The Statsies: Canucks struggle on power play in loss against Stars

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
20 days ago
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Okay, we’ve had enough of the “try not to clinch” challenge.
The Vancouver Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision to the Dallas Stars last night, falling apart in the final 5 minutes to lose the game. Clinching their playoff berth has proved elusive as of late as the Canucks offence continues to run dry. Not helping matters is the special teams struggles, with Vancouver once again coming up empty on the power play despite multiple opportunities. Yes, the reffing was brutal at times, but the Canucks had their chances to win the game – and didn’t take them.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The Canucks weren’t convincing in this game. After starting the first period off decently, they got swept into Dallas’ hands by the extended powerplay, unable to get much momentum after that point. What should stand out is that despite getting three cracks at the power play, their trendlines remained essentially flat throughout the man-advantage. They didn’t get the puck possession or expected goals advantage, and that proved costly when Dallas struck in the third period. The only period that the Canucks had over 50.00 xGF% was in the third – teams don’t usually win games when they’re recording around 35.00 xGF% through two periods.

Heat Map

This is probably the first heat map in a while that doesn’t favour the Canucks. They didn’t get nearly enough scoring chances against the Stars, dropping a 40-29 differential overall, with the high-danger chances heavily favouring Dallas 22-12. Not a good margin to say the least, and that much is apparent from looking at the massive hot spot right in front of the Canucks crease area. In total, the expected goals stood at 5.94-2.93 for Dallas – not a great look for the Canucks.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Reunited with Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser put up 63.64 CF% to lead the Canucks last night in CF%. The winger ended up producing the second-highest xGF of 1.39 and second-best xGF% of 55.85 as a result of that share advantage. Boeser was also one of only three Canucks to finish the night with a positive difference in high-danger chances. Unfortunately, he didn’t find the back of the net in this one, but the underlying metrics suggested that Boeser probably deserved better.
Corsi Chump: On the other hand, Pius Suter brought up the rear in the Corsi department with a pretty rough 17.39 CF%, putting him at -36.78 CF% rel to team average, the only Canucks to be over -30. Along with conceding a large majority of puck possession came the third-lowest xGF (0.11), third-worst xGF% (10.11), all the while giving up a 1-8 scoring chance differential with a 1-3 high-danger chance deficit. Granted, this was Suter’s first game with new linemates, centering Ilya Mikheyev and Vasily Podkolzin. The numbers just weren’t in his favour last night.
xGF: Sure, Conor Garland might not have the counting stats that he’s had in previous years, but for some reason he’s looked way more effective this year than ever. Last night against Dallas, the winger led the Canucks with a 65.42 xGF%, standing at 32.76 xGF% rel to be the only Canuck over the 30% mark. In a game where Vancouver bled scoring chances, Garland still posted the third-best xGA on the team with a 0.46. He also by far had the best high-danger chance differential with a 4-1 advantage over the Stars during his TOI. Quinn Hughes generated the most raw xGF with 1.51.
GSAx: Casey DeSmith was the Canucks’ saving grace in this one. Facing down a barrage of chances, DeSmith turned a 4.94 xGF by the Stars into a 2.94 GSAx, essentially saving nearly three goals that the Stars could’ve put in the back of the net. Both goals came off of high-danger chances, but even then DeSmith stopped 8/10 of them. He definitely battled in this one to help keep the Canucks within reach, and unfortunately, it’s hard for goalies to get points or wins when their offence is only scoring one goal as run support.

Statistical Musings

Where a new combination fizzled: This game was a good demonstration of the fact that Arshdeep Bains should probably be spending more time in Abbotsford. He did some great work leading up to the first goal, but with JT Miller and Sam Lafferty, the line was not at its finest at 5v5. That forward combination had the lowest xGF (0.02) and xGF% (8.02), which is absurd to think about when there’s a 35-goal scorer centering that unit. Lafferty had the lowest xGF% on the entire team with a 2.69 xGF% (yes, that’s two percent), while Bains was a close second-worst with his 4.60 xGF%. This line generated absolutely nothing at 5v5, with the only plus side being that they didn’t give up more xGA during their TOI.
Ends of a spectrum: It’s interesting to see how one line showed up decently on the stat sheet (Hoglander-Pettersson-Boeser) while the other three didn’t quite pull their weight. There is some leeway with the Joshua-Blueger-Garland combo because it’s Dakota Joshua’s first game back since injury, but that line wasn’t quite its usual self, finishing as the Canucks’ second-best line with a 25.00 CF% and 36.03 xGF%, out-chanced 0-4. It should be a little concerning that they were the Canucks’ second-best option, as Mikheyev-Suter-Podkolzin were arguably neck and neck with Bains-Miller-Lafferty for bottom spot, posting a 16.67 CF% and 20.79 xGF%. Overall, the Canucks didn’t have the forward depth to run with the Stars in this one, and if your top line is the only line with share metrics above 50%, chances are you aren’t going to win many hockey games.

As a team

CF% – 45.52% HDCF% – 35.29% xGF% – 33.01%
It’s concerning that the Canucks’ offence has dried up. In previous games, they at least were producing the chances that should’ve been converted into goals, but against the Stars, they just got overwhelmed. They were able to stay in the game for a good chunk of it, and they had their opportunities to take the lead. But with a power play that’s missing in action, it felt that once those chances slipped from the Canucks’ grasp, the Stars would capitalize. They’ll have to figure it out before it costs them some valuable points (and perhaps impacts their postseason play) in the run-up to the playoffs.
Vancouver finishes off what has been a lacklustre homestand with a game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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