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The Statsies: The numbers behind the Lotto Line’s domination of the Devils

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Photo credit:© Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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That might’ve been the best 5v5 performance by this team in a decade.
The Vancouver Canucks took home a wild 6-4 win against the New Jersey Devils in a game where they probably deserved to win by more. The opening period was absolutely dominant hockey by the Canucks, something that we haven’t seen since the cup window era. It was fantastic, and the reunion of the Lotto Line seemed to provide a spark that got this team rolling. Yes, Vancouver did give up four goals in some shaky defensive moments, but for whatever reason, the vibes were simply immaculate in this bounce-back victory.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Vancouver thoroughly controlled the puck in this game. The first period saw the Canucks hold an absurd 79.49 CF%, the Corsi margin being 31-8. With that puck possession came a 10-2 HDCF lead, quintupling the Devils 15-3 in total scoring chances in the frame. A 2.18 xGF showed just how unlucky the Canucks got in the first period, but the goals came soon enough. The only period where the Canucks were out-possessed was the third, due in large part to score effects, but even then, they managed a 39.47 CF% across all situations. Vancouver did an excellent job at translating their possession to offensive pressure, and deservedly kept hold of the momentum over the course of the game.

Heat Map

With the high-danger chances being 20-9 in favour of Vancouver, it’s not surprising to see a heat map like this one. The Canucks kept the Devils from establishing a hot spot in any area, much less high-danger spots, while they got chances in the bunches in the slot area. It’s a heat map that is as good as you could possibly want it, with the only concern being that the goals given up were from relatively softer areas. These are low-percentage chances, which could suggest either complete defensive mishaps or just bad goaltending. More likely, it was a combination of the two.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Andrei Kuzmenko had one of his best games in a Canucks uniform. Not from a points perspective, but from how complete his effort was last night alongside Pius Suter and Ilya Mikheyev. Kuzmenko led the Canucks with an 81.82 CF%, with Vancouver outshooting New Jersey 15-4 in the time he was on ice. The Russian’s numbers back up the eye test, where he looked engaged as a forechecker, breaking the puck in for zone entries and moving his feet in the defensive zone. Even the goal against didn’t seem to be a result of his defensive lapse, with Kuzmenko doing his job up top against his man.
Corsi Chump: In a game where the Canucks so handily out-possessed their opposition, the worst Corsi man’s numbers aren’t looking too shabby. That’s the case for Ian Cole, who tallied up a 50.00 CF% against the Devils to come in last on the roster. The other metrics show that his night was anything but poor – Cole recorded 1.42 xGF (8th best) and was on ice for one goal for and one goal against. It’s genuinely not bad at all, given that he was deployed against all of the Devils’ top 9.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Kuzmenko posted an absurd 91.23 xGF% to lead the Canucks last night, benefitting much from his second-best 0.12 xGA, which was just barely behind Mikheyev’s 0.08 xGA. While he was on the ice, Vancouver had a 12-2 disparity in scoring chances, and a further 5-0 lead in high-danger chances. Again, the line didn’t score last night, but these are really good results from Kuzmenko, especially given the struggles he’s had recently staying in the lineup. Quinn Hughes once again led the Canucks in raw xGF, a 2.5, showing just the kind of pressure that Vancouver was mounting against New Jersey over the course of the game.
GSAx: This was probably the most expected part of this write-up, but Thatcher Demko wasn’t himself last night. The Devils only managed a paltry 1.70 xGF, which meant that Demko finished the night with a -2.30 GSAx which could’ve cost the Canucks the win here. The goals were split evenly between middle-danger and low-danger, so it wasn’t all bad, but consider this – New Jersey only had 4 high-danger shots against Demko all night. He didn’t face the kind of chances or pressure that would’ve warranted conceding 4 goals, and, fortunately, Vancouver was able to pot in 6 goals to offset any negative impact that Demko might’ve had between the pipes.

Statistical Musings

The Lotto Line, reunited: A point of discourse before last night was whether the Lotto Line should be put back together after being separated for the last couple of seasons. Seemingly reading our minds, Rick Tocchet lined up JT Miller, Elias Pettersson, and Brock Boeser back together against the Devils. Right from the start, they recaptured the offensive magic that had defined their nickname in the first place. Four goals on the night, two from Pettersson and two from Miller, the trio combining for 8 points in total together. Underneath the counting stats were some very impressive advanced stats as well. The Lotto Line finished the night with a 60.00 CF% and 78.65 xGF%, both of which were second-best in rate metrics to the Kumzenko-Suter-Mikheyev combination. However, where Pettersson-Miller-Boeser was able to set themselves apart was just the volume that they put up, recording a team-best 0.88 xGF and 5 HDCF amongst forward lines. It’s the type of magic that makes one wonder why they’ve rarely been featured together – although, it remains to be seen if they can keep hitting the lotto jackpot together.
So, if the Lotto Line is back together… who plays 2C?: This question is probably the one that will be floating around if Miller finds himself with Pettersson again. Granted, Suter did well last night against the Devils, with his line producing the best CF% and xGF% amongst forward lines. But, he isn’t a long-term solution on the second line, and neither is Teddy Blueger for all the good that the Garland-Blueger-Joshua combination is doing. Nils Aman was disappointing last night, caught out of position for two goals against, so questions will arise a bit about the center depth that the Canucks will be sporting if the Lotto Line resumes being a unit.
Another night, another Hughes record: We’ve avoided the”Quinn Hughes is the best thing since sliced bread” conversation for a while now, but a shoutout is in order as Hughes surpassed Alex Edler for the most multi-point games by a Canucks defenceman in franchise history. His three assists against the Devils were the 69th time that he’s recorded a multi-point game, pushing him nicely past Edler’s 68. Absurdly enough, this is only his 5th full season with the Canucks – and already, the franchise records are falling one by one this season.

As a team

CF% – 61.42% HDCF% – 68.97% xGF% – 73.75%
The Canucks went into the Prudential Center and dominated the Devils. Again, the scoreline showed a much closer game than it probably deserved to be, but it’s both a good and bad thing for this team. They’ll need to be more clinical with the chances that they generate, making sure to keep their own end clean and giving themselves a buffer in case of defensive lapses. At the same time, it’s nice to just outplay a very solid opponent, handily controlling the momentum of the game with the puck on a string at times. It is important to recognize that the Devils were without their big gun in Jack Hughes along with a very solid Timo Meier, which definitely would’ve impacted the result – but props to the Canucks for capitalizing on this opportunity.
Vancouver rolls into the Big Apple on Monday, taking on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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