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The Statsies: Fortune abandons the Vancouver Canucks in tepid loss to Vegas Golden Knights

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Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
Brutal.
The Vancouver Canucks lost 6-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights in uninspiring fashion. Going down 5-1 early in the second put the nail in the coffin, and while Quinn Hughes tried to make things interesting, the rest of the team looked flat and unable to get any pushback into this game. Key players went missing, the defence collapsed multiple times, and the goaltending wasn’t the greatest either, resulting in the defeat. There were some good stretches of play mixed on in though, with consistent efforts on the parts of some players.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

If you’re just looking at the game flow and ignoring the goal tallies, it’s not the worst thing in the whole world. The game was within reach for the majority of the night with the Canucks holding a clear CF% advantage in the second and third. Unfortunately, Vancouver wasn’t able to translate that puck possession into much offence – the only period where they finished above 50% xGF% was the third period, and that only came with a raw xGF of 0.53. Not great when trying to come back from a three goal deficit.

Heat Map

For a 6-3 game, the heat map is wild. Neither team actually generated many grade-A opportunities. Vegas had a 28-26 lead in scoring chance, but the high-danger chance margin only stood at 10-9 in favour of Vancouver. That narrow gap can be seen by the slightly darker shade of blue for the Canucks (if you squint hard), but overall neither team could establish much in high-danger areas. Unfortunately for Vancouver, Vegas struck in the limited opportunities they got, converting four of the nine high-danger chances that they got. It’s how it goes, and sometimes things like this happen.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Interestingly enough, Pius Suter saw himself go from Corsi Chump against the Ducks to Corsi Champ against the Golden Knights. His 76.47 CF% was comfortably the team’s best, sitting 11% higher than Vasily Podkolzin in second place and standing at 25.70 CF% rel to team average. This wasn’t just coming against Vegas’ bottom 6 either – Suter and his line played most of their ice time against Chandler Stephenson’s line, as well as Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore. Not bad competition to be iced against.
Corsi Chump: On the other end, Elias Pettersson brought up the rear in the CF% department in his 400th NHL game. His 45.00 CF% was a team-low (other than Zadorov’s 44.44, but since he got kicked out of the game it’s a bit unfair to pick him), with pedestrian stats in other categories too. While Pettersson didn’t get dominated, he also didn’t do much to tip the scales in favour of Vancouver. A 54.67 xGF% is about right for his night, with only 0.38 xGF to show for his efforts. Again, it’s not inherently a bad game from the Swede, who did a good job in helping set up two goals even if he didn’t find the scoresheet. But, Pettersson isn’t performing up to superstar standards – and that’s been a problem lately for the Canucks.
xGF: It shouldn’t be a surprise that Pius Suter finds himself as the xGF% leader, especially with the CF% advantage that he had. He led the Canucks with an 80.26 xGF% last night, producing the team’s best xGA of 0.11 while holding a 7-3 scoring chance advantage and not facing a single high-danger chance against. For him and his line, it was an effective night against stiff competition – unfortunately, they weren’t able to convert on any of their chances. Filip Hronek led the team in raw xGF with a 0.66, which is also not a great total.
GSAx: Not Casey DeSmith’s finest hour. With Vegas only producing 2.93 xGF, the netminder finished heavily in the negatives with a -3.07 GSAx, yielding four high-danger goals, one middle-danger goal, and one low-danger goal. Granted, he wasn’t entirely the issue, with the team in front of him breaking down an awful ton in the defensive zone and facing down a number of odd-man rushes. The Golden Knights were also burying an absurd ratio of their opportunities, so it could be argued that the percentages were a little skewed. Regardless, DeSmith was never stealing this game, and a performance like this was bound to happen after a run of solid results.

Statistical Musings

Where Bains and company got attacked: The home team having the last change played a big role last night, with the fourth line of Arshdeep Bains – Teddy Blueger – Sam Lafferty getting put into situations where they were way overmatched. The top 6 of Vegas brutalized the trio when they were on the ice, resulting in the line posting a 16.32 xGF%, giving up the most xGA of any line last night. They actually didn’t bleed as many scoring chances as one might’ve expected, but it was clear that they were in over their heads. Bains specifically looked way out of place, and it isn’t the first time that this has happened since his latest call-up.
Ian Cole’s no good, very bad night: Ian Cole has been one of Vancouver’s more underrated adds to the back end this season, but it’s clear that he needs a break. The veteran defender got absolutely smoked last night, on ice for the first 5 goals against and giving up the team’s worst xGA of 0.78. Vegas out-chanced the Canucks 8-10 while Cole was on ice, with the defenceman just unable to do anything effectively at any end of the ice. It would probably be worth sitting him for a game or two, because the fatigue clearly has impacted the quality of his play.

As a team

CF% – 54.39% HDCF% – 55.00% xGF% – 42.20%
Honestly, there were moments of the game that could’ve sparked a true comeback. The Canucks never truly bowed out of the game entirely, but when you go down 5-1 in the second, that’s a hard road to come back from. Hughes was his brilliant self while Conor Garland continued to turn in a consistent effort. But, the big guns for the Canucks weren’t quite there. Vegas did probably get a bit of fortune and some help from the stripes, but the Canucks need to find a way to overcome these things. A rough patch right before the playoffs doesn’t inspire too much confidence in the momentum they’ll bring into the postseason.
Vancouver is right back in action, heading into the confines of Mullett Arena to face off against the Arizona Coyotes.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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