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The Statsies: Filip Hronek didn’t quite shoot the hardest shot of all time in Canucks’ win over Islanders

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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There was possibly no better way to greet the return of Bo Horvat than with a win.
The Vancouver Canucks toppled the New York Islanders 4-3 in overtime, which is a lot closer than what the stats suggest this game should’ve been. A sloppy first period filled with emotions saw the Canucks fall behind early, playing not their best hockey. But, the home team managed to switch it on in the second, putting offensive pressure on the Isles and clawing their way back into it. The OT winner was just the cherry on top of the wave of momentum.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

As alluded to, the first period saw the Canucks not really start on time. The Bo Horvat tribute video might’ve played a part in that, but thanks to two quick powerplay tallies, Vancouver found themselves down 2-0 by the halfway point of the opening frame. The effort got better after that – though New York held a 53.57 CF% share across all situations, Vancouver was out-chancing them 14-12, with a further 7-3 advantage in high-danger chances. What ensued in the second period was a continuation of that, with the three power plays helping the Canucks generate 2.01 xGF in the middle frame alone. It should be noted that 5/7 of their high-danger chances came at 5v5 play, so it wasn’t just relying on special teams to carry the boats. Though, it probably didn’t hurt either.

Heat Map

The heat map from last night reflects the game flow pretty closely. The Canucks were by far generating the better chances, racking up a 17-9 lead in high-danger chances across all situations with a 33-19 lead in total scoring chances. Most of the high-danger chances also came at 5v5, a 15-8 advantage for Vancouver. It shows on the heat map with how the Canucks were able to establish a hot spot right in tight against Sorokin, while the Isles struggled to get much of anything in front of Demko.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: While the rest of the team was waking up, it was the third line that dragged them into the fight. Dakota Joshua led the Canucks in CF% last night, topping the charts with a 78.57. At 5v5, those numbers jumped to 88.00 CF%. Joshua was out for a goal against, but his metrics suggest that he got very unlucky in that regard. The winger posted an 84.75 xGF%, which included a 1.58 xGF and the 5th-best xGA with a 0.28. He was providing a spark and energy last night, on a line that continues to roll regardless of who they’re up against.
Corsi Chump: This is where the Miller line getting matched up against affects the one who doesn’t get power play time disproportionately. Phil Di Giuseppe once again finds himself bringing up the rear in the CF% department with a 25.00, on ice for a goal against. PDG had the worst xGF (0.17) and xGF% (11.15) last night as well. All this makes sense though when you consider that he along with the rest of the Miller line was literally hard-matched all night against Bo Horvat, and without power play time to jack up his possession metrics, Di Giuseppe suffers from his opposition being good at defence. He was anything but invisible last night though.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: There are a myriad of people that I’ll shout out here. Joshua found himself leading the team in xGF% at 5v5 play (88.97), while Ian Cole led the Canucks in raw xGF at 5v5 play (1.84). Across all situations though, Elias Pettersson racked up 2.28 xGF, while Mark Friedman kept his nose clean to earn an 85.18 xGF%. Outside of Noah Juulsen and PDG, there wasn’t a single Canuck who finished the game below 40.00 xGF%, which is absurd. Overall, this one could go to any of the mentioned, so they’re all sharing it from last night.
GSAx: It wasn’t Thatcher Demko’s best game, but it also wasn’t bad by any means. The Islanders aren’t exactly offensive powerhouses and that showed in their 2.79 xGF last night. What that also meant was that Demko finished with a -0.21 GSAx thanks to letting in three goals against. It doesn’t help matters that 2 of the 3 tallies came from middle-danger chances, with just one at high-danger. But, Demko was on when it counted, and he made some big stops when he needed to.

Statistical Musings

The Hardest Shot in NHL History… for a bit: Eyes popped last night when Filip Hronek’s massive clapper goal was charted at 107.9 MPH. I mean, look at that shot, that was Sami Salo-esque:
This was the fastest shot tracked from open play, with the previous high set by Colton Parayko’s 101.95 MPH blast in 2022-23. It’s also just a hair shy of Zdeno Chara’s massive blast of 108.8 MPH during the all-star game, which was done with the puck at a standstill. It’s probably more impressive that Hronek did this from open play — but unfortunately, it was Sportsnet getting the numbers wrong. Officially, NHL EDGE lists that shot at 100.37 MPH, which is still fast, but puts Hronek as the 9th-fastest shot thus far in the season. Not bad, just not record-breaking, as we first thought.
Riding Quinn Hughes: There is an argument that Quinn Hughes is the best defenceman in the NHL currently, given how well he’s been playing. He was once again motoring all over the ice last night, racking up a goal and two assists while running the show at both ends. Quite literally, Hughes was on ice for every major event that the Canucks had – he had 4 GF and 3 GA. Tocchet iced him for a total of 29:24 minutes last night which shows just how involved he was. It says a lot about this new gear the Canucks captain found and it seems that it isn’t going away any time soon.
Who fills in for Carson Soucy?: With Carson Soucy going down for 6-8 weeks, the question is now who will draw into the lineup to help fill his role? Clearly, Noah Juulsen won’t be a long-term solution on the bottom pairing, as the depth defender only saw 11:25 minutes of ice time and didn’t do well in them. He was the only other Canuck to finish below 50.00 CF% while also recording the second-worst xGF% (37.45). What makes things worse is that Juulsen was paired up with Hughes as a reunion from last year – but only served to drag the Canucks’ best defender’s metrics down while he was alongside him. Perhaps Akito Hirose could earn himself a longer look with how Juulsen’s been playing as of late.

As a team

CF% – 60.00% HDCF% – 65.38% xGF% – 63.89%
The Canucks were all over the Islanders after the first period. They secured momentum through a dangerous-looking power play, getting chances aplenty and bearing down to bury them. The overtime winner was definitely deserved, a fitting end to a game where Vancouver did a lot of good things. There are still questions as to who’s going to draw into the lineup, especially with some injuries now, but the vibes are good and the team is leading the Western Conference.
The Canucks are right back in action tonight as they head on the road to take on the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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