The Statsies: Quinn Hughes the difference maker in Canucks win over Preds

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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It was spooky season, but a treat was in the books rather than a trick.
The Vancouver Canucks triumphed over the Nashville Predators on Halloween, delivering a 5-2 victory. But the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story – the Canucks were on the back foot at even strength and looked a little disjointed at times. They managed to settle down as the game went on, but it was an off-game for this group after a string of good performances. However, good teams find ways to win games even when they aren’t at their best, and perhaps Vancouver gave us a look at their ability to dig deep to find wins.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

For whatever reason, the Canucks failed to launch the right way in the first period. They looked weirdly out of sync, and perhaps it had something to do with the ice, but it definitely didn’t lend well to their momentum through the entire game. Nashville controlled the play at 5v5 strength, having more than a couple of stretches of offensive zone pressure thanks to good puck retention. The Predators managed a 62.92 CF%, 72.73 HDCF%, and 68.8 xGF% over the course of the game at even strength, comfortably on top of the Canucks. But, Vancouver managed to find chances and take advantage of them, which was all they needed to pull out the win.

Heat Map

The heat map isn’t surprising given the stats that Nashville put up last night. The Preds held a 16-6 HDCF lead at 5v5, with a total of 19-11 chances in their favour across all situations. Nashville leveraged that advantage to rack up 3.39 xGF at 5v5 and 4.1 xGF in total, far outpacing the Canucks at even strength. But, Vancouver managed to make up the difference on their special teams, with the Canucks jumping from 1.54 xGF at 5v5 to 3.22 in all situations. It definitely wasn’t the best of games from Vancouver at either end of the ice – but they just found enough to push them to a victory.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Quinn Hughes is currently torching Eastern media for their takes. The Canuck captain took it on his shoulders to help buoy this team on their run of good form, leading Vancouver last night with a 68.29 CF%. At 5v5, Hughes was managing to hold a 58.06 CF%, which is definitely good considering how much the Canucks were out-possessed last night, as well as holding a 13-5 shot differential at even strength. Special shoutout to Nils Höglander for coming in second at 5v5 in CF%, as in his limited minutes he managed a 56.25 CF%.
Corsi Chump: Mark Friedman finds himself as the worst Corsi man on the Canucks last night, coming in at a 24.14 CF%. However, that’s not a poor effort from him, considering that Vancouver didn’t do the best at puck possession anyway. Friedman conceded the worst xGF% (8.80) on the team as well, with a 2-14 scoring chance disparity and 1-5 HDCF differential. But yet, partnered up with Ian Cole, they didn’t concede a single goal against, managing to cover their roles pretty well for the most part against a better Preds team at 5v5.


xGF: Who else but Quinn Hughes? Though he didn’t manage to record a goal, the defenceman chipped in with 3 assists en route to a 67.65 xGF% to lead the team. Hughes’ raw 1.71 xGF led the team, while a 0.82 xGA saw him as the best defenceman in that stat. He led the Canucks with 17 scoring chances while he was on ice, while retaining an 8-4 advantage in the high-danger chance category. Even though the Hughes-Hronek pair finally gave up their first goal against (and it was thanks to poor forward coverage), it was an unreal effort by the Canucks captain who looks to have the puck on a string lately.
GSAx: What can be said about Thatcher Demko? The netminder was dialed in last night to pick up the slack, stonewalling the Predators at pretty much every turn they made. Demko turned aside 27 of 29 shots, facing down a 4.10 xGF and coming out with a 2.10 GSAx. The goals came categorized as one high-danger, one low-danger, but other than those moments Demko was pretty much perfect. Perhaps being able to rest has allowed him to stay dialed in, and being healthy after a year probably helps in delivering these kinds of performances.

Statistical Musings

Pettersson’s weird hat trick night: Three goals by a player usually should mean that they were heads and shoulders the best player on the team that given night. In Elias Pettersson’s case, it was more of a mixed bag. Yes, the centre kept hot in the points regard, but his analytics from last night were a little ugly. At 5v5, Pettersson was mainly facing off against Ryan O’Reilly and Yakov Trenin, yet only putting up a 33.33 CF% and a measly 0.27 xGF. In fact, his xGF% of 14.12 at even strength made him the fourth-worst Canuck. Pettersson gave up the most xGA at 5v5 (1.65) and all strengths (2.13), which definitely isn’t a sustainable indicator for continued success at the defensive end. But, at the end of the day, Pettersson put the puck home three times and only gave up one 5v5 goal against. We’ll chalk it up as an off day unless proven otherwise.
Fourth-line energy: With Pettersson being a little off and JT Miller getting benched for a period of time in the second, it was the fourth line that stepped up in the absence and helped drive the Canucks through a bit of a lull. Höglander-Lafferty-Beauvillier saw 8:19 TOI against the Preds, leading the team in CF% (50.00) while posting a respectable 42.91 xGF%, about 13.97 xGF% rel to the team average without them to show that they were making a positive impact. Lafferty got on the board against Nashville, and while depth scoring still generally eludes the Canucks, they did get what they needed defensively and energy-wise from their fourth-line in place of others in the lineup.

As a team

CF% – 41.28% HDCF% – 36.67% xGF% – 43.97%
It wasn’t the Canucks’ best game. It was a good effort to win it in the end, but there were lapses and mishaps throughout the 60 minutes. And yet, despite getting outplayed for the majority of the game at 5v5, they clawed two points out of this one, perhaps a cosmic compensation for losing against the New York Rangers. Tocchet continues to be spot on, happy about the win but not happy about the process. That type of accountability will go a long way as the season wears on when a team needs to be better to get results.
Next up, the Canucks head down for a quick trip to San Jose as they face off against the Sharks on Thursday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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