The Statsies: The numbers behind the Canucks’ third period collapse in Minnesota

Photo credit:© Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
4 months ago
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I’m not entirely sure what I just watched.
The Vancouver Canucks lost in absurd fashion, a 10-7 defeat against the Minnesota Wild. Yes, it was entertaining, but it was also just ugly hockey at times. It’s true that they probably didn’t play well enough to win this hockey game. The Canucks weren’t convincing, even as they got themselves into a 5-2 lead. But at the same time, it’s probably true that the officiating went a long way in helping Minnesota get themselves a massive comeback.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It was the home team that got off to the faster start in this one, thanks to a 5-on-3 power play that got the momentum flowing in their direction. But, despite Minnesota holding a 65.00 CF% and 80.07 xGF% share through the first period, it would be the Canucks that struck against the flow to head into the second with a lead. That seemed to carry forth, helped by two consecutive power plays that allowed Vancouver to establish 57.78 CF%, 1.16 xGF, and 62.23 xGF%. It was looking really solid too until the final couple of minutes in the second, when the Wild got another 5-on-3. But with a 5-3 lead going into the third, things would be alright, right?
Yeah, no.
It’s nearly comical to see that massive spike at the start of the third period from all the power plays in succession. Were they earned? Yeah, probably. But it’s also interesting to see just how much the Canucks were put under the microscope by the refs for each of the calls. While Vancouver did manage to establish a 64.44 CF% advantage in the period, the xGF% never followed, sitting at a 40.17 xGF% to close out the game.

Heat Map

Despite the goals from the game, there weren’t actually a lot of shots, and by proxy scoring chances for a game that finished with 16 combined goals. In total, the Wild had a 37-29 scoring chance edge, but just a 13-11 lead in high-danger chances. Goaltending was anything but elite for both teams and it’s genuinely funny to see that the expected goals sat at 3.7-2.48 for Minnesota. They might’ve overperformed those marks, just a bit.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Leading the way in Corsi for the Canucks was Ilya Mikheyev, posting a 72.73 CF% against the Wild. While that didn’t result in anything on the scoreboard, at least the Russian winger didn’t give up a goal against in this one. His 0.10 xGA and 78.76 xGF% were the second-best on the roster at 5v5, generally playing low-event hockey in this one where the game was anything but low-event. Mikheyev also continues to be snake-bitten, producing some great analytics that can be seen in some great chances – and yet, just somehow not converting on them.
Corsi Chump: Sam Lafferty has been in this territory a lot lately, and even against bottom 6 lines he continues to struggle with retaining the puck. His 40.91 CF% brought up the rear on the roster today, with his linemates rounding out the bottom 3. That CF% parlayed itself into being on ice for two goals against, the third-worst xGF% share (45.13) and a 5-8 scoring chance differential. Again, Lafferty and his line have been tossing up bricks as of late, and change would probably do them all a lot of good at this point.


xGF: Conor Garland continued to generate good numbers in this one against the Wild, racking up an 80.65 xGF%. That came with the team’s best xGA of 0.09, limiting Minnesota to just one high-danger chance while he was on the ice. There’s a bit to monitor with Garland after taking shot to the knee late in the second – while he was able to return to the game, it’ll have to be seen if Garland will be out for any further action and further deplete that third line.
GSAx: Not gonna lie, this one is hideous. Casey DeSmith was left in there for far too long after coming off a rest that was probably too long as well. With the Wild recording only 3.09 xGF against the Canucks netminder, DeSmith recorded a miserable -4.91 GSAx. Everything and anything was making it past him in this one, giving up four high-danger goals, two middle-danger goals, and two low-danger goals. With that result, it plunged his GSAx on the season from a respectable 1.75 to a -3.16. Not a great day for DeSmith, suffice it to say.

Statistical Musings

Where one line carried the offence: This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that Miller had a hat trick, but him alongside Pius Suter and Brock Boeser did the heavy lifting for the Canucks at 5v5. His line posted the second-best share metrics for the day, tallying up 63.64 CF% and 62.10 xGF%. But, in terms of sheer volume, they were ahead of every single line, creating 0.52 xGF while the closest other line was at a 0.24. They also were more clinical when it came to creating quality chances – while Höglander-Lindholm-Pettersson had a better scoring chance lead (9-5 vs 7-5), it was Suter-Miller-Boeser that had a 3-1 high-danger chance advantage, while the Swede line gave up a 0-2 high-danger chance deficit.
Hughes-Hronek getting targeted: It happened in the Winnipeg game physically where the Jets were going after the Canucks captain, and it happened again in this one against Minnesota. There were a lot of extracurriculars behind the play in both matchups, and it’s affected both Hughes and Filip Hronek in the games as well. While the pair weren’t bad, it was interesting to note that the two of them recorded two of the worst 3 expected goals against in this game. Hughes finished with a 0.63 xGA as the worst in the lineup, while Hronek wasn’t far behind with a 0.54 xGA in third-worst. They weren’t being sheltered either (as they shouldn’t), playing heavy minutes against the top 6 of Minnesota. But, they’ll need to overcome getting involved in some chippy play from the opposition.
Not so Swede, part 2: Speaking of Höglander-Lindholm-Pettersson, it’s the second game in a row where their metrics aren’t the kindest to them. Yes, they did score a very nice goal together, but at 5v5 their chance generation was a little lacking. They produced the worst xGF% (36.23) together out of any forward line against the Wild, being the only unit to finish below 58.00 xGF% as well. They saw a lot of ice time against the third line of Minnesota, which wasn’t too much of a problem – it was the fact that they were getting dominated by the top 6 of the opposition. When playing against Matt Boldy, Elias Lindholm was coming in with a 28.57 CF% and 10.70 xGF% – not winning numbers by any stretch of the imagination.

As a team

CF% – 53.08% HDCF% – 45.83% xGF% – 40.13%
Honestly, the numbers were just ugly in this one. The Canucks weren’t terrible, playing pretty well through two periods, but got completely derailed due to penalties. For a team that has been so excellent in third periods, shutting down their opposition for the most part, it’s a big disappointment to have been swept away by this momentum swing. Teams will be targeting the best team in the NHL, and the Canucks will have to be ready to play through tough reffing as well.
Vancouver heads right on the road tomorrow, taking on a tough Colorado Avalanche team in their back-to-back in Denver.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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