The Statsies: A dominant Quinn Hughes outing helps Canucks sweep New York teams

Photo credit:© Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
5 months ago
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Three in a row against some very tough opponents. Not a bad metropolitan swing.
The Vancouver Canucks took care of business on Long Island, dispatching the New York Islanders by a 5-2 scoreline. It wasn’t just the Canucks clinging onto the result either – they staved off an early Isles push, before finding their own legs and absolutely taking it to the home team. Vancouver got chances consistently and made the most of them, getting into the lead and then absolutely locking it down to stop any New York comeback attempt. It was a great win, and on the back half of a back-to-back against a rested team? That’s seriously impressive.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The Canucks did a masterful job in gaining the momentum after a rough patch in the first period. Not only did they gain a large share of Corsi, but turned up the pressure in expected goals along with it. The first saw Vancouver finish with a 62.50 CF% with a 4-4 split in HDCF. Then, they decided to build on it and absolutely dominate the Islanders in the second period. Sure, New York scored a power play goal, but that was literally all they got. The Canucks held a 73.68 CF% share, posted an 81.53 xGF% and out-high-danger-chanced the Isles 9-1. That was followed up by locking down the Isles in the third – in fact, New York recorded the lowest xGF (0.29) in the final frame out of any period that they played, which is excellent if you’re a Canucks fan, showing just how well they defended the lead in the third.

Heat Map

This is an interesting heat map to look at. Defensively, the Canucks kept their noses clean and prevent the Isles from establishing a hot spot anywhere, much less from the slot area. That part isn’t what’s fascinating – it’s what Vancouver did in the offensive zone. Yes, they did have a hot spot in the slot area, which contributed to the 14-6 HDCF advantage on the night. But what stands out is the Canucks’ hot spot from the right faceoff circle, above the faceoff dot. Perhaps this was a specific area that the team wanted to target when it came to shot generation, taking advantage of New York’s defensive structure or perhaps looking at where Ilya Sorokin would struggle with shots. Whichever was the case, it worked, as two goals came from those areas last night.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: This one is going to Tyler Myers, who led the Canucks with a 68.97 CF% at 5v5. The defenceman had himself a solid game, blasting home a goal while making sure the Islanders couldn’t do much when he was playing. When Myers was on ice, Vancouver outshot New York 12-6 and out-chanced them 10-5, with the defender recording a 60.55 xGF% on the night while facing down Matt Barzal during the majority of his shifts. Seriously, what an effort by the much-improved Chaos Giraffe.
Corsi Chump: On the flip side, Noah Juulsen finished last night with a 44.44 CF% against the Isles. That came with a goal against, Juulsen posting a team-low 0.18 xGF and 24.96 xGF% while getting outshot 1-5 during his TOI. It wasn’t the greatest game for him especially given how well the last couple of games have gone for Juulsen, so hopefully this is just a small blip in the underlying metrics in what otherwise was a decent game from the eye test.


xGF: Quinn Hughes was on another level last night. Under the brightest lights, he showed up and showed out, putting together some incredibly dominant performances from the back end to quarterback the Canucks to victory alongside the Lotto Line. Hughes led Vancouver in xGF% with 95.55, coming in second in xGF with a 1.29 to Filip Hronek’s 1.61. The defenceman helped the Canucks out-chance the Islanders 14-2 during his 24:33 TOI, a further 5-1 difference in high-danger chances. Seriously, it was an incredible effort by Hughes and really showed why he belongs in the Norris conversation at the halfway point of the season.
Special shoutout in this category to Sam Lafferty, who recorded a 1.27 xGF and 0.06 xGA to post a 95.44 xGF%, just nearly pipping Hughes for the xGF crown. Lafferty was on ice for zero scoring chances against, an impressive defensive showing against the Isles.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko earned himself rest after balling out against the Rangers, which meant that Casey DeSmith found himself between the pipes to pick up where the starter left off. And in all honesty, he did that job perfectly fine. New York only mustered up 1.35 xGF on 19 shots against, meaning that DeSmith’s GSAx sat at a -0.65 on the night. Not the best-looking statistic, but DeSmith did more than his fair share in stemming the tide at the start of the game. He isn’t going to be the one who’s stealing games, but he’s offering enough goaltending to make sure that he isn’t costing Vancouver games as well. DeSmith’s two goals against came from middle-danger chances, which is probably why his GSAx is sitting as low as it is from last night.

Statistical Musings

Where literally every Canuck was pitching in offensively: Seriously, while not every player found themselves on the scoresheet, they all were doing their part in holding a positive xGF% share against the Islanders. Aside from Nikita Zadorov and Noah Juulsen, no Canuck finished below 56 xGF%, and 12 players finished with an xGF% over 70%. That’s seriously impressive, to see pretty much every player on the roster putting more chances towards the opposing team than giving up against themselves.
All the offence through the Lotto Line: The last two Statsies have featured the Lotto Line prominently in the conversation, and last night was no different. Though their 54.17 CF% was the worst amongst all forward units, they were also producing the most xGF of any line as well (0.61). Their 60.70 xGF% sat behind Hoglander-Aman-Lafferty’s 85.07 xGF% for the team lead, but the tangible results are impossible to deny. However, the numbers also show something that might be concerning – no other forward line combination produced over 0.30 xGF in total last night. Granted, this hasn’t been much of an issue with just how overwhelmingly good the Lotto Line + Hughes-Hronek have been, but it provides a potential point that needs to be addressed if the offence ever runs dry.

As a team

CF% – 65.31% HDCF% – 70.00% xGF% – 70.69%
The Canucks were fantastic in this one. Somehow, they looked like the team that was rested, not the one who was on the back leg of the back-to-back. The way that the game’s flow and momentum fell easily to them, how Hughes-Hronek looked to be in total control, how the Lotto Line continues to click and pump rubber into the back of the net, everything just looked easy for the Canucks in this one. They heavily out-chanced and out-possessed the Islanders, before clamping down on them to deliver the finishing blow in the third. Seriously, there’s not much more that could be asked for from a win, much less a road win on an extended road trip.
Vancouver heads into Pittsburgh on Thursday to take on the Penguins.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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