Thursday's Numbers: The Canucks had a bad January

After a 7-2-2 month, I suppose I'd be a pretty wet blanket to have to say that the Canucks didn't have all that good of a month of January.

Rather than team record, which we know by now is really deceptive when looking at small samples, I prefer to go by the underlying, and predictive, score-tied Corsi measure. I won't be able to go too in-depth into this due to time constraints, but take a look at the chart here after the jump:

Close 17 14 161 207 68 74 116 78 49.3% 103.2%
Tied 12 7 106 151 45 50 74 53 47.6% 105.7%

Data collected via here and here

The Canucks had a 47.6% tied Corsi rate, and were no better in score-close situations, which is determined by situations when the score is tied, or either team has a one-goal lead in the first or second periods. The second metric is none too forgiving.

Sure, the Canucks out-scored their opponents 12-7, but were outshot 158-118. Roberto Luongo threw up a .959 in January with the score tied and Cory Schneider a .947. It's incredible how good (and lucky) the team's goaltending has been.

But the Canucks 7-win record in January is a house of cards; despite big wins over Boston, Chicago, San Jose and St. Louis, neither of those wins were by more than a goal. In fact, the Canucks' had just a single clear victory, a win where a team wins by 2-or-more and empty net goals don't count. They're tracked by our friends in Edmonton at The Copper n Blue on a sidebar about halfway down the page, and while the Canucks are 17-7 overall, they were 1-1 in January. Games were too close for me to like, especially with a dangerously-high PDO.

Vancouver have fallen down the league possession standings. Let's take a look how:

Month Corsi Month PDO Cumulative Corsi Cumulative PDO
October 55.2% 98.8% 55.2% 98.8%
November 53.5% 105.2% 55.4% 99.3%
December 56.8% 105.6% 55.9% 101.8%
January 47.6% 105.8% 53.4% 103.0%

(Data from scripts I linked to above)

I don't know about you, but this is getting scary. The Canucks have fallen out of the top-10 in Fenwick rankings (which is pretty much Corsi, excluding blocked shots). I will continue to preach this until the Canucks start playing better.

I can't offer any reasonable explanation as to why, but I have a theory that Sami Salo's injury hurt the team more than we thought and that the third line has been pretty mediocre possession-wise (Jannik Hansen was a 44.3% player in January).

Oh, and I'd be remiss to mention: the Canucks leader in score-tied Corsi in January? Sure, it's just one game, but the Canucks outshot the opposition 9-5 when Chris Tanev was on the ice, and had 14 events to the opposition's 10. That's 58.3%.

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