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The Statsies: Ilya Mikheyev’s worst game as a Canuck results in a benching

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Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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That was not a pretty hockey game.
The Vancouver Canucks lost 5-2 against the Seattle Kraken last night in a game where they didn’t look good at all. Everything was just out of sync – from the even strength play to the power play, all of what made Vancouver so good this year just went missing. They bled odd-man rushes, their top-end talent (besides JT Miller) was missing, and the depth went cold, unable to buoy them to more results. It just wasn’t good and the Canucks got the result they deserved.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

From beginning to end, the Canucks were not convincing. Through the first, they did have a 61.33 xGF% share but found themselves reeling in the second and third, posting a 22.26 xGF% share in the final frame when they were chasing the game. For the first and second, Vancouver recorded 42.86 CF%, struggling to get any consistent puck possession. Their power plays didn’t help matters either – getting four looks, each of them lacking any real increase in CF% or xGF%, which is disappointing given the inherent advantages that they should be producing.

Heat Map

If there’s one positive to take away from the heat map, it is that Vancouver didn’t yield a true high concentration of high-danger chances, with a faint patch in front of their own net. On the other hand, it was clear that the Canucks were out-chanced last night, failing to get much going on the offensive side while also giving up more chances against. In total, Seattle produced a 22-16 scoring chance lead with a further 10-6 high-danger chance advantage. Certainly not domination against the Canucks, with the chances kept to a low number – but the proportions of them are concerning with Vancouver not able to generate much against the Kraken.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: JT Miller was doing his best again last night, looking like a $12.5 million man. He led the team in CF% with a 60.00, the only Canuck to crack the 60s in that stat. Miller recorded the third-best xGF (0.5) and third-best xGF% (65.65) as he drove his line for the majority of the game. That resulted in the opening goal of the game and a couple of chances throughout the matchup – but, outside of Miller, there really wasn’t much happening, and that is a problem.
Corsi Chump: It’s not often that Conor Garland finds himself here, but the winger was the worst Corsi man on the Canucks last night, posting a 26.32 CF%. The other stats weren’t kind to Garland either — he had a team-worst 8.68 xGF%, a team-low 0.08 xGF, giving up a 1-8 scoring chance deficit to the Kraken with a 0-5 hole for high-danger chances. It seems that he and Teddy Blueger (along with the rest of the Canucks) are sorely missing the presence of Dakota Joshua, with Pius Suter not able to fill in well alongside the duo.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Surprisingly, Tyler Myers led the Canucks in xGF% against the Kraken, recording a 73.29 xGF% alongside Ian Cole. He finished with the second-highest xGF (0.56) on the team, holding a solid 3-1 difference in high-danger chances while being on ice for a goal for and a goal against. It’s not a great thing that he’s leading the team in xGF% though, pointing to more failings across the board than just Myers playing well.
GSAx: Perhaps resting Thatcher Demko last night would’ve been a good call, given the Boston matchup coming Saturday. He was not helped by the team in front of him, but with the Kraken only posting 2.27 xGF on the night, Demko finished with a -1.73 GSAx. Not great numbers, to say the least, giving up two low-danger goals and one middle-danger goal. He’s been seeing a lot of starts since the All-Star break, and while Casey DeSmith hasn’t been entirely convincing as of late, it’s probably worth icing the backup not only to keep him warm but to have Demko rested for some of the bigger matchups coming up.

Statistical Musings

Ilya Mikheyev’s no good, bad night: The Russian has seen the bottom fall out of his game. During the slump he’s been in, Mikheyev still found a way to generate some good rate metrics and chances, even if they weren’t going in. But against the Kraken, Mikheyev simply wasn’t good. When he was on the ice, the Canucks were out-shot 0-5, the winger doing absolutely nothing in his brief 6 minutes. Mikheyev was flat out invisible, not engaged and not doing anything good – and that led to his benching in the third period as the Canucks failed to chase down the game. Something has to change, as that $4.75 million cap hit looks to be weighing down the Canucks heavily at this point.
Third-line suffering: Suter found himself alongside Blueger and Garland as Arshdeep Bains drew into the Canucks top 6 (and did pretty well for the most part). However, the Suter-Blueger-Garland combination was absolutely miserable against the Kraken, the worst line the Canucks had by far. The trio recorded the worst CF% (10.00), the worst xGA (0.47), the worst xGF (0.01), the worst xGF% (1.82), the most scoring chances against (6), and the most high-danger scoring chances against (3). Simply put, Vancouver didn’t have a worse unit statistically against the Kraken last night, and that was with Nils Aman being his usual invisible self. The depth was carrying the Canucks to wins just a couple of weeks earlier – and this is another example of why you need your star players to perform day in and day out.
Big Z’s tough night: Speaking of Russians not having a good time, Nikita Zadorov was pretty bad against Seattle as well. By far the Canucks’ worst defenceman, Zadorov posted a 28.00 CF%, 2-11 shot differential, team-worst 0.93 xGA, 23.57 xGF%, and surrendered a 1-4 high-danger chance differential. He’s earned some slack alongside Noah Juulsen for their play lately, and perhaps its a byproduct of being leaned on a little more heavily given the struggles of Hughes-Hronek as of late. But, these kinds of numbers don’t usually lead to success, and with Zadorov being on ice for three goals against, it has to change for the Canucks to re-discover their winning ways.

As a team

CF% – 45.71% HDCF% – 37.50% xGF% – 31.86%
Simply put, the Canucks looked bad. They were tired, they were slow, they gave up a lot of odd-man rushes and broke down too many times defensively. There was nearly nothing to speak of offensively either, with the Canucks unable to generate much at even strength or on their ice-cold power play. JT Miller can only do so much, and with the rest of the big stars being pretty invisible across the ice, it’s simply not a good enough effort. Yes, fatigue probably has played a role in all of this, but the Canucks just looked tepid all night yesterday.
Vancouver returns home for a big matchup on Saturday, facing off against the new top team in the league, the Boston Bruins.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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