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The Statsies: Quinn Hughes, Teddy Blueger, and Nils Åman turn the tide against the Kraken

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Photo credit:Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
6 months ago
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Not a bad way to respond to a loss.
The Vancouver Canucks beat the Seattle Kraken 5-1, payback for the last matchup between the two teams. But the first two periods were anything but convincing, looking like the Canucks had gotten by on luck more rather than having actually outplayed the Kraken. That narrative was turned on its head with a dazzling third-period performance, one where Vancouver played excellently at both ends of the ice to turn this game into a 4-goal victory.
While it wasn’t exactly top-to-bottom domination, it was definitely a good game with positives to take from it.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Teddy Blueger’s shorthanded marker in the first period intimated that the Canucks were going to take it to the Kraken. Even as Seattle was on the power play, Vancouver held a handy advantage in CF% and xGF%. However, that changed with the extended kill given to Seattle after Tyler Myers’ high-sticking double-minor against Jordan Eberle, with momentum swinging in the Kraken’s favour into the second period.
At 5v5, in the middle frame, Seattle held a 64.86 CF% and 60.07 xGF% share, out-chancing the Canucks 11-6 in that span. The only reason the Expected Goal +/- (all situations) chart swung favourably for Vancouver was because of the power play the Canucks had, salvaging their numbers to look better than they probably deserved to be.
Vancouver left the door open for Seattle to come back and win this game in the second period, which is why the run of control in the third period was so outstanding. Just last game, the Canucks lost to an Avs team who also capitalized with three-straight goals in the final frame to win. Vancouver looked to rectify those past mistakes by completely snuffing out any chances the Kraken could get.
Across all situations, Vancouver held Seattle to only 2 shots, 3 scoring chances, and zero high-danger chances. On the offensive side, they recorded 12 scoring chances, 6 of them high-danger, for an 83.99 xGF% in the final frame. That is the kind of shut-down effort that this team needs to close out games, and it was electric to see that happen in response to the Colorado loss.

Heat Map

Looking at the Game Flow chart, it’s not hard to see how the Canucks generally did a good job eliminating high-danger chances against last night. In total, the scoring chances were tilted 29-23 in favour of Vancouver, but the disparity in high-danger chances stood at 12 to 5 for the Canucks. That much is apparent from seeing the little semi-hot spot that the Kraken had by Demko’s crease, with little frequency in the low slot. Meanwhile, the Canucks had themselves a dense concentration of attempts tight around the net of Joey Daccord., with four goals scored from the highest point of concentration of shots.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Quinn Hughes was bossing around the back end once more against the Kraken. The defencemen led the Canucks with a 60.71 CF% at 5v5. Vancouver held Seattle to just 3 shots, 5 scoring chances, 1 high-danger chance and just 0.36 xGA with Hughes on the ice at 5v5. Not only was he solid defensively, but Hughes also managed to extend his point streak with an assist last night. There was a lot to like about his game, especially how Hughes’ ice time was brought down to just over 22 minutes, meaning he should be fresher for the back half of a doubleheader.
Corsi Chump: Phil Di Giuseppe tallied the worst CF% on the team with a 27.78 CF% at 5v5. Against Seattle, the winger was separated from Brock Boeser and JT Miller, playing in the bottom six with Nils Höglander and Nils Åman. It wasn’t as if this line was matched up against world-beaters, primarily facing off against Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Kailer Yamamoto, but the Canucks held a 36.85 xGF% with PDG on the ice at 5v5. Funnily enough, the Canucks held a positive control of shot attempts on the penalty kill with PDG on the ice. At the end of the day, PDG wasn’t on the ice for a goal against in his 12:51 of ice time over all situations.

THE STATSIES PRESENTED BY BETWAY

xGF: Ilya Mikheyev looked dangerous last night. Potting in one goal, the Russian winger recorded a team-high 68.14 xGF%, using his speed to full effect. Mikheyev was on ice for a 9-2 advantage in scoring chances and a further 5-1 difference in high-danger scoring chances. This impressive stat line came even with Elias Pettersson continuing to look unimpressive, so there isn’t much concern about a passenger effect. The raw xGF leader was none other than Quinn Hughes’ 1.59, but a special shoutout to Ian Cole, who led the Canucks at 5v5 with an xGF of 1.31.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko was back to being a positive influence against the Kraken. The netminder only faced 2.11 xGF from Seattle, allowing a single goal, resulting in a 1.11 GSAx. The one goal was a middle-danger chance against, so it wasn’t the greatest, but not the worst goal to give up. Mid, as they say. Other than that, Demko was rock solid, helping the Canucks stave off the flows of momentum against them. Very likely, Casey DeSmith will follow up this performance in San Jose on Saturday night.

Statistical Musings

Elias Pettersson is still MIA: Perhaps the alien got dragged back to Area 51, but Elias Pettersson just hasn’t been playing right. It’s likely not his wrist bugging him, but something isn’t right. The numbers back it up, with Pettersson recording rough xGF numbers against the Kraken. In the 5v5 time that the center played, he managed to have the second-worst xGA (0.71), the sixth-worst xGF (0.39), and the second-worst xGF% (35.14), coming in just better than Mark Friedman and worse than Tyler Myers. Pettersson just hasn’t looked dangerous, and if the team and he continue to insist okay, then he isn’t doing himself any favours on an upcoming contract extension.
Nils Åman’s big night: Called up and signing a two-year extension on the same day, Nils Åman had himself a banner Friday for the Canucks! There was a point where Natural Stat Trick had him leading Vancouver in xGF%, but an update saw Ilya Mikheyev leap over him. Still, it was a solid outing by the Swede. Even though he gave up a 36.36 CF% share at 5v5, his xGF% of 67.22 put him comfortably in second place. It gets even more impressive factoring all situations, where Åman stood 3rd in xGF%, just under Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes, with 12 seconds of power play time. Åman’s xGA of 0.34 was the fourth-best on the roster, which is honestly impressive when factoring in how his line was conceding the bulk of puck possession during his time on ice. It’ll be interesting to see how he factors into this team’s plans for the remainder of the season. As a young, defensively responsible piece on a cheap ticket, Åman could be the perfect internal depth option for this management’s projected contention window.

As a team

CF% – 50.43% HDCF% – 70.59% xGF% – 58.88%
In this stretch run of condensed games, the Canucks are still battling hard. They haven’t gone away too easily as of late, and it’s showing with some very tough results and wins like this one. Yes, it wasn’t a clinical effort, but that’s hard to pull off, even for the best teams. Vancouver did a good job hanging in long enough before finding another gear to turn the Kraken’s momentum on its head and take over. While the top six is still not performing up to par, the bottom six stepped up offensively in this one to help skewer the Kraken in front of their home crowd. Say what you might about this team’s PDO crashing back down to earth; the Canucks are determined to prove that they’re for real.
Vancouver is back in action tonight, heading into San Jose to take on the Sharks at the SAP Center.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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