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The Statsies: Elias Pettersson stays elite while the Canucks fall to the Blues

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
10 months ago
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All good things have to come to an end, but what a way to do it.
The Vancouver Canucks fall 6-5 in overtime to the St. Louis Blues in a game that nearly got away from them in the 2nd. It would’ve been incredibly easy to just give up once the Blues hit goals, a sight that Canuck fans have seen many a time this season. And yet, it wasn’t the same movie that replayed itself, with the team battling back to tie it up. While they might not have gotten the job entirely done, it’s still exciting to see them be able to find a gear to rally, sneaking away with a point on the last game of this road trip.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Vancouver was at their best when pushing to tie this game up. Yes, the fact that the Blues were ahead by two does factor into the numbers they produced, playing a more passive, defensive-focused game, but credit to the Canucks for being able to keep the pressure on. Interestingly enough, Vancouver held the scoring chance and high-danger chance advantage across every single regulation period in this one, only getting out-possessed in the first period. It’s really not a bad effort at all, given that this was the end of a road trip.
Funnily enough, despite giving up three goals in the second period, the numbers suggest that St. Louis was fortunate to score that many in the period. They recorded only a single HDCF, a total of 6 scoring chances paling in comparison to Vancouver’s 17. The Canucks managed a 69.05 CF% share as well as a 1.66 xGF, the highest of any period last night. What this might say is that relative to the one goal they scored, Vancouver was a little unfortunate to not have scored more.

Heat Map

This might be the best defensive heat map the Canucks have turned in this season against a team with actual NHL roster players. They didn’t allow the Blues to establish a single hot spot, with only a small orange tint observed in the high slot area. Only two of their 6 goals game from high-danger areas, which also gives the impression that Vancouver did well in terms of preventing repeatable offensive production. It sucks that they did concede 6 goals, but the probability of the majority of those goals were low. St. Louis only had 7 high danger chances, with a total of 29 scoring chances on the night.
As for the Canucks offensively, they were able to establish a well-defined area of attempts in a high-danger area. Vancouver racked up an astounding 48 scoring chances against the Blues, but were a little more inefficient by only generating 16 HDCF. It’s most likely due to St. Louis also doing a decent job at keeping their opponents to the perimeter, but there’s no doubt that the Canucks were more effective at creating better attempts last night.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: A lot of the reason why JT Miller gets the flak that he does in parts of the Canuck fanbase is that he’s capable of games like this one. Despite the loss, Miller led the Canucks in CF% with a 73.47, topping a 22.82 CF% rel. Vancouver outshot the Blues 17-9 in all situations when Miller was on ice, recording a 23-8 scoring chance differential and a 7-3 advantage in HDCF. Miller produced a 2.44 xGF, good enough for second on the team while a 76.70 xGF% ranked him as the 4th best Canuck. A two-assist night came with being on ice for four goals for and four goals against – but don’t be mistaken, Miller was definitely not coasting in his own end.
Corsi Chump: Sheldon Dries was in over his head a bit in this one. Featuring between Anthony Beauvillier and Conor Garland, Dries was the worst Canuck with a 35.71 CF%, good enough for a -30.61 CF% rel. His 0.35 xGF was the worst on the team, though surprisingly Dries was an even split with a 50.00 HDCF%. Vancouver got outshot 11-3 while Dries played, unfortunately not being able to contribute much at both ends of the ice.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Andrei Kuzmenko scoops home another xGF award in a game where he set the record for most points by a first-year Canuck. The winger posted a team-high 86.10 xGF%, finishing 5th in xGA (0.33) and xGF (2.04). Kuzmenko was immense against the Blues, on ice for four goals for and none against, with the Canucks posting 15-7 shots. He contributed 20 scoring chances for and giving up just 4 against, improving on that with 6 HDCF and 0 HDCA. Simply put, Kuzmenko had himself a great night, as the Kuzmenkshow keeps on rolling forward.
GSAx: It wasn’t Thatcher Demko’s best night. The netminder had a bit of a stinker with the Blues only registering 2.20 xGF in last night’s game, thus causing Demko’s GSAx to sit at -3.80. Granted, a large part of this is the fact that St. Louis got half of their goals from middle and low-danger chances, ones that don’t have a high xGF. As such, coupled with their low chance generation, and it leaves the stats in a bit of an ugly state. Granted, some Canucks definitely didn’t do Demko any favours in front with their giveaways.

Statistical Musings

Elias Pettersson.: That is all. In all seriousness, Pettersson might not have found the back of the net against the Blues but was simply electric all night. The stats reflect that, even though he might not have been the team leader in any of the previous categories. Pettersson finished 3rd in CF% (68.42), doubled up 16-8 in shots, 4th in xGF (2.09), 2nd in xGF% (80.79), had 21 scoring chances and 6 high-danger chances. Simply put, he was putting in an all-around excellent effort, something the Canucks needed as they fought to get their way back into this one. With his two assists, Pettersson now sits at 95 points in 72 games, on the brink of cracking the century mark.
Burroughs-Bear not working out: I’m not entirely sure why this combination was put together, but both Kyle Burroughs and Ethan Bear weren’t doing too hot on the same pairing as each other. They were the worst Canuck pairing by far, even outstripping Brisebois-Myers statistically. Together, Burroughs-Bear racked up 40.91 CF%, 33.33 SF% and 45.74 xGF%, which might not be bad in a vacuum but was significantly worse than their teammates when put into relative context. This could also be a large reason why Quinn Hughes was so heavily leaned on last night, once again playing almost 30 minutes. It’s a little odd to put these two defencemen together, especially after Jack Rathbone turned in some solid results himself.

As a team

CF% – 59.52% HDCF% – 69.57% xGF% – 67.12%
At the end of a road trip, you can’t fault the effort the Canucks turned in against the Blues. Most of the metrics suggest the home team did get a little fortunate, with Vancouver doing a very good job in battling back in the first place. An overtime loss isn’t the best of results and some players did have shakier outings – but, there are things to like along with plenty of franchise records being broken. It’s an entertaining game, and at the end of the day, that’s the best-case scenario in a loss.
Vancouver now returns home, waiting for the Calgary Flames to roll into town for a clash on Friday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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