Previewing the Abbotsford Canucks’ week 8 homestand against the Laval Rocket
2 months ago
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For 56 minutes, the Abbotsford Canucks and Calgary Wranglers were on track to continue their streak of games decided by a single goal. Alas, Rory Kerins’ goal with four minutes left in the third period of Saturday night’s game broke one of the cuter tidbits about the Abbotsford/Calgary rivalry.
In game one of last weekend’s double-header, the Abbotsford Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision despite outshooting the Wranglers 42 to 26, including 28 to 23 at 5-on-5.
Game two was a different story. The Canucks punished the Wranglers for starting Dustin Wolf in both games of the back-to-back, sending him packing with 4 goals on 12 shots over the first 21 minutes. For good measure, the Canucks added 3 more goals against reliever Oscar Dansk, posting the biggest margin of victory against their Pacific Division rival in franchise history.
The Farm returns home for a four-game homestand, beginning with a Friday/Saturday back-to-back against the Laval Rocket.
Before we preview that match-up, let’s see how we did in our weekly predictions!
Week 7 predictions reviewI’m picking Abbotsford to defeat Calgary at least once in regulation but lose another in overtime.
While they didn’t push the game to overtime for their one loss, they did manage to win one in regulation!
Another 50/50 prediction! Not too shabby!
League Stats [new!]
Thanks to the few readers of the weekly previews for giving me positive, constructive feedback on how to improve this little series! Moving forward, I will include the charts below to give readers an idea of what I’m talking about when I talk about shot, goal and shots-allowed rates relative to the league!
For example, the Coachella Valley Firebirds lead the league in shot generation per game, with over 36 shots per game, but are converting on just 9.6% of their chances. They’re conceding less than 29 shots per game (11th-fewest in the AHL) and have outshot their opposition by 7.7 shots each game, on average, the best control of shots in the AHL.
The Abbotsford Canucks are generating the 12th-most shots per game (over 30/gp) and are converting on 11.9% of their chances, the third-highest shooting percentage in the AHL. Simultaneously, they’re conceding over 30 shots per game (19th-fewest if you’re “glass half-full,” or 14th-most if you’re “glass half-empty”). Their shot control rate has them about dead-even, outshooting opponents by half-a-shot each game, on average., a perfectly cromulent 15th-best control of shots in the league.
The charts don’t paint the entire picture of a team’s performance, but they give us the broad strokes.
For example, the visiting Laval Rocket truly play fire-wagon hockey. Through 18 games, the Rocket have generated the third-most shots per game (33.4/GP) and are converting on 10.5% for the 14th-highest shooting percentage in the AHL. Simultaneously, they are giving up the 10th-most shots per game (31.6/GP), which is bad news for them, considering their goaltenders have combined for a .863 save percentage, the second-worst platoon in the AHL.
In the coming weeks, I’ll find a palatable way to show shoot rates relative to team shooting and save percentages! But hopefully, these charts suffice in illustrating barebones concepts about “how the Abbotsford Canucks are controlling play relative to their peers.”
Games 18 & 19 versus the Laval Rocket
While the Canucks spent November racking up a 6-2-0-0 record, including five-straight victories, the Laval Rocket racked up a 4-4-2-1 record, including five-straight losses heading into Abbotsford. Though Laval snagged loser points in their last three straight losses, they still sit bottom-five in the AHL by points percentage.
The irony of the Rocket’s struggles in the standings is that they sit tied with the Canucks for 2nd in the league by total goals scored and 6th by goals per game.
Like we said above, tough to rack up points in the standings when the goaltending platoon combines for a sub-.885 save percentage and goals-against-averages in the threes and fours.
The Abbotsford Canucks picked up 20% of their even-strength goals in those first two games of the season against the Rocket.
Though they also gave up 7 goals over the two games, four of those goals came during the season opener, where Arturs Silovs did not look like his usual self. The other three goals came in a game where Nikita Tolopilo was making his debut on North American ice and in which Laval outshot Abbotsford 44 to 29.
We will say the one cool thing about Laval is that Strauss Mann technically scored a goal this season.
Week 8 Predictions
Expect high-scoring games in Abbotsford this weekend. When these teams first met at the start of the season, Abbotsford scored 11 goals over two games, scoring eight times at 5-on-5!
The Rocket will be aggressive early, trying to shake the bad juju brought on by five straight losses, including three straight in extra time. These two games will almost certainly be decided in regulation.
I’m picking Abbotsford to rack up a ton of goals as they defeat Laval twice in regulation.
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