The Statsies: Zadorov-Cole’s big game helps lead Canucks to an important win

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
12 days ago
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That was a big result.
The Vancouver Canucks topped the Edmonton Oilers by a 3-1 scoreline in a game that had massive consequences for the Pacific Division crown. They did well to stem a flurry of Oilers chances in the first, grinding it to a halt and getting into the lead, before playing low-event hockey and weathering the pressure that Edmonton put on in the third period. It was a strong game defensively for the Canucks, and the result was more than earned.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The opening period was all Edmonton. They jumped out of the gates early, racking up a 10-2 high-danger chance differential by the end of the first to produce a 1.21 xGF. But yet, the Canucks found their legs towards the end of the period and finished it off with a late tally to go up 1-0. Vancouver started to reel things in a little more in the second, putting up the only period where they were above 50% in both CF% and xGF%, keeping the Oilers to just 2 high-danger chances in the frame. That was enough to see a 2-1 lead going into the third, where the Canucks ground everything to a halt, a 2-2 high-danger chance split showing just how little Edmonton got despite a 65.22 CF% share.

Heat Map

The heat map isn’t really much of a surprise, considering the Oilers’ pressure throughout the game. The home team held a 31-24 edge in scoring chances, with a 19-10 lead in high-danger chances. That hot spot in front of the net is a reflection of this disparity – but considering that most of the Oilers’ high-danger chances came in the first period, it’s not that bad. Vancouver would lead in high-danger chances marginally by an 8-7 difference for the second and third across all situations.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Nikita Zadorov was a wrecking ball last night. The big Russian threw his weight around and made his presence felt, tallying a 60.00 CF% to great effect. Vancouver had the momentum on their side every time he and Ian Cole were on the ice, holding a 9-4 shot advantage, 9-3 scoring chance difference, and a 5-0 high-danger chance differential. Zadorov finished second on the team in xGF% with an 84.07, the second-best raw xGF of 0.8 going along with the second-best xGA of 0.15. Not a bad night in all facets for the defenceman, that’s for sure.
Corsi Chump: Elias Lindholm finished as the team’s worst Corsi man with a 31.03 last night. The rest of his stat line isn’t prettier, only posting a 29.17 xGF% share by giving up a 6-11 scoring chance deficit with a 2-7 difference in high-danger chances. Now that doesn’t sound great in a vacuum, and it’s usually not great, but consider this – plugged between Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland, the Swede primarily faced off against the Oilers’ best player last night in Leon Draisaitl, and not only kept them off the scoresheet, but was on ice in the final moments of the game to ice it. A great defensive performance against one of the better offensive players in the league.


xGF: Ian Cole finds himself as the Canucks’ leading xGF man, racking up an 85.53 xGF% with a team-high 0.85 xGF. His 0.14 xGA was also a team-best, finding a lot of success alongside Zadorov last night, and only marginally beating him out in this category. To have a pairing that’s able to step up and cover for Hughes-Hronek, who weren’t bad but looked a little more tired than usual, is a big help, and that depth will definitely prove important leading into the postseason.
GSAx: After some rough outings, Casey DeSmith bounced back with a gem last night. The Oilers piled on the pressure last night, racking up a total of 3.69 xGF over the course of the game. DeSmith only let in one high-danger goal, meaning that his GSAx stood at 2.69. It was clear that a starter’s load was wearing down on DeSmith as he was asked to stand in for Thatcher Demko – and his performance was steadily dropping as the fatigue accumulated. For him to get some nights off thanks to some excellent Arturs Silovs performances meant that DeSmith could rebound into being DeBackup again.

Statistical Musings

The numbers behind Hughes-Hronek’s off night: Being on ice for the only goal against last night wasn’t just a fluke for Hughes-Hronek. The Canucks best defensive pairing looked a little tired last night, unable to string together too many good shifts in the offensive zone without spending time getting hemmed in by bigger forwards on the forecheck. The duo conceded the most xGA of any player, with Hronek giving up a 1.34 xGA and Hughes posting a 1.24 xGA. With their xGF sitting around 0.4 for the night as well, it pushed them down to the second and third-worst xGF% on the night. The bright spot is that they got some more rest than usual, with Hughes only playing 21:55 TOI last night and Hronek seeing 20:55.
Ilya Mikheyev trying to find the soup: It’s tough when you’re watching a player struggle to score as much as Ilya Mikheyev is. He’s doing a lot of good things, getting into the right positions, playing hard at both ends of the ice, and getting pretty good chances. The only problem is that when he’s in prime position, his hands just abandon him. Playing alongside Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander, Mikheyev dragged that line’s offensive potency down the drain. In 9:42 together, the trio didn’t manage a single scoring chance of any kind, while recording a team-low 0.04 xGF. That’s a lot of usage at 5v5 for not a whole lot of offence of any sort, and while they weren’t exactly a net negative, they didn’t help the Canucks win this game much.

As a team

CF% – 41.59% HDCF% – 34.48% xGF% – 39.23%
The Canucks had to deal with a lot of pressure the Oilers threw their way, and they managed to stave it off and play some solid defensive hockey to get the win. The depth stepped up to spur the offence onwards, the goaltending was more than solid, and everyone bought into the systems to bring the result to the finish line. This result means that Vancouver officially swept Edmonton in the season series, and inches further closer to clinching the division crown.
Vancouver now gets a chance to clinch the Pacific at home on Tuesday, when they welcome the Calgary Flames to town.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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