The Statsies: Rick Tocchet’s masterclass and an excellent second period help push Canucks into series lead

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
29 days ago
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What a response.
The Vancouver Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers by a 3-2 scoreline off of a dramatic JT Miller winner late in the third. But it wasn’t just luck that the Canucks won – they played their best hockey of the postseason in this win. Sure, the start wasn’t ideal, but Vancouver responded to the passenger’s comments with hungry, physical play, driving the play through the second and third before finally burying that go-ahead goal. Tocchet’s adjustments looked bang on as the team came out with so much more pop, securing the win in a pivotal Game 5.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It didn’t look so promising right out of the gates, as Vancouver took an early penalty and were hemmed in their own end for the first 5 minutes of the game before conceding the opening goal. The Oilers had a hefty 59.26 CF% and 60.26 xGF% edge, generating a 6-2 high-danger chance differential to finish the opening frame up 2-1. But the intermission was exactly what the Canucks needed to turn this game right on its head. They took the play to Edmonton in the second, compiling a 69.57 CF% and 81.34 xGF% share in the limited 5v5 minutes, out-high-danger-chancing the Oilers 4-0 in that 10:47 span. The penalty kill was huge too, managing to blank the lethal Oilers’ powerplay all night and a key reason why the Canucks continued to keep the momentum going. The final period opened up, and while the Canucks were only coming in at a 44.74 CF%, they held the narrow 50.89 xGF% advantage, enough to bury the game-winner with 31 seconds left.

Heat Map

Once again, the Canucks did a good job at chance suppression at 5v5, and this go-around they managed to get some good chances of their own. At 5v5, the scoring chances stood at 22-22, while the Canucks had a narrow edge in high-danger chances by a 10-9 margin. They had a lot more attempts around the Edmonton net, not giving up a lot in front of their own net either. The power play also looked more dangerous, with Vancouver getting another 8 HDCF on the man-advantage, and the penalty kill once again shone through as the Oilers only had 1 HDCF during their 5 power plays. Overall, Vancouver outplayed Edmonton across all special teams and even strength – and when a team puts together that kind of complete performance, it’s not often that they’re on the losing end of games.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Call it dad strength. Phil Di Giuseppe welcomed his son to the world and then sonned the Oilers in his return to the lineup. Leading Vancouver with a 64.71 CF%, the depth winger was absolutely dynamite on the re-jigged fourth line, tying the game up with a huge spin-o-rama after excellent forechecking work. PDG posted a 61.28 xGF% on the game too, which is impressive considering that he was on ice for a 1-3 high-danger chance deficit. You can’t ask much more out of a depth forward than what PDG gave the Canucks last night, and hopefully that impact continues through into Game 6.
Corsi Chump: This one was interesting to see, because it didn’t feel like Dakota Joshua or his line had a particularly rough game. The winger found himself as the team’s worst Corsi man with a 28.57 CF% while not really getting any particular matchup. Joshua was iced alongside Teddy Blueger and Conor Garland in this one, on ice for both goals against while recording the second-worst xGF% of 24.75, only behind Ian Cole’s 15.25. The numbers aren’t the greatest for Joshua, but it didn’t seem like he was a glaring flaw on this team.


xGF: Elias Pettersson had his best game of the playoffs. Leading the team with a 72.17 xGF%, he also recorded the team’s third-best raw xGF of 1.41, with Quinn Hughes leading that category with a 1.52. Pettersson seemed to take Tocchet’s words to heart, and the effect of having him with competent linemates was pronounced in this one. The Swede tied for the most high-danger chances generated with 7 while being on ice for a 9-5 scoring chance differential, helping tally a primary assist on the game-winner while looking dangerous all over the place. It’s encouraging to see after such a rough patch in the last couple of months, and hopefully Pettersson can continue to build off of last night’s performance.
GSAx: Once more, Arturs Silovs turns in a rock-solid performance between the pipes. The Latvian finished the night with a 0.32 GSAx on 2.32 xGF from the Oilers, turning away everything besides a high-danger chance and a low-danger chance. The Canucks definitely did a better job in front of him, reducing the sheer volume of shots that he faced, but Silovs more than held up his end of the bargain in this one yet again as he continues to hold down the fort for Vancouver. What a third goalie, eh?

Statistical Musings

How Swede it is: It’s quite the move to break up one of the most consistent lines the Canucks have had throughout the playoffs, but Tocchet put together Elias Pettersson – Elias Lindholm – Nils Höglander against the Oilers in Game 5. It was quite the shift to have Pettersson out on the wing and re-inserting Höglander, along with removing Lindholm from Joshua and Garland who had been so excellent all series. Tocchet reaped the rewards of his line combinations though, getting an incredible performance from this trio. They sat second in CF% amongst Canuck forward lines with 59.09, but the real impact came with their team-best 60.91 xGF%. Pettersson-Lindholm-Höglander produced a 0.84 xGF, by far the best on the team with the next best being Suter-Miller-Boeser’s 0.26. The Swedish trio were on ice for a 8-5 scoring chance differential, along with a 6-3 high-danger chance advantage. Lindholm’s two-way play definitely helped create space for Pettersson last night, and could be a jump-starter for future performances.
Fourth line vibes: Putting Vasily Podkolzin into this lineup seemed to spark something else for the fourth line. They haven’t looked that energetic in a while, forechecking hard and causing plenty of issues for this Oilers team. It isn’t often that the fourth line leads a team in CF%, and yet that’s exactly what PDG – Åman – Podkolzin achieved, posting the team’s best 63.64 and eating up plenty of minutes. They generated good shifts and momentum, playing physically while making sure they didn’t allow Edmonton many looks either. It was a great performance from the bottom of the lineup and should bode well going forth.
Battling McDavid to a standstill: This isn’t counting the chickens early, but the tide was definitely not flowing in Connor McDavid’s favour last night. He looked slow and tired, missing that usual high-gear that he has. JT Miller played a big role in shutting down the Oilers’ captain once more, holding him pointless and limiting him to only 2 shots at 5v5. Miller actually put up 0.47 xGF against McDavid while only giving up 0.16 xGA, which is impressive to say the very least. His frustration from Game 4 translated into an excellent Game 5 defensively before creating a cathartic goal and moment at the very end.
Tyler Myers Legacy Game: It’s crazy to think about how far Tyler Myers has come from the start of his contract to now. Sure, the defenceman is still probably overpaid, but he’s been turning in solid performance after solid performance. Tasked with facing against McDavid in Game 5, he rose to the challenge and then some, leading all defenceman with a 71.65 xGF%, which also was the team’s second-best mark. Myers kept things lowkey when it came to scoring chances, making sure that he wasn’t on ice for a single high-danger chance against while putting up 4 HDCF. That’s impressive, considering 11:39 of his 16:04 TOI was against the Oilers’ top line. Myers was anything but lowkey when it came to the physicality though, dishing out a heavy game on the back end to boot.

As a team

CF% – 54.69% HDCF% – 64.29% xGF% – 63.27%
The Canucks absolutely deserved to win. Sure, the start wasn’t ideal, but they stemmed the tide and found their answer, playing one of the most complete games they’ve had all postseason. They forechecked hard, they stifled the only Oilers’ offensive players, they killed penalties and they got chances in bunches. The only thing lacking was a power play tally, but that’s a minor detail in a game where the entire lineup was giving their very best. It doesn’t get much better than this in a Game 5 win.
Vancouver heads back to Edmonton for Game 6 on Saturday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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