Game one of the Canucks first round playoff series versus the Los Angeles Kings is starting in just a couple hours. To get you ready, I’ve compiled a plethora of numbers from these two teams in order to draw some comparisons. Ultimately, the numbers suggest that this will be a tougher series than the first-versus-eighth matchup would suggest.
|Record in Season Series||2-1-1||2-2-0|
Let’s start off with the most important statistic of all: victories. The Canucks may not have steamrolled the competition like they did last season, but they still ended up with 51 victories, tied for the most overall with the Penguins and Rangers, and won their second straight Presidents’ Trophy. The Kings, on the other hand, ended up with 40 wins, which was actually 17th most in the league.
The Canucks are still favoured when we look at Regulation and Overtime Wins or ROW, which is the tiebreaker in the regular season. The Canucks won 8 games in the shootout, leaving them with 43 ROW, while the Kings won 6 games, dropping them to 34 ROW.
Oilers blog Copper and Blue keeps track of Clear Victories, which are wins decided by two or more goals, excluding empty net goals. Since there is very little correlation from season-to-season in a team’s ability to win one-goal games, Clear Victories can be a better indication of future success. The Canucks were 22-10 in Clear Victories, good for 3rd in the Western Conference, while the Kings were right behind them in 4th at 18-11. That’s the first indicator that this might be a closer series than many think.
As for the season series, the Canucks won from their perspective, while it was an even split from the Kings perspective, since one of the Kings’ wins came in the shootout. The Kings actually outscored the Canucks 8-7 in the four games.
|Leading Scorer||Henrik Sedin – 81 points||Anze Kopitar – 76 points|
|Leading Defenceman Scorer||Alex Edler – 49 points||Drew Doughty – 36 points|
|Leading Goal Scorer||Daniel Sedin – 30 Goals||Anze Kopitar – 25 Goals|
|Double Digit Goal Scorers||9||6|
The difference between the two teams is a bit more stark when we look at goal scoring. While the two teams’ leading scorers are actually not that far apart, the Canucks’ scoring depth outclasses that of the Kings, particularly on the blueline, where the Canucks have three defenceman who have outscored Drew Doughty. Still, the Kings have 4 players with 20+ goals and the Canucks’ leading goal scorer, Daniel Sedin, won’t be playing in game one.
The Canucks have scored 55 more goals than the Kings, but have allowed 19 more. Still, that gives them a 36 goal gap when we compare their goal differential.
|Most Common Penalty||Hooking||Hooking|
While the Canucks have far more penalty minutes than the Kings, that is mainly because of fighting majors and misconducts. When it comes to minor penalties, the two teams are nearly even, with the Kings taking two more over the course of the season. Both teams have a predilection towards hooking penalties, with roughing being second most popular for the Canucks and tripping next up for the Kings.
Both teams are fairly close when it comes to special teams, with the Canucks having a slight advantage on the powerplay and the Kings having a slight advantage on the penalty kill. If this series comes down to special teams, it’s essentially a toss-up as to who gets hot at the right time.
|Even Strength Save %||0.931||0.927|
|Even Strength Shooting %||8.1%||6.0%|
When we look at the advanced stats, things get interesting. The Kings have definitely been the better possession team during the regular season, with the better Corsi and Fenwick, even when we just take into account situations where the score is tied or close.
This led Thomas Drance, who has hitched his cart inexorably to the Fenwick train, to suggest that the Kings have the advantage in this series and will win it in 6 games. I beg to differ.
The key is the Canucks’ even-strength shooting percentage: the Canucks simply have better and more finishers in their lineup, which is why they have scored 55 more goals than the Kings. The Canucks can provide offence from almost any line, with the third line of Pahlsson, Higgins, and Hansen being the Canucks’ best line to end the season. The Canucks scored 49 more goals than the Kings at even-strength and allowed just 13 more goals than the Kings did at even-strength. If this series is decided at 5-on-5, the possession stats would suggest the Kings would have the advantage, but the Canucks score more thanks to their higher-percentage shooters.
Add in the 41 goals they got from the defence and the fact that the Kings have no depth on defence, and the Canucks should win this series. It may go to seven games, but the Canucks are the better team.Canucks, Kings, playoffs, Statistics, Stats