A 5-3 loss in Carolina on Saturday left most of the Canucks Community shaking their heads. This week's Number Crunching will have you shaking your head again...in a good way of course! Read on to find out who takes home this week's coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award.
HITS AND MISSES
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/nov2809_kesler_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Inspired by the (for the lack of a better word) creative stats tracking in Carolina, Number Crunching decided to look into just how frequently the Canucks get (literally) crunched on the road versus at home.
Suffice to say, the 41 hits recorded by the Hurricanes marked a season-high by a Canucks opponent not only away from GM Place but overall this season. The previous high belonged to the Dallas Stars who were credited with 36 hits at the American Airlines Center back on November 6th. In fact, the top four highest hit totals by a Canucks opponent this season have all taken place away from GM Place. The highest hit total by a Canucks opponent at the Garage this season is 31 - which belonged to the Rangers back on November 3rd.
Through 14 games at GM Place this season, Canucks opponents have averaged 17.2 hits per game against the Canucks while in 15 games away from GM Place, that number increases to 24.5 hits per game.
So are the stats trackers as generous with the home team in hits this season? Not at all.
Through 14 home games this season, the Canucks have averaged 15.9 hits per game while on the road, Vancouver's average hits per game is actually higher at 18.3 per game.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec0309_hank_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Given the sorry state of the Canucks power play in recent games, they may be first in line to petition the NHL to allow teams to decline penalties.
Not only have the Canucks gone without a power play goal in four straight games while having scored power play goals in just one of their last seven games (that being their rare 4-for-5 night against the Oilers on November 28th), their play with the man-advantage hit a new low this week in Philadelphia on Thursday after failing to connect on a 91-second 5-on-3 man-advantage.
In fact, the Canucks have not scored a 5-on-3 goal since October 27th against the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, the Canucks have had a cumulative 3:18 of 5-on-3 play without managing to find the back of the net (0-for-5 overall).
Perhaps it was a good thing the Canucks did not score on the 5-on-3 in Philly. So far this season, Vancouver's two 5-on-3 goals have come in games where they ended up losing (Oct. 16 at Calgary and Oct. 27 vs. Detroit).
THE LOSER POINT DROUGHT CONTINUES
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/canucks_flyers_120309_raymond_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">29 games and counting and the Canucks have yet to benefit from the NHL's "loser point" system but this current stretch still pales in comparison to Vancouver's all-time longest stretch without a point from an overtime and/or shootout loss.
Since the inception of the shootout in the 2005.06 season that guaranteed all NHL games will be allowed the possibility of a "losing" team to earn a point, the longest the Canucks have ever gone without recording an OTL and/or SOL is 43 games from October 13, 2006 to January 18, 2007 inclusive.
That season, the Canucks dropped a shootout affair to the Minnesota Wild on October 10, 2006 at the Xcel Energy Center and did not record another loss in overtime or shootout until January 19, 2007 in a shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena. During that stretch, the Canucks did have to go beyond regulation nine times but managed to come away with six overtime wins and three shootout wins in those games.
Vancouver's current stretch of 29 games and counting without a "loser point" is now the team's second longest such streak. Last season, their longest stretch without a "loser point" was 15 games. They began the season with a 9-6-0 record before suffering a shootout loss against the Avalanche on November 12, 2008 at GM Place.
NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK (for the week ending Sunday, December 6th)
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec0509_bur_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Alex Burrows: Three goals and four points in three games played.
It seems safe to say that the 'one empty net goal in 18 games stretch' for Burrows is far in the rear-view mirror. The Pincourt, Quebec native was Vancouver's hottest player in the first three games of the road trip recording a goal in each contest. He didn't quite pull a Lemieux by scoring five different ways in a game, but he certainly found plenty of unique ways to score his three goals over the course of the week - out of midair in Carolina, off his hip in Philadelphia, and by sheer force of will in New Jersey seeing as how he continues to claim he never touched the puck on the goal that was credited to him.
Overall, Burrows has found the back of the net in five of the last six games. The only game over the past six that he didn't score in (versus San Jose on November 29th) was the only game in the stretch he didn't register a shot on goal. In his last five straight games where he has recorded at least one shot on goal, he has scored a goal in that game. Who wouldn't love those odds?
CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/10/205x115_6_102909.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Mikael Samuelsson: Two assists in three games played this week.
For a player whose purpose is to provide clutch goal scoring, the last month has not been a very productive one for the former Detroit Red Wing. From November 5th to December 5th inclusive, Samuelsson has managed just two goals in 13 games but neither of his tallies was exactly crucial in the circumstances.
His last goal came back on November 28th against the Oilers - the final goal in an 8-2 blowout victory by the Canucks over the Oilers. Prior to that, he scored the final goal in a 5-2 win by the Canucks over the Colorado Avalanche on November 20th.
Samuelsson's last significant goal(s) came way back on November 3rd against the New York Rangers. He opened the scoring that night and added the 3-1 insurance marker in an eventual 4-1 Canucks win over the New York Rangers.