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I got some pretty decent feedback when I posted my Stats Package at the end of the regular season so I thought I'd do it for the playoffs as well. Here's Vancouver's updated playoff statistics through the opening round. Don't forget to read my Tale of the Tape Game Notes on the front page of Canucks.com on every game day and also my Tale of the Tape Series Preview for the Canucks vs Predators. You can also find me on Twitter @daniel_fung or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Canucks record when... Any defencemen scores: 2-2 Without Mikael Samuelsson in lineup: 1-0 Without Sami Salo in lineup: 1-0 Without Cody Hodgson in lineup: 2-1 Without Raffi Torres in lineup: 2-0 Without Andrew Alberts in lineup: 3-2 Without Keith Ballard in lineup: 0-2 Without Aaron Rome in lineup: 3-2 Without Tanner Glass in lineup: 0-1 Without Victor Oreskovich in lineup: 0-1 When Chris Higgins scores: 1-0 When Jannik Hansen scores: 2-0 When Daniel Sedin scores: 2-2 When Alex Edler scores: 1-0 When Christian Ehrhoff scores: 1-0 When Mikael Samuelsson scores: 1-0 When Sami Salo scores: 0-1 When Alex Burrows scores: 1-1 When Kevin Bieksa scores: 0-1 Score two-or-more power play goals: 0-1 Surrender two-or-more power play goals: 1-2 Don't allow a 1st period goal: 3-0 Don't allow a 2nd period goal: 2-0 Don't allow a 3rd period goal: 2-1 (only loss in Game 5 vs CHI) Have a 2-goal lead: 2-0 Score a goal in all three regulation periods: 1-0 Allow a goal in all three regulation periods: 0-2 Hold a third period lead: 4-1 (only loss in Game 6 @ CHI) Surrender a shorthanded goal: 1-0 Don't allow a power play goal: 3-1 When getting more power play chances than opponent: 0-0 When getting fewer power play chances than opponent: 2-3 When getting equal power play chances as opponent: 2-0 Canucks list of third period goal scorers... Daniel Sedin: 2 Mikael Samuelsson & Kevin Bieksa: 1 each Canucks overall average... Shots on goal per game: 31.1 Opponent shots on goal per game: 30.9 Shot attempts blocked per game: 16.4 Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 10.6 Missed shots per game: 12.4 Opponent missed shots per game: 10 Hits per game: 40.1 Opponent hits per game: 29.6 Giveaways per game: 5.9 Opponent giveaways per game: 8 Takeaways per game: 9.1 Opponent takeaways per game: 9.7 Blocked shots per game: 10.6 Opponent blocked shots per game: 16.4 Canucks average at home... Shots on goal per game: 33.5 Opponent shots on goal per game: 29 Shot attempts blocked per game: 16.5 Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 11.5 Missed shots per game: 12.3 Opponent missed shots per game: 10.3 Hits per game: 43.3 Opponent hits per game: 23 Giveaways per game: 7.8 Opponent giveaways per game: 6 Takeaways per game: 11 Opponent takeaways per game: 8 Blocked shots per game: 11.5 Opponent blocked shots per game: 16.5 Canucks average on road... Shots on goal per game: 28 Opponent shots on goal per game: 33.3 Shot attempts blocked per game: 16.3 Opponent shot attempts blocked per game: 9.3 Missed shots per game: 12.7 Opponent missed shots per game: 9.7 Hits per game: 36 Opponent hits per game: 38.3 Giveaways per game: 3.3 Opponent giveaways per game: 10.7 Takeaways per game: 6.7 Opponent takeaways per game: 12 Blocked shots per game: 9.3 Opponent blocked shots per game: 16.3 HIGHS AND LOWS Canucks Most - One Period Goals: 2 (four times) - Game 1 CHI (1st), Game 2 CHI (2nd), Game 3 CHI (2nd), Game 6 CHI (1st) Goals Allowed: 4 - Game 4 CHI (2nd) Shots: 15 (twice) - Game 5 CHI (3rd), Game 7 CHI (2nd) Shots Allowed: 16 - Game 3 CHI (1st) Canucks Fewest - One Period Shots: 6 (three times) - Game 1 CHI (1st), Game 4 CHI (2nd), Game 6 CHI (2nd) Shots Allowed: 3 - Game 6 CHI (3rd) Canucks Most - One Game Goals: 4 - Game 2 CHI Goals Allowed: 7 - Game 4 CHI Shots: 38 - Game 7 CHI Shots Allowed: 35 - Game 4 CHI Penalty Mins.: 61 - Game 4 CHI Penalty Mins, Opp.: 37 - Game 4 CHI Canucks Fewest - One Game Goals: 0 - Game 5 CHI Goals Allowed: 0 - Game 1 CHI Shots: 23 - Game 4 CHI Shots Allowed: 26 (twice) - Game 2 CHI & Game 5 CHI Penalty Mins.: 4 (twice) - Game 2 CHI & Game 7 CHI Penalty Mins, Opp.: 4 (three times) - Game 2 Chi, Game 3 CHI, Game 7 CHI Canucks Largest - One Game Margin of victory: 2 - Game 1 CHI Margin of defeat: 5 (twice) - Game 4 CHI & Game 5 CHI Individual Most - One Game Goals: 2 (twice) - Daniel Sedin (Game 2 CHI) & Alex Burrows (Game 7 CHI) Goals Allowed: 2 (four times) - Ben Smith (Game 2 CHI), Patrick Sharp (Game 4 CHI), Duncan Keith (Game 5 CHI), & Marian Hossa (Game 5 CHI) Assists: 2 - Henrik Sedin (Game 2 CHI) Assists Allowed: 3 - Dave Bolland (Game 4 CHI) Points: 3 (twice) - Daniel Sedin (Game 2 CHI), Alex Burrows (Game 6 CHI) Points Allowed: 4 (twice) - Dave Bolland (Game 4 CHI), Duncan Keith (Game 5 CHI) Saves: 32 - Roberto Luongo (Game 1 CHI) Saves, Opponent: 36 (twice) - Corey Crawford (Game 5 CHI, Game 7 CHI)
No matter how they got here, or what direction they want to take in the future, the Vancouver Canucks are literally playing the most important game of their lives. Only three times in history has an NHL team erased a 3-0 series deficit to advance to the next round of the playoffs. There has been a lot of talk about the Canucks' chances of earning the dubious distinction as the fourth team to facilitate such a collapse. Rife with drama and storylines, this series has seen it all, from big controversial hits, to starting goaltending controversy, and questionable officiating. But it all takes a back seat to the drama in store tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver at 7:00 pm PST. A lot of experts agree that momentum clearly is the advantage the Chicago Blackhawks carry into Game 7. But the Canucks aren't without positive signs - they outworked the Blackhawks for most of Game 6, as well as controlling the tempo and play through the majority of the game. Rather than recap all that's been, I'd like to shift focus onto Four Keys for the colossal Game Seven. Key 1: Setting the tone Getting off to a fast, motivated start, complete with energetic, hard-hitting physical shifts has been integral to both teams' success so far this series. More than any other night, it's imperative for the Canucks to wrest momentum back in their corner. The Canucks were able to surprise the Blackhawks physically in the first three games, with Alain Vigneault doing an excellent job rolling through his deep lines, and establishing a solid forecheck. With the element of surprise gone, it'll be extremely important for the third and fourth lines to deliver effective hits, getting Blackhawk defenders worrying about what is coming, not what they're going to set up. Alex Burrows was one of the best Canucks in Game 6, and will need to put it all on the line tonight against the Hawks (photo courtesy of Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images) Key 2: Sedins re-establishing the cycle game A very positive sign in the second period of Game 6 was the amount of time that Daniel, Henrik and Mikael (Samuelsson) spent in the Blackhawks zone. Their cycling of the puck is what made them so effective and dangerous in the regular season, and they appeared to be wearing down the Hawks defenders with it. Both teams have done a good job collapsing down low to limit the rebound chances, but Vancouver could gain a decided advantage if the Sedins force Chicago to expend valuable energy chasing the puck down low. Key 3: Goaltending performance There is no question in my mind that Roberto Luongo will be starting Game 7. Subsequently, despite having played for Olympic Gold, and playing in some large playoff settings before, this is the game of his life. In only his first year of a 12 year, $64 M contract, the stakes couldn't be higher. Win or lose, it's up to Roberto to prove he can come through when it's all on the line. He did it before against the Dallas Stars, but fair or not, tonight will completely shape the rest of his career, given his past performances against the Blackhawks. Key 4: Officiating Unfortunately, the officiating has been suspect the last 3 games, and has been a hot button topic, not only in Vancouver, but League-wide. The Blackhawks have enjoyed a 22-12 edge (in powerplay chances) over the last four games, and hockey pundits agree that GM Mike Gillis had reason to be irate after Game 6. If the officials decide to punish the Canucks with more penalties, and miss calls like the one on Dave Bolland slashing Henrik Sedin's stick in half, it could be a very frustrating game for Canucks' fans. Expect the boo-birds to come out if the officials call the game similarly to Game Six. At the end of the day, though it's little solace for Canucks fans, the hockey world will benefit from what should be an intense Game Seven. This is what hockey is all about, and every youngster in love with the sport dreams about playing a significant role in a deciding Game Seven. Will it be elation, or utter dejection for Canucks fans following this pivotal game in the series and franchises' history? Kevin Bieksa might have set the stage the best: "Sometimes it takes all your lifelines to earn $1 million. That's where we're at. We've used our 3." Wishing the Canucks every fortune here from The Canuck Way, I'm Larenzo Jensen
Amidst all the story lines heading into the Canucks and Blackhawks third straight post-season match-up, Ryan Kesler's maturation process is perhaps the most under-reported. Ryan Kesler battles Anton Babchuk for position during the last game of the season (photo courtesy of AP Photo) I recall the solemn and hushed tone in Kesler's voice as he was interviewed by reporters some 10 1/2 months ago. He was being asked whether players on the team, himself included, were playing hurt in the playoffs. Whether he was choking back tears, or was simply frustrated beyond belief, no-one save for himself knows the real truth. Speaking of truth, I will admit that Kesler has been one of my personal favorites, but after listening to Alex Burrows answer the same question, I will also admit Kesler's response showed some immaturity. As time would tell, Alex Burrows was playing with a shoulder that required off-season surgery, that would force him to miss the first 11 games of the season. The difference being that Ryan Kesler dwelt more on the fact that he was injured, while Burrows refused to use it as a crutch. He said that in the Playoffs, everyone plays hurt, -it's just the way hockey is in the spring. Canucks fans are hoping they'll see Kesler celebrate like this more than once during this year's playoffs (photo courtesy of Rich Lam/Getty Images) Using Alex Burrows to illustrate Kesler's development is interesting in itself, because although Kesler got a taste of the NHL first (28 games 2003/04), he and Burrows both started to get regular duty during the 2005/06 season. But Burrows is four years older than Kesler, having paid his dues in the East Coast Hockey League before making the transition to the American Hockey League. Last year, Kesler scored 25 goals and recorded 104 penalty minutes. During the playoffs, he played 12 games, with 1 goal and 9 assists. Not long after Kesler's interviews where he spoke to being injured, Mike Gillis sat down with him during team exit meetings. He showed him a clip of Jonathan Toews battling for the puck during their series with the Canucks. He got cross-checked, then another to be knocked down. He got up, and shortly thereafter, the Blackhawks scored. This year, Kesler scored 41 goals, and recorded 66 penalty minutes. Many hockey pundits will agree that Kesler is the best 2nd line center in the NHL, and on many teams, would pivot the top line. For the Blackhawks, Duncan Keith and Brian Campbell will be charged with the task of shutting down the Sedin twins along with Alex Burrows. While not carved in stone, it should mean that Kesler will draw the Brent Seabrook and Chris Campoli pairing on defense. Whether Joel Quennville decides to match Patrick Kane's line centered by ex-Canuck, Ryan Johnson, or go with his checking line of Brian Bickell, Jake Dowell and Michael Frolik, also is unknown. Regardless of who he plays against, Canucks fans should find Kesler's growth from last season a very interesting subplot. When you tie for first on your team in scoring, and fourth overall in the League, you're bound to get some attention. The Canucks playoff hopes could literally hinge on whether he's grown and matured enough to handle the spotlight. Strap in for more Playoffs done The Canuck Way! Thanks for reading, I'm Larenzo Jensen
Two of the most dynamic offensive superstars in the National Hockey League. Two young, All-Star defencemen patrolling the blue-line. A relatively unknown starting netminder but one who has shown an ability to stand on his head from time to time. A coach who is considered one of the best hockey minds in the League. All together on a team that just a few short years ago was immersed in a period best described as the franchise's Dark Age. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/bc/images/images/inbydate05/dec2105/canada_t.jpg class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Sound familiar? The 2010 Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks? Perhaps, but no. Rather, the description is of a team much nearer and dearer to the hearts of hockey fans in British Columbia: the 2002-03 Vancouver Canucks. A team captained by then four-time NHL All-Star Markus Naslund, who by season's end would become a two-time First Team All-Star and the recipient of the Lester B. Pearson Award. A team that featured a dominant power forward in Todd Bertuzzi, who posted a career-best 97 points during that year's regular season and would join his best friend Naslund as a First Team All-Star at the end of the 2003 season. A team that had two former first round picks on their back end in Mattias Ohlund and Ed Jovanovski, the latter a Canadian Olympic Gold medalist. A team whose number one goaltender, Dan Cloutier, was coming off a career-high 33 wins in the regular season and beginning to build a reputation as bona fide starting netminder. A team led by former Jack Adams Award and Stanley Cup winner Marc Crawford, who would go on to become the franchise's all-time wins leader behind the bench. A team that had missed the post-season for four consecutive seasons from 1996-97 to 1999-00 and saw attendance figures plummet to a franchise low in their new home of General Motors Place in 1990-00 but by 2002-03 would be playing to near sell-out crowds every night. A team that featured arguably the most talented group ever assembled under the Vancouver Canucks banner and would surely deliver the Stanley Cup to the city of Vancouver. A team that had the third-year Minnesota Wild on the ropes in their 2003 Western Conference Semi-Final series - leading the series three games to one at one point and later holding a 2-0 lead in Game 7 - and was ready to make flight plans to Anaheim for the Western Conference Final against the Mighty Ducks. <img src=http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/bc/images/images/inbydate05/dec0705/nazzy_t.jpg class="imageFloatRightFramed">A championship team... ...that never came to be. A team torn apart by a violent, on-ice incident the following year that would scar both city and sport and a team that would be only a shell of its former self when the NHL reinvented itself in time for the 2005-06 season. A team that would eventually see three of its members going on to kiss the Stanley Cup - Brad May, Matt Cooke and Brent Sopel - but none of them together and none of them in Vancouver. A team that, though now mostly disbanded, undoubtedly watched on Wednesday as the Stanley Cup was paraded around the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia by the Blackhawks and had just one thought flowing through their collective minds: There, but for the bounce of a puck, goes us.