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  1. The Canucks suffered a letdown in their game against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night to wrap up a 2-2-0 week but we won't disappoint in this week's edition of Number Crunching. Read on to find out who takes home the coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award. I MAY BE A BACKUP BUT DON'T CALL ME NUMBER TWO <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">For most teams, getting to face an opposition's backup netminder is a very pleasant surprise but for the Canucks this season, it hasn't exactly been a cakewalk when going up against goaltenders that aren't number one on a team's depth chart. Since winning their first three games of the season against backup netminders, the Canucks have won just four of their last nine games when facing someone other than the team's number one goaltender including Sunday's loss to Ty Conklin and the Blues. Vancouver's record this season when facing backup netminders is 7-5-0. For our purposes, backup netminders are defined as goaltenders that did not start the season as their team's number one netminder on the depth chart. Below is a list of the so-called backups the Canucks have faced this season: October 21st @ Chicago - Antti Niemi - Win October 24th vs. Toronto - Joey MacDonald - Win October 25th vs. Edmonton - Jeff Deslauriers - Win October 27th vs. Detroit - Jimmy Howard - Loss November 12th @ Detroit - Jimmy Howard - Loss November 22nd vs. Chicago - Antti Niemi - Loss November 28th vs. Edmonton - Jeff Deslauriers - Win December 3rd @ Phiadelphia - Brian Boucher - Win December 5th @ Carolina - Manny Legace - Loss December 12th vs. Minnesota - Josh Harding - Win December 18th vs. Washington - Jose Theodore - Win December 20th vs. St. Louis - Ty Conklin - Loss NO THIRD HELPINGS <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">As has been well-documented this season, the Canucks are not only one of the best teams when it comes to scoring in the third period (third in the League with 44 third period goals) but they've been pretty good at preventing third period markers as well. Vancouver has given up just 28 third period tallies this season - the fewest goals among all their other periods this season (34 in first periods; 31 in second periods). What's even more impressive is Vancouver's record this season when they don't give up a third period goal at all. 16 of Vancouver's 20 wins this season have come in games where they don't surrender a third period goal. In fact, the Canucks have just two losses this season in games where they don't give up a goal in the final regulation period. One of those two losses came in their most recent game on Sunday against the Blues when they entered the final frame down 3-1 and weren't able to generate any offence to mount a comeback. The other loss came back on October 16th in Calgary when the Canucks spotted the Flames a 5-0 lead through two periods and managed to tally three times in the third period but still fell by a 5-3 score. BROTHER ACT <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">It was a relatively quiet week for Daniel and Henrik, but of course no Number Crunching column would be complete without a mention of the Sedin twins so we offer this interesting little note. When Daniel notched his third career hat-trick back on December 10th against the Atlanta Thrashers, he succeeded in completing a rare feat that had not been accomplished in 17 years. Combined with Henrik's hat trick against the Colorado Avalanche on November 14th, the pair became the first brothers to record a hat trick in the same season for the same team since Peter and Marian Stastny did it back in the 1982.83 season with the Quebec Nordiques. That season, Peter had an impressive four hat tricks while old brother Marian wasn't too shabby either with two of his own. The fact the record has stood for so long is impressive considering the list of impressive brother duos that have played on the same team since Peter and Marian did including the likes of Pavel and Valeri Bure with the Florida Panthers, Rob and Scott Niedermayer with the Anaheim Ducks, and of course Geoff and Russ Courtnall with the Vancouver Canucks. Special thanks to the Canucks Media Relations Department for this tidbit. NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK (for the week ending Sunday, December 20th) <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">Mason Raymond: Five points (3-2-5) in four games It was a career-week for the Cochrane, Alberta native. After setting a new career-high in goals on Monday with his 12th of the season against the Los Angeles Kings to kick off the week, Raymond proceeded to set a new career-high in points by recording points 23 and 24 of the season with his two-goal outing against the Washington Capitals on Friday. The 24-year old has also become Vancouver's go-to guy on the power play as his goal on the man-advantage against the Caps on Friday was his team-leading seventh power play marker of the season. Not only that but Raymond currently sits tied for sixth in the NHL with his seven power play goals while only San Jose's Dany Heatley has more power play goals among Western Conference players than Raymond with ten. CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Kevin Bieksa: Zero points and even rating in four games played. His lack of offensive production this season stands out like a sore thumb - just one goal and 15 points in 36 games this season coming off a 43-point season last year (11-32-43) - but his inability to put up goals has been somewhat easy to overlook because of the situations that the 28-year old is often asked to play in. The fifth-year pro is among the Canucks leaders in ice-time racking up plenty of shifts on the power play, short-handed and in even-strength situations. However, it seems even Coach Vigneault's patience with Bieksa is starting to wear a little thin this week. Bieksa, who is accustomed to playing 20-plus minutes per game, saw his ice-time go from 24:17 and 23:18 to start the week against the Kings and Ducks, respectively, to just 17:18 and 16:22 against the Capitals and Blues to end the week.
  2. All is right in Canuck Nation again following two straight wins over the Thrashers and the Wild. We keep the good times rolling in the Canucks Community with this week's edition of Number Crunching. Read on to find out who takes home this week's coveted Number Crunching Player of the Week Award. (Note: Statistics reflected in this column do not include games played on Monday, December 14th). WHEN THEY'RE HOT, THEY'RE REALLY HOT <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The Canucks may be the only team in the entire NHL that can go from doom-and-gloom one moment to sunshine-and-rainbows the next at least as far as the mood concerning their power play goes. Before Saturday's 3-for-5 performance against the Wild, there hadn't been a lot of positives to say about the Canuck power play that had just one goal (a 5-on-3 marker) in their previous six games while connecting on just one opportunity on 18 chances overall in that stretch. So how is it that, despite all the negativity concerning the Canucks power play in recent weeks, the team still manages to find themselves near the top of the League in terms of power play efficiency? The reason for that is that no team in the NHL this season have had more multiple power play goal games than the Canucks. The Canucks have scored two-or-more power play goals 10 times this season. The Philadelphia Flyers are the next most successful team with nine multiple PPG games. Behind them, there are several teams tied with seven multiple power play goal games. Perhaps a more telling stat is that 24 of Vancouver's 31 power play goals this season have come in those ten games, leaving just seven power play goals scored in the other 22 games this season. The Canucks have a record of 7-3-0 this season when scoring two-or-more power play goals in a game. DANNY MOVING ON UP <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">Since his return to the lineup back on November 22nd, it seems Daniel Sedin has not missed a beat and is not only making up lost time by piling up points against the opposition, he's also taking aim at the team record books as well. Daniel's goal against the Wild on Saturday marked his seventh of the season and, more significantly, was his 186th as a Canuck moving him into an eighth place tie with Don Lever and just two goals shy of a seventh place tie with Todd Bertuzzi (188). Oddly, the goal was just the first power play marker this season for Daniel after he finished third on the team with nine power play goals in 2008.09 behind only Ryan Kesler (10) and Kyle Wellwood (10). It was the 68th career power play goal for Sedin who now finds himself just one PPG marker away from tying none other than Pavel Bure (69) for sixth on the franchise's all-time list. He's also within striking distance of Stan Smyl (74) for fifth place and Todd Bertuzzi (79) for fourth place. What fans should keep a close eye on for the rest of this month is to see if Daniel can make a charge at making this December one of the most productive months in his career. Daniel's most successful month came back in March 2007 when he recorded 20 points (9-11-20) in 15 games played. Through six games in December, Daniel has already netted 11 points (6-5-11). The Canucks will play a total of 15 games this December. INJURIES? NO SWEAT <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">The Canucks didn't get the week started off on a great note. Not only did they drop their second straight game to end their road trip in Nashville, they also lost the services of defenceman Alex Edler - who had been playing some of his best hockey of the season prior to the injury. But as was evident in the two games that followed, the Canucks simply don't use injuries as an excuse nor are they overly concerned when the injury bug takes a bite to their roster. Below are the Canucks' respective records this season with some of their key players missing: (note: only players who began the season with the Canucks are listed) Without Daniel Sedin in lineup: 11-7-0 Without Sami Salo in lineup: 4-3-0 Without Ryan Johnson in lineup: 3-1-0 Without Alex Edler in lineup: 2-0-0* Without Kyle Wellwood in lineup (injury only): 2-2-0 Without Roberto Luongo in lineup (injury only): 4-2-0 *denotes current injury. NUMBER CRUNCHING PLAYER OF THE WEEK (for the week ending Sunday, December 14th) <img src= class="imageFloatRightFramed">Daniel Sedin: Five goals and seven points in three games played. It was a tough trying to choose between Daniel and Henrik Sedin but to avoid the easy route by picking co-winners, Number Crunching goes with Daniel who was the only Canuck to score in each of the three games this past week and also recorded his third career hat trick on Thursday against the Atlanta Thrashers. However, the most impressive stat from Daniel this week wasn't his goals or points totals, it was his 22 combined shots in three games played - including a season-high 10 shots on Thursday versus the Thrashers. The 22 shots on goal were more than the Daniel had recorded in his first seven games since returning from injury. Daniel begins the week riding a season-high six-game point streak - just one game shy of matching a career-high - while he has goals in three straight games marking the first time he has done that since December 17-22, 2008. Daniel's numbers from last week should warrant him some consideration for being one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week, which is just the second most prestigious weekly award behind the Number Crunching Player of the Week. But we're sure Daniel is plenty happy already having earned his first career NCPOTW award. CRUNCHED BY THE NUMBERS <img src= class="imageFloatLeftFramed">Christian Ehrhoff: Zero points in three games played this week. Since giving us his best Bobby Orr impersonation about four weeks ago back on November 20th against the Colorado Avalanche, Christian Ehrhoff has gone almost completely quiet since that night memorable night. While it's not necessarily a bad thing when you don't notice a defenceman, Ehrhoff's game is all about sparking the offence - something the Canucks will be counting on him to do even more than before with Alex Edler out of the lineup. Ehrhoff has just one goal (one point) in his last seven games and has gone without a point in his last four straight games, tying a season-high point drought for the native of Moers, Germany. Not only would the Ehrhoff love to find the back of the net again, the Canucks as a team would be more than thrilled to see him score. Vancouver has won their last three straight games when Ehrhoff has tallied a goal.