The Statsies: Casey DeSmith steals a point for an exhausted Canucks team

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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Considering everything leading up to this game, the result ain’t a bad one.
The Vancouver Canucks lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets to close out their season-long road trip. It just felt like the team had nothing left to give after a chaotic run-up to this morning’s matchup. The Canucks started off the game strong but found themselves running out of gas, and they could’ve packed it in. But, credit to them for fighting through it and sending this game to overtime to finish the 7-game roadie with 11 of 14 possible points. Not bad at all with all things considered.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Vancouver came out of the gates quickly, looking to get a lead early and defend from the front. They did manage to achieve that, getting a 2-1 lead after the first. However, after that period, it was pretty much all Blue Jackets. Yes, the reffing did help them generate a bigger lead in CF% and xGF%, but the Canucks were running on fumes. Columbus managed an 8-1 high-danger chance advantage just in the second period alone, with DeSmith being a big reason why they didn’t tie it up in the middle frame. But Vancouver conceded in the third and wasn’t able to get much to go during the overtime period. That also meant that the Canucks suffered their first loss after heading into the third period with a lead this season.

Heat Map

The heat map isn’t as bad as some might think at first glance. While the scoring chances stood at 35-29 for the Blue Jackets, Columbus had 16 high-danger chances while Vancouver had 13. The density of the hot spot in the slot did slightly favour the Blue Jacets, but only just barely. They also had the larger heat patch which matches up with the eye test, but it wasn’t as if the Canucks were getting dominated at any point.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Ilya Mikheyev continues to not find himself on the scoresheet despite solid numbers in the last stretch. Against Columbus, he led the team in CF% with 55.56, which isn’t bad considering that the team got out-possessed quite handily. Mikheyev posted an even 50.09 xGF% from the Corsi he had, with an 8-6 scoring chance split and a 3-2 HDCF advantage. It wasn’t eye-catching by any means, but a solid game for Mikheyev in a grinding affair for the Canucks.
Corsi Chump: Dakota Joshua and company got treated like a second line by the opposition. That’s a compliment and should explain why his Corsi numbers weren’t the best in the face of Adam Fantilli and Alex Texier. He brought up the rear in CF% with a team-worst 23.53, resulting in a 39.20 xGF%. But again, that’s more of a reflection of teams starting to respect this Joshua-Blueger-Garland line, and less about a bad game from them. They were on ice for one goal for and one goal against, solid for what was expected of them.


xGF: This one will be a surprise for many. Tyler Myers posted the best xGF% on the roster, 71.57 on the game with a team-high 1.21 xGF. The impressive part was being able to maintain a 5-1 HDCF differential, but there is a bit of an asterisk – there wasn’t much ice time against the Blue Jackets’ top line. Even so, not a bad showing from the tallest active player in the NHL.
GSAx: Casey DeSmith was the saving grace in this game. The backup netminder stepped up admirably in this one to get the Canucks within striking distance of the win. In total, Columbus put up 4.18 xGF against Vancouver, which meant that DeSmith finished the night with a 1.18 GSAx. All three goals came from high-danger chances, which have the highest probability of being converted upon. DeSmith battled hard to get the Canucks to the extra point in the overtime loss.

Statistical Musings

One line to rule them all: Okay, maybe a little exaggerated based on one game. The forward lines the Canucks iced weren’t exactly the greatest, with the Lotto Line doing enough to score and every other line treading water. In fact, Pettersson-Miller-Boeser only finished with a 27.86 xGF%, which doesn’t sound like their offensively dominant selves. Rather, the line that led the way statistically was the Kuzmenko-Suter-Mikheyev unit, the only line to finish above 50% in CF% (54.17) and xGF% (53.44) against the Blue Jackets. They were also the only unit to have a positive split in scoring chances and high-danger chances. Again, they didn’t find the scoresheet, but it has to be coming with how their line has generated good things as of late.
Nikita Zadorov’s not-fun afternoon: Paired up alongside Ian Cole, the big Russian defender did not have a good game against Columbus. He was tormented by Jack Roslovic of all players, posting a 33.33 CF% and 20.26 xGF%, giving up 2 goals against as well. Sure, he picked up a fluke assist on the first goal of the game, but it just wasn’t good on his end.

As a team

CF% – 43.65% HDCF% – 44.83% xGF% – 40.73%
It looked like the Canucks just straight-up ran out of gas, and there is no shame in that. With how their travel arrangements descended into chaos, how this long road trip was winding to an end, how the scheduling wasn’t exactly the best as well, all these factors probably impacted their ability to close out the game. And sure, those could all be called excuses, but the results are there – 11 out of 14 on the road is not too shabby at all.
Vancouver returns home and gets a bit of a rest before welcoming the Arizona Coyotes to town on Thursday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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