The Statsies: A poor second period sets the Canucks up for failure vs Coyotes

Photo credit:© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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Of course it was going to be the Arizona Coyotes that this win streak would be snapped by.
Perhaps it was the intimate confines of Mullett Arena making the difference, but the Vancouver Canucks fell on the road 3-2 to the Arizona Coyotes. Not that a result like this wasn’t to be expected given the lineup that the Canucks had, but the loss stands out all the same given the recent stretch of results this team had produced. It wasn’t all bad statistically, with Vancouver generally coming out on top. However, taking their foot off the gas for just a moment proved costly as they couldn’t quite find enough to come back in this one.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The large majority of this game’s flow was spent in the Canucks’ favour. Having three first-period power plays certainly helps with that, driving puck possession and expected goals generation much more than 5v5 play. But, even outside of that, Vancouver did a decent job at 5v5 play as well. Most of it can be evidenced by their third-period push to try and tie the game up. In the final frame alone, the Canucks controlled nearly every metric available with 76.67 CF%, 71.43 SCF%, 100.00 HDCF%, and 83.94 xGF%.
It was the second period, however, that saw the Canucks back off just for a moment which allowed Arizona to steal the momentum. The Coyotes out-chanced the Canucks 18-10 in the frame, racking up 7 high-danger chances for while only conceding 3 against. It might not sound like much, but that was all it took for Arizona to take the lead, one they would add to just moments into the third period as an insurance marker.

Heat Map

A heat map like this normally wouldn’t be cause for much concern for the Canucks. They did a pretty effective job at preventing the Coyotes from attempting many shots in high-danger areas, not allowing them to establish a hot spot pretty much from anywhere. Sure, the two power play goals Arizona scored did come from a high-danger area, but that’s to be expected when playing a man down. Offensively, the Canucks were able to shovel chances into the slot area, peppering Ivan Prosvetov with high-danger chances. In total, Vancouver held a 17-9 advantage in HDCF, backing up much of the heat map on display from last night.
However, when looking at 5v5 play, that margin shrinks down dramatically. The Canucks still find themselves ahead, but only by a 10-8 high-danger chance for differential. Arizona actually out-chanced Vancouver 26-18 at even strength, which suggests that outside of the man-advantage, the Canucks struggled to get much traction for themselves, not being able to generate consistent pressure against an allegedly weaker Coyotes team.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Holy crap Andrei Kuzmenko was good. He might be all smiles, but the Kuzmenkshow is all game on the ice. The winger led the Canucks in CF%, topping out at a 80.00 CF% last night. While Kuzmenko was on ice, Vancouver outshot Arizona 11-2, with only 6 unblocked attempts against coming against Thatcher Demko. It’s night and day, the performances Kuzmenko is turning in now compared to when Tocchet first took over. While the Bure comparisons might be a tad overboard, there’s no doubting that this Russian is certainly a gamer.
Corsi Chump: The new tank commander did his very best in this one. Tyler Myers brought up the rear in the CF% department, the worst Canucks with a 31.82, enough to give him a -34.43 CF% rel to the team average. It’s tough to watch him out there sometimes with the decisions that he makes, with this game against the Coyotes being no different. Myers was on ice for all three goals against, giving up the highest xGA (1.12) on the team as well as the most scoring chances against (16) and high-danger scoring chances against (5). Simply put, Myers did not have a good game against a team actively trying to lose games.


xGF: Further piling on the dazzling Kuzmenkshow train, Andrei Kuzmenko also led the Canucks with an absurd 95.80 xGF%. Essentially, with him on the ice, Vancouver was likely to score 96% of the time and concede only 4% of the time. His raw xGF of 2.31 finished second behind Quinn Hughes’ 2.69, but Kuzmneko’s 0.1 xGA was a team-best. The winger saw 14 scoring chances directed against the Coyotes while he was on ice, with just two coming against. Kuzmenko was responsible for 9 HDCF with 0 HDCA, showing the two-way effort that he put in. There is a caveat in this, however. While the numbers are impressive, deployment could’ve played a major role in them as well. Kuzmenko started 80.00% of his shifts in the offensive zone, with 90.00% of his faceoff starts also in the o-zone. This would definitely give him favourable opportunities to produce, but at the same time, it’s one thing to be given opportunities, and it’s another to generate the numbers Kuzmenko did last night.
GSAx: It was the roughest game of Demko’s return to action, and that says a lot about the level he has been playing at for this to be the case. The Coyotes only mustered up 2.27 xGF last night, meaning that Demko’s GSAx sits at a -0.73 from the result. Granted, only one goal last night was truly considered high-danger, the other two being recorded as middle danger. It isn’t a significant amount, but in the past couple of games, Demko was excellent. In this one, he was simply alright, and unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for the Canucks to grab another win on the road.

Statistical Musings

Dreaming of Brisebois without Myers: The unfortunate result of Myers’ poor game is that Guillaume Brisebois’ efforts get a little lost. After potting the first goal of his NHL career against the Stars, Brisebois did his very best to try and make his pairing respectable. Together, their numbers stood at a putrid 22.58 CF%, 26.67 SF%, and 31.69 xGF%. This is in comparison to Brisebois’ line of 88.89 CF%, 85.71 SF%, and 99.30 xGF% playing away from Myers. Granted, it’s a very small sample size (approximately 3 minutes of ice time), but splitting Brisebois from Myers is something that could be worth trying out. It’s not often that the AHL call-up is the better partner in a defence pairing, after all.
The Brothers Karamazov, Canucks edition: It might become a game of seeing which young Russian will be the one to step up in any given game. Kravtsov-Dries-Podkolzin actually managed 0.00 CF% and 0.00 xGF%, quite literally being black holes during their time on ice. But as soon as Vitali Kravtsov was separated from Vasily Podkolzin, his stat line jumped up massively. His CF% rose from 7.14 to 81.82, while his xGF% went from 4.08 to 96.61. Meanwhile, Podkolzin also saw a dramatic uptick away from Kravstov and Dries, going to an 80.00 CF% and 94.68 xGF%. Both of these wingers will be looking to establish themselves as full-time players in the NHL, and there’s no better showcase than the rest of this season to make their case.

As a team

CF% – 54.03% HDCF% – 65.38% xGF% – 65.43%
Statistically, the Canucks probably should’ve won this game. Nearly every metric was in their favour last night. But, as evidenced by their lacklustre play at times, the team took their foot off the gas for just a moment and was made to pay for it. Some holes are insurmountable no matter the amount of pressure applied, and it’s almost always easier to defend a lead than to try to claw back into it. They simply looked just a little slower than in the previous 5 games, and that appeared to make all the difference on the road.
Vancouver travels to Los Angeles tomorrow, facing off against the Kings at Crypto.com Arena.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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