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The Statsies: Canucks pick up a point despite the Myers-Stillman pairing’s best efforts

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Photo credit:© Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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A comeback nearly ruined the tank entirely, but at least they didn’t get two points. And, Chicago even managed to complete their comeback.
The Vancouver Canucks dropped a 5-4 shootout decision to the Nashville Predators in a game filled with ebbs and flows. In terms of process, it’s great to see this team not quit when behind by a couple of goals. At the same time, the same defensive lapses are occurring over and over again, with one player in particular standing out for all the wrong reasons. There’s work to be done, but it’s what the rest of the season is for.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Overall, it was a solid effort by the Canucks on the puck possession and expected goals front. They didn’t finish a single period without a positive share of CF% and xGF%. The only time trend lines spiked significantly was during the first period, when the Canucks didn’t seem to get their legs under them and gave up a powerplay goal on an extended short-handed run. That isn’t awful, considering the circumstances.
One of the interesting things to note is that second period goal conceded on the penalty kill. Vancouver’s special teams aren’t the greatest, to say the least, but this was a good microcosm of what they want to do. Yes, Tomasino scored, but up until 28 seconds left on the penalty kill, the Canucks didn’t allow a single zone entry. It’s why that CF% and xGF% line stays nearly at the same level, because the Predators couldn’t generate much of anything except for one chance.

Heat Map

Another day, another high-danger spot in front of their own net. Vancouver finished last night with a 20-15 edge in HDCF, but at 5v5 play, it was Nashville that held a 12-10 lead in the same category. It’s a dense concentration of high-danger attempts for them, and it’s no surprise that they converted on four of these chances given the amount of repeatable success they had at even strength play. Of course, it helped that the Canucks’ team defense was at times chaotic.
On the other hand, the Canucks did a good job at getting chances to the net. The power play was source to half of their high-danger chances, but again, that’s not awful. It should be easier to get good scoring opportunities on the man-advantage and Vancouver did just that. They rode the momentum from their very last power play in the third, tallying two quick ones to send this game into overtime. Overall, Vancouver out-chanced Nashville 42-30 last night.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: There were some great Corsi numbers last night, but this one will have to go to the reigning champion Andrei Kuzmenko. It’s worth mentioning that Kuzmenko’s 81.58 CF% was just edged out by Vasily Podkolzin’s 81.82 CF%, but with the younger Russian only seeing 7:58 minutes on ice, it makes sense to give it to the winger who played 22:06 last night. Kuzmenko’s CF% rel sat at an impressive 34.33, racking up an absurd 17-2 shot differential during his time on ice. Instead of moping about due to his deployment and the criticism leveled at him, Kuzmenko has taken it upon himself to show that Tocchet needs to play him more.
Corsi Chump: Thanks to some tough deployment, Dakota Joshua finds himself as the Corsi chump with a team-low 25.00 CF%, enough to give him a -39.76 CF% rel. It wasn’t an easy game for him regardless, but the Canucks didn’t do Joshua any favours by playing him the most against the Preds’ top 6. Joshua gave up 9 shots against when he was on ice, leading to a 1.45 xGA while only managing 0.53 xGF. He also faced 11 scoring chances against, of which 5 were high danger. If there was one positive, it was that at least Joshua only conceded one goal against.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: This one goes to Andrei Kuzmenko again with a 84.35 xGF%, a staggering 42.86 xGF% rel above the rest of the team. His xGF wasn’t overly impressive, a 1.35, good enough to rank him 7th on the entire team, but the third-best xGA numbers (0.25) was enough to help push his xGF% share higher. Kuzmenko has always been consistent in his own end for the right reasons, and last night was again another display of that. The winger had 16 scoring chances in total, 7 of which were high-danger, while only facing 3 scoring chances against and 2 high-danger chances against.
GSAx: Collin Delia played decent. He managed to give the Canucks a chance to win this game, despite the fact that they probably shouldn’t be winning hockey games at this point. The Predators accumulated a 3.73 xGF, which puts Delia’s GSAx at a -0.27 on the night. Honestly, that isn’t bad, as margins that thin essentially leave it up to a couple of shots being counted as middle-danger instead of high-danger. Every single goal that Delia gave up against Nashville was high-danger.

Statistical Musings

Tank commanders at work: If you’re on team tank, there was no better pairing than the Tyler Myers – Riley Stillman combination last night. It seemed that their good game was a flash in the pan as against the Predators, they were awful. They only had 5:49 minutes together, in which time they racked up 28.57 CF%, gave up 2 goals against, conceded 1.33 xGA, and put up a 21.27 xGF% while facing 5 high-danger chances against. No other defensive pairing was this bad, and it was no wonder that the pairing didn’t get used much at all as the game wore on. Stillman was moved to play alongside Kyle Burroughs, where his numbers saw an uptick. On the other hand…
How Christian Wolanin carried the corpse of Myers on his back: Tocchet ended up playing Myers alongside Christian Wolanin for a solid chunk of the night after some disastrous results with Stillman. Myers saw his numbers bump up dramatically, a CF% of 45.83 with Wolanin for 9:49 of ice time compared to a 21:05 without. What should be the biggest indicator of Myers’ dead-weight impact can be seen in how literally all of Wolanin’s stats we worse with the big 57. Without Myers, Wolanin was recording a 88.46 CF% and a 71.94 xGF%, while with Myers, those numbers dropped to 45.83 and 32.28 respectively. It’s really not a good sign that Myers’ was so bad to the point that an AHL call up is the better defenceman on the pairing — but credit to Wolanin, who has been playing some excellent hockey as well.
A quietly solid line: The usual forward culprits were good, but there’s one line that stood out in an interesting fashion. Conor Garland – Jack Studnicka – Vasily Podkolzin didn’t see much ice time together, but during that span, they were statistically Vancouver’s second best forward line. A 66.67 CF% put them right behind Kuzmenko-Petterson-Beauvillier, while a 86.83 xGF% actually put them ahead of that trio. Yes, it’s a very small sample size, but it’s worth another look with some more minutes under their belts.

As a team

CF% – 57.36% HDCF% – 57.14% xGF% – 49.61%
Statistically, this was an even game that deservedly got decided in a shootout. The extra point isn’t the greatest for the tank effort, but the Canucks caught a break as the Blackhawks decided to come back and win in a shootout themselves. There were some things to like about this performance, an underlying structure appearing with players buying into the coach’s philosophy. But on the other hand, there were some ugly, ugly moments, that reminded everyone of why exactly this year has gone as poorly as it has.
Vancouver hops over to St Louis tomorrow to take on the Blues.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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