The Statsies: Canucks let chances slip away in Game 5 loss vs. Predators

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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That was frustrating.
The Vancouver Canucks let a chance to clinch the series slip past them, dropping a 2-1 decision at home against the Nashville Predators to send this to a Game 6. Vancouver came out of the gates flying, feeding of the energy from the home crowd and showering Nashville in chances. But, nothing came of it – and that momentum fell to the wayside in the second thanks to time on the penalty kill and two rough power plays. That left the third as a coin flip, and unfortunately, the Canucks came up short after the Preds responded to the Nikita Zadorov tally. It’s just not enough to be scoring one goal and hoping to win hockey games.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The first period made it feel like it was only a matter of time before the Canucks broke the deadlock. Posting a 66.67 CF% and 82.67 xGF%, all the while out-chancing the Preds 14-3 and 7-0 in high-danger chances, it was the perfect start at home for Vancouver. Unfortunately, nothing came of it, and the intermission seemed to reset all of the good momentum that they had built. The second period was pretty much all Nashville, with the Predators controlling 78.26 CF% and getting 76.68 xGF% off of an 8-4 scoring chance differential. Obviously, Vancouver wasn’t helped by a stalling power play and being on the penalty kill for most of the period, special teams causing things to grind to a halt. But, they emerged from that still tied 0-0, which left the third period completely up in the air. The Canucks didn’t play badly either, splitting a 50.00 CF% share while narrowly edging out Nashville with a 56.08 xGF%. They had a 5-1 split in high-danger chances at 5v5 too – but unfortunately, it was the Preds who struck twice, and Vancouver only had Zadorov’s tally to show for it.

Heat Map

Nothing about this heat map should be surprising. Vancouver had a solid 30-20 lead in total scoring chances against Nashville across all situations, with a total of 13-7 high-danger chances in favour of the Canucks. They got a good number of opportunities right from point-blank range against Saros but were unable to convert on any of them. The only one that got by the Finnish netminder came from Zadorov’s sharp-angle shot, which is a low-percentage attempt to begin with. Vancouver got the shot quality that they wanted, but they need to bury and convert on them if that is to mean anything for the results.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Filip Hronek wasn’t the problem last night, but he was trying to do a little too much. The Czech defender did lead the Canucks with 58.06 CF%, posting a 57.00 xGF% to go along with it. Hronek was on ice for a 10-5 scoring chance differential, a further 6-2 high-danger chance advantage coming from when he and Hughes were on ice together at 5v5. Nothing terrible by any means, but Hronek was really trying to get his slap passes to work out when he should’ve just been firing things on net. After all, he was on ice when the winning goal snuck past Silovs into the net from the point.
Corsi Chump: Carson Soucy found himself on matchup duty against Nashville’s top line, which tanked his advanced stats a bit. His 35.48 CF% was a team low to go with a team-worst 1.00 xGA, producing the second-lowest xGF% of 36.29. However, Soucy was pretty effective at neutralizing the Preds’ top threats at 5v5 with no goals against while nearly splitting even with an 8-9 scoring chance differential. It was especially impressive when he was stuck out on an extended shift thanks to an icing call and still kept the opposition to the perimeter.


xGF: Elias Pettersson might not have found the scoresheet, but honestly, out of the Canucks’ forward corps, he was one of the more engaged. His 86.65 xGF% led the team by a good margin, a full 9 percent higher than Ian Cole in second place. Most of this was thanks to Pettersson being pretty good in his own end, with a team-best 0.08 xGA during his TOI. Pettersson saw an 8-0 lead in scoring chances with half of them being high-danger which is pretty darn solid however you look at it. It was definitely a better game for the Swede as he looks to shake himself out of his slump, and hopefully it’ll come around by Game 6. In raw xGF, it was none other than JT Miller leading the way with a 1.13 xGF.
GSAx: Arturs Silovs had a good game. The Latvian once again gave the Canucks a chance to win last night, but unfortunately couldn’t get the run support that he needed. Against Nashville’s 1.89 xGF, Silovs would record a -0.11 GSAx, thanks mostly to the fact that the low-danger point shot snuck past him to go with the high-danger Josi goal (that was probably interference). Other than those though, Silovs was sharp and composed for the most part, attacking shots and not giving up too many rebounds. Even his lateral movement looked pretty solid, as he impressed in his home playoff debut.

Statistical Musings

Joshua-Lindholm-Garland losing a bit of sparkle: There were no matchup duties for this trio last night, with Tocchet likely deploying them in rolling fashion against whoever was their opposition. While they did get a couple of good chances, Joshua-Lindholm-Garland weren’t quite where they were at in Game 1, or even Game 4 for that matter. They posted the second-lowest xGF% last night with 27.02, with only the fourth line being one percent lower than them. The trio also conceded the most xGA (0.48) of any forward unit last night too, which comes with the territory of being the second-most iced combination for the Canucks. Even then, the first line of Suter-Miller-Boeser were a full 0.12 xGA below them in second.

As a team

CF% – 49.11% HDCF% – 65.00% xGF% – 50.98%
It’s something that’s happened to the Canucks a couple of times this season, but having it happen in the playoffs sucks. They weren’t able to capitalize on their chances when they had the momentum of the game flowing in their favour, and unfortunately this one came back to bite them from behind. Counting on a low-percentage Nikita Zadorov scoring chance, going from coast-to-coast and wristing it from the corner, does not constitute sustainable offence. They’ll need to be much more clinical in front of goal to provide their netminders with the goal support that they need to win games.
Vancouver returns to Nashville for a huge Game 6 on the road with another opportunity to clinch the series.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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