Behind The Numbers: The Wild West - Who do you Fear? (part 1)

The Playoffs are almost here! If our Canucks are to return to the Finals and bring the hammer down on Bruins and all their Twitter(ette's) then they must battle through the Wild Wild West. Who is our biggest obstacle? Who keeps the Canucks from their rightful throne? It's time again for you to vote, if you need some help, check behind the numbers for the answer!

Many feel that Western Conference is exceptionally tough this time around..Time to check out where the Canucks stand. I have also included what is the average needed to win the cup and to make the finals for each stat. First up! Goal Scoring:

{all stats from nhl.com & behindthenet.ca} {All tables created with Compare Ninja.}


Comparision Goal Scoring (Conference Rank)

Goals For (GF)
5 on 5 (GF)
5 on 5 (GF) *score close
Det.
1st
1st
1st
Chi.
2nd
2nd
2nd
Van.
3rd
3rd
4th
Nsh.
4th
5th
5th
S.J.
5th
9th
9th
Stl.
7th
8th
10th
Phx.
8th
6th
3rd
Dal.
9th
4th
11th
L.A.
14th
14th
12th
Cup Winner (ave.)
2nd {low 4th}
2.5 {low 5th}
2nd {3rd}
Cup Finalist (ave.)
3.5 {low 6th}
4th low {9th}
4th {low 8th}

Despite the Canucks current goal scoring woes, if they are able to return to their season average they match up well with other teams. The Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators , have what it takes. The Phoenix Coyotes' strong score close ranking is surprising, Is it a statistical variation? Or, could their coaching system be a key? This is something to watch moving forward. And, it looks like the St. Louis Blues don't quite have enough offense to go all the way!

Now, let's look on defensive side:

Comparision Goals Against (Conference Rank)

Goals Against (GA)
5 0n 5 (GA)
5 on 5 (GA) score close
Stl.
1st
1st
1st
L.A.
2nd
2nd
3rd
Van.
3rd
4th
8th
Phx.
4th
8th
14th
Det.
5th
4th
2nd
S.J.
6th
5th
4th
Nsh.
7th
11th
7th
Dal.
9th
9th
11th
Chi.
13th
13th
12th
Cup Winner (ave.)
4.5 {low 9th}
5th {low9th}
4.5 {low 9th}
Cup Finalist (ave.)
5th {low 9th}
5th {low 9th}
6.5 {low 12th}

Of course, St. Louis and the Ken Hitchcock system leads the way. The Vancouver Canucks raw numbers are solid. However, their *score close numbers are quite concerning. It looks like they are giving up too many quality chances when under pressure? And, in turn, putting extra strain on their goalies. We can see how The Nashville Predators have improved their scoring this year, by robbing from the defense! Chicago is simply bad - The fact they are anywhere near the playoffs shows just how powerful their offense still is! (Marion Hossa for MVP? -He is a stud!) And, the Cup winner & Cup Finalist averages clearly show that the myth that defense wins Championships is not true, at least for the NHL since the lockout. In other words, you can win without great defense, but you can't win without great offense.

Since the lockout, Goal Scoring is much more important than goals against to winning the Cup!

In simple terms, to win hockey games, you must 'score more than your opponent'. So, let's check out the Goal Differential (Goals For - Goals against) numbers:

Comparision Goal Differential.. (Conference Rank)

Goal Differential (GD)
5 on 5 (GD)
5 on 5 close (GD)
Stl.
1st
2nd
2nd
Van.
2nd
3rd
3rd
Det.
3rd
1st
1st
Nsh.
4th
8th
7th
L.A.
5th
9th
5th
S.J.
6th
6th
4th
Chi.
7th
5th
6th
Phx.
8th
4th
9th
Dal.
9th
8th
13th
Cup Winner (ave.)
3rd {low 5th}
2nd (low 4th}
2nd {low 3rd}
Cup Finalist (ave.)
3.5 {low 8th}
4th {low 10th}
3.5 {low 7th}


Based on these stats, It's Detroit , St. Louis, Vancouver and possibly Nashville as legitimate Cup contenders. With S.J., Chicago, L.A. as outside cup finalist possibles.

Comparision Other Advanced Stats (Conference Rank)

Pos. F
*Clear Victories
Stl.
1st
1st
Det.
2nd
2nd
L.A.
3rd
4th
S.J.
4th
5th
Chi.
5th
6th
Van.
6th
3rd
Dal.
7th
8th
Phx.
9th
9th
Nsh.
14th
7th
Cup Winner (ave.)
4th {*low 7th]
----
Cup Finalist (ave.)
5th {low 14th}
---

.

{The Clear Victory stat was created by the Oiler blog/website, The Copper and Blue}

*{In 2008-2009 The Penguins won the Cup. Their Pos. F. numbers were very bad in the first half of the season.They fired their coach Michael Therion and hired Dan Byslma. Their Pos. F numbers went through the roof, proving that coaching does matter}.

L.A. is a real surprise in terms of puck possession, they are on a roll and could post a few upsets this year, depending on the injury status of newly acquired Jeff Carter The Canucks have fallen to 6th from last year's 2nd place. However, home teams average a 3% Pos. F. increase. This would put the Canucks near the top of the Conference.

The Canucks should worry about winning the Conference.

Comparison Goaltending (Conference Rank)

Save %
5 on 5 Save %
5 on5 score close save %
Even save % (starting goalie)
Stl.
1st
1st
1st
4th
L.A.
2nd
4th
8th
7th
Van.
3rd
2nd
4th
1st
Phx.
4th
3rd
10th
11th
Nsh.
5th
8th
3rd
2nd
Dal.
6th
6th
9th
3rd
S.J.
8th
5th
6th
8th
Det.
10th
6th
5th
9th
Chi.
14th
15th
15th
10th
Cup Winner (ave.)
7th {low 12th}
6th {low 15th}
7th {low 15th}
----
Cup Finalist (ave.)
7.5 {low 15th}
6th {low 12th}
7.5 {low 12th}
----

From this chart we see that strong goaltending like team defense is not essential to win in the playoffs.That being said, Detroit shows its one weakness can goalie Jimmy Howard get it done?


To summarize:

Based solely on the numbers:

Tier one: Cup contender

1. Detroit (if healthy)

Tier two: Conference favorite

2. St. Louis

Tier three: Conference winner {if everything goes right!}

3a. L.A. 3b. Nashville 3c. Chicago 3d. San Jose

Tier four : a 'shock' one or two round winner only.

4a. Phoenix, 4b. Dallas.

Now it's time to tell us what you think?

And, we will evaluate the Canucks chances in depth later in the week.

SB Nation Featured Video
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Nucks Misconduct

You must be a member of Nucks Misconduct to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Nucks Misconduct. You should read them.

Join Nucks Misconduct

You must be a member of Nucks Misconduct to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Nucks Misconduct. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9355_tracker