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The Statsies: Canucks give Predators a taste of their own medicine in Game 3 win

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Photo credit:© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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The Vancouver Canucks took down the Nashville Predators 2-1 on the road to go up 2-1 in the series. It wasn’t done in dominant fashion, but the Canucks battled hard in a game where the Predators got a massive jump out of the gate. Staving off multiple penalty kill situations gave Vancouver enough time to find the scoresheet, and after their stars got them the lead, the depth and goaltending did their part to bring the result home. Not the prettiest win, but a big road victory in this series.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It’s surprising that this game flow wasn’t more skewed in favour of Nashville, considering how much of the puck they saw over the course of the game. There wasn’t a single period where the Predators recorded below 57.00 CF% and 53.00 xGF%, with the first and third seeing the home team completely dominate the Canucks. That’s only by share though, as Vancouver did a good job at keeping the volume of chances against low. Take the first period, where the Canucks yielded an 84.95 xGF% share to the Predators. Despite the share, Vancouver only gave up 0.37 xGF at 5v5 play, with their own 0.07 xGF making it so that the shares were skewed in favour of the Preds.

Heat Map

Given that the shots were 30-12 in favour of Nashville, it’s no surprise that the Canucks’ lowest playoff shot total also resulted in a pretty anemic-looking heat map. In total across all situations, the Predators had a 33-18 lead in scoring chances, with a big 13-4 high-danger chance lead. However, the large majority of those advantages were gained on the power play. Vancouver did a good job at grinding the game to a halt at 5v5, with the Predators’ lead in scoring chances shrinking to a 17-14 margin, a narrow 5-3 lead in high-danger chances. The Canucks’ special teams, particularly the penalty kill, made a world of difference last night to get the win.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Ilya Mikheyev gets the nod here with his 52.38 CF%, pretty telling of the Canucks’ deficit in Corsi last night. The Russian had one of his best games in recent memory, engaged and active all around the ice. He actually finished 4th in raw xGF with a 0.4 on the night, giving Mikheyev the team’s third-best xGF% of 57.76. Last night also saw Mikheyev on ice for 8 scoring chances, tying for the team-best, while only facing 2 scoring chances against. It was refreshing to see him throwing stuff at the net and getting plenty of chaos for possible scoring chances.
Corsi Chump: Honestly, this number is hilarious. Dakota Joshua finished as the team’s worst Corsi man with a 5.56 CF%. Yup, that’s right, five percent. Nashville changed up their lines to avoid having Joshua out at the same time as their first line, but made sure to throw Roman Josi and Ryan McDonagh out at every given opportunity. Joshua gave up a 0-8 shot differential, on ice for a goal against while only getting 1.77 xGF% over the entire night. I genuinely don’t think that I’ve seen share metrics that low. However, it should be telling that Tocchet didn’t view this as being a bad thing – he still iced Joshua to close out the game.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: When you account for half of the team’s shots, you’re probably going to be up in expected goals. JT Miller led the Canucks with a 70.34 xGF%, posting the third-best xGF and xGA on the team. It wasn’t that Miller was on ice for a particularly large amount of scoring chances, a total of 5 on the night, or getting great looks with just 1 high-danger chance occurring during his TOI. It was more so the fact that Miller was pretty much the only Canuck threatening with his shot, continuing the trend from the previous two games and being the momentum engine that this team needs. His power play goal was huge to break the ice, and Miller continues to demonstrate why he was team MVP this season. Linemate Brock Boeser led the Cancks with a 0.46 xGF.
GSAx: Thank Mr. DeSmith (wait, that doesn’t seem right…). Casey DeSmith had an incredible bounce-back game on the road, stymying any pressure that the Predators threw his was and a big reason why the Canucks secured the win. Nashville totaled 2.38 xGF to give DeSmith a 1.38 GSAx, the one goal coming off a middle-danger chance. He was seeing and stopping the puck well, helping assuage many fans’ concerns from Game 2. DeSmith battled hard to push Vancouver to the win – the only nitpick would be his rebound control, with plenty of juicy second chances punched on out. Hopefully, that’s something DeSmith can clean up for Game 4.

Statistical Musings

Chaos Giraffe has no natural Predators: The return of Tyler Myers to the Canucks lineup was huge last night. It was evident that Nashville was matchup hunting against the big defenceman, putting out the Forsberg-O’Reilly-Nyquist line against Myers at every given opportunity last night. But Myers didn’t fold, as despite giving up big chunks of CF% and xGF% to the Predators’ top unit, they couldn’t get a single thing by him. Not only that, but the Canucks were trading scoring chances while Myers was up against that forward line, keeping them to only a 1-2 high-danger chance deficit despite a big chasm in puck possession. It’s just so chaotic good for Myers to be redeeming himself when the Canucks need him the most – and his presence in the lineup has definitely been a positive for this team.
Signs of alien life: Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but for the first time this series Höglander-Pettersson-Mikheyev statistically performed up to snuff with the rest of the forward corps. They were the second-best line by the numbers, coming in with a 40.00 CF% and 44.98 xGF%, while matching the Suter-Miller-Boeser line with a 3-2 scoring chance lead and 1-0 high-danger chance differential. The trio did look much better in Game 3 than in the previous two games, and while there’s still a way to go before they’re productive, it’s encouraging to see them not dead last on the team for once.

As a team

CF% – 31.73% HDCF% – 23.53% xGF% – 32.29%
Honestly, the numbers are not pretty. Nashville probably deserved better than the fate they got in this one. But guess what – Vancouver should’ve gotten better than they earned in Game 2. It’s the way things balance out sometimes, and it’s not to say the Canucks played poorly either. They weathered the storm, halting the Preds at 5v5 for a good chunk of the game while thriving on their penalty kill. Vancouver’s big guns stepped up and helped secure the lead, before an excellent night from DeSmith and the defence corps helped seal the deal. With the result, Vancouver reclaims the series lead and now has home-ice advantage back in their favour.
The Canucks take to the ice on Sunday for an afternoon start to Game 4 in Nashville.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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