The Statsies: Lack of 60 minute effort costs Canucks

Photo credit:© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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It’s never fun to lose to the worst team in the NHL.
The Vancouver Canucks fought back late in the third, but it proved to be too little, too late in a 4-3 loss against the San Jose Sharks. It was nice to see the pushback, to see the elite talent help drive the play in the final 10 minutes, but that just isn’t enough. Against the Kraken, the depth helped carry the top 6 when they vanished, but in this one, that just couldn’t be done. The team has been drifting away from the consistent top-to-bottom efforts that had brought them so much early success, and against the Sharks, it was evident that the Canucks need to get back to where they were before.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The neat part about playing the Sharks so frequently early on in the season is seeing how the different game flows stack up with each other. From the graph above, it becomes clear that aside from their power plays, the Canucks were stagnant at 5v5. They couldn’t move the needle at all against San Jose in the first and second periods, resulting in the trend line observed above. It was also a generally boring game during the first two periods as well – the scoring chances stood at 18-15 for the Sharks, while the shots were 15-13. It seriously was such a dull game, and until San Jose capitalized twice early in the third, the Canucks didn’t get the jolt that they needed. When the team woke up to press for the equalizer, it looked a lot like the Vancouver squad that roared out of the gates in October. The only problem was that it was too late for them to do so.

Heat Map

If there is one consolation, it’s that the heat map was once again very solid. Keep in mind that these are indeed the Sharks of all teams, but the Canucks limited them to just 11 high-danger chances in total for the entire game. On the other hand, Vancouver generated 20 HDCF, resulting in a darker hot spot in the low slot area. The chances were fairly evenly distributed throughout the three periods, but there was a noticeable uptick in scoring chances from 12 in the second period to 20 in the third. Again, this team has the talent to take it up a notch – the issue comes when they aren’t doing enough for the first 50 minutes of the game.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Well maybe Elias Pettersson was just trolling us because last night against the Sharks he was looking a little more like his usual self. The Swede led the Canucks with an 84.62 CF% across all situations and a 72.73 CF% at 5v5. Pettersson ate up ice time as well, out there for the third-most of any Canuck and the highest TOI of any forward. He was finding ways to impact the game even though his shot wasn’t going the right way, helping spark the Canucks with a massive hit in the third. But, Pettersson needs to be just that little bit better and find the finish that he’s been missing for the last while.
Coris Chump: Okay, maybe Anthony Beauvillier shouldn’t be a consistent middle-6 piece on the team. He was being a little bit of a dead weight alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser, racking up a team-low 30.43 CF%. That reflected in his expected goals stats too, with Beauvillier putting up a team-low 0.16 xGF to go along with a 0.75 xGA and 17.38 xGF%, which was also a team-worst. The winger was on ice for 11 scoring chances against, 5 of them coming at high danger. Essentially, Beauvillier was on ice for just under half of San Jose’s high-danger chances, which isn’t the best reflection on his play.


xGF: Pettersson finds himself in this category too, posting the best xGF% numbers on the roster with an 82.46. He recorded a sparkling team-high xGA of 0.09 at 5v5, on ice for a 26-4 scoring chance difference and a further 9-0 HDCF advantage. It was great to see that the numbers were back to what many were used to when it came to his performance, but hopefully with more tangible production as a result. Leading the way in raw xGF was none other than Quinn Hughes with a 3.13, followed closely behind by Filip Hronek’s 3.05.
GSAx: Because of how low-event the majority of this game was, Casey DeSmith faced only 2.13 xGF. With 4 goals against, his GSAx on the night sat at -1.87, which isn’t the best. Half of the goals against that he faced came from high-danger areas, with one at middle-danger and one at low-danger. It wasn’t DeSmith’s sharpest night, but he’s earned a little slack from previous performances. It’s hard as well when the team in front of you isn’t at its sharpest either.

Statistical Musings

Nils Höglander is buzzing: Höglander is on a mission to prove that he should be a top-6 forward on this team. While his point streak was snapped against the Sharks, he was one of the only Canucks to have been consistently an offensive engine. At 5v5, Höglander recorded the second-best CF% (72.41) and 4th-best xGF% (80.88). What also stands out is that no Canucks had more xGF than Höglander at even strength (1.39). It makes sense that Tocchet would end up sliding the Swede alongside Miller and Boeser, with that line paying off statistically at even strength. In their brief stint together, the trio would record the best CF% (83.33), xGF% (100.00), SCF% (100.00), and HDCF% (100.00) of any forward unit last night. It’s probably worth trying out this line for a longer period of time, not only to generate more top-6 offence but to reward Höglander for his good run of form.
On the other hand…: In stark contrast to Höglander’s presence on the Miller+Boeser combo, Beauvillier seemed to be the weak link when it came to their stats. The Beauvillier-Miller-Boeser line finished with the worst CF% (38.89), xGF% (29.31), SCF% (22.22), and HDCF% (0.00) of the Canucks’ forward combinations against the Sharks. It’s wild to think that this is the stat line of two of the Canucks’ stars against a team like San Jose, and especially when put in comparison to Höglander’s time with Miller and Boeser. Beauvillier needs to figure it out, as his place in the lineup is rapidly becoming uncertain.

As a team

CF% – 62.40% HDCF% – 64.52% xGF% – 62.59%
The final stats are generous to the Canucks’ effort last night. The final push in the third period help bring a lot of the final rate metrics up, but it was a very pedestrian game where neither team took initiative. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Sharks seized the chances first, and by the time they got around to responding, there wasn’t enough time to make it all the way back. That just isn’t good enough from the team, especially one with playoff ambitions.
Vancouver have a slight break before going into Anaheim on Tuesday to take on the Ducks.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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