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The Statsies: Arturs Silovs saves over 3 expected goals against to send Canucks through to round two

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Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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They did it. They really did it.
For the first time since the 2020 bubble, the Vancouver Canucks are moving on to the second round of the NHL Playoffs, topping the Nashville Predators 1-0 on the road in Game 6. It wasn’t the most exciting of games, it wasn’t the best of performances for Vancouver. But yet, the result was what this team was there for, and they got it. There are still plenty of questions that need to be answered, from the disappearance of star players to the lack of shots and goals. Right now though, it’s a time of celebration, as the Canucks claim the series against the Preds.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Both teams looked cautious, not wanting to make a mistake for the opponent to capitalize on through the opening stages of the game. That showed in the stats, with another first period that didn’t see a lot of scoring chances. The second was broken open a little more though with the Canucks and Predators trading scoring chances. Vancouver would have a 9-8 edge in total chances but Nashville just edged them out 5-3 in high-danger chances. Statistically, the Canucks saved their best for last, putting together their best period by the numbers in the third. They held a 58.97 CF% share with a 55.94 xGF% margin, steadily progressing upwards each and every period. It finally paid off in the very end too.

Heat Map

It wasn’t anything like Game 3, but the Canucks did give up a sizable margin in high-danger chances. The Preds totaled an 18-9 advantage in that category with an overall 30-23 lead in scoring chances. That much is reflected in the heat map, Nashville getting plenty of chances in tight against Arturs Silovs while Vancouver didn’t quite manage to match the size nor concentration of the Preds’ hot spot. It’s only the second time this series that this has happened, and it’s also partially thanks to Nashville getting 3 power plays with Vancouver getting nothing.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Filip Hronek saw his most ice time in a game this series in Game 6 (along with Quinn Hughes) as Tocchet looked to ride his first pairing to a win. He played a safe if conservative game, generally being a positive impact on the team. Hronek led the Canucks with a 70.00 CF% share, leveraging that into a 4th-best 1.45 xGF and a 5th-best 59.68 xGF%. The Czech defender managed to hold a positive differential in both scoring chances (13-8) and high-danger chances (6-5), which wasn’t a guarantee given how Nashville had a pretty solid edge in both those categories. Hronek hasn’t been at his best this series and seems committed to a system that isn’t helping the Canucks generate offence – but, he was out on the ice with Hughes as Suter put the puck past Juuse Saros which isn’t a coincidence. If someone could just tell him to stop trying to make slap passes…
Corsi Chump: On the other hand, while Tyler Myers had a team-worst 25.00 CF%, he arguably had a bigger impact on the game than Hronek did. The big defenceman had it poured on against him, Nashville intent on matching their first line against Myers and Carson Soucy. That meant that they got absolutely shelled, Myers giving up a team-low 1.88 xGA and 12.28 xGF%, on ice for a 2-16 scoring chance deficit and 1-8 high-danger chance differential. The thing was, despite giving up all of these chances, Myers did well. He kept the Preds off the score sheet, to the point where Tocchet had him out in the dying moments to bring home the 1-0 lead on the penalty kill against 6 men. Myers put everything on the line – and it was what the Canucks needed.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Who else but Brock Boeser? The Canucks winger was buzzing pretty much all of last night, trying to generate some offence in a game that seemed to refuse to be sparked. Boeser led the team in both raw xGF (1.94) and xGF% (72.11), seeing a 15-6 scoring chance differential with a further 7-3 high-danger chance margin. Boeser and his linemate JT Miller were the only ones who consistently played to their abilities this series, and it only made sense that one of them would be directly involved in the game-winner. Boeser’s unreal pass into the slot set Pius Suter up perfectly to slide it past Saros and send Vancouver through to the second round.
GSAx: April/May is Arturs Silovs time. The rookie Latvian netminder put this team on his shoulders and backstopped them to perfection, having an answer for everything Nashville threw his way. The Predators put up 3.72 xGF against him, meaning that Silovs recorded a perfect 3.72 GSAx last night. He was sparkling too, making 11 high-danger saves in that clean sheet. With his first NHL shutout, Silovs became the youngest Canuck goalie to post a shutout in the playoffs, and the 14th rookie netminder to blank a team in a potential series-clinching game. Unreal performance that seems to only solidify his spot between the pipes against the Oilers.

Statistical Musings

Where is the offence?: Vancouver’s struggled to get goals throughout this series. Their secondary scoring dried up nearly immediately after Game 1, the team setting records for how little shots they were getting through to the net. Granted, it’s partially credit to Nashville’s commitment to getting bodies in front of pucks, but the Canucks have to be better especially against a team like Edmonton coming up. The only line that was rolling last night was the Suter-Miller-Boeser line, producing a team-high 0.68 xGF. The thing isn’t that this was particularly a large amount of expected goals for – the point is that the second-highest line in raw xGF was PDG-Lafferty-Blueger’s 0.17. That just simply isn’t good enough, and against a high-octane run-and-gun group like the Oilers, Vancouver will need to find their offence quickly before they get buried by an angry McDavid.
Where the jumpstart failed, but worth another try: There are two Canuck forward combinations that are worth pointing out – the first of which being the Lotto Line. In their 2:54 together, the trio probably played some of the worst hockey together in that combination’s history. They only had a 16.67 CF% and got zero scoring chances, giving up 0.22 xGA for a 0.00 xGF% share. That isn’t to say that they should never play together, only that it’s interesting to see them perform that poorly given how lethal they can be together. Last night just wasn’t it, though the Lotto Line still should be revisited if the Canucks ever need a spark. The other forward line that’s worth noting is the Joshua-Lindholm-Garland line, who put together the team’s worst xGF% of 14.03 and xGA of 0.87. They were on ice for the most scoring chances against (8) and most high-danger chances against (6), and it wasn’t even close. A lot of that came at the hands of Roman Josi, but even here they didn’t play too much against Nashville’s top line, the Preds preferring to deploy their second line against Joshua-Lindholm-Garland. Again, it’s very anomalous compared to their usual numbers from the series, which makes it something to keep an eye on.

As a team

CF% – 48.00% HDCF% – 33.33% xGF% – 42.91%
It wasn’t the prettiest victory, and it wasn’t the best hockey game to watch. But in the end, that doesn’t really matter. The Vancouver Canucks scored in the dying stages of the third and saw out a very soft penalty call to close out the game and the series, booking their ticket to the second round and beating the Predators at last. There’s plenty of questions still surrounding this team as they move on to the second round, but that can be discussed as they come up. Right now, it’s a time of celebration for this team and this city for the playoff hockey that they’ve been so starved of.
Vancouver will face the Edmonton Oilers in the second round with the schedule to be determined.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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