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The Statsies: Thatcher Demko does his best Roberto Luongo impression in shutout against Panthers

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
2 months ago
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It was a night celebrating the greatest goaltender in Canucks history, with a game that featured some great goaltending.
The Vancouver Canucks blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0 as Roberto Luongo was inducted into the Ring of Honour. Number retirement debates aside, the on-ice product that followed displayed what good goaltending does for a team. On Florida’s part, they had some absolute gaffs by their netminder, while time and time again Vancouver’s goalie was a brick wall between the pipes. Perhaps there was no better way to celebrate last night.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Energized by the ceremonies, the Canucks came out of the gate fast to strike twice against the Panthers. It wasn’t a result of overwhelming puck possession though, as evidenced by the trendline, but rather getting some very high-danger opportunities in front of the net. The Panthers fought back at the end of the period to bring the balance back to even with a steep slope back to the midline, then translating that momentum into a more evenly-matched second period. What stands out is not the first two frames, but rather the third period. The stats are hilariously lopsided in favour of Florida – an 80.65 CF%, 15-1 SF, 13-4 SCF, 8-2 HDCF, 1.42-0.17 xGF, and 89.23 xGF%. Genuinely, it would be hard to see a period of hockey that was more tilted for a team than the Florida Panther’s 3rd period last night. And in that barrage, they still couldn’t come up with one goal.

Heat Map

While the heat map looks evenly matched, 6 out of 16 of the Canucks’ high-danger chances came on the power play. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers only got one high-danger chance on the powerplay in their 18 total, which can be seen as a testament to the Canucks penalty kill. In total, the Panthers had 28 scoring chances, so a large proportion of their opportunities were ones that had a high probability of scoring. And yet, even with that thick hot spot, they came up empty against Thatcher Demko.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: There hasn’t been a more defensively consistent winger in the last couple of games than Conor Garland. Leading the Canucks last night with a 60.87 CF%, Garland probably should’ve had more than just the one assist in the game. He was a hound on the forecheck and looked engaged all over the ice, putting up the third-best xGF% of 80.28 while being on ice for three goals for. While Garland was out there, the Canucks out-chanced the Panthers 8-2, with the high-danger opportunities standing at 7-1. Not a bad night for Garland at all, especially with his linemates able to finish.
Corsi Chump: This one is understandable when you look at who he’s playing against, but Nils Höglander finished with the worst CF% on the Canucks with a 29.17. Riding alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser meant facing some very tough opponents, with Sam Reinhart and Alex Barkov topping that list. As a result, Höglander also finished with the second-worst xGF% share of 19.11, eating a 1-8 disparity in high-danger chances. Not awful all things considered with only a 36.36% offensive zone faceoff start percentage against some very good opponents.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Elias Pettersson has been having some up-and-down games statistically as of late, but was able to bounce back from a mid performance to lead Vancouver with an 81.62 xGF%. His 1.65 xGF sat just behind Quinn Hughes’ 1.88, but a solid 3rd-best 0.37 xGA spurred his share numbers higher. Pettersson was on ice for an 11-6 difference in scoring chances and a 7-1 difference in high-danger chances. A good outing at both ends of the ice has been rare for Pettersson in the last couple of weeks, so it’s encouraging to see his underlying numbers getting back to where they should be.
GSAx: I mean, wow. Thatcher Demko decided to slam the door on the Florida Panthers and it wasn’t even close. Even as the third period saw the away team hammering at the gates to open them up, the netminder didn’t give them a single inch. Florida managed a combined 3.60 GSAx on the night, which gives Demko a full 3.60 GSAx for the shutout. He stood perfect against 12 high-danger shots against, which should help boost his already absurd high-danger save percentage. It was just such a poetic way to win this game, on a night that celebrated Luongo.

Statistical Musings

All about the matchups: The Stanley Cup finalists from last year are no slouch, and facing off against the top 6 that they had meant that the Canucks had to put their best against their best. While the top 6s neutralized each other at 5v5 in terms of production, that meant that the bottom 6 would have to step up. For the Canucks, that proved to be the case, as their bottom two lines controlled the CF% shares when they were on ice. That’s all you can really ask for from your depth, and hopefully the team can also get something from their top-end talent as well. Last night, that was the case for the Laffery-Pettersson-Mikheyev line, which held a team-high 77.85 xGF% at 5v5, primarily against Florida’s top two lines.
Keeping ice times limited: It wasn’t Quinn Hughes or Filip Hronek that led the Canucks in ice time last night – it was Tyler Myers and Nikita Zadorov. Those two didn’t have the greatest share metrics, but that’s not a bad game on their part, rather just the byproduct of being put up against Matthew Tkachuk and company. They did their jobs well and looked solid, with no tire fires or red alarm situations in their own end while keeping the Panthers off the scoresheet. More importantly, Zadorov-Myers helped give Hughes-Hronek a break, to keep them fresh for a big road swing coming up. Who knows how important that in-game rest could prove to become.
Shouting out Noah Juulsen: Yes, he’s been the statistical whipping boy at times, but Noah Juulsen was solid in this one. Playing in a role much more suited to his abilities, Juulsen posted the 5th-best CF% (48.57) and nearly broke even in the xGF% department. He’s a perfectly capable 6th/7th defenceman with good defensive IQ and physicality – the problem is when he gets elevated into top 4 responsibilities. If it’s not with Quinn Hughes, Juulsen tends to get out-matched, which makes his numbers look even worse. As long as he’s playing the correct minutes and roles, there’s nothing wrong with Juulsen’s game.

As a team

CF% – 41.07% HDCF% – 47.06% xGF% – 47.99%
The Canucks stand perfect yet again when leading after two periods. A lot of this one came down to goaltending, with Sergei Bobrovsky having some howlers while Demko did his thing to post a shutout. Having a goalie spur this Canucks team to a win couldn’t have come on a better night, and it really felt like the script makers were at it again. Vancouver did well for themselves to get in front early, and when they needed to buckle down, they were able to do so with some very handy help between the pipes.
Next up, Vancouver heads on the road to Minneapolis, taking on the Minnesota Wild tomorrow in a matinee matchup.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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