The Statsies: Canucks’ third line enough to help steal a point against Dallas

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
4 months ago
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It’s a weird place to be after so long.
The Vancouver Canucks had their chances but weren’t quite able to get the win, settling on a 4-3 overtime loss to the Dallas Stars. Despite losing that 4-year unbeaten run, the Canucks picked up the point on the road to secure first place in the NHL thanks to a tiebreaker against the Golden Knights. The overtime loss was perhaps a little generous given the contents of the game, but make no mistake — the Canucks battled hard throughout the game and would be hard-pressed to put in a better effort to close out a road trip.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

While the Canucks got out of the gates fast with the opening goal, the rest of the game’s flow comfortably fell in Dallas’ favour. The second and third periods saw a closer split in CF% where Vancouver did decently well, but the xGF% shares were massively in favour of the Stars. Take the second, where the Canucks held a 55.17 CF% advantage but only recorded a 31.05 xGF%, the Stars having a 5-0 lead in high-danger chances for that period alone. That xGF% share did jump to 43.15 in the third, but through 60 minutes, Dallas was putting more offensive pressure towards Demko. Overtime was the only frame where the Canucks had a positive xGF% share (51.67), but ironically was also the one where they didn’t score.

Heat Map

With how the xGF% favoured Dallas all of last night, this heat map makes a lot of sense with the eye test. In total, the scoring chances stood at 31-22 for Dallas, while the high-danger chances were a whopping 15-4 for the Stars. They were able to efficiently generate good opportunities from the best areas of the ice, something that the Canucks struggled to do all night. Getting that heavily out-chanced usually isn’t the best recipe for winning hockey games, so it’s a welcome surprise that Vancouver was even in a position to win this contest. Out of the 15 scoring chances, 5 of Dallas’ opportunities came on the power play, so it wasn’t as if they were heavily dependent on their special teams to get the job done.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Nils Höglander’s ice time was a little more limited last night, but alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser the numbers still looked solid. Höglander led the Canucks with a 65.22 CF% for the game, on ice for one goal for and a 6-2 scoring chance differential. The Swede did have a 62.23 xGF%, but interestingly enough didn’t record a single high-danger chance during his TOI. Meanwhile, the Stars had just one HDCA during Höglander’s ice time. Not awful and certainly solid given the context of the game surrounding him.
Corsi Chump: The fourth line got kinda smoked in this one, and Phil Di Giuseppe finds himself on the bottom end of the Canucks Corsi charts. His 14.29 CF% was a team-low, just a couple of percentage points behind Sam Lafferty, and this time the lack of puck retention really did hurt. PDG gave up a 0-9 shot differential, resulting in a team-low 10.81 xGF%, with three high-danger chances coming the other way. They weren’t able to get much of anything going offensively, though to be fair to them the fourth line was thrown out against Dallas’ middle six. It wasn’t the best night for PDG and his unit, and as a result, the stats aren’t liking him in this one.


xGF: This one is going to Conor Garland’s 63.46 xGF%, and it wasn’t just empty stats. He along with his line were once again buzzing, and against the Stars, they shone the brightest offensively. Garland was a big part of that, a goal and an assist coming from his fourth-best xGF (0.58) and third-best xGA (0.33). He was also the only Canuck to finish with a positive difference in HDCF (3-2), which wasn’t easy given how badly out-chanced Vancouver was throughout the game. In terms of raw xGF, it was linemate Dakota Joshua leading the way with a 0.77 xGF.
GSAx: It sucks that the numbers aren’t the best here, but make no mistake: Thatcher Demko was huge in helping the Canucks grab the loser’s point on the road. With Dallas recording a 3.15 xGF, the Canucks’ netminder finished last night with a -0.85 GSAx, which is not insignificant. Three of the four goals against were high-danger, with the remaining goal coming from a middle-danger chance. They weren’t all his fault either, with the defence breaking down in front of him at times and proving costly in the end. Demko was still Vancouver’s best penalty killer, and that meant a lot in a game where the Canucks had to steal one on the road.

Statistical Musings

The line yet to be named: What else can be said about Dakota Joshua – Teddy Blueger – Conor Garland as of late? The ever-reliable third line has been a sparkplug as of late for the Canucks, helping energize them with momentum and now chipping in offensively. This line saw the second-most ice time behind the Suter-Pettersson-Mikheyev trio, tallying the best CF% (60.00) and second-best xGF% (60.30) across all Canuck forward lines at 5v5. In fact, the third line was the only forward line to have a high-danger chance at 5v5 with 3 in total.
Where Elias Pettersson needs to be better: Again, he’s been better as of late, but Elias Pettersson is still not consistently the game-breaker that the Canucks need in these situations. While his line didn’t post any metrics that would be a major cause for concern, they also didn’t do much to change the game. Pettersson actually finished last night with the fourth-worst 5v5 xGF% (16.95), which just isn’t good enough when you’re supposed to be the team’s 1C. His 0.83 xGA was the 3rd-worst in the lineup as well, so coupling that with a measly 0.17 xGF, it paints a picture of Pettersson unable to do much of anything at either end of the ice.

As a team

CF% – 43.12% HDCF% – 21.05% xGF% – 33.24%
By the numbers, the Canucks should’ve probably lost this game in regulation. There wasn’t a moment in this game where they were on the front foot. Yet, they battled through and defied most of the metrics to get one point at the end of the road trip. 6 out of 8 points is seriously not bad at all, and there’s no shame in how the Canucks scrapped to get the results on this swing. There are things to iron out structurally and some personnel that need to step up, but there are a lot of positives that the Canucks are taking home with them.
Next up, Vancouver hosts the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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