The Statsies: Canucks don’t generate nearly enough high-danger chances in loss to Capitals

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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St. Patrick’s Day didn’t exactly bring about a gold-seeking attitude.
The Vancouver Canucks dropped a narrow loss, defeated 2-1 against the Washington Capitals last night. Unlike the game against the Avs, the Canucks seemed to not be awake for the first 40 minutes, sleepwalking through the first two periods and coming out on the other end trailing by one goal. Yes, the third period was better, but even then, Vancouver didn’t do nearly well enough to get themselves tied up in the game, resulting in a game that just lacked urgency from top to bottom. It also definitely didn’t help that some big players on the roster had some pretty rough games.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The game flow didn’t start off inherently appalling. Vancouver held a good chunk of the CF% share with 57.14, despite their xGF% remaining at 45.23. Not terrible numbers even if they aren’t inspiring, and the Canucks still had a one-goal lead to show for all of this. However, the second period saw that change. Washington picked it up a notch and the Canucks were just unable to respond, seeing their shares drop to 45.95 CF% and 32.63 xGF%. In total, the Caps racked up 1.15 xGF during the second period alone, despite the high-danger chances standing at 4-6 for the visitors. That was enough to secure them a 2-0 lead, and while Vancouver ramped up their CF% to 72.41 in the third, the xGF% didn’t quite follow. Yes, it was a 61.79 xGF%, but the Canucks only had one high-danger chance all period.

Heat Map

The heat map from last night also shows how thin the high-danger chances were. Both teams didn’t do too much to get attempts into the area, with Washington holding a 23-19 lead in scoring chances and a slim 11-10 edge in high-danger chances. The third-period numbers are what’s concerning for Vancouver though – in a game where they were chasing to equalize, they only had 2 scoring chances and 1 high-danger chance. Just not good enough, and this isn’t even against a true playoff contender.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Tyler Myers led the team in CF% last night with a 76.67, doing pretty darn well in his minutes against TJ Oshie. It was relatively low event hockey defensively that Myers was playing, with the shots only standing at 6-2 in favour of the Canucks, while the defenceman posted the third-lowest xGA of 0.21. The scoring chances stood at 10-2 for Vancouver while Myers was on ice as well, a further 4-1 high-danger chance differential. Not a bad return to the lineup, all things considered.
Corsi Chump: Phil Di Giuseppe recorded the worst CF% for the Canucks against the Capitals, coming in at 42.11 in only 7:42 TOI. In that span, the winger was on ice for a goal against, recorded the fourth-highest xGA (0.74), tallied up 28.35 xGF% and was out-chances 3-7. Not really the best results, especially considering the limited ice time that he got. PDG was also mostly iced against the bottom of the Caps, so it wasn’t as if he was playing out of his depth.
xGF: It hasn’t been the easiest return to the lineup, but Carson Soucy has been looking better with the more games he’s been getting. In this one, he led the Canucks with a 83.72 xGF% last night, recording the best xGF (0.82) and the second-best xGA (0.16). He was by far the best Canucks last night when it came to scoring chance differential, clipping at a 10-2 lead in all scoring chances while also holding a 7-1 lead in high-danger chances despite seeing a big skew to defensive zone shift starts. Soucy split his time between Nikita Zadorov and Tyler Myers in defensive partners and generally had a positive impact on them both.
GSAx: Casey DeSmith gave the Canucks a fighting chance in this one. Washington generated 2.06 xGF and put two past DeSmith, the netminder just finishing in the positives with a 0.06 GSAx. Obviously, he isn’t stealing away any goals, but DeSmith was definitely not the reason why the Canucks lost last night. Both goals were high-danger goals conceded, and other than that he looked solid between the pipes. Nowhere the impact that Thatcher Demko usually provides for the team, but definitely solid results regardless.

Statistical Musings

Hronek’s howler: For a guy looking for a big extension in the offseason, Filip Hronek hasn’t been stringing good games together for a bit now. Last night’s performance against Washington just adds more fuel to the fire as the defenceman looked like a tire fire out there at times. Sure, his CF% stood at an even 50.00, but the expected goals paint a very unflattering picture of the Czech. Hronek gave up the most xGA by far with a 1.27, only generating 0.31 xGF to give him the team’s worst xGF% of 19.62. He also was on ice for the most scoring chances against with 13 and the most high-danger chances against with 8. Overall, just not a good game for Hronek whose impact last night was mostly negative.
Where Pettersson’s lines just don’t do enough: Elias Pettersson has not exactly been tearing it up since inking the big contract extension to keep him in Vancouver long-term. Against the Capitals, Pettersson was once again playing with Nils Hoglander and Pius Suter in a combination that didn’t do the best against the Avs – and in this one, it wasn’t the prettiest result again. While their CF% share of 55.56 wasn’t terrible, it was the fact that they couldn’t generate much offence that was the issue. Their xGF% stood at 44.81 without managing to put up a goal, instead conceding a goal against. While the Canucks definitely didn’t lose because of Pettersson, it would’ve been nice to see him step up and contribute in the ways that he can. The Swede definitely wasn’t helping the Canucks win this one.

As a team

CF% – 60.87% HDCF% – 50.00% xGF% – 50.03%
The Canucks just looked flat in this one. At 5v5, this team was just not good enough to overcome what was put up against them. They were sloppy and uninspired in the first and second, and despite turning it on int he third it was too little, too late. The Canucks need to get back to playing full 60-minute efforts if they want to keep the momentum rolling into the postseason, and while this result isn’t bad within the context of the season, it still isn’t good hockey to be watching.
Vancouver once again has a bit of a break before hosting the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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