The Lotto Line has struggled immensely at 5-on-5 against the Ryan O’Reilly line.
Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser and JT Miller are playing at over a point per game rate in the postseason. They are thriving on the powerplay but have been ineffective at even strength against the St. Louis Blues. Specifically when having to face the Ryan O’Reilly line that features David Perron and Jaden Schwartz on his wings.
The Canucks’ scoring trio was one of the best lines in the NHL when it came to controlling goal share and has been defensively responsible to boot. They haven’t been dominated in the scoring department due to their defensive competence. They have only been on the ice for one 5-on-5 goal against in their 23:09 of ice time and it wasn’t against the O’Reilly line.
The goal against the Lotto Line at 5-on-5 was from a tough run of events for Chris Tanev.
The big problem for The Lotto Line in game one and two is the inability to control puck possession in the offensive zone. They have only controlled 16.67% of the 5-on-5 shot share, being outshot by a count of four to 20 in their 23 minutes of ice time together.
The Lotto Line actually has been controlling a majority of the attempted shots in the 8:45 that they have been away from O’Reilly’s line. This should be a good sign for The Lotto Line as the Canucks will have last change in games three and four. This gives Travis Green the opportunity to get The Lotto Line out against some weaker competition and could open the door for the Bo Horvat line to matchup against O’Reilly more.
This isn’t a matchup that we have seen often as the Horvat line has only matched up against the O’Reilly line for 3:55 in two games.
This could be the move for Travis Green as his top scoring line hasn’t been great at even strength and they will need to be better in the offensive zone if the Canucks want to beat the Blues in a best of seven series.
When I say The Lotto Line needs to be better I am only talking about 5-on-5. They have been excellent on the powerplay and are still putting up points every game. The thing that scares me is that against O’Reilly’s line, Pettersson and his wingers have not registered a shot on net in 14:24 of ice time.
It seems like a statistical anomaly because though the line hasn’t looked great, my eye test tells me that they haven’t been horrible either. They may be using the one extra pass mentality a bit too much but with some video work and coaching, I think they have the chance to bounce back in a big way.
The Lotto Line was excellent against the O’Reilly line during the regular season and with some small tweaks to their in zone offence I think they can get back to their dominance of the puck possession and shot share at 5-on-5.
The entirety of The Lotto Line has been on the ice for four powerplay goals and they will need to keep scoring goals on the powerplay to have their 5-on-5 play be more of a whisper than a shout. Some adjustments need to be made and if the Canucks can add that to their arsenal, this series could end up being much shorter than expected.