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It took the Canucks 40 minutes to wake up, but when they did, boy were they good.
Vancouver defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-4 in a bit of a barnburner to start their road trip off in the win column. But, for much of the game, it looked like that wouldn’t be the case. So how exactly did the Canucks manage to pull this one out?
We’ll be checking out the numbers for this one.
As the title suggested, the Ottawa Senators should’ve run away with this game. They completely played the Canucks off the ice in the first and second periods, with the tides of the game firmly in their favour. By the end of 40 minutes, the Sens had a 69.32 CF%, racked up 35 scoring chances to Vancouver’s 13, while tallying 13 HDCF to 7. Ottawa also had a total of 3.58 xGF, in comparison to Vancouver’s 1.58, showing just how much they should’ve been up by. Unfortunately for the home team, the only thing they lacked was finishing ability.
And that was how the Vancouver Canucks were able to play a strong third period (shocker, I know) to win this game at the very end. Even then, Vancouver was nowhere near as dominant as Ottawa was earlier in the game. Their CF% (53.94), SCF% (58.33), HDCF% (45.45) and xGF% (56.90) suggests an image of a team that barely managed to tip the scales in their favour. At the end of the day though, that was all that was needed.
A function of being outshot and out-chanced as badly as the Canucks were in this game is a pretty rough-looking heat map. The Sens were all over the place in the offensive zone, pretty much having their way at any point of the night. Spencer Martin was a huge reason why the Canucks were even able to stay competitive through the first two periods, although he would like to have those two goals back from the right half-wall.
If there’s one bright spot to come out from this, it’s how the Canucks were not only able to funnel their shots into high-danger areas, but efficiently do so with good conversion rates. Vancouver’s only true hotspot was right in the blue paint and if there was anywhere to do so, it was right where they were. The Canucks got four of six goals in tight against Cam Talbot so there’s something to be said about getting to the right spots.
Individual Advanced Stats
Corsi Champ: Conor Garland takes home this game’s Corsi champ title. In a game where the Canucks were out-possessed consistently, Garland led the team with a CF% of 48.39 that saw him put up two assists on the night. He broke even in xGF and xGA (1.07 for both) as well as HDCF% (50.00), which considering the sort of night that it was, really isn’t too bad for the diminutive winger.
Corsi Chump: Nils Åman is this game’s Corsi chump, getting absolutely caved with a 14.29 CF%. It’s been a rough go as of late for the Swede on the fourth line after a more than decent start with the Canucks. Against the Sens, Åman was ineffective offensively while giving up a 1.02 xGA. He was on ice for eight scoring chances against, six of them being high danger while generating no chances at all.
xGF: It was one of those weird nights, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson takes home his second consecutive xGF award. He led all Canucks not only in xGF% (55.03) but raw xGF as well (1.83). It’s a surprise, considering that to the eye-test OEL was not having a good night. He finished fourth on the team in xGA (1.50) while conceding 18 scoring chances against. However, OEL also managed to put 7 HDCF together with 4 HDCA, thus giving him a team-leading 64.63 HDCF%. This all can probably be attributed to the fact that neither team was defensively very solid, and OEL benefitted from the chaotic run-and-gun.
GSAx: Spencer Martin remains undefeated in regulation for the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, he let in 4 goals, but when taking into account that the Sens were expected to score 4.72 goals on the night, it works out to a GSAx of 0.72 in favour of Martin. This number doesn’t really show how much he kept the team in it during the first two periods with incredible saves, but does show that he’s been having a net-positive impact on this team.
Jack Rathbone’s defence: It’s great to see Jack Rathbone in this lineup, and great to see the dynamic qualities that he brings to this back end. From relieving pressure with his skating to making the right outlet passes in transition, there’s a lot to like about the impact that Rathbone brings. However, he’s got to clean it up in his own end. Paired with Ethan Bear, Rathbone posted the second-lowest CF% among defencemen (29.63) as well as the lowest xGF% (20.68). It comes with the territory of giving up 1.32 xGA, along with 7 HDCA with only one HDCF. Again, it’s not to say Rathbone had a bad game since pretty much every Canuck had a poor possession game, but when the forwards he’s playing against the most are Shane Pinto and Tyler Motte, he needs to be better in his own zone.
Putting Podkolzin in a position to succeed: After a couple games stapled to the bottom six, Podkolzin found himself on a line with Garland and Bo Horvat. Naturally, he saw an uptick in his own personal stats, but that line was probably the best the Canucks had going all night. Leading the team in CF% (47.83), xGF% (51.23) and HDCF% (50.00), it shows that Podkolzin does have a place right now higher in the lineup. More of the same would be encouraging to see, especially as this former top-10 pick looks to develop into a complimentary piece later on this season and perhaps more down the road.
Brock is back: Brock Boeser’s return resulted in a goal, but the winger definitely had a good game analytically as well. He was second on the team in CF%, putting up 4 HDCF during 15:16 minutes on ice. There are a couple of things that weren’t too great such as an xGA of 1.29, but it’s to be expected after coming back from injury. Eyes should be on Boeser to see if his role changes, and how his numbers are impacted as a result.
As a team
CF% – 36.89% HDCF% – 38.71% xGF% – 39.43%
The Vancouver Canucks should’ve been absolutely pummeled by the Ottawa Senators, but came away with a big win to kick off this east coast swing. Hopefully they’ll be able to find a better effort to start on time in their next game, but a good third period is a trend-bucker that the Canucks will look to continue.
Vancouver heads to Montreal on Wednesday, with puck drop set for 4:30 PM PST.
Stats provided by naturalstattrick.com