The Statsies: A poor second period costs the Canucks vs. Toronto

Photo credit:© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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It was looking so good after the first period.
The Canucks concede yet another muti-goal lead, this time losing 3-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Result aside, it wasn’t an awful game by Vancouver. Unfortunately, not awful isn’t going to get results in this league. It also doesn’t help with breaking narratives about this team.
Here’s how the numbers shaped up for this game.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow 

At the start, it looked like the Canucks got the memo of starting off games right. Although neither team could dominate, Vancouver capitalized on the chances they got which led to the early 2-0 lead. The first period ended with a dead-even Corsi for both teams (50.00 CF%), with the Leafs just edging the Canucks out in xGF% (62.41 to 37.59) thanks to 5 high-danger chances for in comparison to 3.
However, Toronto would dominate the second frame and bury Vancouver as a result. Their three unanswered goals were deserving of the effort they put forth, where they comfortably topped them in CF% (65.00 to 35.00), SCF% (62.96 to 37.04), HDCF% (72.73 to 27.27), and xGF% (74.94 to 25.06). In fact, the Maple Leafs would rack up 1.98 xGF alone in that second frame.
Though the game flow doesn’t show it too well, the Canucks would try to battle back in the third. They controlled most of the possession through the final frame (60.47 CF%) but were unable to make the most of it, with Toronto getting the better chances still (66.67 HDCF%). It’s a better third-period effort than most other games, but for the Canucks, it’s about showing up for 60 minutes.

Heat Map

The heat map shows concerning signs on both ends of the ice. The Canucks gave up a lot of attempts from in tight, with a red spread all across the Vancouver goal mouth. Credit the Leafs for getting chances from those areas, but the Canucks defence needs to be better to prevent such a high concentration from those high-danger spots. Toronto racked up 17 HDCF in total out of 34 shots on the night.
On the offensive side, the Canucks didn’t get nearly enough chances themselves to balance out the ones they gave up. Vancouver never managed to establish a true hotspot themselves, with the only darker shaded area coming in the slot. That isn’t bad, but when the Canucks are only getting 8 HDCF on the night, it simply isn’t enough to win hockey games.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: This game’s champ is Bo Horvat. The captain has been playing possessed to start the season, notching his 13th of the season to put him as the second-highest in the NHL. Horvat posted a CF% of 66.67, putting him at a 29.33 CF% rel to the rest of his team. The puck possession he generated also led to tangible chances, with Horvat responsible for 15 scoring chances for, a team-leading 5 of them being high-danger. Horvat’s contract number seems to be climbing by the game with each one of these performances he turns in.
Corsi Chump: This one’s the big stunner. Andrey Kuzmenko, who previously had incredible Corsi numbers, brings up the rear in this game with a 26.67 CF%. He still rode the line with Elias Pettersson and Nils Höglander, but interestingly enough he and Höglander only played about 9 minutes each. Kuzmenko unfortunately wasn’t much good at either end of the ice, a paltry 0.22 xGF easily outweighed by a 0.36 xGA. It’s probably the first game that he’s been this bad analytically, so don’t count on this becoming a common occurrence.


xGF: This shouldn’t be a surprise, but Bo Horvat collects the xGF award for this game with a team-leading 1.25 xGF. Playing most of the night against Toronto’s second line, Horvat was able to keep a solid 0.71 xGA, but that did drag his xGF% slightly down. However, his xGF% rel of 42.05 puts him at a joint team lead with Elias Pettersson, who was the team-leader in xGF% (68.45).
GSAx: Spencer Martin is finally defeated in regulation as a member of the Canucks. Even in the loss, he was still solid, giving Vancouver a more than solid chance to win this game. With Toronto posting an expected goals of 3.75, Martin’s GSAx stands at a solid 0.75 to buy the Canucks some leeway. Out of the goals that he gave up, two of them were considered high-danger, while one was middle-danger. Overall, not a bad showing for the backup netminder at all.

Statistical Musings

Anomalies on the Pettersson line: It’s rare that you see this, but Kuzmenko and Höglander were genuinely dead weights on Pettersson’s flanks against the Leafs. Whereas Pettersson was one of the best on the team in CF% (65.85), Kuzmenko and Höglander brought up the rear (30.77 and 26.67 respectively). Both of these wingers also posted a 0.22 xGF while Pettersson recorded a 0.90. It’s interesting to see, especially considering that in previous games, both players were great compliments to their centreman.
Matchup line: Horvat didn’t draw the assignment of handling the Leafs’ big guns. Instead, that responsibility fell onto Studnicka-Åman-Joshua, who performed quite well in that role. As a group, they posted a 70.00 CF%, breaking even in xGF% with a 51.14. All players on this line recorded even Corsi or better against Matthews, which is impressive given the task.
OEL-Myers nightmare continues: After stringing together a couple of decent results, Ekman-Larsson and Myers decided to revert to being a poor pairing together. The veterans finished dead-last amongst defencemen in CF% (32.26, 33.33) as well as giving up a combined 12 high-danger chances against on the night. It feels as if they’ve aged dramatically in the past season, and signs do not look promising in turning this around.

As a team

CF% – 48.78% HDCF% – 32.00% xGF% – 35.86%
The Canucks took their foot of the gas for 20 minutes in the second period, and the Maple Leafs made them pay for it. As yet another multi-goal lead disintegrates, Vancouver now searches for more answers as the season wears on. They take on the Boston Bruins tonight on a tough road back-to-back.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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