The Statsies: Canucks find out a healthy Thatcher Demko is an elite Thatcher Demko

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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Somehow, some way, this team finds a way to claw points.
The Vancouver Canucks got hopelessly out-chanced and outplayed on the road against the Dallas Stars. Yet, somehow, they are the ones who emerge from this game the 5-4 victors in overtime. This game saw some nice goals potted in and some good individual signs. But as a team, it was a victory that reminded fans of exactly why this team is in the situation that they are in – and some hollow points that don’t mean much at this point of the year.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The opening frame was a decent one for the Canucks. They got into a 3-1 lead through good puck possession and managed to out-chance Dallas in front of their home crowd. That’s as good of a start as you could possibly want on the road, finishing the first period nearly dead even with the Stars in CF% (48.72) and xGF% (49.8). With a 1.03-1.02 xGF battle in favour of Dallas, this was the high point of the Canucks’ game statistically.
After the first, all the momentum shifted against the Canucks. The Stars went to absolute work, buoyed by four consecutive power plays that built them an unassailable lead in puck possession and expected goals. During the second period alone, Dallas accumulated an absurd 83.72 CF% share and 86.67 xGF% share, which basically meant the Canucks had less than a 20% chance of scoring at any given moment. Remarkably, the Stars racked up 3 full xGF, which might be a single-period record against for the Canucks.

Heat Map

There are no real surprises as to how the heat map looks either. Out of 46 scoring chances, Dallas racked up 25 high-danger chances, meaning that the large majority of their attempts should have been in front of Vancouver’s goal. It looks that way too, with a big deep red hot spot bubbling around the crease where three out of four of their goals were scored. Even though the Stars started out this game as if they weren’t taking the Canucks seriously, they dialed it in after the first to really take it to the visitors.
As for Vancouver, they didn’t manage nearly as many chances, much less high-danger ones. With a total of 25 scoring chances on the night, merely 8 of them were registered as HDCF. But, even with that disparity as well as the Canucks not establishing a true hot spot, they still managed to score five times, suggesting that they were exceptionally efficient at converting the opportunities that they got. When they’ve been on the other end of that so often this season, it’s nice to see the trend roll the other way from time to time.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: With how rough this game went possession-wise, it makes sense that most Canucks would have a low CF% rating. The leading man last night was Quinn Hughes, who led Vancouver with a 56.00 CF%. It’s possibly the first time that a defenceman has led in this category thus far this season, as most of the time their usage and deployment would yield for more CA than forwards. Hughes had himself a good night, on ice for 3 goals for that he contributed three assists towards. He also had the highest xGF of any Canuck (1.24) as well as the most SCF (14). Quite the impressive contribution from Vancouver’s top defenceman.
Corsi Chump: On the complete flipside and conveniently on the back end as well, tank commander Tyler Myers brought up the rear in the Corsi department with an impressively bad 17.78 CF%. The other stats don’t get any kinder to him either. When Myers was on ice, the Canucks were outshot 5-21, with his 2.76 xGA leading the way in that category as well. A paltry 0.39 xGF contribution meant that Myers’ xGF% share sat at 12.29, which surprisingly didn’t beat out Jack Studnicka’s team-worst 9.95 xGF%. Myers was on ice for 25 scoring chances against, 16 of them high-danger, while only managing 1 high-danger chance out of 4 scoring chances himself. He tried his best to lose this game, to say the least.


xGF: There shouldn’t be any surprises that the player with two goals to his name also comes in as the expected goals leader. Anthony Beauvillier has been on an absolute heater since arriving in Vancouver, and last night earned yet another xGF title with a team-leading 55.42 xGF% share. He was narrowly edged out by Quinn Hughes for top spot in xGF, but his 1.14 still ranked as the second-highest on the team. Interestingly enough, Beauvillier had 12 SCF but 13 SCA, with a further 4 HDCF and 8 HDCA when he was on ice. Somehow, his xGA stayed at 0.92, which had him at 7th place on the team in that category.
GSAx: Honestly, this one probably should’ve been a heck of a lot higher. Thatcher Demko’s return to the crease also saw him get absolutely pummeled with opportunities. But now at 100%, the netminder looked pretty much like his usual game-stealing self, albeit with some rusty moments. In total, the Stars generated 5.02 xGF, which gave Demko a 1.02 GSAx in his first game back from injury. That second period alone saw Demko save a full goal against, showing just how good he can be when dialled in. Technically speaking, one goal out of the four he gave up was registered as low-danger, which is probably the reason why the GSAx isn’t much higher than it is. Regardless, it’s definitely a nice change from seeing Demko in the negatives – though hopefully, the Canucks won’t overload him for the rest of the season.

Statistical Musings

Aatu Räty’s benching: Something that stands out on the stat sheet from last night was Aatu Räty’s team-low 4:22 TOI. It wasn’t as if he was playing terrible — his CF% rel sat at 8.65, which means that he was a couple percentage points above average. The second period made sense, with Vancouver spending nearly the entire period on the penalty kill, but on the other hand, Raty didn’t even sniff the ice in the third, going the entire period without a single shift. Furthermore, the line of Sheldon Dries – Raty – and Vasily Podkolzin weren’t awful either when deployed against Dallas’ top 9 in limited minutes, actually ranking first in CF% share (60.00) amongst Vancouver forward lines. Perhaps Tocchet found him a little too slow to be matched up in that third period, when the Canucks were being hounded in their own end, but in that case, it would probably make more sense to have Raty in Abbotsford instead of getting less than 5 minutes of play in the NHL.
Kravtsov’s debut: If we’re being honest, Kravtsov’s first game in Canucks colours wasn’t anything to write home about. The winger didn’t really stand out through much of the game, suffering from the same thing as Raty when it came to deployment in the second period. He finished third on the team in CF% (50.00), a 46.09 xGF% putting him at a 19.70 xGF% rel to his team, showing that he had some positive impact during his 8:52 TOI. What’s the most interesting, however, is how the numbers suggest that Kravtsov was dragging Studnicka and Brock Boeser’s numbers up when they were together. With them, his CF% was in the low 40s, and xGF% hovering around 24.5. Without the pair, Kravtsov’s numbers jumped to the mid 50s for CF% and the low 70s for xGF%.
Where Brisebois does his best to offset Myers: It feels like Guillaume Brisebois has been with the Canucks organization forever, bouncing between the AHL and NHL when needed. Last night against the Stars, he had to babysit Tyler Myers in what was a putrid showing from the RHD. Their numbers together for 15:10 look awful, a 16.67 CF%, 2-11 shot differential, 13.09 xGF%, 1.34 xGA, 2-12 scoring chance differential, and 0-7 high-danger chances yielded. What stands out the most about all of this is how Brisebois’ numbers basically double as soon as Myers is removed from his right side. Granted, it isn’t game-breaking, but it shows how much of an impact his NHL-seasoned partner had on his metrics.

As a team

CF% – 34.71% HDCF% – 24.24% xGF% – 29.20%
In every sense of the game, the Vancouver Canucks should’ve lost this one by a country mile. And yet, thanks to excellent netminding by a returning Demko and some standout individual performances, they snuck out with two points on the road in overtime. Regardless of the draft lottery implications, it’s a type of win that shows this team is able to stick tenaciously in games but also highlights the many flaws that they need to address before they can come close to being called a playoff team. The Canucks iced a patchwork, half AHL roster, so this result is already much better than one could expect against the Central-leading Stars.
With the road trip done, Vancouver now returns home and awaits the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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