FanPost

Behind The Numbers : Canucks vs. Les Canadiens (Gm#6)

Halloween came early last night at Rogers Arena as Montreal 'scored' the 'spooky- ish' goal in many a full moons. I was thinking that the official scoring play ought to have been Hamhuis from Luongo & Garrison. WOW! What a deflating goal! But, as I wrote in my last post - the modern NHL game is often 'pinball hockey', & last night it flashed "TILT" for the Canucks.

The Three Statistical stars:

1. Carey Price

Price was great and made big saves with Canucks in his grill, screening his sight. The Canucks were especially strong on the Power Play with 11 shots on 3 attempts. (The ave. for 3 power plays would be ~ 5.5 shots). In addition, the Canucks expected score adjusted {see table below} on Price last night was ~ 3.2 goals - so Price's sparkling play was worth 2 goals! This performance is definitely worth first star status.

2. Sedin Twin #1

The brothers were amazing in the game.They combined for a shot differential of almost 2 to 1 when they were on the ice. They generated quality chances & speed on the attack. And, the power play was tremendous. In fact, it was so strong that we didn't miss Edler and his infamous? drop pass.

3. Sedin Twin #2

Yes! These guys ARE worth $6M for 4 more years. The twins are ridiculously consistent, & durable-. Their offensive talent is unique & rare. Get it done Mike!

The #FancyStats

SCORING CHANCES

Team ES (PP) {PK} = Total

Montreal

Vancouver

1

3 (1) =4

8 (3) =11

2

4 (0) = 2

6 (4) =9

3

7 (2) = 6

3 (0) =3

Total

14 (3) =17

17 (7) 24

EXPECTED SCORE :

Team ES (PP) {PK} = Total

[adjusted]

Team ES (PP) {PK} = Total

[adjusted]

Montreal

Vancouver

1

.7 (.3 ) = 1

1.5 (.5 ) = 2

2

.7 (0) = .70

.5 (.7 ) = 1.2

3

1.3 (.4 ) = 1.7

.5 + ( 0 ) = .5

Total

2.7 (.7 ) = 3.4 [2.7 ]*

2.4 (1.2 ) = 3.7 [3.2 ]*

Expected Score is an attempt to get a more precise view on the chance of each team winning the game.

{It is an attempt to bridge the gap between shot totals and scoring chances. Of course, it is not 'perfect' and still does involve some subjectivity. But, I find that it does seem to capture the balance of play quite well).

Expected Score adjusted * is used to evaluate goaltending and is, expected score minus shot attempts that don't force the goalie to make a save.These don't include shots missed due to the result of goalie aggressiveness (think Tim Thomas) .

So we can see from the table above that the Canucks dominated the first 2 periods. The predicted score ought to have been 2 -1 Vancouver after the 1st. --- & 3.2 - 1.7 after two. But, Montreal really came on in the third period. The most common narrative would be the Canucks were devastated by the 'fluke' goal and sagged emotionally. However, the Canucks have had this pattern in other games so far in the season. It is clear to me that 'Torts' new system is extremely taxing physically. It is high energy puck pursuit that happens all over the ice. However, the Canucks 4th line is still barely playing. Add in the fact that the Canucks are playing games every 2 days or less & the team appears gassed by the final 20 minutes. Things don't plan to get any easier as the team heads out on a long road trip in a short number of days. I would like to see a hybrid system where the team can use intense puck pursuit at times then fall back and trap at others - at least until GMMG can find a few more players who can play decent minutes on the 4th line.

Overall, we can see by expected score that the game was pretty close. It is worth pointing out that,by the numbers, that Montreal seems to be an elite team. Also,, for the record, my stats predicted Vancouver to finish 4th or 5th in a fight for a wild card this year - with only a 55% chance of making the playoffs. They will need to improve from what we have seen thus far in the small sample size. Back to last night, clearly goaltending performance and/or luck WAS the difference. I mentioned in my last post that Luongo needed to improve his play. Even discounting the crazy goal, Luongo gave up .3 more goals than expected. And, what's even more concerning is that these stats are for an average goalie. The Canucks need Luongo to be, at the very least, in the 'good' range providing + value for the team. (say .5 a goal a night) Instead Luongo took a downturn versus Montreal seeming to let his emotions get the best of him. After the first goal, he showed frustration, just before the fourth goal as well, and again, in his post game interview Luongo sounded irritable. Is he playing like a guy who 'doesn't want to be here', or, in his defence, is he still adjusting to a new system. (one that Vezina winner Henrik Lundqvist thrived under?!) After only 5 games, it's clearly still too early to tell but there are warning signs for fans.

TURNOVERS (5 on 5 play)

Team

Team

Montreal

Vancouver

1

15

12

2

4

9

3

3

4

Total

22

25

We see again the dominance that the Canucks demonstrated had early on,but also how their forecheck was far less successful as the game went on. Also, we need to stress that the Canucks ARE giving up far too many turnovers! We can track this throughout the year to see if Torts and his other coaches can reduce this number as the players become more familiar with the 'system'.

THE OFFICATING

One final point on the officiating. A hockey fan CAN drive themselves crazy. critiquing the refs! Fans always feel 'their' teem is getting jobbed. BUT, last night was exceptionally frustrating. After watching the game twice & attempting to be objective, there were at least 7 clear penalties not called on Montreal. The double minor high stick on Henrik Sedin, Hansen was mugged & Kesler chopped down, the delay of game, etc etc .This is a trend that has been going on since last playoff vs the Sharks. The Canuck fans used to have a reputation for diving but have worked hard to stop that. However, it is important to point out that the reason why the Canucks and other players embellish is because a) they aren't getting the calls and b) it usually works.

Feel free to add your comments or questions and discuss below. And, look for my post tomorrow where i will put up the neutral zone data & individual scoring chances for the game.

And, GO Canucks GO!

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