Canucks-Bruins series recap

Since this is my first time tracking scoring chances for an entire series, I thought it would be a good idea to look back at the data and see if it showed what happened in the series accurately. Some of the results surprised me.

This is what doesn’t surprise me. Both teams had relatively even chances 5v5 but the special teams played a huge factor. The Bruins powerplay got out the rut it’s been in all playoffs while the Canucks powerplay was terrible. Not terribly surprising to see the Bruins be outchanced in the third period because they were playing with a big lead in four games. The Bruins definitely got off to better starts in this series but some of the data might be bloated from the times that Vancouver was blown out in Boston.

Thought Chara and Seidenberg would have a higher percentage but the stats are skewed a bit from Game 7 when the Bruins sat on the 3-0 lead in the third period. These two played very well, I thought. Boychuk and Ference’s success is all thanks to Claude Julien’s ability to play matchups wisely. He was able to keep these two away from the Sedins and used them mainly in offensive situations and they thrived as a result. Also of note is that Tomas Kaberle had a great series for the same reason. The fact that no Bruins player has a rating worse than 45% (minus Shawn Thornton) indicates that almost everyone had a strong series. Krejci and Lucic were the driving force of their offense, though. Did a lot better after struggling for a good part of the Tampa Bay series. Take note of how well some of Boston’s penalty killers were. Campbell, Paille, Marchand and Bergeron were great.. Bergeron did great on the powerplay as well.

A lot of negativity was focus on the Sedins and while they didn’t finish their chances, I think a bigger problem was Ryan Kesler playing through an injury and the results show here. In fact, that entire line for Vancouver didn’t play well aside from Chris Higgins.  Also, Vancouver lost arguably their best defenseman in Dan Hamhuis as well as Aaron Rome so they had to dress a few players who didn’t see much time in the playoffs earlier. The Canucks have a lot of depth on the back-end but Ballard was abysmal in the game he played, Alberts got destroyed and Chris Tanev can only do so much as a rookie. Bieksa also struggled without Hamhuis despite what the numbers say here. He created a lot of chances but he sure as hell gave them back at the other end. Ehrhoff’s market value may have dropped here with how badly he performed on the powerplay. You can’t give up half of the chances that you create with the man advantage. Boston simply got more from their forward corps than Vancouver did. When the Sedins aren’t scoring, the others needs to pick up the slack and they didn’t. It doesn’t help that Allain Vingeault rides his top-six every single game and doesn’t use his 3rd and 4th line much. You can see why here. Hansen was the only one to produce consisently here. Everyone else aside from Raffi Torres was a liability.


MVPs of the Series:
1. Tim Thomas

Only allowed 8 goals in the whole final and posted a .940 save percentage in the playoffs. Completely deserved the Conn Smythe Trophy.

2. David Krejci

He was one of Boston’s best forwards in this series and posted the most scoring chances at even strength for any player in the series combined. Did even better on the powerplay. Here’s something to think about; he had 13 goals all season and 12 in the playoffs.

3. Brad Marchand

Two goals in game 7 and he had 5 in the series. Also was a huge factor in Boston’s penalty kill being as good as it was.

Goats of the Series:

1. Roberto Luongo

What in the world happened here? Always thought that his playoffs struggles were overblown but he was simply terrible.

2. Andrew Alberts

30% scoring chance rating for him and he actually managed to get top-4 minutes in a couple of these games. Also was plastered shorthanded.

3. Ryan Kesler

Hate to pick on an injured player and he did well in game 7 but it was clear that the Canucks were hoping to get A LOT more out of him this series.


Canucks-Bruins Game 7 Scoring Chances

I will never get tired of this picture no matter which team is in it.

Sorry for this being a couple days late. I’ve been busy with some personal stuff and the only writing time I’ve had was for the player report cards. Writing about hockey doesn’t pay the bills, unfortunately. Another NHL season is in the books and I’m happy to say that the Boston Bruins are the Stanley Cup Champions. I said after game 5 that I would be pulling for them because there are some players on Vancouver who I didn’t ant to see win the cup and their general dirty play has really turned me off. Boston seemed to be playing a lot better than the Canucks did for most of the series and it all came together on Game 7 for them. They played, what I thought was, their their best game of the series and just shut down the Canucks completely. Both at even strength and with the man advantage. Also helps that Roberto Luongo was not at the top of his game and Tim Thomas was at the other end. Although, Boston’s D did their job of keeping most of the Canucks shots to the outside. A well deserved cup for them and it’s good to see Tim Thomas earn his first ring since he deserved it. As for the ‘Nucks, they will have another chance. That team is too good to not have another run left in them but Alex Edler’s going to have a lot of improvement to do with Christian Ehrhoff possibly leaving in a couple weeks. They had so many injuries to their defense corps in the playoffs that it’s kind of not surprising how badly they were torched on the road.

Scoring Chances:

Bruins had the advantage early in the game and they only ended up trailing in scoring chances because they elected to sit on a 3-0 lead and it worked. Their defense completely shutdown Vancouver and didn’t allow them to get any traffic in front of Thomas. Things could have been different but the Bruins had a couple bounces go their way. Zdeno Chara bailed himself out after his awful turnover and Thomas did have to make a couple big saves. That and Vancouver’s powerplay probably played one of the worst games I’ve ever seen. Also, Alain Vingeault failed to use the last shift to his advantage because he couldn’t keep the Sedins away from Chara and Boston’s first goal came off a defensive zone draw, where he elected to put the Sedins against Patrice Bergeron’s line. Bad move all-around and it killed a lot of the momentum for the Canucks.

Scoring Chances by Team: Boston

Best ES Forward: Rich Peverley, Shawn Thrnton, Michal Ryder, Gregory Campbell, Tyler Seguin, Daniel Paille EVEN
Worst ES Forward: Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Marc Recchi -2

Best ES Defenseman: Tomas Kaberle, Adam McQuaid +3
Worst ES Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg, Johnny Boychuk, Zdeno Chara, Andrew Ference -3

This folks, is what things look like when a team sits on a lead for 20+ minutes. The fact that a lot of these players had negative ratings doesn’t mean they had bad games, but more that they were playing in key situations. If you had asked me after the game, I would have said that Marchand was the Bruins best forward and that Bergeron played his best game of the series. Pretty much everyone for the Bruins played well, though for the most part. I also would have said that Chara and Seidenberg were fantastic, which they were for most of the series.

Scoring Chances by Player: Canucks

Best ES Forward: Chris Higgins +6
Worst ES Forward: Raffi Torres -3

Best ES Defenseman: Alex Edler +4
Worst ES Defenseman: Kevin Bieksa, Andrew Alberts -1

Inserting Jeff Tambellini into the second line with Kesler and Higgins worked as their line was very good for this game. Kesler played his best game of the series and Higgins seems to be thriving in his role in Vancouver, something he couldn’t do on either Montreal, New York or Florida. The Sedins again were not good and that played a huge factor while the other lines weren’t depended on much. Bieksa was on ice for over half of the Bruins chances as well as Bergeron’s short-handed goal. Edler really stepped up his game and played extremely well for someone who had an injured hand. Tanev did pretty well for himself, too and it makes me wonder if Vancouver will let one of Bieksa, Salo or Ehrhoff to make room for him on the roster next year.

Bergeron’s line played best against the Sedins and Bieksa which was something that played a huge role in the Canucks winning. Seidenberg had one hell of a game, too. Impressive stats from Kesler’s line as they won almos tall of their matchups.

Once again, congrats to the Bruins. Nice to see them win after many people say that this was Vancouver’s cup to lose. Also remember me saying that if this series went to seven games that Boston would win? Being correct for a change is a very nice thing.