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A little digging

November 7, 2007

I’ve talked in the past about wanting to use statistics to back up my thoughts on the Blue Jackets.  It’s not likely that I’ll get as in-depth as some do, but I think there are interesting bits of information that can be found just beneath the surface.  I’ve just started looking around the vault, and here are some very generic things I noticed over the last two games.

11-1 at Anaheim

I stated in a previous post about how I thought Anaheim controlled the game and the Blue Jackets were lucky to be in the game.  A few things that seem to back this up:

  • This first one didn’t require a lot of brain power: the Jackets were outshot 34-20.  When you get outshot by that margin, you’re lucky to be around.  Yes, there are further studies of shot quality that could be done which may make this look not so bad, but even bad shots on goal can turn into something good.
  • With the numbers normalized to shots per 60 minutes, the Jackets offered 18.0/60 at even strength, 35.4/60 on the power play, and 5.3/60 while short-handed.  Meanwhile the Ducks put up 29.0/60 at ES, 52.6/60 on the PP, and 17.7/60 while SH.  With no comparitive data compiled at this point, I’m not sure what it means other than Columbus lost that battle badly.
  • Second chance shots (my definition reflects those shots taken within 5 seconds of the previous shot) favored the Ducks as well, 7-4.  No goals were scored on second chance shots, however.
  • With over 50% of the team’s faceoff’s being taken by two of the top 10 guys in the NHL as of today (Manny Malhotra at 63% and Michael Peca at 59%) the Blue Jackets are skilled at winning draws.  In this game, the team performed slightly below it’s average, winning 48% of the draws. 
  • At even strength, the Blue Jackets were poor, winning only 38%.  And in the neutral zone, the Jackets were a paltry 18% in 11 opportunities at ES.
  • Anecdotally (until I look further into this), it would seem that draw location would at least loosely correlate with where the pressure is found.  If your team is taking a lot of D-zone draws, you’re probably getting some pressure.  And if the opposition is taking a lot of draws in their own zone, your squad is probably the one on the offensive.  In this game, the Jackets only took 8 offensive zone draws (3 at ES) to 26 for the Ducks (15 at ES).  That seems indicative of the Ducks carrying the play, which was at least visually backed up for me while watching the game.
  • Lastly, Anaheim was the more physical team in this game, at least based on hits.  The Ducks were credited with 26 hits to 18 for the Jackets.  
  • What does it all mean?  I’m not sure, yet.  At first glance, it seems to back up my thoughts that despite being outplayed the Jackets were lucky to pick up a point.  And if their early-season woes in the shootout had not been there, they could have stolen another point on the road.  Some say they’d rather be lucky than good.  Me, I’d rather be both.

    11-4 vs St. Louis

    I didn’t have an opportunity to pay too much attention to this game.  We were at BW3’s watching this game while also watching the Patriots/Colts and Browns/Seahawks at the same time.  So these generalizations will be even more… ummm… general.

    • The Jackets outshot the Blues by a little, 25-21.  Normalizing the data, the Jackets put up 21.4/60 at ES, 61.8/60 on the PP, and 11/60 while SH.  The Blues: 15.1/60 at ES, 99.4/60 on the PP, and had no SH shots.
    • Second chance shots (shots within 5 seconds of the previous shot) favored the Blue Jackets by an 8-2 margin.  No goals were scored on second chance shots, though Malhotra’s goal to open the scoring was 8 seconds after a Zherdev shot.
    • The Jackets were again at 48% on draws in this game.  Defensive zone draws get the spotlight this time, with the Jackets only winning 36% of 22 opportunities.  This may be typical to see, I’m not sure (again, yet).  Perhaps someone who is more versed in hockey stats can weigh in here.  My gut says it doesn’t make sense that a team would be any worse in any particular zone, but I’m not willing to believe that this is the case just yet.
    • Lastly, both the Jackets and the Blues played a physical game.  St. Louis edged Columbus in credited hits 26-22.

    Again, I’m not sure what all this means just yet, but these are some thing that stuck out to me at first glance. 

    The one item I’ve bolded above is the number of Power Play shots per 60 minutes by the opposition.  As I’ve noted, I don’t have much (okay, any really) comparitive data, but this seems to indicate that the goaltenders are coming up big on the penalty kill.  You always hear it said that the teams most important penalty killer is the goalie, and Leclaire and Norrena seem to have shown up to play in the last two games.

    I’m guessing that some of this format (statistical analysis on a basic level) will stick around unless you, the reader, tell me otherwise.  So speak up, leave a comment, and tell me what you think.

    Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

    – Drew

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