The Statsies: Anthony Beauvillier continues to find a fit in the Canucks’ top 6
Photo credit:© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
By Michael Liu7 months ago
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Sure, it’s another loss, but for some reason, it doesn’t feel as hopeless as before.
The Vancouver Canucks lost 4-3 against the New York Rangers in a game where the margins were slightly in favour of the home team. At this time of year, the result is a good one — another step closer to a high draft pick, with good compete level despite picking up the loss. A structure is forming under the surface of a lost year, and perhaps more players will be jettisoned for a build to the future of the franchise.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.
Last night’s game flow showed that the ebbs and flows of the match belonged to the Rangers. There wasn’t a moment that the expected goals ever got out of hand for New York, something that they managed to keep hold of to see the win through. At its peak in the second period, the Rangers controlled an 80.12 xGF% share. Vancouver only managed to gain a 57.45 xGF% share in the third period, the only one in which they recorded a positive expected goals differential. It makes sense — a team that’s out-chanced 24-17 shouldn’t usually be getting a higher probability of scoring goals.
What was nice to see was continued good play at 5v5. Yes, the second period still looks horrific, but interestingly enough, the Canucks slightly out-possessed the Rangers at even-strength play (51.25 CF%) with a small boost to their xGF% numbers as well. In a season where their even strength play has been suboptimal, it’s nice to see this trend, with hopes that further development is in store down the road.
Again, with the Canucks being out chanced 24-17, this heat map makes sense and honestly isn’t entirely awful. New York held a 13-10 edge in high-danger chances, which is reflected in the chart you see above. Vancouver saw a big hot spot in front of their own net, with three out of the four tallies coming right in the middle of that red patch. It makes sense – in theory, those high-danger chances are the ones most likely to be converted into goals, and New York did just that last night.
Offensively, Vancouver managed to create their own hot spot in front of the net, albeit not as big as New York’s. Given that the Canucks only had one power play, where a large majority of high-danger chances are usually generated in the slot area, it’s not a bad look. Their opportunities are being created at even strength in good areas, and that promises to increase the probability of this team scoring more often.
Individual Advanced Stats
Corsi Champ: Brock Boeser led the Canucks in CF% last night, topping out at 58.06. This isn’t to say that he had the best game of any Canuck, but there were some interesting metrics on his line that we’ll get to in a bit. With the puck possession, Boeser finished as the third-best Canucks in raw xGF (0.86) and xGF% (55.24), a good performance in the light of 4 high-danger chances for and 4 high-danger chances against. It certainly wasn’t bad, though it wasn’t a barn-burning performance.
Corsi Chump: It’s a tie for dead last between Curtis Lazar and Nils Åman. The pair finished with an identical 21.43 CF% and -31.20 CF% rel, bleeding a 16.91 and 14.80 xGF% share respectively. Both hovered around 12-13 minutes on ice which makes their rates look that much worse. However, the pair’s deployment saw them iced against the Rangers’ top line, which probably explains why they struggled so much. Not to mention, neither player saw a single shift or faceoff start in the offensive zone, used exclusively in the defensive zone. All things considered, a single goal given up isn’t bad.
xGF: In just his second game with the Canucks, Anthony Beauvillier scoops up the best xGF of any Canuck on the team. His 61.07 xGF% just edges out Elias Pettersson’s 59.65, as though the pair posted identical 0.99 xGF to lead the team, Beauvillier’s xGA was just a little lower. This can probably be explained by the different defensive roles that the pair play, with Pettersson responsible for more of the high-danger areas of the ice, thus making his numbers look a little worse than his winger. Beauvillier generated 7 scoring chances for, 5 of them considered high danger.
GSAx: Between the pipes, Spencer Martin had another outing that was par for the course as the starting netminder for the Vancouver Canucks. Since taking over for the injured Thatcher Demko, he’s rarely if ever put up a positive GSAx, and last night was no different. The Rangers created 2.58 xGF, and with 4 goals going past him, Martin’s GSAx finished as a -1.42. Giving up the equivalent of one goal is tough for any team to overcome – and there just doesn’t seem to be any possible path for improvement for the goalie. If it’s any consolation, three of the four goals Martin conceded were high-danger, while the other was recorded as a middle-danger goal.
Let’s talk about Beauvillier-Pettersson-Boeser: After Kuzmenko’s benching (and we’ll get to that), Beauvillier-Pettersson-Boeser saw an extended run, posting 63.64 CF% together in 10:15 of ice time. In fact, this combination led the Canucks in XGF% (55.02), as well as producing 0.69 xGF, the highest of any forward line last night. It’s a good sign that not only is the chemistry between Pettersson and Boeser still intact, but Beauvillier is able to fit in seamlessly when asked in the top 6
But here’s where things get interesting. As mentioned before, Boeser led the Canucks in CF%. However, in 6:52 away from both players, Boeser only mustered up a 50.00 CF% and a paltry 31.98 xGF%. Meanwhile, Pettersson and Beauvillier together were the best duo of forwards that Vancouver had to offer against New York, tallying a 75.59 xGF together without Boeser. It’s not to say that Beauvillier was driving play or anything — but rather, the success of this forward line looked to be in spite of Boeser as opposed to him bringing any benefit. Obviously, this is a small sample size, but it’s certainly interesting to see Pettersson finding yet another winger that he clicks with.
Kuzmenko’s tough game: It wasn’t the best outing from Andrei Kuzmenko. Though his stats aren’t appalling at the first glance, it’s far from the usual effort that he gives. In 12 minutes of ice time, the winger managed 43.75 CF%, 50.68 xGF% and managed to create 2 high-danger chances while only yielding 1 against. But if you’ve been keeping track of his numbers from the year, you’ll know this is not normal for him. On the same line that saw success against the Devils, Kuzmenko appeared to be the dead weight. Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Beauvillier posted the second-lowest CF% (42.86) and the second-lowest xGF% (31.65). In fact, they basically generated next to no offense, a raw xGF of 0.03 all they had to show for in about 5 minutes together. It’s not going to be a stretch to think that Kuzmenko will bounce back from this performance, but it’s definitely a learning experience in his first year in the NHL.
Ethan Bear’s night by the numbers: There was not a better defenceman last night than Ethan Bear. Playing extremely tough minutes against New York’s top pairing and top 6 forwards, he only gave up one goal against with the highest ice-time of any Canuck. In Bear’s 21:12 TOI, Vancouver outshot the Ranger 10-5. His numbers don’t look great from the outset – in fact, recording the highest xGA of any player on Vancouver (0.95), but it’s the exact reason why context of his ice time and deployment is so important. Giving up that much against the best the opposing team has to offer, especially a contender like the Rangers, is to be expected. What’s important is limiting the damage, which Bear was able to achieve. Another interesting stat that stands out – Bear posted better CF% without Quinn Hughes than with, jumping from a 47.37 to a 60.00 at 5v5 play.
As a team
CF% – 47.78% HDCF% – 43.48% xGF% – 39.93%
In a game where the Rangers controlled the margins and details, a 4-3 loss isn’t the end of the world. In fact, this is probably one of the best results that the Canucks could have, a regulation loss that showed compete and desire. Yes, this team probably didn’t deserve to win, but there was definitely an uptick in compete level, following up a good showing in New Jersey with another one at Madison Square Garden. It’ll be interesting to see how this team continues to trend, with the sample size slowly starting to grow in Tocchet’s reign.
Vancouver is right back in action tonight, taking on Bo Horvat and the New York Islanders at UBS Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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