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The Statsies: Top 6 goes AWOL as missed chances cost Canucks

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Photo credit:© James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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That was not fun to watch.
The Vancouver Canucks dropped their first game of the road trip, losing 2-1 against the St Louis Blues in frustrating fashion. They had issues generating much of anything, forced away from their style by a Blues team intent on disrupting the Canucks’ game. It worked — and when Vancouver had their chances, they weren’t able to bury them. A close loss, but coming up empty in a loss like this stings.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

While the Canucks did grab the opening goal of the game, after that the Blues steadily ground the game to a halt. That played into their hands, letting St Louis gain a sizeable chunk in CF% and xGF% through the first and second periods. The opening frame saw the Blues out-high-danger-chance the Canucks 8-2, following up that momentum with the tying goal in the second. Funnily enough though, despite the Blues scoring the winning goal in the third, the Canucks held an 8-0 lead in high-danger chances, showing that they were indeed pressing. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert, leaving them empty handed in the loss.

Heat Map

The total number of scoring chances stood at 31-27 in favour of the Blues, with the Canucks barely edging out the home team 12-11 in high-danger chances. The evenness of the chance distribution is reflected in the heat map, both teams showing a significant hot spot in the crease area. St Louis does appear to be a more darker shade however, suggesting that they had more density of chances from that particular high-danger area, whereas Vancouver’s hot spot looks a little more pale in comparison. It should be noted that none of the goals scored last night were recorded from high-danger areas.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Filip Hronek had some weird moments last night but generally did decent in a rather quiet game. Racking up a 70.73 CF% in a game where possession was evenly split between both teams, the Czech defender held a 14-8 shot advantage for the Canucks during his TOI, generally keeping his nose clean. This was up against the likes of Jordan Kyrou and Pavel Buchnevich for the majority of the night too, so not a terrible result to be putting up in the Corsi department.
Corsi Chump: Noah Juulsen finds himself here with a 41.18 CF% at 5v5. It isn’t exactly a surprise to see him in this territory though, given the defensive style that he plays. Juulsen did a fine job of keeping the xGF% share at 45.43 through the night, so despite yielding a 2-6 shot advantage to the Blues it was nearly even in offensive chances. In fact, Juulsen was on ice for a 6-5 Canuck lead in scoring chances, and 2-1 in high-danger chances. Not too shabby.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: This one is interesting because it goes to Hronek as well. Not only did he lead Vancouver in xGF% (83.07) but also in raw xGF (1.61), just edging Quinn Hughes’ 1.59. Hronek did have a 12-4 scoring chance advantage during his shifts, which was the best ratio on the team by far, and a further 7-2 HDCF lead probably didn’t hurt either. But, for all that the numbers are saying, it didn’t necessarily feel like Hronek had that kind of game – sure, he was good, but the expected stats stayed expected without translating to tangible results.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko did his part last night. With the Blues tallying a 2.72 xGF on the game, Demko finished with a 0.72 GSAx, nearly saving a full goal away from St. Louis. It’s a bit of a surprise that he sits in the positives though, as both goals conceded came from middle-danger chances, which are going to be less xGF than high-danger chances. But, Demko was perfect for those opportunities, which probably contributed to him finishing the night in the positive. Not bad at all, and realistically Demko was the only thing that gave the team in front of him a chance to wake up and win.

Statistical Musings

Just not good enough: Your top 6 simply cannot take nights off consistently and expect to win hockey games. Suter-Miller-Boeser and Lafferty-Pettersson-Mikheyev were awfully quiet against the Blues last night, as even though their CF% sat at decent levels, they had the worst xGF% shares on the team amongst the forward lines. In fact, Lafferty-Pettersson-Mikheyev only managed an xGF of 0.33 which produced a team-low 38.41 xGF%. Granted, Lafferty produced good results there previously, but he is definitely not a long-term solution in the top 6. There was no offensive pressure to speak of with these units, and that just can’t be happening especially in a game like that one, where the top talents are needed to break the game in your favour.
Who steps into the void: Let’s talk a little about the bottom 6. They held up their side of the bargain, and it wasn’t in sheltered minutes either. Linus Karlsson was rolled against the Blues’ middle 6, while Garland saw action against all four of St Louis’ forward lines. These two lines were the only ones that looked to be producing anything. Statistically, the Hoglander-Aman-Karlsson line produced the best numbers last night, with team-highs in CF% (56.25) and xGF% (64.92). The Joshua-Blueger-Garland line tallied the only goal of the game for the Canucks while also making sure that the Blues didn’t record a single high-danger chance against them during their time on ice. Again, these are great things that the bottom 6 are doing numbers-wise, however it doesn’t make up for the top 6 missing in action, thus impacting the chances of the Canucks winning the game.

As a team

CF% – 50.00% HDCF% – 54.17% xGF% – 51.67%
The Canucks had their chances. They pushed hard in the third period after being ground to a halt through the majority of the game but came up empty over and over again to fall short in this one. They lacked the elite talent to separate them in situations like these, and that’s simply not good enough when the team is chasing the game. The depth did their job, and generally speaking, the defence corps was solid as well – so unfortunately, a big cog was missing and probably ended up costing the Canucks the game in the end.
Vancouver heads into New Jersey tomorrow for another Hughes bowl when they take on the Devils at the Prudential Center.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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