With a 3-for-6 evening Sunday against the Dallas Stars, the Vancouver Canucks power play success rate leapt to 15% on the season at home and 18.4% on the season overall. This Canucks power play primer came out Sunday morning.
The six goals scored against the Dallas Stars by the Vancouver Canucks topped their total for a single game this season. They’ve scored five goals once, four goals twice, and three goals once, winning all of those previous games. In fact, it’s pretty simple thus far, when the Canucks score three or more goals this season, they win, when they don’t, they lose.
There’s a strong chance we see back-up goaltender Jaroslav Halak Tuesday night at home against the Anaheim Ducks. That would be game two for him on the seven game homestand. Halak has received very little “run support” from his teammates thus far. On both occasions he started, October 16th in Detroit and October 28th at home against Philadelphia, his teammates mustered one goal in each game. Halak gave up two goals in each, with Sam Gagner adding an empty netter for Detroit in that 3-1 final.
Number-one netminder Thatcher Demko has been spectacular so far this season, while Halak hasn’t needed to be. Although not making highlight reel saves on a regular basis like Demko, Halak’s goals against average is better than his younger, bigger teammate, and his save percentage is essentially the same.
Justin Dowling played Sunday night for the Canucks on the 4th line after coming off injured reserve and bumping fellow forward Nic Petan back to Abbotsford of the AHL. Dowling played a total of 8:16. He was minus-1, on for Luke Glendening’s even strength goal for Dallas at 9:38 of the second period.
Dowling finished 1-for-1 in the face-off circle, adding to a very good winning percentage for the Canucks on the dots Sunday night against Dallas. Vancouver won 57% of the draws after a pretty slow start to the season in that category. The main reason for the low early numbers were the struggles of Elias Pettersson, who’s been relegated to observer status on face-offs. He didn’t take one Sunday night. He’s a centre, and he plays the position once the action gets under way, but not when it actually involves trying to win possession on a puck drop.
Aside from the simple fact that a face-off win earns puck possession, the time and place is often critical. Besides tallying a goal and an assist Sunday, Bo Horvat’s win in the left wing, offensive zone circle led directly to JT Miller’s game-tying power play goal just seven seconds after the man advantage started. Horvat won the draw, Brock Boeser slid the puck back to the point man Quinn Hughes, who found Miller, who ripped it home. No assist for Horvat, but the face-off win started the successful sequence. He had 11 wins and 11 losses on the dot.
Miller dominated his draws Sunday, with eleven wins and only three losses, the main reason for the impressive overall team winning percentage.
Move to the Molars
Canucks defenceman Travis Hamonic, who sports the classic hockey smile while missing his two front, upper incisors, appeared to take a puck to the mouth late in the third period Sunday. It wasn’t a direct shot, it seemed to ricochet up off his body first, but he put his glove to his face, finished the play, and then went to the bench and down the walkway to the dressing room.
The Vancouver Canucks practice Monday morning at Rogers Arena at 11:30 am pacific. Tuesday, the seven-game homestand wraps up with the Ducks visit, and then Vancouver hits the road for three games beginning with the Colorado Avalanche in Denver on Thursday.