In the Canucks locker room, they ought to be calling Alex Burrows "The Joker" after all the tricks he played last week. But here on Number Crunching, we're not joking around when we dedicate this week's blog to the hat trick hero himself. Read on to find out who takes home this week's coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award (as if you didn't already know).
TWO IS AS GOOD AS THREE...
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan0710_bur2_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">If you asked Alex Burrows, he'd tell you good things come in threes - except when they happen twice, then two is just as good as three.
Three was certainly the magic number for Burrows this week after a pair of hat tricks in back-to-back games gave him a total of three career hat-tricks at the NHL level and made him just the third Canuck all-time to score hat tricks in back-to-back games joining Bobby Schmautz and Petri Skriko. He is also the first NHL player to accomplish that feat since Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk scored back-to-back hat tricks on November 1st and 3rd, 2007 against the Senators and Lightning, respectively. (Special thanks to the Canucks Media Relations Department for these tidbits).
Burrows also became the first Canuck to record multiple hat tricks in a single season since Todd Bertuzzi back in 2005.06 (Big Bert notched a hat trick on Detroit's Manny Legace on November 13th and another against the Islanders' tandem of Rick DiPietro and Wade Dubielewicz on January 14th). Burrows still has a ways to go if he'd like to catch up to the all-time team record for most hat tricks in a single season. That belongs to Petri Skriko who tallied four in the 1986.87 season.
And here's the Numbers part of this week's blog...what do you get when you add three plus two? Five...as in five times in team history that the Canucks have had hat tricks in back-to-back games:
November 17th: Bobby Schmautz vs. Los Angeles
November 19th: Bobby Schmautz (4) vs. Buffalo
November 8th: Ron Sedlbauer vs. Boston
November 11th: John Gould vs. Toronto
November 18th: Petri Skriko vs. Calgary
November 21st: Petri Skriko (4) vs. NY Rangers
March 6th: Russ Courtnall vs. Buffalo
March 9th: Trevor Linden vs. Colorado
January 5th: Alex Burrows vs. Columbus
January 7th: Alex Burrows vs. Phoenix
...OH BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE...
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec2209_burr2_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">In true Alex Burrows fashion, he was quick to praise the work of his teammates in helping his capture a piece of Canucks history so, of course, Number Crunching looks at the effect of Burrows' double hat trick and their significance as far as the Canucks record books are concerned.
With his first hat trick of the week against the Blue Jackets, Burrows became the fourth different Canuck to net a hat trick this season marking the first time that four different Canucks have tallied hat tricks in a single season since 2000.01. That year, the Canucks got hat tricks from Andrew Cassels (Anaheim), Harold Druken (San Jose), Todd Bertuzzi (San Jose) and Markus Naslund (Calgary). It also marked the eighth time in team history that at least four different Canucks have had hat tricks in the same season.
Vancouver's all-time record for most hat tricks by different players in a single season is five. That was set back in the 1995.96 season when Alex Mogilny led the way with a hat trick of hat tricks while Cliff Ronning, Russ Courtnall, Trevor Linden and Markus Naslund all chipped in with singles.
...AND WITH ONE HAND BEHIND MY BACK TOO!
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec1209_burrows_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Style points count here at Number Crunching, so we're giving the nod to Burrows' first hat trick of the week as the more impressive one simply because one of the three tallies in that game came short-handed.
For Burrows, it was the ninth short-handed goal of his Canucks and NHL career and moved him into sole possession of fifth place on the Canucks' all-time list of most short-handed goals - one ahead of Matt Cooke and two behind fourth-place Petri Skriko (there's that name again!).
Burrows' short-handed tally was just the second of the season for the Canucks. Their first came back on November 5th in Minnesota courtesy of Henrik Sedin. The Canucks are 2-0-0 this season when scoring a short-handed goal.
THE BIG FIVE-O
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/jan0510_spray_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">There's no truth to the rumour that Roberto Luongo was belting out the words to Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer after his shutout performance over the Coyotes on Thursday - specifically the part that goes "ohhhh...we're halfway there" - but that's about roughly where he is now compared to the all-time shutout king Martin Brodeur after he picked up his 50th career goose egg this past week.
Luongo became just the 24th all-time NHL netminder to hit the 50-shutout mark joining an exclusive list that includes the likes of the aforementioned Brodeur, Terry Sawchuk, Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy.
Luongo is now just the third active NHL netminder who has 50-plus NHL shutouts joining Brodeur and Chris Osgood (also 50 career shutouts), sitting one shutout ahead of San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/01/010510Canucks205.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Number Crunching congratulates the following players for reaching their respective milestones this week and we honour them by providing each player with a "best of" statistic:
100th career NHL assist vs. Coyotes on 01/07
Canucks record this season when Mitchell gets a point: 7-3-0
100th career NHL goal vs. Coyotes on 01/07
Canucks record this season when Samuelsson scores: 10-2-2
300th career NHL game vs. Coyotes on 01/07
Canucks all-time record when Bernier scores: 13-6-2 (5-4-0 this season)
300th career NHL game vs. Coyotes on 01/07
Canucks all-time record when Wellwood scores: 9-8-4 (2-1-1 this season)
NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec1409_luongo_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Alex Burrows: Six goals and seven points in three games
What more can be said about Burrows that we haven't already covered?
How about the fact that if he can manage to have as good a second half as he did last season, he could become the first Canuck not named Daniel Sedin to score 30 goals in a season for the Canucks since Markus Naslund (32) and Anson Carter (33) did back in 2005.06?
Last season, Burrows didn't score his 17th goal of the season until March 3rd when he scored goals 17 and 18 of the season in a game against the Minnesota Wild. That game was Vancouver's 63rd game of the season. Burrows managed to score his 17th this season in game no. 44 - 19 games ahead of last year's pace.
18 of Burrows' 28 goals last season came after January 28th, or in other words, in the final 34 games of the regular season. As of this writing, the Canucks have 37 games left in the 2009.10 regular season.
CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/121209_VAN_MIN_raymond205.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Mason Raymond: One assist in three games
Every player goes through their ups and downs throughout the course of the season so we aren't trying to be overly critical of the 24-year old Raymond who, by all accounts, has been having a fantastic season so far already having set new career-highs in every offensive category.
However, Raymond's been uncharacteristically quiet over the last couple of weeks since his hat trick performance in Calgary back on December 27th. For the second straight week, all Raymond has to show for on the scoresheet has been a single assist.
The lack of points stands out more than perhaps it normally would because his regular linemates haven't seen a slowdown in their production. Ryan Kesler managed four assists while Mikael Samuelsson had three goals this past week. It was a similar story the previous week when Kesler (1-2-3) and Samuelsson (2-1-3) both tallied three points each compared to just a single helper for Raymond.
Raymond enters this week having not scored in his last six straight games - his longest goal drought of the season.