Two last notes on the Canucks’ game before I move on. Vic’s timeonice.com tools aren’t updated yet, so looking at the matchups in detail requires a little bit of extra work. It’s pretty interesting stuff though. The Oilers defencemen played very equal amounts of TOI at ES. Five of them were between 15.43 and 16.82 minutes. Corey Potter, who was sixth in ice time, wasn’t far off that – he played 13.55.
The Canucks really only had one line that was intimidating last night, the Sedin line. I’ve gone through and broken things down in terms of how much TOI each defenceman played against the Sedins at ES. Henrik Sedin played 15:26 at ES in a game in which there was 47:26 of ES play. If there was no line matching, you’d expect each defenceman to play about 32.6% of their TOI against Henrik. Instead, the TOI distribution looked like the table to the left. I wrote before the game about how the matchups worked out last year. In two of the three games in Vancouver, the Oilers didn’t do a particularly good job of keeping the third pairing away from the Sedins and in the other game, they ran Peckham/Plante as a third pairing and barely used them.
I’m not aware of any benchmarks in terms of what’s a good game for a coach in terms of protecting his third pairing, unfortunately. This Canuck team makes it easier than last year’s in that there wasn’t a Ryan Kesler line that presented a serious threat, which made it easier to duck the Sedins with the third pairing. That said, it strikes me that the Oilers seem to have done a pretty good job of keeping Potter/Whitney away from the Sedins for a road game.
The other thing that caught my eye is how little Shawn Horcoff‘s line went head to head with the Sedins. The matching was less extreme with the forwards than it was with the defencemen but the Sedins had a slightly disproportionate share of their ice time against Gagner/RNH. Basically, Horcoff was done with the Sedins for the night at the 16:22 mark of the second. Five of their nine regulation shifts from that point forward were of the “Horcoff leaves ice, Sedins come on” type.
The Sedins came on at 17:08, after a TV timeout, despite having been on the ice up to the 16:22 mark with Horcoff’s line. Horcoff had a shift that ended at 19:10, the Sedins came out. Horcoff didn’t start the next period, the Sedins started it. Horcoff left the ice at 3:00 in the third; the Sedins came on at 3:33. Horcoff left the ice at 6:13, the Sedins came on. The Sedins faced the Oilers fourth line after the PP, as they always do, at 14:05. Horcoff left the ice at 16:58, the Sedins came out. Horcoff left the ice at 18:33, the Sedins came out.
Game data is like anything else; you can find patterns, but it seems unusual to me that Horcoff played 52% of his time at ES against the Sedins up to the 16:22 mark and then 0.4% of his ES TOI after that was against them. If there’s something to that, I wonder what prompted Vigneault (who had control over who the Sedins faced) to make that change.Email Tyler Dellow at email@example.com