The Statsies: Thatcher Demko saves over a full goal against in win over Rangers

Photo credit:© Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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What a win against a very good team.
The Vancouver Canucks beat the New York Rangers 6-3 at the world’s most famous arena for quite a statement result. It wasn’t as if they were clinging on for dear life — they played their game, coming alive with explosive offence and taking advantage of the chances that they got. It wasn’t dominant by any means, but this team traded blows with an Eastern Conference heavyweight. To think that the Canucks would be in this position after how last year transpired, shows just how much a season can change things.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Unlike the New Jersey game, the Canucks were on the back foot possession-wise for the majority of the game. What that meant though was that they needed to make their time with the puck count, which was what they ended up doing. It didn’t help matters that Vancouver didn’t get a sniff at a power play all of last night, but other than that they were able to weather the Rangers storm as they looked to come back in front of their home crowd. The third was the high-tide for that, where New York posted a 70.97 CF% share in the final frame.

Heat Map

With How the possession shook out last night, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a heat map like this one. The Rangers absolutely had the majority of the scoring chances last night, racking up a 37-21 scoring chance lead along with a 20-9 HDCF advantage. As such, their hot spot in front is much darker and bigger than the Canucks’ hot spot in the slot area. That being said though, for 20 HDCF, it isn’t as dark as one might expect, which suggests that the repeatability of their scoring chances weren’t the highest. As well, none of their goals came from that area, which just shows poor conversion on their part. AS for the Canucks, 4 of their 6 goals came from their hot spot, which is pretty impressive out of only 9 HDCF.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Conor Garland continues his good run of form along with the rest of the Canucks’ third line. In this one against the Rangers, the winger put up a 51.72 CF% to be the only Canuck over 50% in Corsi. Not surprising, given how the game shook out in terms of possession, but another testament to the puck possession monster that Garland can be. He broke par for xGF% as well, racking up a 58.41 on the night to go along with leading the team in CF%.
Corsi Chump: Nils Åman came in stone-cold dead last for Corsi, tallying up a 16.67 CF% to be well behind any of his teammates. Granted, it wasn’t all bad, as a 43.71 xGF% on the night showed that he wasn’t getting dominated by any means despite the disadvantage in puck possession. In fact, Åman was basically the team’s litmus test in xGF%, only -0.79 xGF% rel from the average. Coupled with this is the fact that Åman recorded one HDCF and zero HDCA, with that high-danger chance resulting in this fabulous assist from last night.


xGF: This one is going to Brock Boeser, who came barely in second to Garland with a 58.04 xGF%, but tied with Elias Pettersson for the xGF lead (2.18). The Lotto Line was absolutely monstrous last night again, and Boeser was a big part of that success, recording 3 points out of a total of 8 from that line alone. One thing that is interesting to note (but probably isn’t surprising) is the fact that the Lotto Line was out-chanced pretty heavily, giving up the most xGA of any forward combination (1.01) and the most scoring chances against (10). Despite that though, they were only on ice for one goal against.
GSAx: Talk about bouncing back. After a string of inconsistent starts, Thatcher Demko came up huge against the New York Rangers to stymie them at every turn. The netminder faced a total of 4.25 xGF, turning away numerous chances to come in at a 1.25 GSAx. Two of the goals came from low-danger areas, with the remaining goal coming from a middle-danger shot. That distribution isn’t the kindest to Demko, and remains something that will be interesting to observe going forward, as those are normally chances that goalies should have. As of late, it feels as if teams are targeting his high blocker and Demko seems a little too happy to drop with perimeter shots. But those are only minor blemishes on a night when he was fantastic pretty much everywhere else, Demko being a huge part of the reason why the Canucks were able to stave off some of the chances from the Rangers.

Statistical Musings

Keeping the defence fresh: Something worth noting from the Rangers game is how the Canucks were deploying their defencemen. The lowest TOI amongst the D-corps was Nikita Zadorov at 17:18 (understandably after coming off a slight knock), while Quinn Hughes saw the most ice at 21:49. That amount of deviation is far cry from just riding the Hughes-Hronek pairing for the majority of the night, and especially against an opponent like the Rangers. With the exception of Ian Cole’s 33.33 CF% and 37.31 xGF%, the rest of the defence finished with 40 CF%/xGF% and above on the night, which is good considering the team’s overall numbers. It’s a great way to pace some of the highest minute loggers on the team and bodes well as Vancouver continues on their road trip.
Head to head against the best: Elias Pettersson posted two goals and two assists last night in what was a masterclass performance against New York. But, one might be wondering why he wasn’t leading the team in any category besides xGF previously mentioned. A big part of that was the fact that Pettersson was lined up against the Ranger’s top pairing and top line and generally was getting pressed back in his own end. Against Mika Zibanejad, Pettersson was tallying a 35.29 CF% and 14.78 xGF% which usually doesn’t bode well. The thing is though that despite all of these rate metrics, Pettersson still kept them off the scoreboard – an impressive feat given their advantage in puck possession. It drove the Swede’s advanced stats down but definitely added to the value he was providing for the team, both offensively and defensively.
An interesting pairing: Tyler Myers drew into the lineup alongside Carson Soucy and produced some pretty solid numbers playing primarily against the Zibanejad line. The Rangers center was recording a 57.14 CF% and 67.18 xGF% against the duo, which sounds pretty rough until you look at the numbers when playing without them, which sits at 71.43 CF% and 90.85 xGF%. On paper, the pairing kind of makes sense, and it provided an interesting point of comparison to the Zadorov-Myers pairing too. More options on the back end isn’t a bad thing, and perhaps Soucy-Myers could be a valuable combination for specific matchups as well.

As a team

CF% – 40.87% HDCF% – 31.03% xGF% – 44.47%
The Canucks did not have the lions share of possession or chances, but when they had their opportunities, they made the most of them. It was a great road win against a good team in their own barn, and the Canucks were able to frustrate the Rangers while getting themselves in front and into a good position to secure the win. Demko played well and the Lotto Line was clicking once more, with depth contributions chipping in offensively as the cherry on top. While there are definitely details to iron out, it’s a game filled with positives to hopefully carry onwards.
Next up, Vancouver plays the second half of their back to back against the New York Islanders at UBS Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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