The Statsies: Andrei Kuzmenko keeps performing in another big Canucks loss to Detroit
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
By Michael Liu9 months ago
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Chalk another one up for team tank.
In a game where they didn’t play all that badly, the Vancouver Canucks got annihilated by the Detroit Red Wings, losing 6-1 at home. On the stat sheet, it shows the story of a team that couldn’t finish, whether they got goalied or not. Vancouver probably should’ve won this game. But “should’ve” has been the story all year. What’s written on the scoreboard is the only thing that matters, and in this lost season, this result isn’t unstomachable.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.
There was only one period in which the Canucks didn’t finish with the edge in CF% or xGF%. The opening frame was pretty much dead even, with the Red Wings managing to sneak in more high-danger chances to tilt the scales in their favour. They deserved to be up 2-0 after one. However, after that, and even including the swing of momentum in the second period, Vancouver held control in nearly all categories. They finished the game with a 59.00 CF%, 31-24 lead in scoring chances, 16-11 lead in high-danger chances, and a 3.16-2.32 xGF% share.
But by the same token, the game flow chart also reveals a big reason why the Canucks looked so statistically dominant. When looking at the trend lines, most of their big favourable swings came from the power play. It was thanks to the man advantage that Vancouver was able to build up their stats, and as such, provide a bit of an inflated look at what the team managed to produce. That being said, with 5v5 play being relatively even from both teams, the Canucks have to bury the chances they manage to create on the power play.
This just doesn’t look quite right. Taking a look at the Canucks’ defensive zone to start first, they did well in not giving up a single hot spot, a high density area of chances anywhere on the ice. Unfortunately for them, the defence was extremely permissive in front of their own net, with all six goals coming from right in tight in a high-danger area. Sure, preventing chances is good, but it won’t matter if the chances that you do give up are so good that they’re being buried at the first look. Detroit converted on 6/11 of their high-danger chances last night, which is really not a good look for the Canucks.
Vaancouver on the other hand did create a nice hot spot for themselves. A good chunk of them came at even strength too – but unfortunately for them, they only managed to finish one opportunity that they got. Even if it’s the result of a goalie playing well, you just can’t be a good team in this league without converting on the chances that you get. The Red Wings made the most of theirs – and the Canucks didn’t.
Individual Advanced Stats
Corsi Champ: Even being in the doghouse doesn’t stop Andrei Kuzmenko from being a top 6 winger. The Russian yet again led the Canucks in CF%, a 73.68 pacing the group in this game. Kuzmenko saw his ice time jump back up to 16:12, much better than in the last couple of games during the road trip. He made the most of it too, tallying an assist on the only goal of the game, going with a 70.36 xGF% and 4 HDCF to his name. Starting the game off on the third line, it wasn’t long before Kuzmenko was reunited with Elias Pettersson and Anthony Beauvillier. We’ll talk about them later.
Corsi Chump: Please for the love of all things holy, put Luke Schenn back with Quinn Hughes. It does him no favours both as a Vancouver Canuck and on the trade market to be iced with Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Schenn finished as the worst Canucks in CF%, coming in at a 28.13 to put him at a staggering -45.40 CF% rel. He was outshot 5-13 when on ice, giving up 4 goals with a team-worst 1.51 xGA, 12.14 xGF%, and yielding a team-high in SCA (12) and HDCA (8). Simply put, it was a tire fire. Schenn does not fit with OEL, and you can bet this game did no favours to his trade value.
xGF: I can’t believe this. Riley Stillman, of all players, was the best Canuck not only in xGF% (88.95), but also xGA (0.14). The much-maligned defender for whatever reason clicked alongside Tyler Myers, putting up 1.16 xGF, good enough for 7th on the team. Stillman put 11 scoring chances together, 8 of them counting as high-danger, while merely giving up 1 high-danger chances against in 5 scoring chances against. There doesn’t seem to be a clear reason why he was able to look so good statistically, but regardless, good on Stillman for putting together another good performance in the same month. He actually posted a better CF% (75.00) playing away from Myers as well.
GSAx: This one is tough. Colin Delia’s numbers simply looked awful last night, and for good reason. Detroit mustered up 2.32 xGF, and since he gave up 6 goals, that’s a staggering -3.68 GSAx on the night. It is a challenge to find a team that can overcome three and a half goals spotted to the opposing team. Technically, one of the goals that Delia gave up was middle-danger, the rest being high-danger, but regardless, it just wasn’t his night. He is the third-string goalie for a reason, and with a 0.739 SV%, Vancouver’s tank hopes are in good hands.
Why are we not playing these three together: I understand why Tocchet has a short leash for Kuzmenko. His first year in the NHL hasn’t been without its flaws. But when you have a line that looks threatening each and every shift, why are you splitting them up? Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Beauvillier saw the ice for 4:19 minutes together at 5v5 play, and during that span, no other Canucks line was even close to what they were doing. They held the team lead in CF% (80.00), xGF% (70.34), SCF% (100.00), HDCF% (100.00), and outshot the Red Wings 4-1 when they were on ice. These results are fantastic – but why were they only playing for 4 minutes? Kuzmenko isn’t being put into a position to succeed here, despite their track record of success. Since their first outing together, the line of Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Beauvillier has accumulated a stat line of 63.08 CF%, 66.36 xGF%, 68.97 SCF%, and 66.67 HDCF% in a total of 36 minutes played.
Disasterclass in session: Let’s take a closer look at the numbers of the OEL-Schenn pair, because together they were absolutely putrid. They were on ice for 3 goals against at 5v5 play, a 27.59 CF% recorded, 4-12 shot differential in favour of Detroit, 13.84 xGF%, a 1.20 xGA given up, and out chanced 3-10 with a 1-7 ratio in high-danger chances. Simply put, their two styles of play were awful together, with little mobility and getting turnstiled at every opportunity. Schenn was at his best with a more mobile partner in Hughes, with the same thing being said about OEL with Bear. So why would this combination be tried in another game, ever?
As a team
CF% – 59.00% HDCF% – 59.26% xGF% – 57.73%
The stats paint a generous picture of the Canucks 6-1 loss. Yes, they probably should’ve won, that still is true. But when you struggle to convert on the chances you create, especially when a large portion of the chances came on the power play in a game where you had most of the power plays, results like these aren’t uncommon. Vancouver lacks the edge, the finish, and most of all, the team structure in defence that should give them the opportunity and leeway to be a little wasteful in their chances. Unfortunately, they had nothing, and the Red Wings walk away from this home and home with two thumping results. Good for the Bedard sweepstakes, at least.
Vancouver remains at home, getting ready for the New York Rangers to visit them on Wednesday.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com
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