The Statsies: Where the Canucks take advantage of poor goaltending and a bad team

Photo credit:© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
8 months ago
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I cer-10-ly did not expect that.
The Vancouver Canucks absolutely demolished the San Jose Sharks to a massive 10-1 scoreline. From the opening faceoff, the trap game that this could’ve been never materialized, with the visitors going in and just running up the advantage to the best of their ability. That being said, though the scoreline is an emphatic win, the stats show a bit of a different story, and tells of a team clicking and buying in going up against a team that’s floundering in shallow waters.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

What is interesting about this game flow is the fact that the Canucks weren’t as dominant as the scoreline suggests. A lot of their puck possession advantage came as a result of the powerplays that they had, and what makes it stand out more is looking at the 5v5 game flow chart:
Here, you can see that while the Canucks generally were favoured in the CF% department, the expected goals hovered around the midline and in fact leaned slightly in the Sharks favour. It’s very interesting to see this in light of a game like that, suggesting that San Jose’s shocking defence and goaltending helped buoy Vancouver’s goal tally a lot more than the Canucks’ own quality of chances. That being said, they did do a good job in being relentless against a struggling Sharks squad, constantly pressuring them into making mistakes.

Heat Map

This is another heat map that provides interesting comparisons between the Canucks play at 5v5 and on the powerplay. Here’s what the even strength map looks like:
So while the Canucks scored 6 goals out of their 10 at 5v5 play, it was the Sharks that managed to create more high-danger chances last night. Sure, score effects account for their third period surge, but even through the first period San Jose had a 4-2 HDCF lead and were only slightly edged out 0.84-0.85 in expected goals. In total, the Sharks held a 17-14 HDCF advantage with both teams tying for 34 scoring chances apiece. In the third period alone, San Jose managed 10 high-danger chances while the Canucks totaled 14 across the entire game.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Literally not even surprising at this point. Quinn Hughes ran away with the CF% title last night with an 86.11 across all situations and 80.00 at 5v5. He fell just short of tying the record for most points by a Canucks defender in a single game with 5 points last night, and looks to be in early contention for the Norris Trophy. There wasn’t a single moment when he was on the ice that Vancouver looked unsteady, Hughes having the puck on a string and helping dictate the offence everywhere he went.
Corsi Chump: With how the Canucks were not the best team possession-wise last night, it’s Phil Di Giuseppe who brings up the rear in the Corsi department. It seems as if the Sharks wanted to heavily shut down the PDG-Miller-Boeser line (a whole lot of good that it did) and as a result, Di Giuseppe sits at a 28.00 CF% during his TOI. He actually nearly had a better CF% on 1:34 that he spent on the penalty kill, recording a 25.00 CF% there. PDG was on ice for a 2-13 disparity in scoring chances and a 1-5 difference in HDCF. Not great, but he kept his record clean with zero goals against.


xGF: As you would expect, captain Quinn finds himself leading the Canucks in xGF as well. His 84.09 xGF% was comfortably ahead of the rest of his team, while the defenceman also led the team in raw xGF (2.07) to go along with his second-best xGA (0.39). All around, it was just a brilliant game from Hughes at both ends of the ice, showing that he isn’t a Tyson Barrie regen like what some other analysts think. Hughes saw a 16-2 scoring chance difference while he was on the ice, with a further 8-1 advantage in HDCF.
GSAx: Oh Thatcher, we were so close to a shutout for you. Having his perfect game broken up by a probable goaltender interference call sucks, but the optics of challenging a goal when you’re 10-1 up is pretty bad. Not to mention, this is probably going to be used by Tocchet as a lesson to the rest of the team. Demko was solid as could be in the rare times he was tested, playing his best hockey in the third period. With the Sharks accumulating a total of 3.59 xGF, Demko’s GSAx sits at a 2.59 from last night, the only goal against coming at middle danger. It was a relatively unbusy night though, speaking to both a solid defensive effort by the Canucks and a bit of impotence from the Sharks.

Statistical Musings

Where they really tried to bury the engine line and it sorta worked: Speaking back to an earlier mentioned point, San Jose threw every last scrap at PDG-Miller-Boeser resulting in them neutralizing that line. At 5v5, that unit posted the worst CF% (25.00), xGF (0.26), and SCF (12.50). It’s amusing looking at the ice times and seeing that Tomas Hertl, Mikael Granlund and the zombified remains of Marc-Edouard Vlasic were basically stapled to Miller throughout last night. It worked in the sense that this line didn’t manage to get anything going, but it was a shame that the Sharks forgot about the other three lines and defencemen the Canucks had.
St Petersburg line coming into form: It appears that Andrei Kuzmenko – Elias Pettersson – Ilya Mikheyev are slowly easing out of their Leningrad era, returning slowly but surely to their former glories with Mikheyev getting back up to game speed. This line combined for the most goals at 5v5 last night, posting a team-leading 88.89 CF% and SCF% (85.71) to pair with their second-best xGF% (68.83). There was a point in time last season where the trio was the best line in hockey – and sure, the competition last night wasn’t exactly stiff, but it feels as if this line could reach even higher heights.
Also, just look at this goal, it’s so pretty.
Sharks are porous between the pipes: Last night was about the Canucks persistent effort and the Sharks folding, but they also got anomalously bad netminding from Kaapo Kähkönen and Mackenzie Blackwood. Starting with Kähkönen, he faced 2.46 xGF and yielded 6 goals, meaning that he totaled -3.54 GSAx during his 28:46 of game time. As for Blackwood, giving up 4 goals against 1.15 xGF means that his GSAx sits at a -2.85 in 31:13. Overall, it just wasn’t their night, with full credit to Vancouver for putting their foot down on burying the shots they got.

As a team

CF% – 53.17% HDCF% – 45.16% xGF% – 50.19%
The Canucks did plenty well to pump the Sharks’ net full of rubber while the underlying numbers show us that Vancouver capitalized on a team’s weakness. It wasn’t a full out domination on the stat sheet, and yet it was Vancouver that seized everything that was given to them and burying San Jose at the very first opportunity. That killer instinct will serve them well as the season wears on.
The Canucks return to the confines of Rogers Arena for their next matchup, where they take on the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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