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Game Five Neilson Numbers - Canucks return to defence-first game, shut down Bruins 1-0


After a disastrous showing during a two-game visit to Beantown, the Vancouver Canucks appeared a whole lot more comfortable on home ice in Game Five. The Jennings Trophy winners put on a textbook display of defensive hockey, shutting the Bruins down and out, 1-0.

At the Edmonton Journal blog The Cult of Hockey, we have been tracking scoring chances for the two squads. In Game Five the Canucks limited Boston to just 13 opportunities, the lowest such total for either team in the series to date. Moreover, just two or three of these were "ten-bell" chances from the low slot as the Bruins were held to the outside for the most part. While Roberto Luongo played a solid game to post his second 1-0 whitewash of the series, it was a team shutout all the way as the Canucks played Alain Vigneault hockey to a T.

Besides counting team chances we (David Staples and myself) have been determining as best we can which individuals have been involved on those plays, both for and against. These include plus marks for attacking players who have handled the puck in the thrust, caused the turnover that created the chance, or perhaps screened the goalie or created traffic which increased the threat. On the defensive side we score minus marks for players who turn the puck over, miss an assignment, or are clearly beaten on the play. The resultant Individual Plus/Minus counts are known as Neilson Numbers in honour of Captain Video himself, Roger Neilson, who used a similar system decades ago.

Here are Neilson Numbers for Game Five along with more observations of the game. A summary review of individual performances in he first four games of the series is here. We will post links to Games Six and Seven (hehe) in due course.

Enjoy your weekend, 'Nucks fans. Monday is only a couple of centuries away. 

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