The Statsies: Beauvillier finds a finish while Pettersson faces his Kryptonite

Photo credit:© Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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That was a fun one.
In their first game against each other since the blockbuster trade, the Vancouver Canucks topped the New York Islanders 6-5 in a game filled with pretty much everything. From Bo Horvat getting a goal against his old team to Brock Boeser finding the back of the net again, there’s plenty to talk about from this matchup. Even if the result damages the tank, if there was one game that you wanted to see this team win purely for emotional reasons, it was going to be this one.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

A couple of weeks ago, it would be hard to imagine that the Canucks would be the ones on the favourable side of this game flow. For the first and second periods, Vancouver played well. Yes, they found themselves trailing 4-3 going into the third, but the team earned the luck that they got through consistent puck possession and chances to pressure the Isles. In the second alone, the Canucks had an 11-7 edge in high-danger chances, leading to a 2.02-1.45 xG advantage as well.
Looking at the third, the Islanders managed to turn their game up to another gear. However, much of their spikes in xG and CF% came from the powerplays they had, suggesting that the Canucks actually did a pretty good job at even strength. What’s also impressive is how Vancouver was able to ride out the Islanders push at the end of the game. Sure, New York didn’t have their best effort last night, but credit the team in being able to stave something like that off.

Heat Map

Last night’s game had Vancouver revert to old habits a bit again. They gave up a lot more chances in front of their own net than in previous, and definitely a lot more opportunities came in a wider bubble around Collin Delia. That being said, however, it was the Canucks that edged out the Isles in HDCF (20-19) despite a 33-32 New York advantage in SCF. It suggests Vancouver was more efficient in getting pucks to the net front in creating their expected goals differential.
It’s interesting to note that despite the hot spot in front of the net, none of the Islanders’ goals came from that area. What this seems to show is how offensive gravity can work. Through chance creation in high-danger areas, it opens up time and space in other areas of the ice, not necessarily high-danger but goal-scoring spots all the same. A team that collapses inwards will usually yield gaps in coverage, and it perhaps explains why New York got as many goals outside of their high-attempt areas.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Andrei Kuzmenko returns to the top of the Corsi leaderboards, leading his team with a 63.16 CF%. However, the winger was once again in the doghouse with Tocchet, only seeing 12:16 minutes of ice time and being benched in the second period. Obviously, this isn’t what you want to see from a winger that was just signed to an extension, but it isn’t as if Kuzmenko is playing poorly. Rather, this appears to be working on the details in his game. Kuzmenko saw a lot of favourable deployment against the Isles, recording over 80% of his shift starts in the offensive zone.
Corsi Chump: Dakota Joshua wasn’t at his best. He brought up the rear in the Canucks’ CF% category, coming in at a 25.00 on the night. That put him as a -29.74 CF% rel to team average, being one of only two players who were a -20.00 CF% rel or more. It seems that Tocchet likes playing his fourth line in a defensive role, especially against the top 9 of the opposing team. Most of Joshua’s minutes were against New York’s second line, which probably contributed to the lack of puck possession he faced. Interestingly enough, he too saw good deployment, 75% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone and 66.67% of his faceoff starts being offensive.


xGF: Anthony Beauvillier lays claim to his second xGF title in a row, leading the way for Vancouver with a 78.47 xGF%. His raw xGF of 2.26 was second only to Quinn Hughes’ 2.50, while his 0.62 xGA ranked him as the 5th best Canuck in that category. Beauvillier has had more than a couple of opportunities to get on the scoresheet, with chances that he probably should’ve buried. Against the Isles, he had 11 HDCF. Luckily in this one, against his old team, Beauvillier found his finishing touch to record his first goal as a Canuck.
GSAx: Colin Delia didn’t have the best game last night. It ultimately didn’t matter, but the netminder conceded a -1.24 GSAx against the Islanders. There were moments that he looked pretty shaky, overplaying his positioning and chasing after the play. 2 of the 5 goals that he gave up were recorded as high-danger, with one middle-danger and two low-danger goals to go along with it. Not the best for Delia, but again, this is an AHL call up we’re talking about.

Statistical Musings

The Pettersson-Horvat matchup: This was probably the most interesting thing that happened last night. Elias Pettersson put this team on his back, racking up 2 goals and one assist against the Islanders. However, what stood out was the matchup that New York stuck on him in the shape of his former captain. In 10:25 against Bo Horvat, Elias Pettersson was held pointless. In fact, Pettersson only managed to get 3 shot attempts off, with 6 coming the other way. When Horvat was on the ice, Pettersson’s CF% dropped to 25.00, and his xGF% went down to 30.94. In comparison, when Pettersson was on ice without Horvat, his CF% stood at 78.95%, and his xGF% was a staggering 82.19%. Perhaps his former captain knew exactly what to do against the Swedish dynamo.
JT Miller’s game: Tocchet seems to have gotten Miller to buy into his systems. Last night against the Isles, he looked dialed in, giving a consistent effort across all 60 minutes. Miller showed why he was capable of putting up 99 points last year with some great plays to set his teammates up. However, some context should also be provided. None of his numbers particularly jump off the page until you look at his deployment and usage. Miller received 66.67 of his shift starts in the offensive zone, and the large majority of his minutes came against the third line. Granted, he did absolutely dominate them, but it’s important to know just how Miller was used in this win.

As a team

CF% – 50.45% HDCF% – 51.28% xGF% – 53.31%
An emotional rollercoaster of a game saw the Canucks edge out the Isles in deserved fashion. There were obviously things that needed to be improved, but for the most part, it was a gutsy win that reminded fans that this team can be fun. It might not be the best result for the tank, but if you’re going to win one game, it should be that one.
Next up, Vancouver heads into Detroit for a Saturday matinee matchup against the Red Wings.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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