The Statsies: A strong third period carries the Canucks over the Ducks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
7 months ago
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It wasn’t pretty, but the job was done.
The Vancouver Canucks returned home and managed to beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1, in a game far tighter than most would’ve probably liked. Sure, it was boring at times, but when it wasn’t, the Ducks looked like they were in control of the play. It took a bit before the Canucks decided to show up to play, and luckily for them, the initiative was still theirs for the taking. Top-end talent showed up when they needed to, and that proved to be the difference in this one.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The game flow chart from last night matches very closely with the eye test. After scoring first, Vancouver went flat. They didn’t do anything to keep the momentum going, allowing Anaheim to start peppering them with shots and chances. It’s interesting to see that on the power play in the second period, the Canucks’ CF% and xGF% both drop, something that shouldn’t really be happening when you’re on the man advantage. The Ducks took advantage of that momentum swing to knot the game up. But, thankfully, their offence is also anemic, as despite a 16-7 scoring chance lead and 1.54-0.72 xGF advantage, only one goal came of that run. The final period saw the Canucks ramp it up, tallying a 72.73 CF% share along with a massive 75.10 xGF% total in the third to go ahead and stay ahead for the win.

Heat Map

It’s not a bad heat map to be looking at last night. The scoring chances across all situations stood at 33-30 in favour of Vancouver, with a 16-12 HDCF edge to the Canucks as well. That much is reflected in a bigger hot spot for Vancouver right in front against John Gibson. But, the Ducks also managed a similar concentration in the low-slot/crease area, meaning that they had their fair share of chances there as well. Anaheim couldn’t convert on a single one of theirs, but the other hot spot that they had going was in the right faceoff circle. This could be pointing to poor coverage by the right-sided defencemen and wingers, who gave up a spot on the ice consistently enough for the Ducks to exploit it.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: After spending the last two games out of the lineup, Andrei Kuzmenko slotted back into the Canucks lineup and ended up leading the team in CF% once again. His 73.68 CF% came with 1:49 spent on the power play, with deployment that was just a bit skewed to the offensive zone. While on ice, Kuzmenko’s xGF% stood at 89.45, with a team-low 0.09 boosting that number. The winger saw 9 scoring chances for total, with 5 of them coming at high-danger, while the Ducks didn’t manage a single scoring chance against at the same time. Not a bad way to return to the lineup, all things considered.
Corsi Chump: Filip Hronek finds himself with the worst Corsi numbers on the team, coming in at a 48.57 CF% on the night. That actually isn’t bad in and of itself, as the Czech spent his night splitting time between Cole McWard and Tyler Myers, neither of which who were a net-negative either. In that span, Hronek faced an 8-11 scoring chance differential, a further 4-6 HDCF difference in favour of the Ducks to record a 40.45 xGF% share. That was also a team-low, but again, if the team-low is in that range, it’s really not that bad of a performance overall.


xGF: This is going to Quinn Hughes, who tallied up 71.63 xGF% against the Ducks. His 2.43 xGF led all Canucks, while tying for the team lead in scoring chances for (19) and high-danger chances for (9). The person that tied with him? Tyler Myers, who spent 6:45 alongside Hughes during the Ducks game. Noah Juulsen was the defenceman who played the most with Hughes at 7:15, with both him and Myers benefitting from the play of Hughes to have decent stat lines to finish the night.
GSAx: With the Canucks having to ride out a tide of Ducks chances, Thatcher Demko needed to be sharp and he was. Anaheim totaled up a 3.00 xGF against him, meaning that the goalie finished last night with a 2.00 GSAx. It’s been a bit of a mixed bag for him as of late, coinciding with this team’s dip in form, but only giving up one middle-danger goal is not bad for a day’s work for Thatcher Demko.

Statistical Musings

Despite the goal…: This isn’t something where I’m trying to rag on Elias Pettersson. He’s been chipping in points-wise and is still amongst the league leaders. But, his 5v5 advanced stats aren’t exactly where they usually are. Against the Ducks, Pettersson recorded the fourth-worst CF% (52.17) and third-worst xGF% (44.10), which isn’t usually where he’s at. Pettersson also saw about 60% of his shift and faceoff starts in the offensive zone, showing that his deployment was slightly advantageous for his cause. Again, not saying that he had a poor game, but this isn’t the usual Dekey Petey who’s playing with confidence.
A reunion that worked: At this point, it should be a revolving door on the JT Miller – Brock Boeser line to see which winger works the best. Phil Di Giuseppe was reunited with the duo after the Anthony Beauvillier trade, and he looked right back at home with them. The trio recorded the best CF% on the roster (70.59), tallying a goal while managing a 70.42 xGF%. This was the sort of stat line that this unit produced at the start of the year, so it’s nice to see them return to that form. How sustainable it is, is another question entirely, but Tocchet has shown that he’s willing to ride hot hands and change things up as they happen.

As a team

CF% – 52.46% HDCF% – 57.14% xGF% – 56.05%
It wasn’t a convincing win by any stretch of the imagination, but the Canucks did enough to beat the Ducks. Their big names stepped up to score, while the depth did a solid job of stemming the tide, with Demko being his usual elite self. This team will need to figure out how to play for an entire 60 minutes if they really want to be taken seriously as a playoff team, but getting results like these will help them make it to the postseason in the first place.
Vancouver will welcome the Pacific-leading Vegas Golden Knights to town tomorrow.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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