The Statsies: Analyzing the big stat line from the Canucks’ third line in win over Flames

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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Nothing like a win to finish up the preseason.
The Vancouver Canucks took down the Calgary Flames last night by a scoreline of 3-1. It was a solid 60-minute effort where the team looked to be mostly in control of the game, with a couple of hiccups here and there. The 5v5 concerns still are very real, but in the big picture of things, not a bad win at all.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

What the Canucks did a good job at last night was using their special teams to help buoy momentum. Their opening penalty kill was solid, helping them stabilize things before generating good puck possession and chances on their own powerplay. Sure, they did give up a goal right after the man-advantage, but the Canucks were still able to carry on the CF% and xGF% advantages all the way until the very end of the game. It helps when they’re able to outshoot the other team 31-18 as well, with a 25-20 scoring-chance advantage.

Heat Map

This is the kind of heat map that you like to see. Not only were the Canucks great at limiting the Flames’ chances and high-danger chances, they were able to create a nice hot patch right in tight against Jacob Markstrom. Generally speaking, those chances rank the highest when it comes to their likelihood of scoring, so the more cracks Vancouver gets in that area, the more likely each shot is to become a goal.
The Canucks were about even with the Flames in scoring chances at 5v5 (17-15) and HDCF (8-6), but were able to separate themselves thanks to the powerplay. Vancouver finished with a 13-7 advantage in HDCF, which speaks to their man-advantage unit looking just that more dangerous this year. The team will probably be looking for more 5v5 chances created though, especially with how they’ve been a little tepid throughout preseason at even strength.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: This probably isn’t who you’re thinking of. Anthony Beauvillier was the team’s leading Corsi man last night, racking up 78.26 CF% in 15:06 TOI. Beauvillier was on ice for some of Vancouver’s most tilted moments, where the Canucks were absolutely taking it to the Flames. He’s credited with being on ice for a 7-1 shots for differential, a 9-2 scoring chance advantage, and a 4-0 HDCF difference. Beauvillier tied for the least raw xGA (0.11) given up last night.
Corsi Chump: This one is tough because he didn’t really get a chance to do much about it, but Carson Soucy finished as the worst Canuck in terms of CF% (31.82). These numbers are sort of to be expected with how much he’s leaned on in the back end, especially with Soucy expected to draw in some high-profile matchups as well. The defenceman was on ice for a 3-9 scoring chance advantage in favour of Calgary, but did a good job in limiting them to just 3 HDCF. Unfortunately, Soucy left the game due to what looks like a knee injury, so here’s hoping it isn’t anything major.


xGF: Surprises continue here as Pius Suter takes home the final xGF award for the preseason. His 88.89 xGF% just edges out his linemate Beauvillier here, with their xGAs the same but Suter posting 0.97 xGF as the difference maker. However, it was Elias Pettersson who led the charge in raw xGF with a monster 1.64 to his name. It helps when the team is chipping in at both ends from top to bottom, that your defensively minded third-line is not only keeping the chances against at a minimum but getting cracks of their own.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko looks primed and ready to go. Last night was yet another display of why Mason McDonald is a decision the Flames will always regret, as Demko completely stonewalled Calgary for the most part. The team in front of him did a good job of limiting the Flames’ opportunities and the netminder filled in the rest of the gaps seamlessly. Calgary’s 1.90 xGF meant that Demko put up a GSAx of 0.90, with the only goal against coming as a result of a high-danger chance. An assist topped up a solid all-around game for the goalie.

Statistical Musings

The third line’s night: As the title to this Statsies gave away, the unit of Anthony Beauvillier – Pius Suter – Dakota Joshua hauled their fair share last night against the Flames. They were the only line at 5v5 to finish with a CF% above 50 (64.29) while raking in a 82.56 xGF%, comfortably ahead of the second-place Kuzmenko – Pettersson – Garland line’s 51.26. It is just one game and small sample sizes are too much to be read into, but it’s quite encouraging to see on the statsheet that this group was a great two-way line in the way that they were used last night.
Is Garland the right fit?: Speaking of Garland, the winger might not be the best person to ride shotgun alongside Pettersson and Kuzmenko. Their line did not turn in the best of results against the Flames with a team-low 23.08 CF% at 5v5. The trio only managed to get 3 shots on goal during their 10:10 TOI, as well as getting out-chanced 1-2. It looked like a decent idea on paper, and may be worth another shot – but the early return on this combination doesn’t look the prettiest.
Tyler Myers redemption arc: The much-maligned chaos giraffe had himself a night in the final Canucks preseason outing. Myers posted the best CF% of any Canuck defenceman (73.91) and was actually leading the team in that category through two periods. He managed to hold a 10-5 shot differential while holding Calgary to just 0.36 xGA, 4 SCA and 1 HDCA. This is on top of recording the opening goal of the game. Perhaps having Myers in spurts and not 20+ minutes a night could be the key in unlocking the best out of him this season.

As a team

CF% – 54.55% HDCF% – 65.00% xGF% – 62.49%
All things considered, it was a solid game and win to end off a rollercoaster Canucks preseason. There’s been glimpses of this team settling into their systems, getting a chance to look at some players that could be between Vancouver an Abbotsford as well. The identity of the team looks to be a group that his hard to score against, with questions about its defensive depth and sustainable scoring output. At this point of the year though, that’s sort of to be expected, and hopefully the issues are things Vancouver can iron out as they chase for a playoff spot.
The Canucks will open up their regular season at home on October 11th against the Edmonton Oilers.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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