Take advantage of home ice advantage
Cam Cole (Vancouver Sun) put a damper in our party after the Canucks managed a split in Chicago and grabbed home ice advantage in their Western Conference Semifinal Series against the Blackhawks.
So here’s the bad news: The Vancouver Canucks, despite their Game 2 loss at United Center, still have home ice advantage over the Chicago Blackhawks in what is now a best-of-five.
This means they have less than a 50 per cent chance of winning the series.
Well, that’s not really what it means, but that’s what the numbers say, this spring. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ win Tuesday night in Montreal was No. 30 for road teams in these Stanley Cup playoffs, the San Jose Sharks’ overtime triumph in Detroit was No. 31, against 28 wins for the home sides.
Unfortunately, he has a good point.
In fact, even the Canucks, who finished the regular season with a sub-.500 road record (19-20-2), are 3-2 on the road this postseason.
Now before we think about conceding the next couple of games, consider that the Canucks are pretty damn good at home too. Here are the the team stats at home as of today:
So far in these playoffs, the Canucks, at home, are tied with San Jose for the most goals per game (4.00) and have allowed the second-least goals against per game (2.33); their goal differential (+5 or +1.67/game) is second-best only to the Sharks.
Now the road stats:
The other side of this argument is that Chicago is a pretty good team on the road as well. In fact, the numbers indicate that, in these playoffs, the Blackhawks have been a better team away from the United Center. Their special teams have been particularly stellar; on the road, their PP is ranked 5th (25.0%) and their PK is ranked 2nd (93.3%).
All this aside, the Canucks have only lost 12 of 44 games at home this season – they had a 30-8-3 home record in the regular season and a 2-1 record in the first round. Conversely, the Blackhawks are 25-15-4 on the road (23-14-4 in the regular season and 2-1 in the playoffs).
While it may be true that home ice hasn’t amounted to much for some playoff teams, the Canucks have been too good of a team at GM Place all season to not take advantage of home ice advantage.