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Behind The Numbers: Canucks vs. Sharks (Gm. #5)

Less of this please. - Rich Lam

Here is a recap of the game last night! Scoring chances were 12-7 SJS (12-5 at Even Strength) and 8-1 within one goal.

THREE STATISTICAL STARS

1. MARC-EDOUARD VLASIC

AN 8-1 ES chance differential pretty much says it all. {Although Vlasic was given the 'Sedin" treatment with a 67% OZone start percentage & only having to start in the Dzone ~20% of the time}.

2. ANTTI NIEMI

Very quietly Niemi has moved to the edge of 'elite' goalie status.

He currently is 12th on the list in terms of ES SV%. with the difference between Niemi & Vezina winner 'KING' Henrik Lundqvist now very small. - (~1 goal every 20 games)

Niemi was my pick for the Vezina this year and the Sharks were my choice to win the WEST. Why? Well, due in large part to this next guy.

3. LARRY ROBINSON

The biggest difference between the two teams is their defence. The Canucks have had an alarming number of turnovers in their own zone this year. Last night Vancouver had twice as many as the Sharks (~ 24-11). Robinson appears to have had a tremendous impact on what was considered an average defensive crew. The Sharks also had very little difficulty exiting their zone (other than a few shifts in the 1st period). This allowed the Sharks to dominate the neutral zone - a great predictor of long term success - at a 60% clip.

The Power Play Differential Continues

I had tweeted that the Sharks are enjoying an incredible run of good luck with the refs vs the Canucks. Last night was a continuation of this trend: Sharks had 3 PP's while the Canucks had 1. In the last nine (consecutive!) losses, the Sharks have had a > 1.5 PP opportunity advantage, ~5 to 3.5 PP opportunities per game. To put this advantage in perspective, over a course of a season the largest power play differential is .5/gm. Canuck fans probably can't wait for this regression to take place.

Ryan Kesler, the media and (some) fans scapegoat

Sure, Kesler needs to play better, however by the numbers, he is not the most underperforming Canuck. It's is very strange how silent the media has been on the play of Roberto Luongo. In a small sample size, his sv% is ~ .899 and his GA/G is 2.74. Yet, there seems to be a pass given to his 'slow start'.

However, the Canucks have over-performed their underlying numbers, especially the last two years during the regular season, due in large part to consistently strong goaltending. Luongo has clearly not been good enough and has underperformed his contract & expected performance by quite a margin. Yet Kesler has been made the target.

Kesler has also received zero credit for the PK performance which is perfect so far. Kesler also goes to the front of the net and takes a beating on the PP even though he is NOT a power forward. In addition, Kesler and his usual linemate Higgins have had very bad 'puck luck' with their PDO - a good indicator of luck - being ridiculously low.

Finally, Torts has said repeatedly he wants Kesler to play a 'down low' game below the faceoff marks. This is a change for Kesler. His game was built on speed through the neutral zone whereas now his line is playing dump and chase. It's important to point out Kelser is an elite defensive - not necessarily offensive - player. He's more in the mold of a David Backes (who, as an aside, makes $4.75 m while Kesler makes $5 million and who scored just six goals last year, ~ 30 in his last 130 games). Backes and Kesler play against the very best opponents. A realistic bar for Kesler is 20 even strength goals, five power play goals & 55- 60 points.

However, from my observation & re-watching the game tape the Canuck's defence is the biggest issue.

Gone are the days when the Canucks easily left their D-Zone headmanning the puck with speed. Christian Ehrhoff where are you? Wait, you're in the seventh ring of Buffalo hell, never mind. Hamhuis, Bieksa, Garrision, Edler & Tanev all must drastically improve their play with the puck & reduce the turnovers. As a whole the defense need to increase their quality scoring chances, offensive zone entries and, ultimately, score more goals.

If you have any questions, comments or disagreements feel free to post them below...

Go Canucks GO!

{In a post next week I will introduce my expected score stat which will be a good indicator of goaltending performance}


Canucks Individual Scoring Chances:

# Player EV PP SH
1 LUONGO, ROBERTO 5 12 1 0 1 0
2 HAMHUIS, DAN 17:49 1 4 00:46 0 0 03:40 1 0
3 BIEKSA, KEVIN 18:25 3 6 00:46 0 0 01:20 0 0
5 GARRISON, JASON 18:57 1 3 01:14 1 0 02:49 0 0
6 WEBER, YANNICK 04:01 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
7 BOOTH, DAVID 14:31 1 1 00:46 0 0 00:58 0 0
8 TANEV, CHRISTOPHER 14:39 1 3 00:00 0 0 01:51 1 0
15 RICHARDSON, BRAD 10:47 0 1 00:00 0 0 02:11 0 0
17 KESLER, RYAN 16:10 2 2 01:14 1 0 01:14 1 0
18 STANTON, RYAN 15:11 1 3 00:00 0 0 00:06 0 0
20 HIGGINS, CHRIS 14:37 1 2 00:46 0 0 01:48 1 0
21 DALPE, ZAC 03:16 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
22 SEDIN, DANIEL 19:16 3 6 01:14 1 0 01:07 0 0
23 EDLER, ALEXANDER 18:59 3 5 01:14 1 0 02:14 0 0
25 SANTORELLI, MIKE 20:20 3 7 00:46 0 0 02:36 0 0
29 SESTITO, TOM 05:35 0 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
32 WEISE, DALE 13:40 0 3 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
33 SEDIN, HENRIK 19:44 3 6 01:14 1 0 01:32 0 0
36 HANSEN, JANNIK 15:03 2 5 00:00 0 0 00:34 0 0

Sharks Individual Scoring Chances:

# Player EV PP SH
5 DEMERS, JASON 15:00 2 1 02:50 0 1 00:00 0 0
8 PAVELSKI, JOE 14:09 4 1 02:57 0 0 00:58 0 1
10 DESJARDINS, ANDREW 08:17 1 1 00:08 0 0 00:36 0 0
12 MARLEAU, PATRICK 15:48 4 2 02:52 0 0 01:14 0 1
15 SHEPPARD, JAMES 09:03 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
19 THORNTON, JOE 14:35 4 1 04:01 0 1 00:26 0 0
22 BOYLE, DAN 18:37 3 3 03:26 0 0 00:46 0 0
27 HANNAN, SCOTT 18:33 0 1 00:16 0 0 00:46 0 0
31 NIEMI, ANTTI 12 5 0 1 0 1
39 COUTURE, LOGAN 17:15 4 2 02:55 0 0 00:46 0 0
42 PELECH, MATT 05:56 1 1 00:00 0 0 00:00 0 0
44 VLASIC, MARC-EDOUARD 18:30 8 1 00:08 0 0 01:14 0 1
48 HERTL, TOMAS 14:00 5 1 02:37 0 1 00:00 0 0
52 IRWIN, MATT 15:05 4 3 02:29 0 1 00:00 0 0
57 WINGELS, TOMMY 15:47 3 1 00:31 0 0 00:00 0 0
61 BRAUN, JUSTIN 18:15 7 1 00:08 0 0 01:14 0 1
81 KENNEDY, TYLER 15:41 3 2 02:34 0 1 00:00 0 0
83 NIETO, MATTHEW 12:10 2 1 00:31 0 0 00:00 0 0
88 BURNS, BRENT 13:32 4 1 01:37 0 0 00:00 0 0

Canuck Scoring Chances:

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 2 7 1 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 4 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
3 1 2 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Sharks Scoring Chances:

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 7 2 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2 3 4 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

{Tables from http://sareon.pythonanywhere.com/gamereport/20132014/20056}

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