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The Statsies: Vancouver Canucks’ slow start costs them in Game 4 loss to Oilers

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Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 month ago
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This close to a comeback for the ages.
The Vancouver Canucks came all the way back only to drop a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 4. In the grand scheme of things, the Canucks probably didn’t play good enough to deserve the win. Only showing up for 15 minutes and not making the Oilers work for much for the first three-quarters of the game isn’t much of a recipe for success. It was probably the worst Vancouver has looked in the 2024 playoffs – so for them to lose in such heartbreaking fashion sucks, because they were still within a shot of winning this game.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It was yet another slow start for the Canucks last night. Edmonton dominated the first period to the tune of 70.83 CF% and 87.14 xGF%, getting the opening tally of the game on the power play as usual. The thing is, the Canucks had been able to offset the Oilers’ power play advantage by capitalizing on their own man-advantage situations. However, in Game 4, the power play was a momentum killer for the Canucks. Case in point is the 4-minute double minor, where Vancouver only managed 1 shot – simply not good enough at any point, and especially when allowed to tie up the game. The second was marginally better than the first, the shares falling back more in Vancouver’s half, but even then the Oilers put together a 1.08 xGF at 5v5, the highest single-period tally in the entire game. Only in the third period did the Canucks look like they were playing their brand of hockey, getting a 62.96 CF% and 79.78 xGF% to eventually equalize the game. But, giving up that much early on and not taking advantage of their chances proved costly at the end with Bouchard’s game-winner.

Heat Map

The Canucks did a relatively good job last night at evens to limit the Oilers’ chances once again. In total, Edmonton only had 8 high-danger chances on 21 total scoring chances at 5v5, which is pretty good. What’s not good is that Vancouver only had 3 high-danger chances, all of which came in the third, off of 16 scoring chances. It just wasn’t enough, especially against Calvin Pickard making his first start of this series. The Canucks needed to test him more last night, especially with how unsettled he got in the third with just a couple minutes of applied pressure. Vancouver wasn’t bad overall defensively – however, they didn’t get nearly enough volume of chances going the other way to offset Edmonton capitalizing on two big errors by the Canucks.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Quinn Hughes tilted the ice in the Canucks’ favour every time he was out there. Leading the Canucks with a 66.67 CF%, the defenceman looked at his most dynamic self as Vancouver outshot Edmonton 8-4 while he was on the ice. Hughes recorded a 32.77 CF% rel to team average, impacting the Canucks’ Corsi in a very positive fashion last night. The next closest to him, Elias Pettersson, only had a 19.29 CF% rel impact.
Corsi Chump: Once again, Tyler Myers was targeted by Connor McDavid, dragging his CF% down to a team-low 26.67. The shots stood a 2-13 for the Oilers, giving up the fourth-highest xGA of 0.75 with a team-low 13.64 xGF% while facing 11 scoring chances against. It was a pure barrage against Myers, and to his credit, other than the 2-0 goal where he did a good job taking away the pass, the defenceman played a very solid game without conceding much. Myers has been a key part of this Canucks defence, and it would be hard to imagine where the team would be without him in the lineup. Who could’ve seen that coming?

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: The Canucks’ captain led by example. Hughes finds himself the leader in xGF and xGF% last night as well, tallying 0.65 and 69.10 respectively. It is a bit of a concern that the team-leader in xGF was only at a 0.65, which demonstrates the lack of chances the Canucks got until the very last moments of the game. Hughes was on ice for an 11-3 scoring chance differential, but only managed a 2-1 high-danger lead in that same span. Again, a lot of good things, but the Canucks were not nearly as good at getting quality looks in good quantity.
GSAx: The numbers don’t quite do Arturs Silovs justice last night. Facing 3.22 xGF, the Latvian came up with a 0.22 GSAx, and yet it felt like his impact was so much more than just under a quarter expected-goal positive. Silovs gave up a goal from every danger type (high-middle-low), while stonewalling the Oilers at the biggest opportunities. Whenever they pressed on the power play, Silovs had an answer, and when the Canucks were pushing to tie the game up, he was the reason why they even had a chance. The Canucks need to do a better job at getting the kid run support, especially when he’s giving them the performances that he has between the pipes.

Statistical Musings

The Passengers: Not the movie, for clarity. The Canucks have been getting consistent efforts from the likes of Quinn Hughes, JT Miller, Brock Boeser, Elias Lindholm, Conor Garland, and Nikita Zadorov among others. But Rick Tocchet accurately pointed out that there were players that were simply along for the ride these playoffs, not making much of a difference if at all for the Canucks. Looking at the xGF, it’s painfully obvious that Vancouver’s lineup was doing nearly enough to generate offence. Only the Miller and Lindholm lines were above 0.10 xGF on the night, with the other forwards not doing nearly good enough. The fourth line was buried by their oppositions while only producing 0.03 xGF. And the cherry on top was Pettersson’s line producing even less xGF somehow, with a 0.02 on the night with 2 more minutes of ice time. It just simply isn’t good enough, and that lack of depth getting going has translated into the Canucks not being able to string together momentum over the course of the game. That proved costly last night, and Tocchet made sure to call it out.

As a team

CF% – 48.78% HDCF% – 33.33% xGF% – 34.29%
The Canucks didn’t deserve to win this game. Another slow start bogged them down, and when given the opportunity to knot this game up, they let their chances slip by them. The team didn’t manage to play well until the final half of the third period, and that kind of effort isn’t good enough to win games at any point of the year, much less the playoffs. Fortunately, the Canucks aren’t down in the series – everything is level at 2-2, with Vancouver having home-ice advantage for the best-of-3 to take the series. Hopefully, they can address a couple of things and get the passengers going before time runs out on all of them.
Vancouver returns home for Game 5 on Thursday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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