The Statsies: Demko outduels Oettinger in an up-and-down game

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
8 months ago
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Who would’ve thought that by November 5th, the Canucks would be in third place in the NHL?
The Vancouver Canucks followed up their 10-1 explosion on the road with a gritty 2-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. These two games have featured two very different results, but one thing is clear – this team is dialed in and bought in. What remained constant between a massive blowout and hard-fought 2-0 win was the amount of hustle, puck pursuit, and effort that stayed the same from puck drop to the final whistle. Sure, people can say that this team is playing above their heads right now. But man, is it fun to watch them play lately.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Last night featured a game full of special teams. Both Vancouver and Dallas saw the most ebbs and flows when they were trading powerplays through the first and second periods. As a result, the game flow looks a bit all over place with steep slopes in both puck possession and expected goals. At 5v5 though, the Canucks performed solidly through the first two periods, holding a CF% share above 50% and a 0.83-0.60 xGF advantage. The third period saw the Stars step it up in both categories, as will any team chasing a game down 2-0, but the Canucks didn’t let them get anything on the board.

Heat Map

Both teams were struggling to get many chances at 5v5 play. In total, Vancouver held a narrow 15-14 edge in scoring chances, while it was Dallas that barely squeaked by with a 5-3 lead in high-danger chances. Naturally, the limited opportunities for both teams resulted in a bit of a stalemate at even strength in regards to expected goals, though Vancouver scored both their markers at 5v5. Overall, the Stars created their hotspot thanks to the powerplays and their 6-on-5 at the end of the game, resulting in a 29-32 scoring chance advantage for the guests and a further 8-11 HDCF differential. However, that can be taken positively by Canucks fans, with the fact that only about a third of the opportunities that the Stars created coming as high-danger. That’s pretty solid defence, all things considered.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Filip Hronek is going to get paid. He’s looked like a right and proper fit alongside Quinn Hughes, elevating his game and delivering on the promise that he showed in his first season with the Detroit Red Wings. The defenceman led the Canucks in CF% at 5v5 play with a 75.00, eating up penalty kill time and being on ice to close out the 2-0 victory to show just how trusted he has become for Tocchet. Hronek saw an even 4-4 split in scoring chances for and against at even strength, all the while featuring in the second-most penalty-kill time behind Ian Cole. Not a bad night at all for the Czech who looks to be the Gennaro Gattuso alongside Quinn Hughes’ Andrea Pirlo.
Corsi Chump: Nils Höglander on the other hand saw his Corsi numbers drop to the worst on the team, recording a 23.53 CF% against the Stars last night. That being said, the young Swede was literally thrown at Jason Robertson and Matt Duchene during his TOI, so the poor possession metrics do make a lot of sense. Höglander only managed a 2.50 xGF% while conceding a 1-8 scoring chance difference to Dallas. But, he didn’t get scored against, which is all that you could ask for from a fourth-line out there against the Stars’ most potent offensive talents.


xGF: It was Ilya Mikheyev delivering the xGF% goods for the Canucks at even strength, leading the team with a very solid 65.85 xGF%. Conor Garland was a close second in 5v5 play, coming in with a 65.26. Both wingers out-chanced Dallas during their ~11 minutes of ice time of even-strength play. When factoring in powerplay time, Andrei Kuzmenko came out on top with 77.91 xGF%, but the Russian wasn’t doing too well at 5v5 with some poor decision-making leading to a brief benching spell. Of course, leading raw xGF last night was none other than Quinn Hughes with a 2.01.
GSAx: To make up for not getting his shutout against the Sharks, Thatcher Demko decided to turn in an outstanding performance against Dallas, elevating his game as the Stars turned up the heat through the final frame. The netminder faced a total of 3.11 expected goals against and was absolutely perfect, resulting in a dazzling 3.11 GSAx. Demko looks absolutely dialed in and ready to prove that he should’ve earned the bagel against San Jose with an even better game against Dallas. Early this season, he’s already showing himself as a Vezina candidate with his stats, which will hopefully continue with some proper rest.

Statistical Musings

Getting the depth rolling: The Sharks game might’ve been the spark for more depth production going forward. Pius Suter’s goal was the cherry on top of a solid night from the third line, in which at 5v5 play they were recording better rate metrics than the St. Petersburg line. Joshua-Suter-Garland tallied a 58.33 CF% while notching a 60.00 SCF%, just edging out Pettersson and friends. This isn’t to say that they had a better game than them – deployment and matchups have a heavy influence on these numbers. But what this does suggest is that the depth is playing at a good level and is doing the right things to up their probability of chipping in offensively.
A consistent Canucks defence: It is hard to pick apart what the defence has been doing as of late. This is coming with more consistent ice time for all of them, Tocchet not leaving them out for too long to get overexposed. Each defenceman outside of Hughes-Hronek was sitting at about 13 5v5 TOI except Friedman, leading to all of them registering high 47-low 48 CF%s. Sure, their xGA and xGF% weren’t the prettiest – but at the same time, it’s not as if the likes of Ian Cole, Tyler Myers or Carson Soucy are expected to be the humming engine that Quinn Hughes or Filip Hronek are. What they did was their jobs, all of them limiting the Stars to just 1 HDCF through the entirety of their ice time, making sure that the visitors didn’t get a single goal against in front.

As a team

CF% – 49.15% HDCF% – 42.11% xGF% – 48.00%
The Canucks followed up a demolition of a bad team with a resilient effort against a very good team. Vancouver held their own at 5v5 while keeping Dallas off the score sheet even as the powerplays stacked up and the Stars tried to claw their way back into it. It was a 60-minute effort where they played for their goalie at the end, Demko more than earning this one as well as the team in front of him. With that, Vancouver is now officially off to their best start in franchise history. Sure, it might not keep up, but it is an incredibly fun time to be watching this group compete and win hockey games.
Vancouver will now welcome the struggling Edmonton Oilers to Rogers Arena on Monday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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