The Canucks suffered a letdown in their game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night to wrap up a 2-2-0 week but we won't disappoint in this week's edition of Number Crunching. Read on to find out who takes home the coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award.
I MAY BE A BACKUP BUT DON'T CALL ME NUMBER TWO
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec1009_hansen_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">For most teams, getting to face an opposition's backup netminder is a very pleasant surprise but for the Canucks this season, it hasn't exactly been a cakewalk when going up against goaltenders that aren't number one on a team's depth chart.
Since winning their first three games of the season against backup netminders, the Canucks have won just four of their last nine games when facing someone other than the team's number one goaltender including Sunday's loss to Ty Conklin and the Blues.
Vancouver's record this season when facing backup netminders is 7-5-0. For our purposes, backup netminders are defined as goaltenders that did not start the season as their team's number one netminder on the depth chart.
Below is a list of the so-called backups the Canucks have faced this season:
October 21st @ Chicago - Antti Niemi - Win
October 24th vs. Toronto - Joey MacDonald - Win
October 25th vs. Edmonton - Jeff Deslauriers - Win
October 27th vs. Detroit - Jimmy Howard - Loss
November 12th @ Detroit - Jimmy Howard - Loss
November 22nd vs. Chicago - Antti Niemi - Loss
November 28th vs. Edmonton - Jeff Deslauriers - Win
December 3rd @ Phiadelphia - Brian Boucher - Win
December 5th @ Carolina - Manny Legace - Loss
December 12th vs. Minnesota - Josh Harding - Win
December 18th vs. Washington - Jose Theodore - Win
December 20th vs. St. Louis - Ty Conklin - Loss
NO THIRD HELPINGS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec1609_ob_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">As has been well-documented this season, the Canucks are not only one of the best teams when it comes to scoring in the third period (third in the League with 44 third period goals) but they've been pretty good at preventing third period markers as well.
Vancouver has given up just 28 third period tallies this season - the fewest goals among all their other periods this season (34 in first periods; 31 in second periods). What's even more impressive is Vancouver's record this season when they don't give up a third period goal at all.
16 of Vancouver's 20 wins this season have come in games where they don't surrender a third period goal. In fact, the Canucks have just two losses this season in games where they don't give up a goal in the final regulation period.
One of those two losses came in their most recent game on Sunday against the Blues when they entered the final frame down 3-1 and weren't able to generate any offence to mount a comeback. The other loss came back on October 16th in Calgary when the Canucks spotted the Flames a 5-0 lead through two periods and managed to tally three times in the third period but still fell by a 5-3 score.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/205x115_4_121609.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">It was a relatively quiet week for Daniel and Henrik, but of course no Number Crunching column would be complete without a mention of the Sedin twins so we offer this interesting little note.
When Daniel notched his third career hat-trick back on December 10th against the Atlanta Thrashers, he succeeded in completing a rare feat that had not been accomplished in 17 years. Combined with Henrik's hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche on November 14th, the pair became the first brothers to record a hat trick in the same season for the same team since Peter and Marian Stastny did it back in the 1982.83 season with the Quebec Nordiques. That season, Peter had an impressive four hat tricks while old brother Marian wasn't too shabby either with two of his own.
The fact the record has stood for so long is impressive considering the list of impressive brother duos that have played on the same team since Peter and Marian did including the likes of Pavel and Valeri Bure with the Florida Panthers, Rob and Scott Niedermayer with the Anaheim Ducks, and of course Geoff and Russ Courtnall with the Vancouver Canucks.
Special thanks to the Canucks Media Relations Department for this tidbit.
NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK (for the week ending Sunday, December 20th)
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/121209_VAN_MIN_raymond205.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Mason Raymond: Five points (3-2-5) in four games
It was a career-week for the Cochrane, Alberta native. After setting a new career-high in goals on Monday with his 12th of the season against the Los Angeles Kings to kick off the week, Raymond proceeded to set a new career-high in points by recording points 23 and 24 of the season with his two-goal outing against the Washington Capitals on Friday.
The 24-year old has also become Vancouver's go-to guy on the power play as his goal on the man-advantage against the Caps on Friday was his team-leading seventh power play marker of the season. Not only that but Raymond currently sits tied for sixth in the NHL with his seven power play goals while only San Jose's Dany Heatley has more power play goals among Western Conference players than Raymond with ten.
CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec1409_bieksa_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kevin Bieksa: Zero points and even rating in four games played.
His lack of offensive production this season stands out like a sore thumb - just one goal and 15 points in 36 games this season coming off a 43-point season last year (11-32-43) - but his inability to put up goals has been somewhat easy to overlook because of the situations that the 28-year old is often asked to play in.
The fifth-year pro is among the Canucks leaders in ice-time racking up plenty of shifts on the power play, short-handed and in even-strength situations. However, it seems even Coach Vigneault's patience with Bieksa is starting to wear a little thin this week. Bieksa, who is accustomed to playing 20-plus minutes per game, saw his ice-time go from 24:17 and 23:18 to start the week against the Kings and Ducks, respectively, to just 17:18 and 16:22 against the Capitals and Blues to end the week.