The Statsies: A vintage Brock Boeser performance headlines Vancouver Canucks win

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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What a way to get it done.
The Vancouver Canucks topped the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1, the first time they’ve beaten the Lightning at home since 2016. It was a great display of what this Canucks team is capable of, getting good offence to get into the lead, then locking it down to bring home the victory. It’s the type of win that’s encouraging to see, the details and the process all in tune. Not to mention, Tampa is still a good team, and beating them like that is definitely a good sign.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Aside from the special teams, the Canucks did well for themselves at even strength. They held a 55.00 CF% share through the first period and upped it to 60.00 CF% in the second. The middle frame saw them translate that into some tangible offence, a 12-5 scoring chance lead and a 4-0 HDCF advantage. That resulted in a 1.12-0.22 xGF battle that was converted into two goals. What should also be noted is that as the score effects took over, Vancouver locked it down defensively. Tampa outpossessed them badly to the tune of 74.29 CF%, but only translated that to 13 scoring chances. Granted, 7 of them were high-danger, but given the sheer amount of possession they had, they probably should’ve done better.

Heat Map

Vancouver had a harder time generating high-danger chances last night than in previous contests. They were down 32-25 in total scoring chances and 14-9 in high-danger chances. The heat map reflects as much, with Tampa creating a hot spot right in front of the net, while the Canucks didn’t get nearly the same concentration of attempts from in tight. However, what should be noted is that a large majority of the Lightning’s scoring chances came in the third period, when the score effects would’ve had their biggest impact. It’s not unreasonable to say that the Canucks played from a position of advantage –  getting themselves into the lead through two and then playing solid, defensively-minded hockey the rest of the way.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: It was Brock Boeser looking a lot like rookie season Boeser last night. The winger led the Canucks with a 64.29 CF%, just edging out Conor Garland’s 60.00 CF% in second place. He looked engaged last night, getting into good spots and driving hard to the net. The Canucks outshot the Lightning 13-6 whenever Boeser was on the ice, to get a sense of how tilted the game was with his shifts.
Corsi Chump: As comes with the territory of being on the fourth line, Phil Di Giuseppe was dead last in the Corsi department. His 20.83 CF% sat -29.17 CF% rel to team average, outshot 2-12 to give him a team-worst 6.70 xGF%. PDG was out there for some penalty kill time which does explain the 13 scoring chances he was out there against, but importantly, took the penalty that sent the Lightning to the power play in the third. Coincidentally, that penalty kill was also the Canucks’ best when it came to limiting Tampa’s CF% and xGF.


xGF: Was this really a surprise? Boeser led the way for the Canucks in the xGF department with a team-high 2.31 xGF and a second-best 67.05 xGF% share, on ice for a 16-10 scoring chance advantage and a further 7-5 HDCF lead. Boeser was able to convert those opportunities into a hat trick on the night, turning the expected goals into tangible point markers. The person better than he was in xGF% share was none other than Conor Garland, whose 0.13 xGA made him the team’s best in that category. His line can always be counted upon for reliable defence – the question is if Garland’s unit can ever chip in offensively.
GSAx: The rest definitely did Thatcher Demko good, as he slammed the door shut for much of the night against the Lightning. In total, Tampa threw 3.82 xGF when he was between the pipes, resulting in Demko finishing last night with a 2.82 GSAx. He was nearly perfect save for one high-danger goal against, but it’s just a small blemish on an otherwise stellar performance between the pipes. It’s quite the difference from just a couple of games ago as well – the effect of having a backup like Casey DeSmith should not be understated.

Statistical Musings

JT Miller and the matchup role: We saw how bad things could get with JT Miller on matchup duties when Jack Eichel burned him, but against Tampa’s top line, things went a lot better. Yes, the Kucherov-Point duo still dominated them CF% and xGF% wise, but they saw a marked improvement to their metrics whenever they weren’t matched up against Miller and company. Kucherov went from a 68.42 CF% against Miller to a 73.33 CF% away from Miller, while the xGF% went from 59.00 to 84.18. It’s all you can ask for from a matchup role, to slow down the best opposing players to give your team a chance at winning.
Hughes-Hronek stepping up: While this pairing wasn’t mentioned in previous categories, they definitely deserve to be shouted out as well. The second part of the matchup against Kucherov’s line was icing the Canucks’ best pairing against them at 5v5. Both Quinn Hughes and Filip Hronek saw their CF% and xGF% numbers drop down to about 50% as a result – but considering their defensive responsibilities, it’s seriously impressive. Added on top of the zero goals against was the fact that Hughes-Hronek still finished the night over 1.5 xGF, which shows that they weren’t shy about jumping in offensively whenever the chance was given.

As a team

CF% – 43.75% HDCF% – 39.13% xGF% – 43.16%
Vancouver stayed perfect in games that they were leading after the 2nd period by shutting down the Lightning in the third. Yes, it wasn’t exactly clinical, but it was a very solid effort from top-to-bottom, making sure to finish the business that they started and secure both points in regulation. Wins like these ones haven’t exactly been commonplace in the last couple of years, so it’s great to see the Canucks deliver on the systems and structures that Tocchet has been putting in place. It’s also earned them high praise from the opposition as well.
The Canucks are right back in action tomorrow night as they host the Florida Panthers for Roberto Luongo’s Ring of Honour night.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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