It was a good week in Canuck Nation if your name was Ryan and appropriately in this week's edition of Number Crunching, we pay tribute to the Ryans as we look back at the best and worst statistics in the week that was. Read on to find out who takes home this week's Number Crunching Player of the Week Award...could it very well be Ryan's for the taking?
THE BEST OF KES
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/van6_031410.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The big news of the week for the Canucks came off the ice on Friday when Ryan Kesler officially put his name on a brand new contract extension that will see him remain in Vancouver colours until 2015.16. In honour of Kesler's new deal, Number Crunching presents the top six Ryan Kesler stats of 2009.10:
1. When Kesler scores, Canucks win. Vancouver's record this season when Ryan Kesler tallies a goal is 15-5-0.
2. When Kesler has been held point-less this season, Vancouver's record is only 8-13-2.
3. Through 72 games played, Kesler leads all Canucks in power play goals with 12 - four more than second place Mason Raymond who has eight. The 12 PPGs are a career-high for Kesler, besting the 10 PPGs he had in 2008.09. Coming into this season, he had scored just 15 total career power play goals. Incidentally, Vancouver's record when Kesler scores a PPG this season is 8-4-0.
4. Kesler's 13-game point streak from February 6 to March 14 shattered his previous career-high entering this season which was five games. Earlier this season, Kesler tied his previous career-best point streak twice. During his 13-game run, he tallied six goals and 15 points.
5. Through 72 games played, no other Canuck forward has had more average ice-time than Ryan Kesler's 19:51 per game. In terms of overall ice-time through the whole season, Kesler sits behind only Christian Ehrhoff (1,652:54) and Alex Edler (1,472:28) with 1,429:53.
6. No stat better describes Kesler's desire to have the puck than his 74 takeaways this season through 72 games played - leading all Canuck players. Alex Burrows has the next highest number of takeaways this season with 63 while Henrik Sedin is in a distant third place with 38. Kesler had 74 takeaways in all of last season. He has been the Canucks' leader in takeaways for the past two consecutive seasons and is on his way to making it three straight.
OH JOHNNY BOY
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/032010Canucks205.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Kesler wasn't the only Ryan who had reason to celebrate this week as Ryan Johnson was all smiles after breaking an 82-game goal-less drought on Thursday against San Jose.
Johnson entered that game as Vancouver's leader for longest goal drought. With Johnson finally getting the goal monkey off his back the new Canucks' leader in the category is defenceman Aaron Rome, who following Saturday's game against Detroit is now at the half-century mark in games played without a goal.
The goal against the Sharks was also the fourth career game-winner for Johnson. Two of his three goals as a Canuck have been game-winners. He scored the GWG against the New York Rangers back on November 19, 2008 - his first career goal as a member of the Canucks. Johnson now has a game-winning goal in three consecutive seasons.
BLINK AND YOU'LL MISS IT
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2010_muddle_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The Canucks have seen plenty of team and personal records fall this season but they probably were not too thrilled with the mark that bit the dust on Saturday against the Red Wings.
Red Wings goals scored five seconds apart by Todd Bertuzzi at 12:34 of the second period and Pavel Datsyuk at 12:39 of the second period during Vancouver's 4-3 overtime loss on Saturday set a new franchise mark for fastest two goals by a Canucks' opponent. The previous record was seven seconds, initially set back on October 19, 1976 in the first period of a game against the New York Islanders when Bob Nystrom scored twice in seven seconds - 8:34 and 8:41 - in what ended up as a 6-1 Islanders victory.
Over 14 years later, the mark was tied when the Flames' Joe Mullen and Doug Gilmour scored seven seconds apart in the first period in a 5-1 Calgary win on March 3, 1990. Just less than five years after that, the feat was once again repeated by the Rangers' Pat Verbeek and Niklas Sundstrom, who also scored seven seconds apart in the first period against the Canucks in a 5-2 Rangers victory on October 24, 1995.
It seems safe to suggest that the all-time NHL mark for fastest two goals will never be surpassed, if it is even ever repeated. A pair of ex-Canucks had a hand in setting that record as members of the Minnesota Wild. Jim Dowd and Richard Park scored three seconds apart (19:44 and 19:47 of the third period) in a 4-2 victory by the Wild over the Chicago Blackhawks on January 21, 2004.
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2010_freeze_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">For the first time since becoming a Vancouver Canuck, Roberto Luongo reached the half-century mark in saves in a single regular season game when he recorded 50 stops on 54 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Red Wings on Saturday.
Luongo's previous high for saves as a Canuck in a regular season game was 49 - set back on February 21, 2008 in a 3-2 shootout win for the Canucks over the Nashville Predators.
Prior to Saturday, the last time Luongo was forced to make 50-or-more saves in a single regular season game was over four years ago on December 18, 2005. On that night, Luongo's Florida Panthers were out-shot 55-34 by the Washington Capitals but Luongo stopped all-but-two shots in a 3-2 victory.
Incidentally, the 54 shots surrendered by the Canucks to the Red Wings overall on Saturday not only marked the most shots they have given up this season but also the first time they have surrendered over 50 shots in a single regular season game since the aforementioned game on February 21, 2008 against the Predators (they surrendered 51 shots that night).
Vancouver's all-time record for most shots against in a single regular season game is 60. That was set back on February 25, 1971 against the Boston Bruins during the Canucks' inaugural NHL season. Vancouver lost that game 8-3.
NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar1810_wellhappy_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kyle Wellwood: Two goals and three points in four games played.
Kyle Wellwood has taken his fair share of shots for his lack of offensive production particularly near the start of the season so now that he's playing some of his best hockey of the year it seems only fair to give him his share of praise.
The 26-year-old has not only found the net with more regularity since the second half of the season began, but his newly-formed line with Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen has given the Canucks a legitimate third-line scoring threat - something Vancouver really has not had much of on a consistent basis throughout the whole season.
Wellwood's two-point (1-1-2) outing against the Red Wings on Saturday was his fourth multi-point game of the season - double what he had all of last year. With 22 points (11-11-22) on the season and 10 more games left on the schedule, he would need to average one point every two games to equal the 27 points he had last year in his first season as a Canuck.
CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/12/dec2009_ehrhoff_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Shane O'Brien: One goal and three points in two games played.
First, let me preface this by saying Shane O'Brien (rhymes with Ryan) being tagged with this dubious distinction actually has absolutely nothing to do with his play this week. By all accounts, O'Brien was fantastic in his return to the lineup not only finishing with a plus-two rating but chipping in with three points and a rare goal as well. If the Canucks had their way however, they might just ask Shane to stick with piling up the assists rather than netting any goals himself.
If there are two things Canuck observers have been able to surmise from watching O'Brien the last two seasons it's that:
1. O'Brien can only score against Central Division opponents. Counting his playoff goal versus Chicago last season, O'Brien has also scored against St. Louis and Detroit.
2. When O'Brien scores, the Canucks don't win. Canucks lost 7-5 in Game 6 against Chicago in the Western Conference Semi-Final and also lost 3-1 to the Blues back on December 20th of this season prior to Saturday's overtime loss to the Red Wings.
The O'Brien curse, as it were, only began after Shane joined the Canucks. Prior to coming to Vancouver, O'Brien's previous teams (Anaheim and Tampa Bay) were not only 3-1-0 in games where he had scored, but O'Brien personally notched the game-winning goals in each of those three wins.
The best news for Shane and the Canucks?
Vancouver will not see another Central Division opponent the rest of this season barring a playoff match-up.