The Statsies: Ilya Mikheyev continues to be very snakebitten

Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
4 months ago
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Okay but how is this team getting to its next game.
The Vancouver Canucks duked it out with the Buffalo Sabres, coming away with the 1-0 victory in the afternoon matchup. The 5th straight win on the road wasn’t the prettiest affair – but it was one that demonstrated a lot of good qualities and showed that the Canucks could bear down to secure a win. Chances were hard to come by, and plenty of chippiness and game management were featured on all sides. Defending a 1-0 lead isn’t easy, and credit to the Canucks for doing so under adverse conditions.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Power plays played a big role in swinging momentum during this game. The Canucks started the game a little on the back foot, getting out-possessed and out-chanced by the Sabres in the first period. It was also the only frame where they weren’t in control at even strength – Vancouver held the CF% and xGF% share throughout the rest of the game, with the Sabres’ surge on the trendlines mostly due to their string of three power plays. It’s impressive that the Canucks were able to stay mostly in control throughout the entire affair, doing their part to limit a talented Buffalo team to just 17 scoring chances throughout the entire game.

Heat Map

There weren’t a lot of scoring chances in this one. The totals stood at 22-17 in favour of the Canucks, with an 8-6 HDCF advantage for Vancouver as well. From the heat map, it was clear that the Canucks saw a higher concentration and larger hot spot in the slot area than the Sabres, though both teams weren’t exactly exerting a ton of offensive pressure. It was a low-event affair where the two teams were battling it out – and that honestly isn’t a bad thing for Vancouver to get at this point in the year.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: The fourth line happened to be the only line that contributed offensively in this one, and the advanced stats supported their impact on the scoresheet. Nils Åman recorded the best CF% on the team, a 61.11, leading the way for the Canucks. That translated to a 66.95 xGF% for Åman, splitting a 2-2 HDCF differential during his TOI. Not a bad performance in limited minutes, and given the fact that he was on ice for the only goal, Åman was definitely doing something right in this one.
Corsi Chump: Tyler Myers brought up the rear with a 23.53 CF%, but this was coming with plenty of ice time against the Sabres top 6. With that in mind, the big defender didn’t do horribly, also limiting Buffalo to 2 HDCF while being on ice for a 2-7 scoring chance differential. That brought his xGF% down to 36.62, but considering that he didn’t give up a goal against playing some tough minutes, it’s not a bad thing. Really, the low-event nature of this game made it so that Myers’ lack of puck possession didn’t really impact the team all that negatively.


xGF: Ilya Mikheyev has been very snakebitten as of late, though the numbers are saying that it’s only just a matter of time before the dam will break. The Russian put together some solid xGF% numbers to lead the team, recording a 92.46 to lead the Canucks yesterday. That came with a 7-0 scoring chance advantage and a further 4-0 advantage in high-danger chances. Mikheyev posted the lowest xGA (0.07) on the team as well, so it was unfortunate that he couldn’t get anything on the scoresheet yet again. Filip Hronek led the way in raw xGF, putting up a team-best 1.16 yesterday.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko wasn’t the busiest man in the entire world, but when he was needed he was rock solid. The American netminder recorded his 4th shutout of the season by staring down the Sabres’ 1.75 xGF for a 1.75 GSAx, blanking Buffalo’s meagre offence. They only had a total of 3 high-danger shots on him, which really showed just how many opportunities they got. But, Demko was excellent when called upon, and that is what you really need from your goalie in these situations.

Statistical Musings

Getting depth help: Teams are starting the cue in on the Lotto Line, matching them against their best defenders and scheming defensively to control them. While Pettersson-Miller-Boeser did look dangerous last night, their advanced stats were a little on the low side, thanks in large part to the Sabres putting Rasmus Dahlin against them every time they were on the ice. The forward lines that filled in the gaps there were Kuzmenko-Suter-Mikheyev and Hoglander-Aman-Lafferty, producing good numbers together. Hoglander-Aman-Lafferty led all Canuck forward lines at 5v5 with a 66.67 CF% and 94.54 xGF%, while Kuzmenko-Suter-Mikheyev came in a close second with a 92.32 xGF%. Obviously, it was a low-scoring, low-event affair, but to have the depth take advantage of weaker matchups is a positive that can absolutely be taken onwards.
Evening out defence deployment: There was a case of this from earlier this month, but the Canucks did a good job at balancing their defensive pairs’ ice time against the Sabres. Ian Cole had the least ice time of any Canucks defender at 17:01, while Quinn Hughes racked up 21:22 to lead all defencemen. It’s not a big gap and goes a long way to ensuring that the defence corps is still fresh as they approach the finishing line of the road trip. There was a big chasm between the stats of Zadorov and Myers too, showing that they need to be kept fresh for special teams matchups.

As a team

CF% – 45.63% HDCF% – 57.14% xGF% – 55.43%
It was anything but a high-flying, overpowering win. The Canucks had to get themselves into the trenches and really push to get the win in this one. They fought hard to open the scoring and did a good job at locking it down afterwards, responding to chippy play and battling through some suspect reffing. It had a lot of elements of a playoff victory, and that sort of experience halfway through the season to win a game like this should only provide more confidence for what this team can do in the future.
Vancouver should be taking on Columbus tomorrow to close out their road trip.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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