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The Statsies: Miller and company continue to hum in Canucks loss

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Photo credit:© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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First three-game losing streak of the season!
The Vancouver Canucks lost 3-1 to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver, but it wasn’t a bad hockey game. They came out much faster and harder, matching what the Avs had to offer, even through the fatigue and altitude. There’s nothing wrong with the effort they turned in, and against lesser competition, it probably would’ve been enough for a point or two. The power play continues to be missing, but other than that, it’s a game with plenty of positives, despite the result.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

This is a pretty good visual descriptor of how much power plays can influence the flow of a game. On each of the Avs’ three man-advantages, the trendlines jump for them, seeing an increase in expected goals and Corsi. That’s to be expected when you have the extra man out there, but looking at the Canucks’ two power plays, it’s clear that they weren’t able to do that. In fact, instead of just flatlining, their power plays actually saw a drop in xGF% and CF%, which is quite disappointing. Other than that, Vancouver played pretty well at 5v5, with their best stretches of hockey occurring at even strength and matching what Colorado was putting out there.

Heat Map

It was neck and neck between the two teams when it came to chance generation. Vancouver had the slight edge in overall scoring chances to the tune of 23-22, while Colorado just edged them out with a 12-11 high-danger chance advantage. Something interesting besides the usual hot patches in the crease area is how the Avalanche were also attacking down the left side of the ice. A good chunk of their attempts came from bearing down at the right side of the Canucks’ defence, with even a goal coming from the general vicinity.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Pius Suter has been filling in admirably in the top 6. Against the Avs last night, he led the team with a 76.47 CF%, being on ice for the only goal that the Canucks were able to score. While Suter was playing, Vancouver recorded a 6-2 scoring chance difference and a further 4-0 high-danger chance lead, with Suter tallying up 77.70 xGF%. His 0.15 xGA was the second-lowest on the roster, tied with linemate JT Miller and right behind Brock Boeser’s 0.06 xGA. It was a good performance from Suter as he continues to click in that winger role in the top 6.
Corsi Chump: Arshdeep Bains had his NHL debut last night to much fanfare in the Lower Mainland. Now, the underlying stats weren’t the kindest to him, as he finished with a 37.50 CF% as the team’s worst Corsi man. Bains also had the third-worst xGA of 0.84, with an even 7-7 scoring chance split but a 2-5 deficit in high-danger chances. Now, that doesn’t sound great on paper (because it isn’t the best), but there’s a very good reason for all of this. In his first NHL game, Bains played most of his minutes against one of the most lethal combinations in the world: Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Nathan Mackinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Jonathan Drouin. It’s never easy to play against that combination, so for Bains to be recording those numbers defensively is understandable. The good part is that his hockey IQ looked to be plenty fine, generating good opportunities offensively and adjusting to the pace of NHL hockey as the game went on. At the bare minimum, he’s earned another look in the lineup.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Brock Boeser is beginning to put pucks into the net again, but his underlying stats haven’t disappointed during his cold streak. In this one against the Avs, the winger led the Canucks with an 87.33 xGF%, thanks in large part to the aforementioned best xGA on the team. Boeser was on ice for a 5-1 scoring chance advantage, while the high-danger chances stood at 4-0. While he got on the scoresheet for an assist, hopefully there are more goals in store for Boeser as the season continues on. Leading the way in raw xGF was Teddy Blueger, potting in 0.75 xGF on the night.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko was doing Thatcher Demko things. Colorado posted a 3.01 xGF on him last night, meaning that the netminder finished with a 1.01 GSAx, stopping just over a full expected goal against. The one thing that wasn’t the greatest was the low-danger goal that Demko gave up, with the other coming at high-danger. But besides that, it wasn’t a bad performance at all, and certainly better than whatever happened on February 20th, 2024.

Statistical Musings

Miller Time continues: There was one forward line that was heads and shoulders above the rest – Suter-Miller-Boeser once again. Used as a first line, the trio racked up the highest CF% (83.33), xGF% (90.13), and SCF% (100.00) of any forward combination that the Canucks had last night. They drove most of the offence Vancouver was producing at 5v5, with good defensive play as well with the team’s best xGA (0.04) on top of it all. The numbers have stepped up for them since Dakota Joshua went down with injury too, which couldn’t have come at a better time.
Where Juulsen is the Canucks’ third best defenceman again: This is a nice bounceback. Noah Juulsen did a very solid job last night in his role, coming in as the second-best Canuck in CF% (73.33) and 5th-best in xGF% (65.88). He was dominating against the Avs effective second line with Ross Colton on it, recording a 7-1 scoring chance advantage in that same span. It’s definitely a heck of a lot better performance than the one against the Jets, and continues to show how Juulsen is an important depth piece to this lineup, especially when he’s clicking.

As a team

CF% – 47.57% HDCF% – 47.83% xGF% – 34.11%
It wasn’t a bad game by any means. The Canucks came into high altitude to play against a tough Avs team in the back half of their back-to-back. They matched the home team stride for stride, playing hard, fast forechecking hockey while generally keeping their nose clean defensively. The power play going missing once again cost them, sitting now 3/27 after the All-Star break. Vancouver needs to figure it out on the man-advantage if they want to keep winning, but efforts like these can’t really be faulted. They still sit pretty in first place even after losing three in a row.
Vancouver closes out the road swing in the Pacific Northwest, clashing with the Seattle Kraken on Thursday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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