The Statsies: Aidan McDonough’s debut tracks well in Canucks win against Blackhawks
Photo credit:© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
By Michael Liu8 months ago
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This team is straight-up vibing right now.
The Vancouver Canucks keep the ball rolling, taking a 4-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on the road. It’s a comeback victory with its twists and turns, not all smooth sailing but one that satisfies all the same. There were definitely a lot fewer chances in this one than in the game against Dallas, but overall, it demonstrated the adaptability of this Canucks team. There’s plenty that could be said about the results’ impact, but the on-ice product is getting better to watch.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.
If there is something that stands out, it’s how long the Canucks took to even the game after a good stretch of play in the second. Sure, there were variances in the expected goals and puck possession trend lines, but it overall remained in Vancouver’s favour yet without many tangible results to show for it. Statistically, the first period was the Canucks’ most productive xGF%-wise (71.38%) while the second period was the best CF%-wise (66.67).
It should then be a bit of a surprise that in the third, where Chicago racked up 61.90 CF% share, 17 scoring chances and 7 high-danger chances, Vancouver would top out at a 2.25 xGF, their best raw expected goals of the night. This comes off the back of 7 scoring chances, just three of them recorded as high-danger. What this could suggest is that while the Canucks didn’t have the sheer volume of chances that the Blackhawks had, the ones they did manage to get were exceptionally dangerous and likely to be scored.
It’s definitely a sparse heat map at both ends of the ice. Both teams had 31 shots apiece, while Vancouver barely out-chanced Chicago 29-28. But, with a 10-9 HDCF disparity in favour of the visitors, it becomes clear why neither team really had a hot spot to call their own. There really wasn’t any density so to speak in front of either crease, with the Canucks managing to have a more concentrated hot spot than what the Blackhawks managed to generate. Otherwise, this was an unremarkable chart to look at from last night.
Individual Advanced Stats
Corsi Champ: Andrei Kuzmenko reclaims his Corsi throne, topping the charts with a 77.78 CF%. In a much more evenly-distributed ice time allocation, Kuzmenko only played 13:30 but still managed a 26.69 CF% rel to the team average. With the Russian on the ice, the Canucks had 9 shots for and 2 shots against, with Kuzmenko chipping in 6 scoring chances. Interestingly enough, Kuzmenko only managed 2 HDCF, which is a pretty low tally for him in a single game. Still, a two-assist night in a game where both teams struggled to create many high-danger chances is a pretty good outing as Kuzmenko continues to set records.
Corsi Chump: Nils Åman brings up the rear with a 34.78 CF% against the Blackhawks. This time, he wasn’t in a matchup role, finding himself as a pivot between Anthony Beauvillier and Conor Garland. Åman did play 14:31 in this one though, rolling between the middle 6 of Chicago. The stats weren’t particularly encouraging, recording a team-low xGF of 0.16, but Åman also didn’t receive a single shift start in the offensive zone. He’s settled into a role player quite nicely on this team, and even despite some rough numbers, Åman has been getting the job done defensively.
THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY
xGF: Kuzmenko’s back again, leading Vancouver with a 86.60 xGF% thanks to a team-best 0.14 xGA. It’s been common to see the Russian put up these stellar defensive numbers, helping drive his xGF% higher thanks to the difference being so pronounced. As mentioned before, Kuzmenko only had 2 HDCF, but only allowed 1 HDCA in 3 scoring chances against. It doesn’t sound very remarkable just from the numbers, but looking at the context of the game where the Canucks and Hawks struggled to get many opportunities going, limiting the opposition to even less is a recipe for success.
GSAx: Collin Delia put up a strong showing against his former team. The Blackhawks sent 2.65 xGF his way, meaning that Delia posted a 0.65 GSAX last night. It’s nothing jaw-dropping or awe-inspiring, but it’s the sort of solid performance that you want from a backup goalie. Delia didn’t make a big fuss with much of anything, just stopping whatever was sent his way. He conceded one high-danger goal and one low-danger goal, which again is by no means the worst. Plus, Delia had himself a highlight reel robbery on Tyler Johnson.
McDonough’s Debut: The recently-signed 7th-round pick finally made his NHL debut in this one, and the results were pretty darn solid for a first professional game. In 10:03 TOI, Aidan McDonough finished third on the team in CF% (61.18), the 8th-highest xGF (1.18), the second-best xGA (0.25), and the second-best xGF% (82.37) while coming so close to scoring his first NHL goal. To not only be in the top 10 for these categories but also be in the top 5 in your first NHL game is definitely no easy feat. McDonough saw only 37.50 of his faceoff starts come in the offensive zone, playing alongside Sheldon Dries and Conor Garland for the majority of his ice time. In fact, the McDonough-Dries-Garland line led all Vancouver lines in CF% (80.00), xGF (0.62), and xGF% (98.15). It’s really a solid debut, and though McDonough definitely has room to improve (especially some of his skating), he’s leaving a good first impression with Canucks fans.
PDG finding a fit: Phil Di Giuseppe might not be the first name that jumps into mind when you’re thinking of slotting a forward into the Canucks’ top 6, but yet the winger is finding himself a home alongside JT Miller and Brock Boeser. That line had the most CF of any Canuck line (14), scoring the only 5v5 goal that Vancouver had all night and recording a 63.59 xGF%. They didn’t have an easy time either, with the Blackhawks putting Jason Dickinson’s line up against them in an attempt to slow them down. It’s a pleasant surprise to see PDG clicking so well with Miller and Boeser, which bodes well for the extension he signed for next year.
As a team
CF% – 55.45% HDCF% – 52.63% xGF% – 59.19%
The Canucks definitely deserved to win this one. While there definitely weren’t as many fireworks against the Blackhawks as there were against the Stars, it showed that this team can get the job done regardless of what the game’s pace is looking like. Yes, Chicago isn’t the best of competition, and yes, the Canucks probably look better than they actually are. But with the way that the ice time was distributed with no Canuck finishing under 10:00 TOI, it shows that this group can actually put in a balanced, cohesive effort through all four lines.
Next up, Vancouver heads to St Louis to take on the Blues at Enterprise Center tomorrow.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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