The Statsies: Ilya Mikheyev turns in a good effort as Canucks beat Vegas 3-1

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
That was a very solid win.
The Vancouver Canucks triumphed 3-1 against the Vegas Golden Knights, taking full advantage of a good team not playing up to their billing. They did their jobs well, playing a sound, defensive game that limited Vegas from ever generating much momentum. On the offensive side, the Canucks got good efforts from all over the lineup, including the likes of a struggling Ilya Mikheyev who looked much more engaged in this one.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The Canucks did their work early in this one, buoyed by the extended powerplay that they got in the first. Their CF% stood at a 64.10% paired with a 85.10 xGF%, generating a total of 2.12 xGF in the period alone. It wasn’t just offence that was coming though – Vancouver did a great job in limiting Vegas defensively as well, only allowing 0.37 xGA during the same span. While the offence did taper off slightly in the second, the Canucks did more than enough to keep the shares in their favor, before shutting it down in the third. Vancouver only held a 22.50 CF% and 43.62 xGF% share, but also kept the high-danger chances to a 1-3 advantage for the Golden Knights. Not bad, considering the impacts of score effects.

Heat Map

The heat map further lends support to the fact that the Canucks really shut things down defensively. The scoring chances only stood at 24-18, with Vancouver holding a 13-7 edge in high-danger chances. That much is reflected in how the Canucks created their heat patch right in the slot area, while the Golden Knights didn’t manage to do anything that was comparable. There wasn’t a single period where Vegas recorded an xGF over 0.75.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Conor Garland led the Canucks in CF% with a 59.09, tallying the goal that restored the Canucks’ two-goal advantage last night. The winger once again lined up alongside Elias Lindholm and Vasily Podkolzin after turning in a good defensive effort in the game against the Kings, continuing to do so with a team-low 0.14 xGa together as well as combining to find the scoresheet. Garland didn’t see a single high-danger chance against while he was on the ice, helping the Canucks play solid, low-event hockey to secure the win after potting in his tally.
Corsi Chump: Noah Juulsen put up the worst CF% numbers last night, coming in with a 41.94 CF%. However, this is coming against Vegas’s top line, the majority of Juuslen’s minutes played against Jack Eichel and Jonathan Marchessault. Naturally, a lower CF% should be expected when going against these guys, and it wasn’t as if the defender did a bad job either. Juulsen held them to only 0.35 xGA on the night, not conceding a single high-danger chance as well while he was on the ice. Not a bad outing, especially against quality competition.
xGF: Surprisingly, it was Sam Lafferty who turned in the best xGF% numbers last night with a 75.25. Playing between Phil Di Giuseppe and Teddy Blueger, Lafferty ended up recording a 4-2 scoring chance difference and a further 3-1 high-danger chance differential. Not a bad outing considering some of the recent struggles that he had, and having the top 6 step up allowed him to be freed up against lesser matchups. Raw xGF saw Ian Cole lead the way with a 1.01 last night.
GSAx: Not that Thatcher Demko has been playing subpar, but the team in front of him has been helping out a lot recently. The Golden Knights only managed to create 1.72 xGF, meaning Demko finished with a 0.72 GSAx. Obviously still a big contribution, but perhaps not as busy as one might expect when playing against the likes of Vegas. He was still very sharp though, making big saves whenever he needed to and a key reason for the Canucks holding down the lead through the third period. It’s funny to look at the shot attempt breakdown – Demko only faced 1 high-danger chance, 2 middle-danger chances, and 23 low-danger chances – with only one low-danger chance squeaking past him.

Statistical Musings

What Rutherford means by more offensive contribution: In a recent interview, Jim Rutherford mentioned wanting to see a little more offensive production from Elias Lindholm. While he recorded an assist in this one, it’s important to point out some of the underlying numbers that he put up offensively alongside Podkolzin and Garland. That line tallied the lowest xGF of any forward unit with a 0.06, resulting in a team-low 30.54 xGF%. Again, they were very solid defensively, yielding the lowest xGA of any forward line as well, but the point remains – can they get the consistent chances that will result in more sustainable offence? It’s great to have a lockdown third line, but one has to expect a little bit more than just defence from a player like Lindholm.
Mikheyev finding a spark: Ilya Mikheyev did not drag down a line last night. That’s not something that could be said in the recent couple of months, so seeing some signs of life from the Russian was big in this one. He finished second on the team in CF% (55.56) while tallying up a 67.92 xGF%, both of which are very solid shares and should result in some offence. Mikheyev did help generate plenty of chances in the second, but unfortunately still remains exceptionally snake-bitten, with a couple of grade-A opportunities going awry. Still, it’s encouraging to see, and hopefully one way or another the production  will come for him.

As a team

CF% – 49.21% HDCF% – 65.00% xGF% – 67.51%
The Canucks played great hockey in this one. They were efficient with their chance generation, getting quality opportunities and converting on them whenever they were able to. Vancouver locked Vegas down defensively too, not allowing the home team to get much traction or momentum through key stretches of the game. And when it came down to defending against the third-period push, the Canucks were more than up for the challenge, the defensively sound, low-event hockey doing wonders to secure two points against a tough but struggling team. These kinds of efforts will be crucial come playoff time, and it’s exciting to see the Canucks play such a sound structure in March. Now, all attention will turn to the last couple of hours leading up to the trade deadline, and if any more acquisitions will be brought on in.
Vancouver returns home to Rogers Arena and begins their homestand on Saturday, hosting the Winnipeg Jets.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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