November 28, 2022

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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 barn burner of sorts to begin their road trip at the Victory Column. But for much of the game it looked like that wasn’t going to be the case. How exactly did the Canucks manage to pull this one out?

We’ll check the numbers for this one.

As always, here’s our glossary guide to advanced stats.

As the title suggests, the Ottawa Senators should have walked away with that game. They played the Canucks entirely off the ice in the first and second periods, with the tide of the game firmly in their favor. By the end of 40 minutes, the Sens had a CF of 69.32%, accumulating 35 scoring chances over Vancouver’s 13 while counting 13 HDCF to 7. Ottawa also had a total of 3.58 xGF compared to Vancouver’s 1.58, which shows how much they have would have been over. Unfortunately for the home team, all they lacked was the ability to finish.

And so the Vancouver Canucks were able to play a strong third (shocker, I know) third to win that game at the very end. Even then, Vancouver wasn’t nearly as dominant as Ottawa earlier in the game. Their CF% (53.94), SCF% (58.33), HDCF% (45.45) and xGF% (56.90) suggest an image of a team that just barely managed to tip the scales to be. At the end of the day, though, that was all it took.

One feature for getting passed and passed as badly as the Canucks in this game is a pretty crude looking heatmap. The Sens were all over the offensive zone and pretty much had their way at any point of the night. Spencer Martin was a big reason the Canucks were able to stay competitive even in the first two periods, although he’d love to have those two goals back from the right half-wall.

If there’s a bright spot to emerge from this, it’s how the Canucks were not only able to direct their shots into high danger areas, but also did so efficiently with good conversion rates. Vancouver’s one true hotspot was right there in the blue color, and if there was anywhere to do, it was right where they were. The Canucks narrowly scored four of six goals against Cam Talbot, so there’s something to be said for getting to the right spots.

Corsi Champion: Conor Garland takes home this game’s Corsi Champion title. In a game where the Canucks were consistently overmanned, Garland led the team with a 48.39 CF%, which allowed him to have two assists that night. He even broke in xGF and xGA (1.07 for both) as well as HDCF% (50.00) which really isn’t bad for the small winger considering the kind of night it was.

Corsi Chump: Nils Åman is this game’s Corsi sucker, who has absolutely slumped at 14.29 CF%. After a more-than-decent start with the Canucks, it’s been a tough draw for the fourth-row Swede lately. Against the Sens, Åman was offensively ineffective while giving up a 1.02 xGA. He was on the ice against eight chances to score, six of which were highly dangerous and didn’t create any chances at all.


xGF: It’s been one of those weird nights, but Oliver Ekman-Larsson takes home his second straight xGF award. He led all Canucks not only in xGF% (55.03) but also in raw xGF (1.83). It’s a surprise considering OEL didn’t have a good night on the eye test. He finished fourth on the team in xGA (1.50) while conceding 18 scoring chances against himself. However, OEL also managed to total 7 HDCF with 4 HDCA, giving him a team-leading 64.63 HDCF%. This is probably due to the fact that both teams were not very solid defensively and OEL benefited from the chaotic run-and-gun.

GSAx: Spencer Martin remains undefeated with the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, he did concede 4 goals, but factoring in that the Sens were expected to score 4.72 that night puts a GSAx of 0.72 in Martin’s favour. That number doesn’t really show how much he kept the team going with incredible saves in the first two periods, but shows that he had a positive impact on this team.

Jack Rathbone’s Defense: It’s great to see Jack Rathbone in this lineup and it’s great to see the dynamic qualities he brings to this backend. From the pressure relief from his skating to the right outlet passes in transition, there’s a lot to like about the impact Rathbone brings. However, he must clean it up in his own ending. Rathbone tied with Ethan Bear for the second-lowest CF% among defenders (29.63) as well as the lowest xGF% (20.68). It comes with the area of ​​giving up 1.32 xGA along with 7 HDCA with just one HDCF. Again, that’s not to say Rathbone had a bad game since pretty much every Canuck has had a bad possession game, but when the forwards he plays the most against are Shane Pinto and Tyler Motte, he needs to do better in his own zone be.

Putting Podkolzin in the position of success: After a few games in the last six, Podkolzin found himself in line with Garland and Bo Horvat. Of course, he saw his personal stats increase, but that line was probably the best the Canucks had all night. Leading the team in CF% (47.83), xGF% (51.23) and HDCF% (50.00) shows that Podkolzin currently has a higher spot in the lineup. More of that would be encouraging to see, especially as this former top 10 pick is set to become a complementary play later this season and maybe more.

Rock is back: Brock Boeser’s return resulted in a goal, but analytically the winger definitely had a good game too. He was second on the team in CF% and put on 4 HDCF on hold in 15:16. There were a few things that weren’t great, such as: an xGA of 1.29, but it’s to be expected after returning from injury. Eyes should be on Boeser to see if his role changes and how that affects his numbers.

CF% – 36.89% HDCF% – 38.71% xGF% – 39.43%

The Vancouver Canucks absolutely should have been beaten by the Ottawa Senators but came away with a big win to start that 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-breaker the Canucks will continue.

Vancouver travels to Montreal on Wednesday, with puck drop-off scheduled for 4:30pm PST.

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