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The Statsies: Thatcher Demko slams the door in return as Canucks clinch Pacific Division

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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First place in the Pacific. How about that?
The Vancouver Canucks beat the Calgary Flames by a 4-1 scoreline to clinch the Pacific Division crown, in a game where they got into the lead and defended it brilliantly. They dominated the Flames in the first, getting opportunities in bunches and capitalizing on them to jump out to a lead. And though the Canucks defended, it wasn’t as if they let Calgary have their way, limiting what the opposition did all night through high-energy, detail-oriented play.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The game flow provides an interesting look at how the game progressed. Vancouver jumped out of the gates early, racking up a 77.76 xGF% share with just 54.84 CF%. The first period was also the only period where the Canucks out-possessed the Flames, with Calgary taking a big CF% share in the second and the third. However, instead of seeing the xGF% follow that trend, Vancouver kept it healthy on their side of the half. They hovered around 50% for the rest of the game, not allowing themselves to get dominated and bleed chances despite letting Calgary have the puck more often the rest of the way.

Heat Map

Vancouver might not have been dominant in the puck possession front, but they heavily tilted the ice in their favour with chances. In total, the Canucks had a 33-23 lead in scoring chances, dominating the high-danger chances by an 18-7 margin. While Vancouver had a 6-1 HDCF lead in the first, their biggest xGF% share in a period coming along with that, the third period saw the Canucks record the most HDCF (9) in a period last night, showing that they weren’t sitting back defending the lead – rather, getting good chances all the way through to the end.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Elias Pettersson was looking good last night after claiming the Three Stars Award. Leading the team with a 57.14 CF%, the Swede was chugging along, helping the Canucks post a 7-1 high-danger chance lead while he was on the ice. Pettersson tallied a very pretty assist on the Nils Höglander goal while posting a 60.34 xGF% against Calgary’s top 6 for the majority of the night. The goals will keep coming if he and the rest of his line keep clicking like this.
Corsi Chump: Elias Lindholm finished at the very bottom of the Corsi charts, recording a 29.63 CF% while primarily playing against Jonathan Huberdeau’s line. The former Flame wasn’t having his finest night, missing a couple of beautiful chances while giving up a good couple going the other way. Lindholm’s 33.22 xGF% share was also a team-worst, and the Swede didn’t see a single high-danger chance for while on the ice.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Ilya Mikheyev does so many good things, he’s just unfortunately cursed with stone hands. The Russian was involved in setting up the Höglander tally, posting a 79.35 xGF% for his efforts last night. A team-best 0.19 xGA helped Mikheyev a lot, not facing a single high-danger chance against. The only thing that he could do better would be to score, the numbers suggesting that he’s doing pretty much everything but that. For raw xGF, Quinn Hughes cleaned up with a 1.84 on the night.
GSAx: In Thatcher Demko’s return from the IR, he looked like he didn’t miss a beat. Vancouver held up their end in front of him, with the Flames posting a 2.44 xGF on the night. Demko finished with a 1.44 GSAx with the only goal sneaking past him being a low-danger chance. Other than that, he looked good and played up to the usual Demko standard. It’ll be nice to have him back just in time for playoffs not looking rusty.

Statistical Musings

Chaos Giraffe doing Chaos Giraffe things: Tyler Myers was arguably the Canucks’ second-best defenceman last night. Having an impact both defensively and offensively, the defenceman led the d-corps in CF%, while coming in second in both xGF% and xGF. Myers held an 8-1 high-danger chance advantage while mostly facing off against Huberdeau, so it wasn’t as if he was getting easy minutes either. Plus, scoring the opening goal of the game, a short-handed one at that, was pretty electric.
Fourth line getting looks: What was nice about playing from the lead was that the top-end of the Canucks’ lineup was able to get some rest. The line that was iced the second-most behind Suter-Miller-Boeser was actually the Blueger-Lafferty-Podkolzin line, getting cracks at the Flames’ top 6 and doing pretty well in their TOI as well. They held a 50.00 CF% share to break even at 5v5, generating a 65.71 xGF% share and holding Calgary to just 0.11 xGA. Not a bad night’s work for them, and very important for Vancouver to be able to rely on their depth to close out these kinds of games.

As a team

CF% – 44.63% HDCF% – 72.00% xGF% – 57.02%
Vancouver did a great job in burying the Flames with chances. They jumped out early and held their lead without many issues, getting the depth rolling and keeping Calgary without many great looks. And when there were dangerous moments, Demko picked up the slack without any issues. Yes, it looked like the Flames were sleepwalking through it, but it’s a good win without any major glaring flaws, and with the regular season about to wrap up, it’s a good building point for the postseason.
Vancouver heads on the road to face the Winnipeg Jets for the final game of the season tomorrow.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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