The Statsies: Phil Di Giuseppe and Thatcher Demko key to Canucks victory against Ducks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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This was quite the impactful result – just not in the way that most fans would like.
The Vancouver Canucks topped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 in the penultimate game of the season, a contest that saw Elias Pettersson crack the century mark and a very nice breakaway pass from Akito Hirose. Other than that though, the content of the game itself wasn’t too flattering for the guests. Rather, the young Ducks were consistently getting more quality chances than the Canucks. It leaves plenty food for thought as the offseason draws near, and there’s a lot of looking in the mirror that needs to happen.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Before we get to the clearly obvious standout, let’s take a look at the first two periods. Generally speaking, the game flow was ever slightly in Vancouver’s favour. It wasn’t by much and we’re really picking at hairs here, but for the first period and most of the second, the Canucks were doing their part of the job and playing a decent game.
Now to that massive Anaheim spike. It makes sense for teams to get an increase in puck possession and expected goals when they’re on the powerplay, but usually nothing as large as this one. The Ducks were seriously pressuring the Canucks after the 3rd goal went in, looking for an equalizer. The momentum definitely shifted towards their favour after that, getting the better chances despite the puck possession being a tossup.

Heat Map

It’s on the heat map where the quality of chances shines more than the quantity. Generally speaking, both teams didn’t have the greatest of times creating scoring chances, with Vancouver totaling 25 and Anaheim 27. But, proportionally, the Ducks had 16 high-danger chances while the Canucks merely ended up with 9. That’s reflected in this heat map where Anaheim had the better hot spot, completely bubbling up that crease in a dense red patch while Vancouver didn’t manage anything close to that concentration.
It is also worth noting that both teams were pretty ineffective at 5v5 play. The Ducks only had 8 HDCF at even strength, while the Canucks were a little behind that with 6 HDCF of their own. Both teams struggled to get much going outside of their special teams though for the calibre of roster both iced, it does make sense.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Phil Di Giuseppe has been an underrated fit alongside JT Miller and Elias Pettersson. The AHL call-up led the Canucks in CF% last night with a 76.47, good enough to give him a 32.79 CF% rel to team average. Di Giuseppe saw a shot differential of 16-3 when he was on ice, while the Canucks also got off 21 unblocked shot attempts. It’s a really impressive contribution considering that he isn’t exactly expected to post numbers like these, and further highlights Di Giuseppe’s NHL audition for next season.
Corsi Chump: A few ups and downs for Dakota Joshua as of late. After a good outing against the Calgary Flames, he finds himself at the very bottom of the Corsi charts with a 25.00 CF%. Granted, it comes with Joshua playing further down the lineup than in previous contests, but it still isn’t something you like to see. He recorded a 10.34 xGF% to go along with the poor Corsi, giving up a total of 11 scoring chances against. Not the best of games from Joshua, but that’s about par for the course when it comes to the bottom 6.


xGF: This one also goes to PDG, who ends the night with an absurd 93.50 xGF% against the Ducks. A lot of this is thanks to his team-best 0.09 xGA, and a 1.24 xGF puts Di Giuseppe as the 4th best Canuck skater in that category. The winger also finished tied second for most scoring chances (11) and HDCF (4), all the while without conceding a single HDCA. This does come with some context though, as being a winger means that he isn’t given as much defensive responsibility as a center. Still, credit where credit is due for a very solid outing from PDG.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko was excellent in this one. Being the busier of the two netminders in terms of HDCF, Demko stood his ground against 3.93 xGF, putting up a 1.93 GSAx. Surprisingly, both goals that he gave up last night were recorded as low-danger, the probability models not favouring the shots that Anaheim took to get their two tallies. Regardless, Demko remained perfect from high and middle-danger shots, looking to have regained the form that he showed when he first returned from injury. It’s great to see for Demko – but not necessarily the best for the lottery.

Statistical Musings

McWard-Bear lighting it up: Okay, sorry, third consecutive game talking about this duo, but it’s seriously interesting to look at their numbers. Both defencemen played well last night against the Ducks (yes, it’s only the Ducks). McWard-Bear was arguably the best pairing by the numbers, recording a 73.08 CF%, 66.67 SF%, and 74.05 xGF%. They only yielded a single high-danger chance against with both defenders stepping up in their own end and getting a couple chances to boot. It’s early, but it’s impressive that this pair has figured out a path to success from just their third game together.
Where Pettersson didn’t have the best defensive game: Yes, this is very much nitpicking and it’s great to see Elias Pettersson crack the century mark for the first of hopefully many seasons of his NHL career. But it’s worth pointing out that he wasn’t his usual two-way self against the Ducks. Pettersson’s 2.19 xGA ranked him as the third-worst Canuck in that category, while also giving up 11 scoring chances and 9 HDCA. Perhaps this is a byproduct of playing alongside JT Miller, reminiscent of the start of the year when both their numbers were getting bogged down in their own end. Regardless, it’s worth noting, though chances are it’ll be an anomaly.

As a team

CF% – 52.89% HDCF% – 36.00% xGF% – 39.26%
It wasn’t the prettiest of victories and it isn’t the best of results, but the Canucks still take away a win on the road as their long season winds to a close. Players have achieved landmarks, and there are some promising signs amongst the rookies being brought on in for a cameo. It all promises plenty of intrigue for the offseason to come as important decisions will have to be made. Who knows, perhaps one of these NCAA free agents can stick around for a long time coming.
Vancouver wraps up their season on the road against the Arizona Coyotes tomorrow night.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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