The Statsies: Canucks play solid, low-event hockey to shut down Vegas in win

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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That’s a character win.
The Vancouver Canucks topped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 at home, paying them back for the 6-3 defeat just a couple of days earlier. It didn’t always look that way, especially from the start when they gave up two goals on two shots. This Canucks team refused to go down though, and battled all the way back to secure the win. The game featured hard-fought play at both ends of the ice, with little scoring chances for either team. It speaks a lot about Vancouver’s effort to be able to grind a win out of this one against a tough Vegas group.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It’s wonderful what can happen when the power play works. Giving up two early goals hasn’t boded well for the Canucks lately, but capitalizing on the man advantage this go around allowed them to get right back on even footing. Neither team really managed to get a big momentum swing their way, so for the Canucks to steadily hold the CF% and xGF% share in their half for the majority of the game is a good indication of their consistency through last night. While they never dominated Vegas, Vancouver was more than good enough to keep things going their way.

Heat Map

There weren’t a whole lot of scoring chances to speak of in this game. In total, the scoring chances stood at 22-19 for the Golden Knights, with Vegas holding a slim 9-8 high-danger chance lead. That should give some insight into the relatively anemic hot spots on display from last night, with neither team really managing to get chances in bunches. Vancouver looks to have created a spot with slightly higher density than Vegas, which is pretty nice to see even if they were slightly beaten out on paper.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Yeah, Quinn Hughes is kinda good. Leading the team with a 64.29 CF%, the Canucks’ captain put up a two-point night with the puck on a string for him. Hughes produced the third-best xGF from last night (0.96) while maintaining an even split in scoring chances (4-4) and high-danger chances (3-3). There’s no question that his impact this season has been tremendous for Vancouver, and it isn’t even close to who the Norris Trophy belongs to after this season.
Corsi Chump: Ian Cole finds himself bringing up the rear in the Corsi department, recording a 20.00 CF% last night against Vegas. He didn’t have the best of nights, playing primarily against Shea Theodore’s pairing and Willaim Karlsson’s line. Cole recorded the worst xGF% (7.07) while giving up a 1-8 scoring chance differential and a 0-3 high-danger chance deficit. Not the greatest defensively, but Cole at least was throwing his body around to make his presence felt.
xGF: Nils Höglander continues to be a 5v5 menace for the Canucks, recording the team’s best xGF% with an 85.35. Coming in with the third-lowest xGA (0.15) and 5th-best xGF (0.87) will do that for anyone, with Höglander maximizing the chances that he got. Of the 4 scoring chances that he was on ice for, 3 of them were recorded as high-danger, while the Swede didn’t face a single high-danger chance against. Höglander has been putting together quite the campaign, and making the argument that he does belong in this team’s top 6 for the foreseeable future. Leading the way in raw xGF was Tyler Myers’ 1 xGF.
GSAx: Considering where the night started off, Arturs Silovs played decently. In total, Vegas only managed a 1.98 xGF, meaning that Silovs’ GSAx last night finished at a -1.02. Not the best of returns, but certainly better than letting in the first two shots that he faced. Two of the goals came from low-danger shots, while the remaining goal was from middle-danger. Giving up these opportunities is not an ideal thing at all, and a big reason why Silovs’ GSAx is in the negatives is the fact that these lower-percentage opportunities were converted. He did battle back well, and from a young goaltender, that’s what you like to see.

Statistical Musings

Where Joshua-Miller-Garland took on Barbashev-Eichel-Marchessault: At the start of the year, it would be hard to fathom that Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland would be on a line with JT Miller, much less matching up against the Golden Knights’ top line. And yet, last night, that’s exactly what happened, with Joshua-Miller-Garland used extensively against Barbashev-Eichel-Marchessault. That’s probably the reason why their CF% looks more pedestrian than one might expect, sitting at 47.37 CF% last night. But what stands out is how they were able to suppress that line at 5v5, not allowing them a single goal while holding that potent offensive unit to just 0.25 xGF. Again, Jack Eichel had scored twice on the power play and was held to pretty much nothing by Joshua-Miller-Garland at even strength. It’s been a heck of a run for this trio and Joshua’s presence back in the lineup cannot be understated. And oh, Garland was pretty darn good last night too.
The domino effect: What happens when Joshua-Miller-Garland is able to take on match-up duties is that it allows another match-up advantage to be enjoyed. Höglander-Pettersson-Boeser got to be used extensively against Hertl-Stephenson-Amadio, whom they dominated at 5v5. It wasn’t even close, with the Canucks forward line posting 55.56 CF%, 0.87 xGF, and 85.35 xGF% while having a 3-1 high-danger chance advantage. Being able to neutralize a potent line, and then having another line take advantage of the match-up is the ideal outcome of line-matching, and Vancouver was definitely able to reap the rewards of that last night.

As a team

CF% – 50.47% HDCF% – 47.06% xGF% – 63.51%
It’s the first win against a playoff team for the Canucks since Thatcher Demko went down with injury. It might not have been the most pretty of victories, but it was gutsy, and it was awesome. The milestones that were being put up, the way that this team fought and kept pressing throughout the 60 minutes. Even when falling behind 2-0, the team was able to get themselves in the game and kill off some very suspect penalties at the end to hold onto the win. Not bad for a night’s work.
Vancouver hosts the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night for their next matchup.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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