The Statsies: Sloppy defence costs the Canucks against the Flames

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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Result aside, it was a very colourful night.
The Vancouver Canucks couldn’t quite extinguish the Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes, losing 5-4 in overtime in a very back-and-forth game. Some old habits looked to have crept back in, the team losing some of the structure that had made them so successful in the last month. It was entertaining, no doubt, but there were just too many lapses and too many chances for this Vancouver team to have won this game.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Not much of this should come as a surprise. Calgary knew that their postseason chances hung in the balance and were able to dig deep for this one. After the Canucks got off to their early lead, it was the Flames who dominated the majority of the flow. Sure, their powerplays helped, but the large portion of 5v5 play was controlled by Calgary. They finished the game with an absurd 87 CF, good enough for 68.50 CF% and 66.16 xGF% to go along with it.
The third period was the biggest demonstration of Calgary pushing to equalize. Vancouver was knocked back on their heels, an 18.92 CF% and 22.85 xGF% marking just how badly they were getting shelled. What’s interesting is that while the Canucks were out-chanced 3-12, high-danger chances were 3-3 apiece. What this suggests is that Vancouver did a relatively good job at preventing more high-danger chances than they probably should’ve given up, although the one goal they did give up was a back-breaker.

Heat Map

The Flames leveraged their puck-possession dominance to generate plenty of chances against Thatcher Demko. Outside of the one goal from the left half-wall, Calgary scored four goals from the slot area. This shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that they held a 40-23 scoring chance edge as well as a 19-10 HDCF advantage. Again, Vancouver was able to do a relatively decent job in keeping high danger down, but eventually sheer volume overwhelms quality.
As for their offensive zone, the Canucks weren’t nearly as effective as the Flames in terms of the number of chances generated. However, they still managed to knock four goals past Jacob Markstrom, which could either say that Markstrom didn’t have a good night or Vancouver was just efficient. I’m leaning toward the former, as Markstrom simply has not looked the same this season for the Flames.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: With a quick snip-snap to the AHL, Jack Rathbone returns to the NHL lineup as the leading Corsi man last night. His 62.50 CF% was easily ahead of the rest of the pack, recording a 35.47 CF% rel to the team average, as well as being one of two Canucks to record a positive shot differential. It wasn’t as if Rathbone was sheltered either, the majority of his time being spent against the likes of Nazem Kadri and Dillon Dube and only getting 50.00% of his shift starts in the offensive zone. The only knock would be that he finished with just 9:40 played, which was the third-least of any Vancouver skater last night.
Corsi Chump: Oof. Guillaume Brisebois put up the worst Corsi on the Canucks last night and it wasn’t even close. As if to add insult to injury, his 15.38 CF% was pretty darn awful as the cherry on top for a rough game. Luckily, the team as a whole was out-possessed quite heavily, thus meaning his -23.25 CF% rel wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. Brisebois was on ice for 3 goals against, recorded the third-worst xGF% (19.73), and got buried with 7 HDCA. It just wasn’t a good game for him or his partner Tyler Myers.


xGF: And guess what, it was Jack Rathbone who also recorded the best xGF% of any Canuck last night with a very nice 69.70. A 0.22 xGA, the fourth-lowest on the team, was a large reason for it, but Rathbone did himself a lot of favours by also managing a positive HDCF differential, putting 3 toward the Calgary net while only conceding one, and being on ice for two goals for. They aren’t bad numbers by any means, and it would be interesting to see if Rathbone can recreate this success when pressed into higher minutes.
GSAx: Both goalies didn’t have the best of games. Thatcher Demko was definitely the busier netminder, facing 41 shots and a 4.05 xGF. With the 5 goals given up, that means his GSAx sits at a -0.95 on the night which honestly isn’t awful. Four of the five goals that were scored against Demko were recorded as high-danger, the other one being middle-danger. What this means is that these numbers are already close to being optimal on the night, as high-danger chances have a higher probability to go in. He already did his best to keep the Canucks in it when they were bleeding backdoor chances. Plus, relative to Jacob Markstrom’s -1.93 GSAx, it wasn’t the worst outing for Demko.

Statistical Musings

JT Miller getting destroyed on a matchup: A couple of games ago, JT Miller did a solid job against Jack Eichel when they went head-to-head. In this game, he was on the receiving end of an Elias Lindholm beatdown. Not that his numbers were terribly impressive to begin with, but Miller saw his stat line drop to 17.24 CF%, 14.29 SF%, and 11.69 xGF% while also giving up 1.5 xGA, 12 SCA, and 6 HDCA. Simply put, not only was Miller rendered ineffective in the offensive zone, but also got his stuff kicked in in the defensive zone by Lindholm. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Miller finished with the worst xGA (2.3) last night, on top of the 8th worst xGF (0.38) while being outshot 5-22.
Someone, please check in on Tyler Myers: It feels wrong to dogpile on him constantly, but Tyler Myers doesn’t do himself any favours with his stats. Yes, Gulliuame Brisebois was probably the worse of the two last night, but he’s also an AHL tweener. The expectations for him are nowhere near as high as someone like a 900-NHL game veteran. Myers put up another stinker in this one as he dogged in a 20.93 CF%, a 3-17 shot differential, a 4-13 scoring chance differential and a 17.18 xGF%, the second-lowest to only Miller’s 14.13. The defenceman was on ice for four goals against, which says a lot about the type of effort he turned in last night.
The bright spot on the night: Aidan McDonough scored his first NHL goal! It’s something worth celebrating, as well as the fact that the McDonough-Dries-Studnicka line was actually the best statically last night at 5v5 play. With the Flames playing Pettersson and Miller close attention, it was this unit that posted the best CF% (44.44), best xGF% (73.63), and the best SCF% (100.00). It’s low-hanging fruit, especially considering that this line only played 4:31, half as much as the next lowest forward group, but at the same time, there are not many statistical wins in this one.

As a team

CF% – 31.50% HDCF% – 34.48% xGF% – 33.84%
If we’re entirely honest, the Canucks most likely didn’t deserve to even be within striking distance in this game. Statistically, the numbers were skewed entirely in Calgary’s favour, in a game that they probably could’ve dominated. Thanks to some shaky goaltending (as has been the season’s trend) from Markstrom, Vancouver made it a game. It’s not a bad thing, taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves, but this one shouldn’t have been close. A lot of bad habits cropped up once again, something that Tocchet is sure to address in upcoming practices.
Vancouver plays the Los Angeles Kings at home tomorrow, with a 5:00 PM puck drop set.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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