From a results standpoint - the Devils have had some trends over the season. They've had their ups and downs so far yet lately they have been turning up the heat (and just in time for winter too!). They've won 6 of their last 8 and in 4 of those wins, they've scored 4 or more goals. On top of that, in 5 of their last 8 games, they have generated 30 or more shots - something that hasn't come easy for the Devils this season. Prior to this run - the Devils lost 4 straight (right after going 8-3). Prior to those 15 games - they lost 5 of 6.
You can see the trends on their schedule as well. I wanted to find a way to compare some shot attempt stats to their trends. What the Devils did in a span of games and comparing a series of the same amount of games can tell how the Devils have progressed or declined at points in the season. I gathered all the even strength data from timeonice.com to calculate some shot attempt percentages (Shot %, Fenwick %, Corsi %). I calculated the numbers for every 10 games (so games 1 to 10, 2 to 11, 3 to 12....up to games 24 to 33).
This can show a number of things. Pete DeBoer's new system took the Devils some time to adapt to it and play their game. His system calls for attacking the puck, skating hard on every shift, and smart breakout passes. Have the Devils been playing his system and is it working? What was the low point of the season so far? What was the high point? After the jump are some graphs and some thoughts.
Here's a timeonice.com example - this is the whole season so far.You can see the game number the end of the url. You can edit that to certain stretches of games for any team. The stats do not include last night's game.
First up is the graph with Shot % in black(Devils goals forced plus shots forced / total goals plus total shots), Fenwick % in red (same as shot % but with missed shots), and Corsi % in green (same as Fenwick % but with blocked shots). Note the graph starts at game 10 (for games 1 to 10).
For most of the season, the Devils have been over the 50% mark in these categories. In the first 18 games or so, the Devils did well to control most of play (NJ was 10-7-1). In that span, the Devils were able to be accurate with their shooting. Their shot on goal percentage was the highest of the three.
The lowest of all three lines was at game 23 - the 6-1 debacle against Colorado. They followed that game with two more losses but they at least tried to control more of the game and get more attempts off. Notice the shot % line is lower than Corsi and Fenwick %. This shows bad accuracy. At times where a team is down and losing more games than not - they shoot more erratically. A lot of shots missed the net or were blocked by the opposing team.
Since game 28 (2-1 loss against Montreal) - the Devils have been a lot better. They are playing at over 50% in Corsi and Fenwick. Yet their shot percentage is still low. It's nice to know they are controlling play, but the graph and numbers suggest they aren't getting those pucks through to goalies.
The next graph is the same concept but with on ice save percentage (also at even strength):
The Devils total for the season is at 8.51%. This graph tells a slightly different story. Within the first 10 games, the Devils were not getting the goals, despite getting the majority of pucks on net. They hit their peak after the game against Florida (the bad one). They fell back below 8.00% during their good stretch during the Devils second trip down to the State of Florida (where they were able to hold on a lead and comeback from one). Recently they have hovered under the 10% mark - a good sign as the Devils face a number of Eastern Conference teams.
The next is on ice even-strength save percentage:
The season total for the Devils is 90.4%, but as you can see, the Devils have has stretches of games way below that. Their best spans were between games 1 to 13 and games 12 to 22, which all had a calculated save % over 91%. That large decline between games 13 and 19 are interesting. They Devils were 7-5-1 going into that stretch and finished 10-8-1. Lately, the Devils have had been around the 89.0% area. Defense has to improve. The goalies have been decent as well - making some incredible stops at times - but they can be expected to do that night in and night out.
Within the first 13 games (points 10 to 13 on each graph) - the Devils went 7-5-1. It seems defense and goaltending kept the Devils in games. Their shooting % was low, but most of their attempts were on net. Their plus-91.0% save percentage looks to be the overwhelming stat. Between games 13 and 19 on the graphs (or games 4 to 13 through games 10 to 19) - the Devils did manage to finish at 10-8-1. The team's save percentage dropped significantly whereas their shooting percentage increased at a linear rate, The Devils managed to control most of possession as well.
The next trend was the lowest point of the Devils season from a results standpoint. Their shot attempt %'s all fell; their on ice shooting % also dropped; but their on ice save % had a nice jump before the Colorado game. Lately, the Devils have been playing better hockey. Each stat has climbed out that gutter and it may show signs of staying that way. Their attempts have to hit the net though. There have just been too many missed and blocked shots.
Perhaps the first few weeks was the adaption period the team needed to adjust to DeBoer's system. This doesn't mean the team's problems will all just go away, but signs that their shooting % is hovering over 9.0%, and their attempt %'s are all over 50% and by a good amount - the Devils will have a good chance to win games.
So what did you get from all these graphs? How have these graphs mirrored the Devils play? How haven't they? What's you reasoning on the slight drop on play a few weeks back and the recent surge? Let us know in the comments.