CANUCKS BANTER By Andrew Chernoff December 24, 2015
Canucks Need To Batten Down The Hatches On Home Stand Against Visiting Division Rivals
OILERS (15-18-2) at CANUCKS (13-14-9)
Vancouver plays the first of four games against Pacific division opponents tonight as they host the Edmonton Oilers, and begin their 7-game home stand.
The Canucks enter the game with a 2 game undefeated streak at home (5-6-3), and 5 points in their last three road games, where they are undefeated in regulation play going 2-0-1; the last win being Tuesday night, 2-1 over Tampa Bay.
Cam Talbot and the Oilers arrive in Vancouver with Talbot’s 44 saves in a 3-1 victory at home against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
Edmonton is 2-6-1 in their last 9 games on the road. They are 1-3-0 on the road in December, with 6 GF and 15 GA, and were shutout 4-0 in Chicago on December 17. The Oilers have lost 4 of their past 5 games away from Rexall Place.
The (Canucks) 14 home games are the second-fewest in the Western Conference, and their five home wins are tied for the fewest in the League.
Vancouver has played the most games in their division (36) at the Christmas break 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.
Edmonton is 9-6-1 since Nov. 20 in part because of a 2.75 goals-against average in that span, which is below their season average of 3.03. Anders Nilsson has a 2.47 GAA and .919 save percentage and is 7-5-0 in 12 games during that span.
Vancouver is 6-7-3 during that same period with a 2.94 GAA, which is above their season average of 2.81. Ryan Miller has a 3.10 GAA with a .906 SV%, and is 5-4-2 in 11 games since November 20. Jacob Marskstrom has a record of 1-5-2 in 8 games, and has a 2.19 GAA and .919 Sv% during that span.
IMPROVEMENT IS NEEDED
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 in 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.
To the point, 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 sported a record of 2-0-1, not losing in regulation play.
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 against the Columbus Blue Jackets (also 9-for-10).
“If the [penalty kill] wasn’t on, that was going to be a 5-1 game or something like that,” forward Jannik Hansen told the Vancouver Province.
VANCOUVER’S HOME STAND OPPONENTS:
- 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