Every now and then we at PITB like to take a step back and just post some statistics. This is one of those times. Read them quickly before they’re outdated.

  • Maxim Lapierre is the current playoff leader in hits with a Wellwood-approved and Adams-certified 42. His closest competitor who is actually still competing in the playoffs is Shane O’Brien with 38, but immediately behind him are Kevin Bieksa, Alex Edler, and Ryan Kesler with 37, 36, and 35 hits respectively. That means 4 of the top 6 hitters this postseason are Canucks. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Canucks are leading the playoffs in total hits with a whopping 385 hits in 11 games. That’s 95 more than the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are second in that statistic. They have more hits than Martin Q. Blank. They have so many hits they’re thinking of buying The Hit Factory and re-opening it. For a month after playing the Canucks, their opponent’s favorite song is “It’s a Hit” by We Are Scientists. It’s especially impressive because the Canucks were 20th in the league in hits during the regular season. They have stepped it up in a big way for the playoffs.
  • The top 8 players in playoff points per game are either out of the playoffs or are one game removed from being out of the playoffs. At the top is Dave Bolland, who scored 6 points in 4 games for the Blackhawks for a 1.50 points per game average. Pavel Datsyuk ranks the highest amongst teams still in the playoffs at 4th, but is 1 game away from joining Ovechkin. The Canucks’ top player is, unsurprisingly, Ryan Kesler, who’s sitting at exactly 1 point per game with 11 total, with the Sedins, Ehrhoff, and Burrows a little ways behind. If Detroit does indeed lose their series, then 3 of the top 4 highest scoring teams in this year’s playoffs will be out. The Kings, Ducks, and Red Wings sit just behind the Lightning in goals per game in this postseason. It’s entirely possible – and I know this is shocking – that defense wins championships.
  • Both the top-scoring forward and the top-scoring defenseman in this year’s playoffs have one of the worst overall plus/minus ratings. Both Martin St. Louis and Christian Ehrhoff have a minus-5 rating while simultaneously leading their respective group of skaters. Numbers one and two in powerplay points? Yep, St. Louis and Ehrhoff, with 7 and 6 points with the man-advantage. The two have been able to overcome their even-strength deficiencies with fantastic work on the powerplay. Meanwhile, 5 of the top 6 players in plus/minus come from the Bruins, who have made up for an execrable powerplay with brilliance at even-strength.
  • Ryan Kesler has taken 289 faceoffs through 11 playoff games, 53 more than Patrice Bergeron, who is ranked second on that list. That’s not all that surprising; the Canucks rely on Kesler to take faceoffs in every zone, especially late in one-goal games, of which – if you haven’t noticed – they tend to have all the time. What is surprising is that the next Canuck, Henrik Sedin, has taken only 6 fewer faceoffs than Bergeron. That’s right: the Canucks have two of the top-three players in total faceoffs taken. Part of the reason is that they have taken a lot of faceoffs – they are second behind the Tampa Bay Lightning – but more importantly, they only have three reliable centers. And, until Lapierre emerged as a legitimate option for a defensive faceoff, they really only had two. A few more injuries and they’ll have fewer centers than a Venn Diagram of “Donald Trump,” “Admitted Toupé Wearers” and “People with a Legitimate Shot at the US Presidency.”
  • For what it’s worth, the Canucks lead the postseason in takeaways by a wide margin, recording 30 more than their closest competition, Nashville. While it is one of the most subjective of statistics, that large a gap still seems significant and indicates how dogged the Canucks have been defensively. Ryan Kesler leads the way with 13, Burrows follows up with 11, and Daniel Sedin checks in at 10. Henrik, disappointingly, only has 9, but still ends up at number 10 in the league. This makes the Canucks the only team with more than two players in the top ten. Also, it proves that the people keeping track of stats don’t watch Jannik Hansen. Ever.
  • There has been a lot of digital ink spilled about Tampa Bay’s offensive performance, all of it warranted. They have the most goals per game, the third best powerplay, and boast the top scorer of the playoffs amongst their ranks. Of equal or greater importance, however, is the incredible job they have done blocking shots. They lead the postseason by an astounding 61 blocks and the top 4 individuals in the category are all Lightning defensemen. On a completely unrelated note, they have a fantastic 94.4% penalty kill rate, having killed off 51 of 54 opportunities. That might also help explain the whopping number of missed shots by Alexes Ovechkin and Semin, who are tied at first in that category. When every shot directed towards the net ricochets off someone’s shinpads in to the corner, you start trying to miss the shotblockers rather than trying to hit the net.
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7 comments

  1. Erik
    May 6, 2011

    Awesome observations, it’s nice to get an expanded picture about these playoffs.

    One question, though, how can you guys talk about hits and not talk about The Big Hit?

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  2. Nat
    May 7, 2011

    Great post. I love to get into the stats every once in awhile. And its nice to see comparisons of our performance vs. other teams.

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  3. BlueTouque
    May 7, 2011

    Scott Cullen at TSN posted these stats…
    http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/scott_cullen/?id=364843

    Makes a pretty good case for putting Tambellini back on the ice and resting Raymond.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 7, 2011

      Tambellini completely disappeared down the stretch, however. It seems that as the games get tougher, he becomes less noticeable. It makes sense, as his game depends on time and space to get his wristshot off or to use his speed on the outside. In the playoffs, that time and space completely disappears. Raymond has shown an ability to create his own time and space and has been more effective at getting to the net recently. I don’t think comparing the two players’ regular season win/loss records changes the facts of how they perform in these types of situations. Raymond has been able to elevate his game; there has been no evidence that Tambellini can do the same.

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  4. Dave
    May 7, 2011

    I think it’s clear what the Canucks’ theme song for the playoffs is:

    “Hit Somebody,” by the late great Warren Zevon.

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  5. mike
    May 9, 2011

    dan, i love your comment about jannick hansen. that guy has been awesome. ferocious forecheck and backcheck.

    also interesting, i heard that despite all the shot blocking in tampa they’ve still been outshot by an average of 8 shots per game (haven’t checked the number personally). if so, then wow dwayne roloson.

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  6. mike
    May 9, 2011

    also, on the tambellini issue. tambellini has been too predictable. he has a wicked release but he always shoots high glove coming down the right side or high blocker coming down the left. goalies can read it, defenceman can read it. not that he isn’t a good player. i wouldn’t mind seeing what he can do in playoffs, but not at the expense of raymond.

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