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The Statsies: Mark Friedman leads the Canucks in Corsi against Blues

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Photo credit:© Simon Fearn-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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From top to bottom, that was possibly the most dominant win that this team has had in a long time.
The Vancouver Canucks took advantage of a tired St. Louis Blues team and absolutely rolled them in a 5-0 win. Sure, you can say that the Blues didn’t show up and that was the reason why the Canucks looked so good — but how many times in the past has this team gotten embarrassed by an opponent on the back end of their road trip? It’s great to see another complete effort and getting the results when they should be securing them.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It was suffocating play from the Canucks throughout the game. Their first period saw them throttle the Blues to the point where they literally had a minuscule 0.03 xGF across all situations. Vancouver dominated every metric, an 89.74 CF%, 19-1 scoring chance advantage, 7-0 HDCF differential, 1.85-0.03 xGF lead, and 98.4 xGF% share, showing pretty much the lengths of how they outplayed St Louis. They only had one goal to show for it, and most of the time, a slow second period would’ve cost them. Instead, Vancouver stuck to their guns even in the face of a Blues response, outplaying them at 5v5 to deliver a 3-goal middle frame.

Heat Map

Yes, we can talk about the Blues’ fatigue as a contributing factor to them being offensively inept. But credit to the Canucks for absolutely shutting them down, not allowing them a single hot spot last night across every single situation. In total, Vancouver had 33 scoring chances for and 13 scoring chances against, while maintaining a 16-6 lead in high-danger chances. That much was reflected in this heat map, with the Canucks establishing a good concentration in front of a nervous-looking Jordan Binnington, while the Blues had nothing going in front of Thatcher Demko. That’s pretty much an ideal heat map, one that can and will lead to sustained success if they maintain that level of play.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Holy moley Mark Friedman. He definitely wasn’t my pick to lead the team in Corsi, but here he was, recording an absurd 90.63 CF% with no power play time to speak of. Friedman was on ice for 29 CF and 3 CA, seeing the Canucks throw five shots on net while only facing three. He posted the second-lowest xGA (0.08) on the roster, with Vancouver generating 13 scoring chances for and facing none against during Friedman’s 15:31 TOI. Absurdly, eight out of those 13 scoring chances were high-danger, supporting the idea that Friedman’s solid play at the back helped the Canucks play more freely up front.
Corsi Chump: Somehow Tyler Myers continues to find himself at the bottom of the pile statistically, even in a 5-0 win. He finished as one of only two Canucks under 50.00 CF% alongside his partner Carson Soucy, bringing up the rear with a 42.31. For context, that’s about a -32.38 CF% rel to his team’s average without him. Myers did have an impressive assist to spring a breakaway for Phil Di Giuseppe, but other than that the defender recorded the lowest xGF% on the team (28.02) while also having the worst SCF% (33.33) on the roster. He didn’t cost the Canucks anything against the Blues, but it’s not ideal to be this far off the pace in comparison to the rest of the team.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Surprise surprise, analytical darling Andrei Kuzmenko features in this one through a team-best 94.59 xGF%, a team-low 0.05 xGA helping him a lot in this regard. The Russian winger was part of a 9-1 SCF differential with a 4-0 advantage in high-danger chances when he was on the ice, tallying a very nice assist to Ilya Mikheyev’s first goal of the season. In the raw xGF department, Filip Hronek led the way with an impressive 1.48 xGF, tying with Ian Cole for the most amount of scoring chances for (14).
GSAx: Last night was an un-busy night for Demko, and that’s such a good thing. With all the times that the netminder carried the Canucks on his back only for them to do absolutely nothing with it, games like these allow him to put in a light night’s work and take some of the heavy load off his shoulders. St Louis only managed a paltry 1.71 xGF on 22 shots, and with Demko turning aside every single puck he faced, his GSAx sits at a 1.71 after his shutout. He was still brilliant went needed though – and in this one, he wasn’t needed often.

Statistical Musings

Next line up: Something that stood out on the stat sheet was the fact that every Canuck forward line, at 5v5 play, saw approximately around the same ice time. The Höglander – Lafferty – Beauvillier unit saw the least ice time at 7:01, while Joshua – Suter – Garland was the highest at 8:48 TOI. This comes with an interesting result, as the PDG – Miller – Boeser line actually finished with the worst CF% (58.82) and xGF% (47.72) across all forward groups. What this could indicate is that the Blues were intent on shutting this line down, which makes sense considering how well they have played in the past month, oftentimes being the engine of this Canucks team. Robert Thomas was hard-matched against Miller and Boeser, so the quality of competition was definitely higher for that line. But instead of folding, the Canucks were able to get momentum from their other three lines – something that is invaluable especially when the opposition is trying to smother your best performers. St Louis was probably banking on the fact that Tocchet would ride his hot hands and Vancouver would vanish once their best players were nullified. Instead, the lines were rolled, and good play continued from one line to the next.
About Anthony Beauvillier…: I don’t think Anthony Beauvillier has played poorly. But it’s also clear that he isn’t offering much on his line. Both Höglander and Lafferty have had moments of them driving play visually, and statistically they’ve been posting better possession and goal share metrics away from Beauvillier than with him. It isn’t to the point where Beauvillier is dragging them down – but there isn’t much addition from his end. And sure, a defensively responsible, low-event winger is great to have, just not at the $4.15 million cap hit he’s currently at.
Why Carson Soucy gets a bit of a break: Now the other side of the Tyler Myers equation is his partner, Carson Soucy. Yes, the defender’s numbers weren’t impressive as well, but consider this: Soucy played nearly a full minute more than Myers on the penalty kill on the first unit, while still managing to have better CF% and xGF% tallies than his partner. It says a lot about the defensive responsibilities that Soucy has been getting when looking at his deployment on special teams, and for that matter, it makes sense why his numbers don’t have the gleam to them. And even then, somehow its still better than Myers’.

As a team

CF% – 66.67% HDCF% – 72.73% xGF% – 66.55%
Sure, the final period wasn’t the most impressive bit of hockey that the Canucks played last night – score effects and a pissed-off team would do that to anyone. But what Vancouver accomplished against the Blues was something they hadn’t done in a long time – a complete victory over a tired team, taking advantage of everything they had going their way and capitalizing for a big result. There are good signs with the effort levels and systems that this team is putting forth, and even after their road trip, they looked to have continued the momentum through into this one.
Vancouver is right back in action tonight as they welcome the New York Rangers to Rogers Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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