The Statsies: Vitali Kravtsov leads the Canucks in xGF% in loss to Wild

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
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Not the prettiest of losses, but it wasn’t an ugly loss either. Heck, those jerseys were fire as well.
A brief respite from the lead-up to the NHL trade deadline saw the Vancouver Canucks lose 2-1 at home against the Minnesota Wild. The scoreline does flatter them a bit — the Wild were unlucky not to score more with how well they played. It’s an expected result, although the fact that it wasn’t worse might appear to give false hope to members of management and fans. On top of not picking up any points, some good individual performances were featured in this one.
Here’s the loss, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

Much of the reason why the team stats aren’t more tilted is due largely to the Canucks being pretty darn good on their power plays. The game started out in favour of the Wild, who didn’t tilt the scales entirely in their direction but maintained a solid lead in expected goals and puck possession. That changed after the Canucks’ second power play which saw them capitalize with a Brock Boeser goal. That spike in puck possession built them a lead that Minnesota wouldn’t be able to entirely chip away at until the third.
What should be noted is how besides the spikes on the power play, Minnesota completely wrecked Vancouver in CF% and xGF%. The Wild finished the game with 56.90 CF% and 56.34 xGF% shares, but when looking at the even strength results, those numbers rise to 62.35 CF% and 59.14 xGF%. It speaks to how the Canucks reverted into old habits, getting outplayed at 5v5 and getting out-chanced as well. Minnesota has always played well in Rogers Arena for whatever reason, and with the run that they’re currently on, there really wasn’t any question about how they performed last night.

Heat Map

Are there any surprises looking at the heat map? In a game where Vancouver got out-shot 36-22, the large spread of Minnesota shots probably makes sense. But what makes this more interesting is how despite the shot differential, the gap narrows down in terms of scoring chances and high-danger chances. Remember, a scoring chance does not necessarily need to reach the net to be recorded as such. The Wild held a slim 34-30 scoring chance lead, with an even slimmer 11-10 high-danger chance lead. What this might imply is that the Canucks did a good job at responding with their own chances, but not enough of them reached the net for it to have mattered. As well, to nitpick a little at the heat map, it’s somewhat frustrating to see the Wild establish a clear hotspot in front of the goal with one more high-danger chance than the Canucks, who had lukewarm hotspots in the slot area.

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Andrei Kuzmenko once again finds himself as the Corsi champ of the Canucks, leading the roster with a 60.00 CF%, enough for a 22.79 CF% rel. It was an excellent effort for the anti-tank commander as per usual, leveraging his puck possession ability into tangible opportunities. Kuzmenko finished with the 4th highest xGF (1.29) and put 11 scoring chances on the board, yielding 4 against. Among that, Kuzmenko had 5 high-danger chances for with merely 1 coming the other way. There still has yet to be an extended period of the season in which he has struggled, which is nice to see in the Russian’s first year in the NHL.
Corsi Chump: This one belongs to Guillaume Brisebois, who once again was tasked with babysitting Tyler Myers. Unfortunately, unlike last time out, Brisebois wasn’t able to make much of a difference for Myers. He came in dead last in CF%, a 26.47 giving him a -23.53 CF% rel to team average. What’s interesting to note is that despite the struggles in puck possession, Brisebois didn’t have the worst nights defensively. A 41.17 xGF% ranks him ahead of his partner’s 32.99 xGF%, and Brisebois even managed to limit the Wild’s high-danger opportunities on his flank. Though he got shelled with 16 scoring chances against, only 2 of them were considered high-danger. Meanwhile, out of the 5 scoring chances that Brisebois had, 3 were registered as high-danger.


xGF: Vitali Kravtsov had himself a very solid night in his second game for the Canucks. He led Vancouver in xGF%, topping the charts with a 67.74. Most of this comes down to his 0.5 xGA last night, which was the second-best on the entire roster. Couple that with a 1.05 xGF, and you get the excellent rate metrics that he shows. Kravtsov put 9 scoring chances on the board, 4 of which were high-danger, and overall looked like a puck possession menace during his time on ice. It’ll be fun to watch if he develops in the future and is able to translate some good analytics into good results.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko continues his redemption tour post-injury if it could even be called that. The Wild were buzzing all night, racking up 3.29 xGF for their efforts. Demko was stingy, conceding only two goals of which both were high-danger. As such, his GSAx on the night sits at a 1.29, stringing together a couple of games where his numbers are in the positive. If the Canucks keep losing in this manner, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Demko seems to be playing better, with the metrics following up on the fact that he’s currently buoying a bad defensive effort through excellent netminding. Hopefully, he won’t see a heavy load until the end of the season.

Statistical Musings

Quinn Hughes’ tough night: It’s not easy eating up 26:22 TOI. It’s also not easy playing alongside AHL-caliber defencemen. Hughes’ stats might not look awful from the outset, but it’s clear that he’s struggling a bit. Against the Wild last night, Hughes was on ice for both goals against, a 10-18 shot differential going the other way in that span. He gave up a team-high 2.12 xGA, which also suggests that his impact statistically matched what was the most probable outcome on the ice. With Hughes’ partner for the majority of the night being Noah Juulsen (who isn’t bad as a tweener but definitely not a top-4 defenceman), it makes sense why his numbers weren’t his usual standard. At least he had a sick highlight against Minnesota.
Where every forward line struggledI’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like this, but the Canucks forward group was entirely below 40.00 CF% last night. Leading the way was the Kuzmenko-Pettersson-Beauvillier line with 37.50, and bringing up the rear were Aman-Studnicka-Joshua with 22.22 CF%. Only one line (Kravtsov-Dries-Podkolzin) managed to finish with an xGF% above 50, coming in at a 59.98. Meanwhile, Boeser-Miller-Garland were impressively impotent with a team-low 0.08 xGF and 9.42 xGF%. Basically, that line was expected to concede a goal 90% of the time they were on the ice.

As a team

CF% – 43.10% HDCF% – 47.62% xGF% – 43.66%
Despite the scoreline, the Canucks weren’t all that close to the Minnesota Wild. They did have their moments though, and Tocchet can take that as a sign that this team is putting to practice what he has been preaching. Buoyed by their powerplay and goaltending, the Canucks managed to look somewhat competitive analytically, if the on-ice product still had left much to be desired. But, there are players that have remained consistently good, and ones that are beginning to emerge. It’ll be interesting to follow as the season begins to wind down.
Vancouver will welcome Luke Schenn and the Toronto Maple Leafs at home Saturday for an afternoon puck drop.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

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