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Numbers don't lie

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks

What is Vancouver’s record this season when a defenceman scores?

In the 24 games in which the Canucks have held a two-goal lead, how many have they won?

Which player has scored the most third period goals?

For once, thanks to enthused statistician Daniel Fung, these are not rhetorical questions.

With 33 games remaining before the start of the NHL playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks sit first in the Northwest Division, second in the Western Conference and fifth overall in the league, with a record of 30-15-4, good for 64 points.

Summing up the season to date would go something like: slow start, lose to the Chicago Blackhawks mid-November, climb to the top of the standings. How the season ends remains to be seen, but as Fung’s figures show, winning is all in the numbers.

Scoring from Vancouver’s blueline has been highly beneficial, for example, as the Canucks are 15-5-1 when any defenceman scores.

The team has the most success when Daniel Sedin (14-2-2), Alex Burrows (13-4-0), Ryan Kesler (11-1-0) and Henrik Sedin (10-1-0) find the back of the net, yet those four can’t claim undefeated regulation records like David Booth (7-0-1), Alex Edler (6-0-0), Sami Salo (5-0-0), Manny Malhotra (4-0-0), Aaron Rome (3-0-0), Andrew Ebbett (3-0-0), Maxim Lapierre (2-0-2) and Andrew Alberts (1-0-0).

Three Canucks, oddly enough, have losing records in terms of games they score in. Kevin Bieksa (1-3-0), Dan Hamhuis (1-2-0) and Aaron Volpatti (0-1-0) just can’t catch a break.

On 24 occasions Vancouver has held a two-goal lead and 22 times they’ve gone on to win, with December losses to Nashville and Carolina the only exceptions.

If it’s a three-goal lead, forgetaboutit. Vancouver is 16-0-0. Same goes for four goals or more at 8-0-0.

At the other end of things, the Canucks have managed only one win this year when trailing by two or three goals. That win, a 4-3 shootout victory, came December 8th in Montreal against the Canadiens.

Believe it or not, the five-minute rule applies to the Canucks. No chance you knew that because I just made up the five-minute rule. It seems fitting, though, as Vancouver is highly successful when scoring (12-3-0) or allowing (4-1-0) a goal in the first five minute of play.

The shorthanded rule, another I created just now, also applies to the Canucks. Whether scoring a shorthanded goal (4-0-0) or allowing one (3-0-1), Vancouver has never come up short (get it?) in regulation winning seven of eight contests.

Daniel Sedin has scored eight first period goals, the most of any Canuck, Alex Burrows has seven scores in the second frame to lead the team, while Jannik Hansen’s seven third period goals is a team-best over the final 20 minutes of play. Four different players (Salo, Higgins, Ebbett & Daniel Sedin) have scored overtime game-winners.

First period scoring has still been Vancouver’s best with 53 goals to 50 in the third and 48 in the second.

Other cool Canucks stats you may or may not find interesting but you should try to remember to one-up that guy you know who thinks he knows all the cool Canucks stats:

-The Canucks have not scored or allowed a goal in the first minute of a game.

-Sixteen times Vancouver has scored a goal in all three periods of a game and it has led to wins on 13 occasions.

-The team-high for goals for (4 times) and against (once) is four.

-The Canucks have been shutout three times (☹), but have shutout the opposition five times (☺).

-Vancouver is undefeated without Alex Burrows (2-0-0) and Chris Higgins (2-0-0) in the line-up. Explain that one.

If your head hurts and you aren’t quite sure what you just read, congrats on making it through the entire article.

For those who read the lead and are now hunting for the conclusion, one stat stands out above the rest: the Canucks are 26-0-0 when they hold a lead at any time in the third period.

Get a lead, hold it and win.

*It’s as easy as that.

(*yeah right)

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