The Statsies: Where Thatcher Demko absolutely steals the Canucks a win

Photo credit:© Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Liu
1 year ago
Be sure to check out NHL betting odds site Betway for all the latest Canucks game day odds!
There are ugly wins, and then there’s this one.
Despite being outshot 40-17, the Vancouver Canucks take a 3-2 shootout win on the road against the Los Angeles Kings. Unfortunately, there are not many moral victories to take away from this one in which most Canucks simply did not look engaged. There wasn’t a lot of life for a large majority of the game, with two flashes of individual brilliance getting Vancouver across the line to overtime.
Here’s the win, by the numbers.
As always, you can find our glossary guide of advanced stats here.

Game Flow

The straight-up vertical line in the third period was genuinely hilarious to see. For much of the game, the game flow line was as boring as the game itself — a nearly straight line that stayed consistently in the Kings’ advantage. But to see such a drastic jump that wasn’t on the power play says a lot about the dominance that LA showed in that span. In the third period alone, the Kings managed a 2.19 xGF. For comparison, Vancouver’s xGF for the entire game was 1.58.
To put it simply, the Canucks were heavily out-possessed and out-chanced through the entire duration of the game. LA racked up 64.66 CF%, 58.93 SCF%, 61.54 HDCF%, and 69.19 xGF%. Those numbers on any given night should easily have secured a win. Perhaps an argument could be made that the Canucks should be praised for getting a result even despite the numbers. But even so, it was an ugly, ugly victory.

Heat Map

When you’re only getting 17 shots in the game, the heat map tends to look this sparse in the offensive zone. Vancouver barely managed to get attempts below the faceoff dot, with a smattering of random attempts from other areas. There was no clear established hot spot, nor any consistent area from which their shots came from. At 5v5, their map becomes even worse, further losing that light blue spot on the right side of the ice.
On the flip side, the Kings made sure to generate a good number of chances from in the slot area. Holding a 16-10 edge in high-danger chances, Los Angeles funneled their opportunities at Thatcher Demko in a concentrated area. That tends to happen when you’re dominating the balance of scoring chances and puck possession. At least it wasn’t worse, given the fact that the Kings had 40 shots in total, additionally with a total of 56 Fenwick For (unblocked shot attempts).

Individual Advanced Stats

Corsi Champ: Quinn Hughes was probably one of the only players last night that moved the needle positively, even despite the turnovers. Recording an absurd 27:33 TOI, Hughes also led the Canucks with a 58.33 CF%, a staggering 39.22 CF% rel above team average. With the amount of time he spent on ice, the numbers probably shouldn’t have been as kind as they were to Hughes, which says a lot about the type of game he had against the Kings. He was also the only Canuck to not record a negative shot differential, putting 13 shots for while facing 13 against.
Corsi Chump: Unfortunately, being split from the healthy scratch Tyler Myers did not help out Guillaume Brisebois, who finishes this one as the Corsi chump. His 12.90 CF% was a solid -30.63 CF% rel, being outshot 0-11 with most of his minutes coming alongside Ethan Bear. The rest of the stats don’t get much kinder to Brisebois either. He had the worst xGF% of any Canucks (0.71), the lowest xGF (0.01), and the second-worst SCF% (16.67). Overall, just not a great outing by Brisebois.


xGF: Surprise, surprise, it’s Quinn Hughes once again. Not only did he lead Vancouver in xGF% (65.05), but also in raw xGF (1.27). Hughes was credited with 15 scoring chances, of which 8 were high-danger. Defensively, he faced 8 scoring chances against, with 4 of them being high-danger. Given the fact that Hughes only saw 25% of his shift starts in the offensive zone, and it becomes clear that this isn’t just because of deployment. It’s unfortunate the Canucks have been as bad as they have this season, because players like Hughes have become underrated for the impact that they have on games by the general NHL fanbase.
GSAx: Thatcher Demko is kinda good. Okay, that’s a bit of an understatement, but the meaning is the same. The American netminder bounced back from a relatively tough outing against the Coyotes to be superb in this one. With the Kings recording 3.55 xGF, Demko’s GSAx on the night sits at 1.55 through regulation and overtime. One middle-danger and one high-danger goal were the blemishes on his performance, which isn’t bad considering the man faced 40 shots. Demko has been a big part in the Canucks’ stretch in form, which hopefully doesn’t encourage the team to overload him to finish the season.

Statistical Musings

One line above them all: Though they only contributed to one goal, the Di Giuseppe-Miller-Boeser line was the only one to get anything going for the Canucks. This unit was the only one to finish with a CF% at 50 or above (with 50.00 CF%). Even that benchmark meant that the line was 24.29 CF% rel above the rest of the lines’ average. Along with their goal, they generated the highest xGF (0.32), but also suffered as a result of the 9 scoring chances they gave up, dropping their xGF% to 29.90. It’s not bad though, considering how badly out-chanced and out-shot the Canucks were for the majority of the night. For them to even tread water statistically is an achievement.
Woah there, Wolanin: For all Vancouver defencemen besides Hughes and Juulsen, it wasn’t the greatest outing. Christian Wolanin stands out even amongst that, recording the worst xGA (2.05) on the team, along with the second-worst xGF% (9.92) on the roster as well. Out of the 14 scoring chances Wolanin faced (a team-high), 9 of them were recorded as high-danger (also a team-high). His partner Kyle Burroughs did his best to help him out, but Wolanin’s metrics dropped pretty heavily as soon as he played away from him. It’s a bit of an anomaly after a couple of solid outings, but it also makes sense. This is an AHL top pairing playing in the NHL, against a team with playoff ambitions.
Garland in the doghouse: Unfortunately, the early magic from Tocchet’s takeover seems to be wearing out for Conor Garland. Finding himself on the fourth line with Dakota Joshua and Nils Åman, the winger was not having a great time. He recorded the third-worst CF% (15.00), produced the third-worst xGF (0.13), and the third-worst xGF% (17.94) in the lineup. Granted, Garland doesn’t have the best to work with in terms of linemates, but something has to be said about the impact that he is making, or rather the lack thereof. Simply put, there was not a single statistic that suggested that Garland was particularly threatening in this game.

As a team

CF% – 35.34% HDCF% – 38.46% xGF% – 30.81%
After a game against Arizona that was boring but statistically controlled, the Canucks probably should’ve gotten pummeled in last night’s game against the Kings. Somehow though, they’ve been able to pull two points out of nothing. It’s genuinely surprising to see this result happen, given what we saw on the ice and on the stat sheet. There was pretty much nothing remarkable about this game besides Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko. Apparently, that’s all the Canucks need to win hockey games.
Vancouver is right back in action tonight, playing the Anaheim Ducks just a couple of minutes down Interstate 5. Puck drop is at 5 PM.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com

Check out these posts...