It was a Debbie Downer sort of week in Canucks Nation with just one victory in three games to celebrate and Number Crunching continues with the theme by presenting the stats you'd least like to hear about. But of course we do have one bright spot and that's our Number Crunching Player of the Week Award, which figures to be a Ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary week in Canuckland.
THE 100-POINT CURSE?
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2410_burtwin_rr.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Henrik Sedin became the first player in the NHL this season to reach the 100-point mark on Saturday and while it is a very significant individual accomplishment, is it really one worth rejoicing?
Since the NHL lockout and coming into this season, the NHL has seen 18 100-point performances (Henrik became the 19th on Saturday and Alex Ovechkin became the 20th on Sunday). Of those 18 performances, 13 of them were players who belonged to teams that were bounced from the NHL playoffs by the second round while only three of them managed to taste the ultimate glory at the end of the season. The following list shows the team success for the 18 respective 100-plus point performers since the NHL lockout:
Three failed to qualify for the playoffs: Alex Ovechkin (WSH) and Sidney Crosby (PIT) in 2005.06; and Joe Sakic (COL) in 2006.07.
Five were eliminated in round one: Jaromir Jagr (NYR) in 2005.06; Sidney Crosby (PIT), Vincent Lecavalier (STL) and Martin St. Louis (STL) in 2006.07; and Alex Ovechkin (WSH) in 2007.08.
Five were eliminated in round two: Joe Thornton (SJS), Dany Heatley (OTT) and Daniel Alfredsson (OTT) in 2005.06; Joe Thornton (SJS) in 2006.07; and Alex Ovechkin (WSH) in 2008.09.
Two lost in the Stanley Cup Final: Dany Heatley (OTT) in 2006.07 and Evgeni Malkin (PIT) in 2007.08.
Three won the Stanley Cup: Eric Staal (CAR) in 2005.06; and Evgeni Malkin (PIT) and Sidney Crosby (PIT) in 2008.09.
Here is how the Canucks' team success has fared over the years when they have had a 100-point performer on their roster in the regular season:
1992.93 Pavel Bure (110 points) - Advanced to second round
1993.94 Pavel Bure (107 points) - Advanced to Stanley Cup Final
1995.96 Alex Mogilny (107 points) - Qualified for playoffs
2002.03 Markus Naslund (104 points) - Advanced to second round
HOUSE OF HORRORS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2710_scrappy_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">The Canucks will not publicly admit it, but if there is one team they would like to avoid in a playoff match-up it would be the San Jose Sharks considering their lack of success playing at the HP Pavilion at San Jose as evidenced on Saturday when they dropped their fifth straight game at the Shark Tank dating back to 2007.08.
The five-game winless streak (0-4-1) at the Shark Tank is the longest active losing streak for the Canucks in any building in the NHL. Their second longest winless streak in an opposition building is at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona - home of the Phoenix Coyotes. Vancouver's winless streak at the Jobing.com Arena is three games (0-1-2).
Below is a list of some of the other buildings around the NHL where the Canucks currently have a multi-game winless streak:
Honda Center (Anaheim): 0-1-1
HSBC Arena (Buffalo): 0-1-1
RBC Center (Carolina): 0-2-0
Bell Centre (Montreal): 0-2-0
St. Pete Times Forum (Tampa Bay): 0-2-0
FIRST THE WORST
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2710_face_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Perhaps the best statistic in the Canucks favours this week was that after surrendering two first period goals to the Oilers to open the week on Tuesday, the Canucks were perfect in opening frames defensively to close out the week.
So far this season, the first period has clearly been the worst for the Canucks. Among all teams currently in a playoff position, the Canucks have surrendered more first period goals than any other club with 77 in 75 games played (averaging more than one first period goal per game). The overall leader for most first period goals against this season are the Atlanta Thrashers, who have given up 82 in the same number of games played as the Canucks (for the week ending Sunday, March 28).
It is a stark reversal from last season when the Canucks were one of the better first period teams in the NHL giving up just 65 total first period tallies during the 82-game regular season. The 77 (and counting) first period goals surrendered by the Canucks this season are the most in the Roberto Luongo era and the most they have surrendered since giving up 82 first period tallies during the 2005.06 season.
Last season, the San Jose Sharks led all playoff-bound teams giving up 79 first period goals during the regular season. Also of note in 2008.09, the top four playoff-bound teams that surrendered the most first period goals (namely the Sharks, Canadiens, Flames and Flyers) all ended up being knocked out of the playoffs in round one.
NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/032410_VAN_ANA_205d.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">Andrew Raycroft: 30 saves on 31 shots on Wednesday against Anaheim.
It is not often a player that appears in just one game gets singled out for a weekly honour but in Andrew Raycroft's case we are willing to make an exception.
Raycroft led the Canucks to their only victory of the week and looked very good doing it, even getting the crowd to chant his name on Wednesday at GM Place. The victory was the eighth of the season for Raycroft marking the most wins for a single Canucks backup netminder in the Luongo-era.
Raycroft's eight victories on the season are also the second most in the NHL among netminders who have played 20 games-or-fewer (Raycroft has appeared in 19 games this season). Only Washington's Michal Neuvirth (17 games played in) has more victories among goaltenders in that category with nine.
Honourable mentions go to Daniel Sedin, who finished the week with three goals and five points and extended his overall goal streak to four games entering the week, and Henrik Sedin, who had six assists in three games and not only surpassed the 100-point mark for the first time in his career but also established a new career-high in assists with his 73rd helper and counting.
CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS
<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/03/mar2010_muddle_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Sami Salo: Zero points and two shots on goal in three games played.
For a player that possesses arguably the most dangerous shot on the team, Salo's lack of pucks thrown on net in recent contests has to be a cause for concern. Salo managed just one shot each against the Oilers and Ducks on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, and then was held without a shot for just the 10th time this season on Saturday against the Sharks.
He also had a particular tough outing on the defensive end on Saturday as he was caught on the ice for three of the four Sharks goals on the evening and had an especially embarrassing gaffe at the end of the game where he misplayed the puck after an icing call had been waived off leading to a Sharks' empty-net goal.
Salo enters this week with no points in his last seven games - his longest streak without a point since an 11-game slump from November 3 - 29, 2009.