The Statsies: A dull loss against the Kings punctuated by Brock Boeser’s goal

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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Goodness, that was certainly hard to stay awake for.
With the 4-1 loss against the Los Angeles Kings at home last night, the Vancouver Canucks have (finally) been officially eliminated from the playoff race. Of course, that was a foregone conclusion at this point and the effort on the ice matched the fizzled-out season that was this past year. There was nearly nothing of note — the Kings’ goals seemed to blend into each other and the game just wasn’t very interesting to watch.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

It all started off pretty decently for the Canucks. They got the opening tally and looked to press their advantage in puck possession and expected goals with two consecutive power plays. Even after the Kings knotted the game back up, it was still Vancouver that was able to grab hold of the initiative. After the first, the Canucks held a 60.00 CF% share, 87.50 HDCF%, and 79.91 xGF%, all of which are promising signs for a good game from the group.
Yet somehow, the intermission killed any momentum that this team might’ve had. Perhaps it was the fact that they were officially eliminated, but they just completely lost the plot from the second period onwards. Los Angeles had full control of the game, dominating the Canucks at times, and just looked like they were in cruise control as soon as that second goal was scored. Nothing exemplifies the disparity as much as the numbers from the third period, where the Kings got 61.76 CF%, 61.54 HDCF%, and 74.87 xGF% in a frame that theoretically the Canucks were trying to push back in.

Heat Map

Probably one of the more confusing heat maps in a loss this season. From the outset, both teams struggled to generate many chances. In total, the Canucks had a slight advantage in scoring chances (30-27), with that lead carrying over to 14-11 for high-danger chances. As such, it makes sense that Vancouver would see a denser concentration of chances in the slot area, shown on the heat map. However, they weren’t nearly as effective in converting their attempts and only managed a single goal out of all of that.
On the flip side, the Kings were just shooting and scoring at will from wherever they wanted to. They didn’t manage to establish a hot spot at all outside of the spot on the right point, but those aren’t exactly the type of opportunities that teams are looking for when trying to create sustainable scoring. The numbers check out when it comes to the lack of hot spot, but yet the Kings still managed to have a 3.02-2.77 xGF lead despite the disparity in chances. It’s a bit of nitpicking though, as both teams didn’t do too much in the chance generation department.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: It would make sense that Brock Boeser is the Corsi champ from last night, being the only Canuck to find the back of the net. His 73.68 CF% was a massive 40.93 CF% rel ahead of his team’s average, the Canucks out-shooting the Kings 15-4 when Boeser was on ice. The winger also tallied a 1.16 xGF, good enough for 7th on the roster, while his 67.64 xGF% put him 3rd in that department. Boeser recorded 16 scoring chances for, 5 of them as high-danger, and was only on ice for a single high-danger chance against. It’s a good effort and a great game from him in an otherwise very dull affair, and one has to wonder if he’s starting to play himself back into the Canucks’ plan for the future with this recent run.
Corsi Chump: Jack Studnicka was anything but a stud in this one, coming in stone-cold dead last with a 7.14 CF% last night. Yup, that’s single-digit Corsi, and he wasn’t the only one either with Aidan McDonough (8.33) joining him in that purgatory. Studnicka was kinda just… bad, tying for the team low in xGF (0.07) with McDonough while only just beating the rookie’s 13.28 xGF% with a 14.12 xGF% himself. To be entirely fair, Studnicka did not receive a single start in the offensive zone both off faceoffs and shifts, so he was set up for failure. Still, it sucks to see those kinds of numbers being put up.


xGF: This definitely wasn’t expected. Kyle Burroughs, of all players, led the Canucks in xGF% last night by recording a 79.71. Not only was his xGF of 1.55 good enough for 2nd place, but his xGA of 0.39 led all Vancouver skaters. Not bad for a depth option pressed into higher minutes. During his tie on ice, Burroughs tallied a 12-9 scoring chance differential but parlayed that into a 7-1 HDCF advantage. In other words, though Burroughs faced a number of scoring chances, he kept the large majority of them to the perimeter and limited the dangerous opportunities the Kings got against him. It shows too, with Burroughs being on ice for one goal for and zero against.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko didn’t get a ton of high-danger chances thrown against him, and it shows in his GSAx last night. With the Kings only recording a 2.17 xGF when Demko was between the pipes, his GSAx sits at a -0.83, meaning that on back-to-back nights the netminder has been in the negatives. Demko has cooled down a bit from that insane form he showed right off the back of his injury return, looking mortal these days. Vancouver has felt that in the results column, unable to get the game-saving goaltending that was bolstering them a lot more in March.

Statistical Musings

Looking at Akito Hirose: The former BCHLer made his NHL debut last night for the Canucks, and while he wasn’t out of place, he also wasn’t mindblowing. Hirose was partnered up with Tyler Myers against the Kings which should’ve been a death sentence but didn’t end up conceding a goal against. However, Hirose was the second-worst defenceman in CF% (33.33), 3rd worst in xGA (0.76) and xGF% (39.94). The defender faced 11 scoring chances, with 7 of them registering as high-danger while being on ice for 7 scoring chances for. Again, this is definitely nitpicking a very solid yet average debut from Hirose, but it would be interesting to see how his numbers trend as the season winds down and how he would look playing with someone besides Myers.
Forward lines not working out: I understand the theory behind Rick Tocchet separating Anthony Beauvillier from Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko. Having more depth always helps through the lineup. However, it’s not working out the way that he intended. Di Giuseppe-Miller-Boeser remained the only forward line to record positive metrics in this loss, a 66.67 CF%, 61.51 xGF%, and 66.67 HDCF% actually making a difference in the offensive end while keeping their noses clean in the defensive zone. Meanwhile, Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Joshua is dragging behind them with a 46.67 CF%, 43.81 xGF%, and 66.67 HDCF%. Beauvillier-Aman-Garland, the less said about them the better. Again, having three lines that can contribute is ideal for any team. But when only one line is doing the heavy-lifting, perhaps it’s better to stack a second line to give them some secondary help instead of trying to force depth where it doesn’t exist.

As a team

CF% – 48.96% HDCF% – 56.00% xGF% – 47.83%
The Canucks simply took their foot off the gas after the first period. The final numbers paint a generous picture for a team that got dominated for two out of the three periods of hockey, giving Vancouver a better result than they probably deserved. And even then, this game was a snooze-fest. Not much happened, with everything sort of just blending together into a bland mush of a hockey game. There’s not long left in the season, if it’s any consolation to Canuck fans.
Vancouver will take on Seattle next when the Kraken visit on Tuesday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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