The Statsies: Elias Pettersson leads the Canucks in xGF in 2-1 win vs. Ducks

Photo credit:© Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
It’s not the most convincing result ever, but it feels good to get back in the win column.
The Vancouver Canucks took down the Anaheim Ducks by a 2-1 scoreline in a game that was closer than most probably would’ve preferred. Vancouver got out of the gates strong, unlucky not to be up by more (with Dostal doing his best to goalie them). The team did get themselves into the lead, but were unable to stretch it out, allowing the Ducks to hang around and almost make it interesting in the third. Regardless, it’s a good start to the road trip and the month of March after a shakier February than most would’ve liked.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The Canucks started the game off strong. They hemmed the Ducks in their own end, dominating the CF% share with 77.14 in the opening frame, allowing them to accumulate an overwhelming 80.69 xGF% during that same span. The scoring chances stood at 15-3 in favour of Vancouver in the first, with a 6-0 advantage in high-danger chances. They were definitely unlucky not to be up, with a fortunate bounce allowing Anaheim to escape the period in a tie. The second period was a bit of a different story, with the Ducks racking up a 62.16 CF% share despite the Canucks’ early power play opportunity. That being said, Vancouver still held the xGF% share with 57.33 in the period. In the third though, it was a lot more even, with the Ducks pushing to equalize the game. It was Anaheim that held a 59.69 xGF% to close out the game, with the Canucks able to out-grind them and out-last them for the win.

Heat Map

The heat map looks good for the Canucks. They were able to stop the Ducks from establishing a deep hot spot in a high-danger area, while they themselves created a hot spot in the slot area. In total, the scoring chances were 31-17 for the Canucks, with a further 11-5 advantage in high-danger chances. That should highlight something important in this game – the Canucks didn’t get enough quality chances. Sure, in the context of the game and relative to their opponents they did well for themselves, but for only 11 chances out of 31 to be high-danger isn’t good enough, especially against an opponent like the Ducks,

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Pius Suter found himself alongside Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander in this one, allowing him to post a team-leading 77.27 CF%. He was a little bit of an enigma in this one though, posting some solid numbers but remaining pretty much invisible for a large chunk of the game. On ice for a goal against along with an 11-4 scoring chance advantage and a 7-0 high-danger chance lead, Suter saw the 5th-best xGF (0.76), 4th-best xGA (0.19), and 3rd-best xGF% (80.06) riding shotgun alongside the Swedes.
Corsi Chump: Ian Cole’s been a very important part of this Canucks’ defence corps, but he’s also 35 years old and could use some load management. He was the worst Corsi man on the team last night, recording a 30.43 CF% playing primarily against Anaheim’s bottom 6. On ice for the goal against as well, Cole did manage to keep his xGF% near 50%, which isn’t too bad. He wasn’t bleeding scoring chances either, managing to hold a 2-0 high-danger chance advantage. Cole’s had rough moments recently and looks a little fatigued – hopefully, there’s an opportunity to get him some rest with Carson Soucy being nearly ready for return.
xGF: Conor Garland returned to reliable Corolla form, racking up a team-high 83.62 xGF%. This came with the third-best xGA (0.15) along with the third-best xGF (0.78). He was on ice for a 10-1 scoring chance advantage, with a 3-0 lead in high-danger chances. This was also coming from pretty netural deployment, meaning that Garland was doing a lot of good work to generate opportunities. In a close second for xGF% (82.78) and the team’s leader in xGF (1.35) was none other than Elias Pettersson, fresh of inking an extension and looking more settled in than the previous matchups.
GSAx: The Canucks need to play Casey DeSmith more, not only to rest Thatcher Demko (who’s been playing a bit too much), but to keep DeSmith in rhythm. He looked dialed in against the Ducks, finishing with a 0.43 GSAx against their 1.43 xGF. The goal that snuck by him was unfortunate, coming from middle-danger officially. Other than that blemish though, DeSmith was more than good enough to help the Canucks secure the two points, doing his part in backstopping a rebound win.

Statistical Musings

Podkolzin’s return: Vasiliy Podkolzin was brought back up to the NHL and slotted right into the top 6 alongside Elias Lindholm and Conor Garland. He did well for himself too, looking very much like a Tocchet-style player, hounding the puck and generating plenty on the forecheck. The trio was the second-best Canucks forward line by the numbers, with the Russian posting a solid 61.90 CF% and 71.27 xGF%. There was a hunger to how Podkolzin played too, the urgency looking contagious with his line unfortunate to not find the scoresheet.
The other Russian: With Podkolzin jumping into the lineup, it meant that Ilya Mikheyev was also shuffled elsewhere, placed alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser. Somehow, his presence on the wing was enough to drag down the two most consistent offensive producers the Canucks had in the month of February. Against the Ducks, the trio posted the worst CF% of any forward line (33.33) while also creating the least xGF (0.06) and posting the second-lowest xGF% (27.66). Their line also saw the most scoring chances against of any unit (5) while being unable to generate a single high-danger chance. There’s a very good likelihood that the lines will be shuffled again, as the question of where Ilya Mikheyev fits continues to run rampant in Vancouver.

As a team

CF% – 55.66% HDCF% – 68.75% xGF% – 59.76%
A win is a win, and this result was an important one to get as the Canucks start a very tough gauntlet of road games coming up. There were good stretches of play where Vancouver probably deserved better, but at the same time, they should’ve done better than just beating the Ducks by one goal. Still, the job was done as the two points were secured, with eyes on Podkolzin’s good game as he made his return to the lineup.
Next up, Vancouver heads deeper into the heart of Los Angeles to take on the Kings tomorrow.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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