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Who are the real Vancouver Canucks?: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Clarke Corsan
1 month ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal discussed some of the debate surrounding the Canucks and their underlying numbers — more specifically, their PDO. 
Vancouver is once again in the hot seat for their high PDO, a stat that combines shooting percentage and save percentage during 5-on-5 play and is often seen as a measure of luck. The Canucks lead the league at 12.27%, almost 1.5 percentage points higher than the next-best team. No team has ever finished a season shooting higher than 11%, so talk of regressing to the mean has been widespread almost all season long.
The spark of the debate was revived after the Canucks’ 6-3 win against Ottawa on Tuesday night, in a game that saw Vancouver build a 5-0 lead by the end of the 1st period only to come out flat for the remaining 40 minutes. They were able to hold off a surging Senators team and collect 2 points in their final home game before setting off on a 7-game road trip, but the team’s play in the latter stage of this one certainly added fuel to the fire.
“Outsiders would probably look at a game like that and see the Canucks were outshot 38-26, watch the tape back of their goals, and they had some bounces so the narrative is ‘oh, the PDO train keeps rolling,” said Harman. “To a certain extent, I get where that comes from, but this is also where the numbers can be a bit misleading. They dominated the first period, the Senators started to take over in the final 40 minutes, but it doesn’t matter if you’re racking up shots and chances if you’re down 5-0. Sure, it makes the numbers look not as bad at the end of the night, but the game was over by the end of the first period.”
“I don’t want to dissect it too much; you had the lead 5-0 after the first, at that point you’re just playing to close it out. Mission accomplished,” said Quads. “I understand if you’re playing an opponent like anyone in the top half of the Pacific Division, you’re probably more at risk of blowing that lead if you play the way the Canucks did. I’d also argue the Canucks would try a bit harder if it wasn’t the Senators trying to mount that comeback.”
Harman noted that although the numbers say one thing, the Canucks have afforded themselves the luxury at this point in the season to make mistakes that won’t cause as much damage as prior seasons:
“They’re learning how to win. This core has never been in this position, even when they made the playoffs in 2019-20, they were scratching and clawing in that big pack contending for a spot. They’ve never been in a position where they enter the Christmas break near the top of the NHL standings or leading the Pacific. This is part of the growing process, the maturity and the evolution. This is a brand new situation for them as opposed to years past where they’d dug themselves into a massive hole and are trying to climb out of it.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s show in the video below:

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