I’ll admit that there were a lot of positives in the Canucks’ 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild last night. They played their best game since their 2-1 overtime loss to the San Jose Sharks and they came back from a 2-goal deficit to take a point. They finished January 2009 with 7 points in 12 games (2-5-5), and maybe, the “comeback” is the baby step they need to get back to winning.
The cold reality is, however, that the team’s losing streak has now 8 games. Their home losing streak is now 9 games. After a 3-2 overtime win against Detroit on November 24, the Canucks’ first home game back after they lost Luongo to injury but managed to get 7 of 8 points on a 4-game road trip, they had a formidable 7-2-1 record at GM Place and optimism in Canuckland was probably close to its peak; in 16 home games since then, they have managed just a woeful 4-9-3 home record.
Here are some numbers to illustrate just how woeful that record is:
What sticks out most in this table is the difference in the their goals against. In their first 10 home games, they allowed a grand total of 12 goals against (1.20 GAA). In their last 16 games, they allowed 56 goals (3.50 GAA). In other words, since their November 24th win against Detroit, the Canucks are allowing more than 2 more goals per game at home.
The good news is, the powerplay has actually been better recently. The bad news is, the penalty-kill, at least at home, has been a lot worse. As of November 24th, their penalty-kill rate at home was a very good 86.7%; after that, it slipped to a mediocre 72.7%. For what it’s worth, their PK rate has been better on the road, improving from 75.0% (39/45) to 85.0% (51/60) during the same date periods.
It’s the same story on even-strength play. At one point this season, the Canucks were among the league’s best in even-strength situations. They used to outscore their opponents 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 by a full goal per game (2.27-1.27) and were especially tough at home with more than a goal per game advantage (1.90-0.60). Since November 24th, they have been outscored (1.93-2.25 overall and 2.13-2.38 at home). The obvious difference is that, in the first 10 home games of the season, the Canucks allowed 6 even-strength goals; in their last 16 home games, they allowed 38 even-strength goals.
So much for home-ice advantage, eh?