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The Statsies: Quinn Hughes dominates in expected goals against the Panthers

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Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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Getting back into the win column against last year’s Stanley Cup finalist is definitely a good feeling.
The Vancouver Canucks made sure to not leave the state of Florida empty-handed, coming up with a 5-3 win against the Florida Panthers. It wasn’t a perfect game by any means, but one where the Canucks definitely did a lot more good things than bad ones. Players stepped up with big individual performances, and we all got to see Quinn Hughes make it personal when it came to ranking defencemen in the league.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Last night’s game flow was a good example of how a team can have the puck a lot yet not manage to generate too many expected goals. Florida had the lion’s share of Corsi, a total of 60.61 CF% over the course of 3 periods at 5v5 which included a 78.79 CF% third period due to score effects. With that puck possession, the Panthers only barely out-chanced the Canucks 22-20, with a slightly bigger edge in HDCF (12-7). But even considering that, Florida’s xGF sat at 2.25, while Vancouver’s was 1.74. The second period was also a very well-played period by the Canucks. Holding the Panthers to just one scoring chance (a high-danger one) at 5v5, Vancouver shut them down to a 0.22 xGF, while putting up a 0.94 xGF themselves to really help push the momentum in their favour.

Heat Map

The Vancouver Canucks continue to struggle to generate high-danger chances. In total last night, they gave up a 14-9 differential which is better than being nearly doubled in the previous games, but still not the best. If it is any consolation though, Vancouver did a generally better job at peppering Sergei Bobrovsky, generating 3.71-2.84 xGF advantage despite the difference in high-danger chances. It speaks to the Canucks testing Bobrovsky a lot more even if it wasn’t from the best areas, and shooting the puck more led to a higher probability of converting some of those chances into goals.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: This one, to no one’s surprise, is Quinn Hughes, who logged a 65.38 CF% over the course of a monstrous 25:50 TOI. The defenceman just looked like he was on another level against the Panthers, the puck completely on a string as he dipsy-doodled his way all over the ice. Hughes was on ice for a 20-12 shot differential, giving up his first goal against this season but also scoring his first. The positive, creative impact that he brings to this team from the back end cannot be understated, and it seems that Hughes has found yet another level to push himself to this season.
Corsi Chump: The fourth line was the weak link in the chain against the Panthers. For the second game in a row, they got limited minutes, and the stats show much of the reason why. Dakota Joshua brought up the rear in the CF% department, posting just a 16.00 in 12:01 TOI. While he was on ice, the Canucks recorded one shot and gave up 10, with two goals against to boot. Joshua recorded the second-lowest xGF% on the team (23.65), the lowest xGF (0.19), as well as finishing with a 3-9 scoring chance differential and 1-4 HDCF differential. Overall, it wasn’t a good game for him or the rest of his line, and as such their limited ice time was probably a good thing.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: This one will have two winners to highlight. To lead things off, Brock Boeser finished the game with the Canucks’ highest xGF% (79.91). His entire line with JT Miller and Phil Di Giuseppe were just buzzing all night, continuing the strong momentum they had in the Tampa game and rolling through the Panthers when they were on the ice. Boeser’s 1.97 xGF ranked him 3rd in that category, potting in his 6th goal of the year to go along with a 13-4 scoring chance advantage.
The other person we need to talk about is Quinn Hughes, who was heads and shoulders in first place for raw xGF (2.96). JT Miller, who finished second in xGF, had 2.12. Hughes’ numbers were damped a bit by the fact that 6/8 of the scoring chances he faced were high-danger, but other than that, the defenceman was on ice for the most amount of scoring chances for (16) and high-danger chances for (8). He was a machine last night, and it can’t be said enough. Maybe now the Eastern media will take him seriously.
GSAx: No goalie controversy here, but Casey DeSmith did his job solidly against Florida. The Panthers only racked up 2.84 xGF against the netminder, which means that he barely finished in the negatives with a -0.16 GSAx. That can pretty much be chalked up to the slightly weak five-hole goal he gave up, so it’s not a major cause for concern that he was on the minus side last night. Honestly, if your backup netminder turns in that kind of performance, you have a really good chance at winning hockey games. All three goals scored against DeSmith were recorded as high-danger.

Statistical Musings

Ilya Mikheyev’s return: After returning from ACL surgery and rehab, Ilya Mikheyev looked to make a positive impact in his season debut. Reunited alongside Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, the trio looked solid, having themselves a solid night on the scoresheet. However, the underlying stats weren’t the kindest to the Russian winger, who saw himself finish with a 36.67 CF% and 30.48 xGF% at 5v5 play last night. It was the same story for his linemates, so it wasn’t as if he was dragging them down. In fact, Mikheyev looked like he was in the right spots at the right times, just unable to steer things the way he usually would. It’ll come with time and more reps, but the numbers right now are far cry from when this unit was the best line in hockey for a solid month.
Time to try a new fourth line?: What’s nice about a fourth line that isn’t working is the ability to swap out pieces and give a new unit some runs together. Joshua-Suter-Lafferty did not look like they were on the ball against Florida, finishing last at 5v5 in CF% (17.65), xGF (0.00), xGF% (0.00), all the while giving up 4 high-danger chances while not getting any of their own. It shouldn’t be an expectation for this line to generate offence – that’s not what they are there for. But, it isn’t good that they can’t eat up any minutes over the course of the game and generally looked outmatched. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what others have to offer and do some mixing up in the bottom 6.

As a team

CF% – 44.88% HDCF% – 39.13% xGF% – 56.68%
While high-danger chances continue to be elusive to the Canucks, the goals and wins are coming. Whether they’re sustainable is another question, but it’s still nice to see victories like this. Hopefully, Andrei Kuzmenko’s tally helps him get going alongside a slightly hobbled Elias Pettersson, while PDG – Miller – Boeser continues to be Vancouver’s engine, adding to the fact that Hughes seems to have unlocked another gear with the C on his chest. There’s a lot to think about through the first five games of the season, to say the very least.
Vancouver wraps up their road trip on Tuesday against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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