CANUCKS BANTER By Andrew Chernoff December 24, 2015
Improvement Needed For Successful Home Stand
The Vancouver Canucks (13-14-9) begin a 7-game home stand on December 26,with their first 4 games against Pacific division opponents, starting with the Edmonton Oilers.
Vancouver also welcomes:
- Los Angeles Kings on December 28th
- Anaheim Ducks on January 1rst
- Arizona Coyotes on January 4rth
- Carolina Hurricanes on January 6th
- Tampa Bay Lightning on January 9th
- Florida Panthers on January 11th
Vancouver has played the most games in their division (36) and currently sit in 3rd place, with 35 points, a point behind San Jose and a single point ahead of Arizona and Calgary; two points in front of Edmonton. Anaheim is in last place, with 30 points, five points behind Vancouver.
The other teams in the Pacific division have been playing catch up to the Canucks in games played for most of the season, and still are. Anaheim, Arizona and Los Angeles, all have 3 games in hand on Vancouver. San Jose and Calgary both have 2 games in hand on the Canucks. Edmonton has 1 game in hand.
For the Canucks, those games in hand continue to put pressure on Vancouver to play well, as the top three teams at season end will make the playoffs. In their last 10 games, Calgary (8-2-0), Edmonton (7-3-0) and Los Angeles (6-3-1) are providing the Canucks with reasons to get their game together and start racking up some wins.
To that end, the Canucks are 2-0-1 in their last three games, as they look to the friendly confines of Rogers Place, for their next seven games.
Vancouver though have not done well at home so far this season (5 wins & 9 losses), and need to take advantage of the 7th man and last change, and exercise home ice dominance over their visiting teams.
The Canucks have the worst face-off win percentage in the NHL, and have seen the impact of the Brandon Sutter injury on that area of the game.
Vancouver are 20th in the NHL overall in shot attempts against 5-on-5, and 23rd overall in shot attempts for 5-on-5. Unfortunately for the Canucks, their opponents have taken 113 more shot attempts then they have, which puts them 21rst in the NHL overall.
At Rogers Place in 14 games, the Canucks have given up 68 more shots then they have made (572 to 504), the worst in the Pacific division.
Only two teams in the Pacific division have a positive SAT Close, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Vancouver is tied for second worst in the division, with a -39, meaning that when the games are close, Canucks opponents have more shot attempts then they do.
Canucks SAT percentage when games are close, is the second worst at home in the Pacific division, 47.19 percent; and only better than Ottawa, Arizona and Colorado in the NHL; overall in the NHL, Vancouver is 21rst in 36 games with 48.76 percent.
In conclusion, the Canucks need to tighten up their defensive game, giving up less even strength shots to their opponents and win more face-offs, while getting more shots on opposing goalies.
Vancouver also needs to come up with an improved power play which has been a let down in recent games. Canucks power play was 0 for 11 on their recent 6-game road trip.
At Rogers Place, the Canucks power play tops the rest of the teams in the Pacific division, but with the recent drought from recent road games, Vancouver will have to get that monkey off their back in a hurry, if that is going to continue to serve them well at home, otherwise, it is one more advantage for teams playing in Vancouver.
When it comes to the penalty kill, Vancouver is second best in the Pacific division at home, and will need to continue to be strong the rest of the season.
On the recent road trip, Vancouver was 14 for 17: 82.3%, in their last three games, in which they were 2-0-1.
Vancouver is the second most penalized team in the NHL, with 432 minutes. They have the 3rd most penalties handed out; the 3rd most minors; tied for the 5th most majors; tied for the most miscellaneous at 6.
The Canuck players have to be more disciplined and selective when it comes to taking penalties. If they are going to win games in the future, best not to upset the referees.
In their last game against Tampa Bay on December 22, Vancouver went 9-for-10 on the penalty kill, the first time they have successfully defended nine power plays since Oct. 21, 2007 at CBJ (also 9-for-10).