Author’s Note: I’m going to be trying out some of these smaller 500 word articles on small statistics that I come across. It won’t take away from the bigger articles that I do, but hopefully some people enjoy these quick hit articles.
In his early coaching career Travis Green has shown a preference for players in his bottom-six that can match up against opposing scoring lines and rely upon defensively at the end of games when his team is leading. Over their first 10 games, the Vancouver Canucks have led for 245 minutes and have been ahead by a single goal for 99:30.
They have been leaning heavily on their bottom six forwards a lot to close out games, and they’ve acquitted themselves admirably so far. That group has been led by Jay Beagle and Brandon Sutter at the centre position, with Tim Schaller and Josh Leivo getting a bulk of the time on the wings. Players like Jake Virtanen and Tanner Pearson have also spent some time in the bottom six and found themselves on the ice at the end of games when the team is leading, albeit less frequently.
At 5-on-5, those six players have not allowed a goal against when leading by one goal. In fact, there have been 9 players this season who haven’t been on the ice for a goal against at all when the team has had a one-goal lead: the six I already mentioned, plus Bo Horvat, Alex Edler and Tyler Myers. Obviously, this is a great sign for Bo Horvat, who the team is hoping can grow into a prototypical elite two-way centre.
Stats provided by NaturalStatTrick
While the early numbers have been impressive so far, the team current ranks just 9th in the NHL when it comes to goals allowed per 60 minutes when leading by one goal with a 2.44 GA/60.
The line of Miller, Pettersson and Boeser have been on the ice for the most goals against when leading but have shown that they can still control the goal share as they have been able to be positive player on the ice when the team is leading by a goal.
The good news is, the Lotto Line has been scoring goals to expand on a one goal leads far more than they have been getting scored on to lose the lead. You can see with the high offensive zone faceoff percentage that they do not get a lot of shifts that start in the defensive zone as Green has continued to favour his bottom-six in the defensive zone.
Bo Horvat is the standout in my opinion, the fact that he can play more than 25 minutes of ice time with a one goal lead and not allow a goal yet is very impressive especially as he continues to cycle through new linemates on a regular basis.
This has been my first edition of Snap Shots. If you folks enjoyed this type of quick read let me know in the comments. The idea is to give a quick stat blast and see if any discussion will come of it.
Do you think it’s better to have the Pettersson-Miller-Boeser line out when leading by one goal or do you want to see more of Horvat, Sutter and Beagle’s lines later in games?