The Statsies: Pius Suter flourishes on Elias Pettersson’s wing in Canucks’ win over Preds

Photo credit:© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
4 months ago
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It was anything but the blues in the Music City.
The Vancouver Canucks rolled through the Nashville Predators 5-2 at Bridgestone Arena, making Norris candidates look silly and chasing Vezina candidates to the bench. Wagon status was reclaimed as this team played a solid hockey game on the road. Excluding the lull at the start, the Canucks took their chances when they got them, playing some excellent hockey to thrust themselves into the driver’s seat. And, when put into position to close out the game, Vancouver frustrated Nashville at every turn to secure the result.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The opening minutes of the first were boring. Seriously, barely anything happened through 10 minutes of this hockey game. Luckily for the Canucks, the Predators were unable to seize the initiative at home, allowing the visitors to grab two goals in quick succession to close out the first with a 2-0 lead. Those two tallies didn’t really lead to much in expected goals or CF% in the second though — and that eventually led to the Preds’ first goal. However, that jolt also gave the Canucks enough fuel to strike back, another two quick goals leading to some more offensive pressure to close out the period. They never were dominant with the puck, but Vancouver was impressive in holding a 1.11-0.52 xGF advantage in the second. The third was a lot more evenly distributed, but that comes as a compliment to the Canucks defence to not allow Nashville to have their way.

Heat Map

Vancouver did a great job in limiting Nashville’s high-danger chances. They only managed a small hot patch right up tight, and everything else was sparse. Out of a total of 7 high-danger opportunities, 6 of them came at 5v5. But even then, that’s 7 high-danger chances out of a total of 26 scoring chances, which are odds you tend to take. For the Canucks, they had 12 high-danger chances, 3 of them coming on the power play, out of a total of 30 scoring chances. That much is reflected by the hot spot in the slot area, nothing too deep but a heavier and wider range than the Preds.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Brock Boeser led the Canucks in CF% with a 78.13 against the Predators. Held off the scoresheet in this one, Boeser still chipped in with his fair share of offensive pressure, helping the Canucks to a 15-4 shot differential while he was on ice, yielding 13-5 scoring chances and 6-1 high-danger chances. That ended up giving Boeser a 1.68 xGF, the 4th-best on the roster, and an 82.97 xGF%, the 3rd-best on the team. The goals have been coming for the winger as of late, and with numbers like these, it makes perfect sense to think that the production will keep on going.
Corsi Chump: It hasn’t been the easiest of times for Phil Di Giuseppe, who finds himself as the worst Corsi man on the Canucks against the Preds. His 31.25 CF% just edges out Noah Juulsen’s 31.43 CF% for worst spot, though the rest of the numbers aren’t horrific. The bottom 6 usually does end up with poorer possession metrics than the top 6, and the fact that PDG’s xGF% stands at 53.45 is really not bad at all. The winger was on ice for both goals against, though the last one was just garbage time consolation for the hosts. All in all, not the worst despite some lacklustre possession numbers.


xGF: Who else but Elias Pettersson? The Swede got the Canucks going with a sneaky beauty of a goal, finishing the game with a team-leading 86.82 xGF%. Much of this was due to the 0.27 xGA he posted on the night, the second-best on the team in that category, but Pettersson did his fair share with the 3rd-best xGF of 1.8. Vancouver held a 13-3 advantage in scoring chances while Petey was on the ice, impressively holding Nashville to 0 high-danger chances as well. Raw xGF saw none other than Quinn Hughes securing the team lead with a 2.09.
GSAx: Casey DeSmith is miles better than any of the backup options the Canucks had last season. Yes, the Predators only had 1.94 xGF, and yes, that means DeSmith is -0.06 GSAx, but that’s marginal. DeSmith was more than enough to help the Canucks secure the victory. The two goals were evenly split between high-danger and middle-danger chances, and a 0.06 difference between actual goals and expected goals is pretty much down to the factors going into the data models. Regardless of the case, what’s important is that DeSmith has picked up points in 8 out of 10 starts for Vancouver, something that was definitely not the case last season.

Statistical Musings

Suter riding shotgun: It might not be a long-term solution, but Pius Suter alongside Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev has yielded some impressive results two games in. Against Nashville, this forward line was easily heads and shoulders above the rest of the units, tallying a team-high CF% (78.57), xGF (0.5), xGA (0.03), xGF% (95.26), and SCF% (85.71), all the while playing the second-most minutes behind the Joshua-Blueger-Garland line. It remains to be seen if this at all is sustainable, but it’s always a nice surprise to get this analytical performance.
Tyler Myers, Canucks 3D: Okay, maybe not that far, but Tyler Myers has been stringing together some solid performances yet again. Against Nashville, the defender logged the third-best 5v5 CF% (51.61) amongst defencemen while also tallying a 71.24 xGF%, which was only behind Quinn Hughes at even strength. The fact that the Chaos Giraffe reined in the chaos is really encouraging for this team, and so far has helped stomach the loss of Carson Soucy. It did take some getting used to playing next to Nikita Zadorov, but the results are trending the right way now.

As a team

CF% – 48.62% HDCF% – 63.16% xGF% – 63.30%
It was a great effort by the Canucks on the road to secure all two points. At no point in this game did the team look overmatched entirely. Sure, sloppy or boring, but Vancouver was never on their heels for an extended period of the game. They converted on the opportunities they got and made them count while making sure that the Predators didn’t get much chance to get back into the game. It’s a blueprint win for the Canucks as of late, and they just seem to be getting their legs rolling more and more.
Vancouver heads into Dallas on Thursday to square off against the Stars.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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