Behind the Numbers: Potential Line Match-ups

Mar 21, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault talks to his players during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

As we know, line and defensive match-ups are an integral part of coaching and playoff strategy. This is what I could put together on the fly.

Here are the teams most common/probable line combinations:

Forward lines:

  • L1 Brown - Kopitar - (Willams or Richardson)
  • L2 - King - Richards - ( Carter if healthy, Williams)
  • L3 - Penner - Lewis -Stoll
  • L4 - Clifford - Fraser - Nolan

Defence

  • D1 -Scuderi - Doughty
  • D2 - Mitchell -Voynov
  • D3 - Martinez - Greene

{from Jewelofthecrown.com}

Vancouver

Forward lines;

  • L1 - Sedin - Sedin - A. Burrows
  • L2 - Booth - Kesler - ? Raymond/Kassian
  • L3 - Higgins - Pahlsson - Hansen
  • L4 - Bitz/Weise? - Lapierre - Malhotra

Defence

  • D1 - Bieksa - Hamhuis
  • D2 - Edler - Salo
  • D3 - Rome - Tanev
  • Hamhuis has played with Tanev & Edler has played with Bieksa. It will be interesting to see how Vancouver sets their defencemen pair?

This is how the Top 6 forward match-ups went in playing time in the head to head games this season.

Sedin
Kesler
Doughty 22.min 17 min.
Scuderi 20 min 15. min
Mitchell 0 min 17 min.
Voynov 0 min. 13 min
Greene 15 min. 0 min
Martinez 0 min. 0 min.

It will be interesting if AV will try to get Sedins against Mitchell. I was surprised to see that he hasn't ever tried?

Kopitar Richards
Bieksa 30 min. 12 min
Hamhuis 20 min. 17 min.
Edler 21 min. 19 min.
Rome 0 min. 11 min.

The question here is will A.V. dress and trust the inexperienced Chris Tanev? And, will he play him against top 6 forwards and play him with Dan Hamhuis. Tanev is very strong in Possession stats. Vancouver Canucks roster.Or, will he revert back to the Bieska & Hamhuis shutdown pair from last year. I believe it is a mistake if he doesn't dress Chris Tanev. Arron Rome is a favorite of A.V. However, he is prone to take penalties where Tanev isn't. (Tanev has only one penalty in his career). In addition, Rome slows down the game when compared to Tanev who moves the puck quicker. The Canucks could go with 7 defence and drop a 4th line forward. However, the Canucks to my recollection haven''t done this.The decision between Rome and Tanev is interesting decision. old school hockey vs advance stats thinking.

The Top 9 forwards head to head ice team.

Sedin Kesler Hansen
Kopitar 15 min. 14 min. 20 min.
Richards 16 min. 18 min. 13 min.
Lewis/Stoll 12 min. 15 min. 13 min.

Pretty even up here.

This is primarily because the Kings have a plethora of strong defensive forwards

From a defensive perspective they can do not have to play a checking line vs. the Sedins.

On the other hand, Vancouver with its 'new' third line most likely will try to get this line against.the Kopitar line. And, look for either Bieksa & Edler or Bieksa & Hamhuis against Kopitar.

More in depth analysis in the next post.

Tell us what you think? Agree/Disagree? Play coach and tell us what you would do?

{All stats from Hockeyanalysis.com}

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