ll even go the extra mile and gif. it for you.

      • DogBreath

        Fair comment. Tied to your narrative, many readers would conclude that he had no controlled exits in that game (even though hypothetically he could have had a few when not on 5X5).

        Be careful with the narrative you’re trying to paint – the stats don’t always back it up.

        • Darryl Keeping

          I’m confused, my zone exit chart has him approaching a 30% controlled exit rate for the game, I’m not sure why anyone would think he had zero. That being said, the fault is mine, I should be more clear with the titles on the charts and not assume everyone knows they are exclusively 5v5. I appreciate you bringing it up and will make changes in the future, thanks for reading.

  • Defenceman Factory

    Really enjoyed the analytics in this write up. Thanks

    Canucks looked tired last night and like they just ran out of gas in the 3rd period. Jets are a good team. Canucks have been grinding out some wins but too tall an order at the end of a roadtrip against a team that big and talented.

  • Saint Albert

    Back to life, back to reality…

    Normal service is resumed after a coupla ‘cup finals’ for the Ca-sucks that the Pens n Bolts just couldn’t get up for.

    Yep, it was men against boys out there, and the Jets have a clear concise identity somewhat akin to the powerhouse Cali teams and big bad Bruins of 2011… the same identity Benning was hired to emulate but has flip flopped into a team and prospect pool of non physical smurfs… oh, except for Slugbranson eh! Matheson must be quaking… NOT!

    Dream on dreamers, some of us live in the real world and that was seen loud n clear last night in Winterpeg. Dismissed.

  • Enjoyed this article – although I could live without the “Congratulations Shaw Customer, you’ve won…..” popping up. This has been going on intermittently for at least a couple of years.

      • Jim "Dumpster Fire" Benning

        The lottery has not been around nearly as long as the franchise has. Also, technically the team had the #1 overall pick at one point the year the drafted the twins, but Burke traded down.

  • Smyl and Snepsts

    And the writer carefully omits Guddys stats at disrupting in the neutral zone while praising Virtannen ( who I do like as well). Every article has to mention his hate for Guddy. Must have been refused a hug.

  • VancWOOver QUINNucks

    Damn that Pouliot pass was filthy! A couple of those with that Bo deke each game, that would make a losing season pretty good! Get that Jack Hughes kid and plan the parade!

  • I like the Canucks young players but they made a huge mistake by hitting the bigger and more skilled Jets at the start of the 3rd period. All that did was wake up the Jets and a tied game became 4-1 in a matter of minutes. The Canucks have a lot of good kids and in a couple of years they have the talent to be a very good team.