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The Statsies: Andrei Kuzmenko’s no-good, very bad night by the numbers

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Photo credit:© Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
2 months ago
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I mean, at least it was exciting?
The Vancouver Canucks dropped a spirited 6-5 decision to the New Jersey Devils in a much more exciting fashion than the 4-2 first period scoreline indicated. Once more though, the Canucks didn’t start on time and didn’t put in a 60-minute effort. The details were lacking and the stars of the team were invisible until nearly the last possible moment. Even when the game was all knotted up, it only took a moment before the concentration slipped again, letting the Devils steal away a win at Rogers Arena. It isn’t good enough, yet this has been the trend for the last month.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Vancouver made use of their power plays to get a chunk of CF% and xGF% going their way, but other than that the game was very much in the balance. While New Jersey jumped out to the lead quickly, it wasn’t as if they were playing the Canucks off the map. The Devils held a 55.17 CF% share and 58.57 xGF% share at 5v5 through the first period last night, turning their 1.01 xGF into 4 goals for. The middle frame saw everything stabilize with the stats becoming more balanced. What stands out are the numbers from the third period. New Jersey had clear puck possession supremacy with a 62.86 CF%, an even 5-5 HDCF split still resulting in a 1.49-1.12 xGF that favoured the Devils. Even when the Canucks pushed to equalize, it wasn’t as if New Jersey was sitting back to defend – and in the end, that paid off for the visitors.

Heat Map

This heat map supports the hypothesis that high-danger chances are most likely to result in goals. Out of the 11 goals scored last night, a total of 9 of them came from high-danger areas of the ice, with both teams establishing massive hot patching in the low slot area. The back-and-forth affair was captured pretty well by this chart – In total, the Canucks came out on top with a 33-29 scoring chance advantage, further leading the Devils by an 18-14 high-danger chance margin.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Not surprising if you watched the game, but it was Nils Höglander that led the Canucks in CF% last night with a 82.35. He was well ahead of the next closest Canuck in that category as well, Brock Boeser finding himself in second with a 63.83 CF%. Höglander was absolutely buzzing last night, a menace that got bumped up from the third line to the second without missing a beat. It’s not a bad idea to give him a longer look in this role as well, considering the lack of punch the top 6 has provided as of late.
Corsi Chump: Noah Juulsen finds himself as the worst Corsi man on the Canucks, firmly in last with an 18.75 CF% on the night. It wasn’t as if he was helped out either, as his primary partner was Ian Cole, also featuring alongside Nikita Zadorov to start the second period. However, Juulsen didn’t have a bad game defensively. Considering the puck possession that he gave up, the defender did surprisingly well to hold a 34.21 xGF%, with just 4 scoring chances against and 2 high-danger chances against. Not the best, but definitely not awful, especially given the depth issues on the blue line.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: No surprises here either as it’s Nils Höglander leading the way in xGF%, a 91.69 setting the stage for his tying goal last night. Höglander posted the third-best xGA (0.13), on ice for 9 scoring chances for and zero against. Out of those 9 chances, 6 of them were high-danger, showing a remarkable efficiency in creating those opportunities. It probably helped that Höglander found his way alongside Vancouver’s raw xGF leader in JT Miller, whose 3.22 xGF is very emblematic of him trying to will this team’s offence. Seeing this combination in an extended run wouldn’t hurt, to say the least.
GSAx: It was an off night for Thatcher Demko. This might’ve been the worst GSAx performance that I’ve seen from him, as with New Jersey generating 3.47 xGF, Demko would finish the game with a -2.53 GSAx. It essentially means that Demko was underperforming the expected goals against by a further 2.5 tallies, which is not the best no matter how you look at it. Four of the six goals came from high-danger areas, while the other two were listed as middle-danger. He can’t control the defensive breakdowns that have been happening in front of him, but it’s not good enough to have your number one netminder finish this deep in the negatives.

Statistical Musings

Where is Andrei Kuzmenko?: The Russian winger absolutely deserved to get benched against the Devils. Kuzmenko has not looked good for a bit now and against the Devils, that was magnified even more. No Canucks gave up more xGA (1.44) at 5v5, with Kuzmenko only managing a paltry 0.19 xGF for a team-worst 11.57 xGF%. On ice for three goals against, there was no redeeming quality to the effort that he turned in last night. Kuzmenko looked like an anchor alongside Miller and Boeser, with the trio recording 35.00 CF%, 6.28 xGF%, and a 16.67 HDCF% together. As soon as he was removed in favour of Höglander, the line’s metrics jumped to 80.00 CF%, 88.04 xGF%, and 100.00 HDCF%. Essentially, Miller and Boeser went from the worst line on the Canucks to the best line just through Höglander switching in place of Kuzmenko. Not a good look, especially for someone with such high expectations offensively.
Tocchet was very unhappy with Kuzmenko post game:
Chaos pairing: Putting Nikita Zadorov and Tyler Myers together on the same pairing always promised to be an explosion waiting to happen. It only took their second game together to see the worst of what they had to offer. Together, the duo managed a 36.00 CF%, 1.44 xGA, and 31.82 xGF%, which isn’t the greatest no matter how you look at it. If it’s any consolation, Zadorov’s metrics picked up slightly away from Myers, but as for Chaos Giraffe, his continued to trend downwards, recording the worst xGF% (32.18) on the team in total. It straight up wasn’t fun for them, and the Canucks suffered as a result.

As a team

CF% – 49.04% HDCF% – 56.25% xGF% – 57.20%
It’s not often that a team can show up for just 20 minutes of the game and expect to win, and yet that’s what the Canucks have been doing for the past month or so. Talk about regression to the mean, but the effort and details just aren’t there compared to the start of the year. Sure, the team is tired, but being tired is an excuse for only so long. Vancouver luckily has banked some points from their hot start to the year but desperately needs their top talents to wake up and start scoring.
Vancouver will host the Minnesota Wild tomorrow at Rogers Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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