The Statsies: A rough second period costs the Canucks against the Lightning

Photo credit:© Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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Well, it was a better outing than the one in Philly.
The Vancouver Canucks fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 4-3 scoreline, with a decent bounce back from where they were at in the Flyers game. While the response to Tocchet’s words was there, the result wasn’t, and that isn’t good enough when facing a Tampa team looking disoriented as well as missing their best goalie. There were definitely positives to take away from this game – but the lack of 60 minutes of competitive hockey did the Canucks in.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

If it’s any encouragement, the Canucks were definitely the better team at 5v5 last night. Taking a look at the game flow across all situations, it becomes clear that the majority of Tampa’s pressure, puck possession, and expected goals came from their powerplay. The massive spikes during their man advantages in the first period were pretty much the reason why their trendlines stayed in their halves. The Lightning saw their CF% jump from 28.57% to 47.50% and their xGF go from 0.21 to 1.77 when their powerplays were factored in. When looking at the 5v5 flow, the numbers shift far more in favour of Vancouver:
Vancouver statistically manhandled the Lightning in the first and third periods at 5v5 play. The first saw the Canucks rack up 71.43 CF%, 0.92 xGF, 81.3 xGF%, while the third had them putting up 66.67 CF%, 0.44 xGF, and 66.04 xGF%. That wasn’t the issue – it was how they got demolished at even strength in the second. At 5v5, the Lightning blasted the Canucks to the tune of 70.59 CF%, 1.93 xGF, and 89.01 xGF%. For comparison, Vancouver’s numbers during the middle frame were 29.41 CF%, 0.24 xGF, and 10.99 xGF%. It’s telling that in the second period, Tampa equaled the number of high-danger chances (7) that the Canucks generated over the course of the entire game.

Heat Map

To be entirely fair, this isn’t as ugly as I was expecting it to look. In total, Tampa out-chanced Vancouver 37-25, with a 16-9 differential in high-danger chances. That much is reflected in the bigger hot spot in front of Thatcher Demko, though the density not being a darker red is probably the positive to take away from it. Meanwhile, though the Canucks had 8 fewer high-danger chances, they did have their own little patch in the low slot area. Small victories, perhaps.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Elias Pettersson had a better night than the howler in Philly, racking up a 68.57 CF% while shouldering penalty kill duties. The Swede’s 1.12 xGF ranked him 5th on the team in that category, holding the Lightning to a 0.6 xGA during his TOI as well. The two-way effort comes with him not looking at his best either – perhaps a function of his linemates being a little invisible, and perhaps still feeling a little under the weather. A caveat to Pettersson’s numbers is that at 5v5, he saw 80% of his shift starts and 71.43% of his faceoff starts in the offensive zone. That probably played a role in his metrics looking a bit better, even with his 1:12 in penalty kill time.
Corsi Chump: Nils Höglander did not benefit from being alongside Jack Studnicka and Sam Lafferty last night numbers-wise, as that trio was firmly at the bottom in nearly every metric. Höglander was the one that recorded the worst CF%, his 20.00 coming dead last on the Canucks roster. Out there for one goal against, Höglander posted 0.05 xGF, 0.54 xGA, 8.99 xGF%, a 2-9 scoring chance differential, and a 0-3 high-danger chance differential. It’s not great, but again, this is the fourth line, and numbers like this are sort of expected to happen especially without high-end skill. What was nice to see was Höglander being a hound and giving some really good energy shifts throughout the game.


xGF: Conor Garland was the beneficiary of riding alongside Elias Pettersson last night, his 82.12 xGF% easily the team’s best. Much of that was thanks to the team’s lowest xGA (0.13) in Garland’s favour, but realistically he wasn’t the most threatening or dangerous Canuck last night. Quinn Hughes had the best raw xGF (1.7) against Tampa, helping create a 20-14 scoring chance advantage for the Canucks and leading the team in HDCF with 8.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko was leaned on heavily again last night and did well for himself, perhaps not as dominant as in Philly, but good nonetheless. The Lightning put up 4.33 xGF against the Canucks netminder in total, meaning that for all his efforts, Demko ended the night with a 0.33 GSAx. A large part of that number not looking as good as it possibly should is the fact that 3 goals against were recorded as low-danger shots – meaning that they didn’t have a high expected goals value. Only one goal was high-danger in terms of xGF. Again, it was Demko having to bail the Canucks out, and a positive GSAx is usually always a good sign.

Statistical Musings

Where Tyler Myers was the worst Canuck defenceman: There wasn’t a lot of statistical juice to power that statement in past games, but against the Lightning, the eye test gives a lot of context to Tyler Myers’ numbers. He posted the worst CF% of any Canuck defenceman (28.00), giving up a 3-12 scoring chance differential and a 1-4 high-danger chance advantage to Tampa during his 15:58 TOI. The only two defencemen to post a worse xGF% than Myers were Mark Friedman (who impressively had a 0.00 xGF and xGF%) and Carson Soucy who was dragging Mark Friedman with him. Coupling that with two absolutely boneheaded plays that led directly to goals, it rapidly becomes clear that Myers just cannot be put into a top-four position on this team. The issue seems that Myers already makes up his mind on what to do before the situation even unfolds, causing him to follow through on whatever he was doing whether it’s the right call or not. There just is not a lot to redeem that effort from the Chaos Giraffe, goal scored or not. But, this is perhaps a symptom of the Canucks struggle, not a cause – they really need to get back to defending as a committee to help reduce Myers’ ice time.
JT Miller and his line going to work: If there was one player that looked ready right out of the gate, it was JT Miller. His energy helped his line buzz all last night against the Lightning, even if their rate metrics weren’t leading the team in any category. The PDG – Miller – Boeser unit saw the most ice time at 5v5 (14:04), putting up the most CF (22), the most shots (11), the most xGF (0.59), and the most scoring chances (9). A lot of the reason why they haven’t been highlighted in any of the previous categories is the fact that for the raw amount they generated, they faced a lot coming back the other way – but that’s what happens when you’re chewing up ice time against the top 6 of Tampa. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Miller and Boeser saw over 20 minutes of ice time thanks to their effort and motor last night – and even PDG had 18:07 TOI.

As a team

CF% – 51.30% HDCF% – 36.00% xGF% – 33.84%
While the Canucks got the response that they were probably looking for, the result definitely wasn’t there, and that isn’t good enough for this group or the expectation that they have for themselves. A lack of consistent play over 60 minutes came back and haunted them at the end, in a game where Vancouver probably should’ve earned at least one point. Costly errors became costly because they couldn’t steer the momentum to goals or high-quality chances, unable to bury the Lightning when they had the chance to. But, it’s only four games into the season, and the Canucks are still at .500. It isn’t the end of the world.
Next up, Vancouver rolls into Sunshine, Florida to take on the Stanley Cup finalists Panthers on Saturday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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