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Playoff Number Crunching XIX: Doing The Happy Dance




We're doing the happy dance at Number Crunching this week after the Canucks completed a successful 4-2 first round series victory over the Los Angeles Kings but before we talk about Vancouver's next dance partner, we take a look back at the best numbers from round one in the Canucks/Kings series and in the NHL.


<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2310_quick_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Conventional wisdom and statistics suggest that teams scoring the first goal in a game will win more often than not but if the Canucks/Kings series was any indication, then perhaps scoring the opening goal isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

In the six-game series between the Canucks and Kings, the team scoring first accounted for just one victory - that was Vancouver's 7-2 win in Game 5 at GM Place - while the team trailing first won five of the six games.

It certainly isn't a statistic backed up by the rest of the teams so far in the playoffs. Through playoff games played on Sunday in the first round, if you take out games from the Canucks/Kings series, teams that trail first in a game have a record of only 14-24 (19-25 if you add the Canucks/Kings series results).

The Canucks are a perfect 3-0 when trailing first in a game and are tied atop that category in wins with the Boston Bruins (3-2) through Sunday. While it's not a statistic the Canucks will want to tempt fate with in the next series, it should be noted that last year the Pittsburgh Penguins led all playoff teams with six victories (6-4) when trailing first and they went on to capture the Stanley Cup.


<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2510_kings07_t.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">The Canucks set or equaled plenty of positive team records during their first round series against the Kings but one they'd like to forget about is the number of goals surrendered on the penalty kill.

The 10 goals surrendered by Vancouver's PK not only leads all playoffs teams through Sunday's games but equaled a record for most power play goals surrendered by the Canucks in a single playoff series. That mark was initially set back in 1989 in Vancouver's Division Semi-Final series against the Calgary Flames.

The Canucks are now already half way to the franchise mark for most power play goals ever surrendered in an entire playoff season. That mark of 20 was set back in 1994 during the Canucks run to the Stanley Cup.

During the 2009 playoffs, Vancouver surrendered just a total of nine power play goals in 10 playoff games played.


<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2110_kings16_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Observers of the Canucks/Kings series might note that Roberto Luongo was not as big a reason the Canucks won the series as perhaps in other playoff series in the past but that may have had more to do with the fact his team was much better this year at preventing the number of shots he faced.

The Canucks surrendered 166 shots in six games to the Kings during their first round playoff series, an average of 27.7 shots per game. That total is the fewest average number of shots per game in a playoff series since Roberto Luongo joined the Canucks.

The following is a breakdown of the average shots against in each playoff series the Canucks have played in since Luongo joined the team. Note, however, that some of the numbers may be skewed because of lengthy overtime games in certain series.

2010 WQF vs Los Angeles: 166 shots against in six games - 27.7 average shots against per game

2009 WSF vs Chicago: 175 shots against in six games - 29.2 average shots against per game

2009 WQF vs St. Louis: 131 shots against in four games - 32.8 average shots against per game

2007 WSF vs Anaheim: 198 shots against in five games - 39.6 average shots against per game

2007 WQF vs Dallas: 240 shots against in seven games - 34.3 average shots against per game


<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr1510_happy_t.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Mikael Samuelsson: Seven goals and 11 points in six games played.

What more is there to say about Mikael Samuelsson that hasn't already been said?

Samuelsson was Mr. Fantastic and Mr. Consistency in round one for the Canucks and came just shy of setting several new individual player records as a Canuck in the process.

He tied Pavel Bure's record for most goals in a single playoff series with seven (set back in 1995 vs St. Louis) and his consecutive streak of goals in five straight games from Game 1 to 5 tied for the longest playoff goal streak in Canucks history initially set by Cliff Ronning in 1991.

Samuelsson finished one point shy of a team record for most points in a single playoff series (record is 12 by Pavel Bure in 1995 vs St. Louis) and his 28 shots in the series were just two shy of Bure's record for most shots in a single playoff series (record is 30 by Pavel Bure in 1995 vs St. Louis). (Note: The 1995 playoff series versus St. Louis where Bure set those team records took seven games to complete).

Samuelsson's 11 points and counting is already one point more than any Canucks player had all of last year in the playoffs. Henrik and Daniel Sedin shared the team lead in playoff points in 2009 with 10 each.


Spewing statistics can make anybody sound smart (I wouldn't write this blog if it didn't!). As a gift to Number Crunching's loyal fans (yes, all three of you out there) here are some stats you can share with your friends to make you sound like an expert too:

The Canucks' record when...

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2310_edler_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">A defenceman scores: 3-0

Mikael Samuelsson scores: 3-2

Daniel Sedin scores: 3-1

Pavol Demitra scores: 2-0

Steve Bernier scores: 2-1

They score two-or-more power play goals: 1-0

They surrender two-or-more power play goals: 2-2

They don’t allow a 1st period goal: 1-1

They don’t allow a 3rd period goal: 2-1

Don’t allow a power play goal: 1-0

When getting more power play chances than opponent: 2-1

When getting fewer power play chances than opponent: 1-1

When getting equal power play chances than opponent: 1-0

Highs and Lows...

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2510_kings13_t.jpg" class="imageFloatRightFramed">Canucks Most - One Period

Goals: 4 (APR.21.10 at LAK, third period)

Goals allowed: 3 (APR.19.10 at LAK, second period)

Shots: 17 (twice - most recent APR.21.10 at LAK, third period)

Shots Allowed: 16 (APR.25.10 at LAK, first period)

Canucks Fewest - One Period

Shots: 4 (APR.17.10 vs LAK, first period)

Shots Allowed: 2 (APR.15.10 vs LAK, third period)

Canucks Most - One Game

Goals: 7 (APR.23.10 vs LAK)

Goals Allowed: 5 (APR.19.10 at LAK)

Shots: 44 (APR.15.10 vs LAK)

Shots Allowed: 32 (APR.25.10 at LAK)

Penalty Minutes: 22 (APR.23.10 vs LAK)

Penalty Minutes Opp: APR.23.10 vs LAK)

Canucks Fewest - One Game

Goals: 2 (APR.17.10 vs LAK)

Goals Allowed: 2 (three times - most recent APR.25.10 at LAK)

Shots: 22 (APR.25.10 at LAK)

Shots Allowed: 26 (twice - most recent APR.23.10 vs LAK)

Penalty Minutes: 6 (APR.19.10 at LAK)

Penalty Minutes Opp: 6 (APR.25.10 at LAK)

Canucks Largest - One Game

Margin of victory: 5 (APR.23.10 vs LAK. 7-2)

Margin of defeat: 2 (APR.19.10 at LAK, 3-5)

<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/04/apr2310_ryp_t.jpg" class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Individual Most - One Game

Goals: 2 (three times - Mikael Samuelsson 2x, Steve Bernier)

Goals Allowed: 2 (Michal Handzus - APR.19.10 at LAK)

Assists: 3 (Daniel Sedin - APR.21.10 at LAK)

Assists Allowed: 3 (twice - Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty)

Points: 3 (three times - Daniel Sedin, Mikael Samuelsson, Pavol Demitra)

Points Allowed: 4 (Drew Doughty - APR.19.10 at LAK)

Saves: 30 (Roberto Luongo - APR.25.10 at LAK)

Saves, Opp.: 41 (Jonathan Quick - APR.15.10 vs LAK)



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