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Playoff Number Crunching XXI: History Will Be Made



A win in Game 5 at the United Center keeps the Canucks' hopes of re-writing history alive as their quest to avoid having a similar fate this year against the Blackhawks as they did in 2009 continues for at least one more game. And since this year's theme for the playoffs is History Will Be Made, Number Crunching explores some of that history that has already been re-written so far in the 2010 playoffs for the Canucks.


<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/05/may0510_flying_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">To say the Canucks' start to Game 4 on Friday was their worst ever start in a playoff game is no exaggeration.

Brent Seabrook's goal just 18 seconds into Game 4 set a new record by a Canucks' opponent for fastest goal to start a playoff game. The previous fastest goal to start a playoff game by a Canucks' opponent came from Jeff Halpern of the Dallas Stars back on April 13, 2007. Halpern scored 24 seconds into Game 2 of the Stars' Quarter-Final series against the Canucks that year.

Seabrook's tally, however, was nowhere close to the all-time Blackhawks record for fastest goal to start a playoff game. That record belonged to forward Ken Wharram who set the mark way back on April 13, 1967 with a goal nine seconds into a playoff contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL's all-time record for fastest goal from the start of a playoff game belongs to Don Kozak of the Los Angeles Kings who tallied six seconds into a contest against the Boston Bruins on April 17, 1977.


<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/05/may0910_hawks08_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">The four power play goals surrendered by the Canucks in Game 4 on Friday not only was a high for the Canucks in the 2010 post-season, it established a new dubious franchise record for most power play goals against in a single playoff game.

Vancouver's previous record for most power play goals surrendered in a single playoff game was three - something they had fallen victim to eight previous times most recently in Game 3 of their opening round series against the Kings.

Three of the Blackhawks' power play goals on Friday came off the stick of Jonathan Toews, who incidentally tied an NHL record for most power play goals in a single game. Toews became just the 11th different NHL player (12th time overall) to score three power play goals in a single NHL playoff game.

The record was initially set by Red Wings' forward Syd Howe (no relation to Gordie) on March 23, 1939 in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. The most recent player to accomplish the feat prior to Toews was Valeri Kamensky of the Colorado Avalanche. Kamensky notched the feat, coincidentally, in a 7-0 win on April 24, 1997 over the Chicago Blackhawks.

The other players who have tallied three power play goals in one playoff contest are: Sid Smith (DET), Phil Esposito (BOS), John Bucyk (BOS), Denis Potvin (NYI), Tim Kerr (PHI), Jari Kurri (EDM), Mark Johnson (NJD), and Dino Ciccarelli (x2, DET).


<img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2010/05/may0910_hawks10_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Goals coming in the opening minute of a game involving the Canucks were a rarity during the regular season so it was a bit unusual to see it happen this week in back-to-back games.

During the 2009.10 regular season, the Canucks were involved in just five games where a goal had been scored in the opening minute. While it may seem like a huge advantage to have a lead less than one minute into a game, it didn't quite work out that way in the regular season at least as far as games involving the Canucks were concerned.

Teams that scored one minute or less into a regular season contest involving Vancouver this season won just two of the five games where it occurred although in the playoffs they are a perfect 2-0. The following is a list of the first minute scorers in games involving Vancouver this season:

October 27 vs DET - Henrik Sedin @ 0:30 - 5-4 Red Wings

November 10 @ STL - Andy McDonald @ 0:18 - 6-1 Blues

January 30 @ TOR - Phil Kessel @ 0:52 - 5-3 Canucks

February 12 @ CBJ - Rick Nash @ 0:22 - 4-3 Canucks

March 30 vs PHX - Alex Burrows @ 0:37 - 4-1 Canucks

*May 7 vs CHI (Game 4) - Brent Seabrook @ 0:18 - 7-4 Blackhawks

*May 9 @ Chi (Game 5) - Christian Ehrhoff @ 0:59 - 4-1 Canucks

*Denotes playoff game.


Statistics and other information appearing in this blog are for entertainment purposes only and a sense of humour is recommended when reading. E-mail the author here or follow him on Twitter.


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