Pictured: David Clarkson's last goal in 2011-12. It was a deflection that rang off the post and dropped into the net. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
David Clarkson had a career season in 2011-12. Not only did he go all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals, he scored a remarkable 30 goals after potting only nine in 2010-11. He was one of thirty players in the entire NHL to score at least thirty goals in the regular season. The goal scoring wasn't as prolific in the playoffs, but Clarkson tallied three more scores to bring his entire total to 33 for the campaign. Given that Clarkson spent most of the season lining up on the third line in addition to getting time on the first power play unit, that's an impressive total.
However, is it repeatable? His season totals suggest otherwise. Clarkson did well in 2011-12 to shoot at 13.2%, but it's also the highest percentage of his career. His previous high was 10.8%, which suggests that his true rate is closer to that number than the 13.2% he had in 2011-12. Additionally, Clarkson shot the puck a lot. His 228 shots were 44th most in the league and third on the team behind the other two 30+ goal scorers on the Devils. While Clarkson may be able to get as many shots, a drop in shooting percentage will hold his scoring back. This is what the numbers suggest as a whole.
The events that led to these stats, the goals themselves, are significant enough to warrant a closer look. . User kaworus_lover suggested a closer look at the goals Clarkson scored this season back in March to see what has happened. What kind of goals did Clarkson score in 2011-12? Where did he shoot them from? Did he benefit from a lot of flukes that went his way? How did he score those 33 goals? Two weeks ago, I looked at his first 11. Last week, I looked at his second 11 goals. Today, I look at the remaining eight regular season goals and the three playoff goals to see what happened after the jump.
About the Review
This is the first time in a while I've exclusively looked at a Devil scoring goals, so this will be different from the reviews of the goals allowed by the goaltenders. As with those reviews, I have included a link to the NHL.com video of each goal as well as the date of the goal, a running count of what goal it was for Clarkson, and a description.
I also decided to record what kind of shot and goal it was. I'll tabulate it after the third post to see how many of each type did Clarkson score. How many were off just one-touches, where Clarkson just got his stick on the puck? How many came on just shots, where Clarkson had possession for a brief time before firing a wrist shot? How many breakaway goals, goals off rebounds, etc.? I also included the situation to highlight whether it was 5-on-5, 4-on-4, 6-on-5, or whatever. Additionally, I also noted whether the shot came on a scoring chance. Jonathan Willis has a good explanation of what a chance is in the Edmonton Journal. Lastly, I noted whether the goal came off a fluke. This doesn't mean the goal came off an error by the goaltender. I counted a goal as a fluke if it came off an incredibly fortunate bounce (e.g. off a glass support) or some strange angle. The general idea of this is to get a better of understanding of how Clarkson scored his thirty regular season goals and three playoff goals from this past season. If you have any suggestions, of course, please feel free to add them.
The Third 11 Goals David Clarkson Scored in 2011-12: A Chart
|Date||GF||Link||Shot Type||Goal Type||Situation||Chance?||GF Description||Fluke?|
|2/21/12||23||Link||Forehand||Shot||5-on-5||No||Clarkson powers past Lombardi, drags the stick, and unleashes a wrist shot to beat Gustavsson.||No|
|2/24/12||24||Link||One-touch||One-timer||5-on-5||Yes||Elias drives in, fakes the shot, passes it across the slot to Clarkson for the tap-in.||No|
|3/1/12||25||Link||Forehand||Shot||5-on-5||No||Josefson cycles it to Clarkson, changes direction behind the net, and scores on a wraparound.||No|
|3/6/12||26||Link||One-touch||Deflection||5-on-5||No||Clarkson makes a drop pass for Sykora, he fires it, it goes in and it apparently went off of Clarkson's leg||Yes|
|3/8/12||27||Link||One-touch||One-timer||5-on-5||Yes||Josefson feeds it to Zidlicky, who one-touches a pass to Clarkson at the top of the crease for a close one-timer||No|
|3/10/12||28||Link||Forehand||Shot||5-on-5||No||Clarkson picks up a rebound, goes around the net, fires a wrist shot and it gets past Nilsson||Yes|
|3/29/12||29||Link||Backhand||Rebound||5-on-5||Yes||Clarkson's one-timer in the slot is stopped. He finds the loose puck and backhands it in||No|
|3/31/12||30||Link||One-touch||One-timer||5-on-4||Yes||Elias feeds Clarkson driving to the slot and his one-timer is off Boucher and in.||No|
|5/1/12||31||Link||Forehand||Rebound||5-on-5||Yes||Clarkson knocks a puck to Parise in the slot. Bryzgalov stops him, Clarkson pounds in the rebound past his left pad.||No|
|5/8/12||32||Link||One-touch||Rebound||5-on-5||No||Clarkson chases down Timonen, who passes it back to Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov fires it at Clarkson and it's knocked back into the net off his stick.||Yes|
|5/16/12||33||Link||One-touch||Deflection||5-on-5||No||Henrique fires a wrist shot from the right point, Clarkson deflects it off his stick, off his post, and into the net.||No|
Let's talk about the three playoff goals first: GFs #31, 32, and 33. They're certainly good examples of the breaks Clarkson had in 2011-12. The first one was off a rebound. While Clarkson was smart to follow up the play by charging the net, the puck had to go to where he was in order to put it in and surf the crossbar. The second was the definition of a fluke. Again, Clarkson was wise to crash the net to force Ilya Bryzgalov to make a decision. What he didn't control and certainly didn't expect would be that the goaltender would fire the puck right at him. It bounced off his stick and through Bryzgalov's legs. It certainly was a fortunate goal, putting the fact that it held up as the series clinching goal in Game 5. Lastly, GF #33 was off a deflection. Clarkson was in a good spot. I can believe he tried to go for that deflection. However, the puck had to come off of it just right to go off the post and past Henrik Lundqvist. That's something he didn't have full control of. It's those types of goals that come to my mind when I doubt that Clarkson can repeat his 33-goal 2011-12 campaign. Sure, he'll get some breaks in 2012-13 but we can't really count on how many or what kind he'll get.
It wasn't in the playoffs where Clarkson received great fortune (read: more than usual) en route to a goal. I counted two other flukes among his eight regular season goals in this review. One could argue he shouldn't have received credit for the first one because he didn't even intentionally do anything on the shot. On GF #26, Clarkson dropped the puck off for Petr Sykora. Sykora fired a wrist shot from distance, the puck glanced off the knee of an unaware Clarkson, and it goes in. Clarkson got credited for that one. The other fluke from this set wasn't as egregious; it was arguably more of a lucky bounce/misplay by the goaltender. Late in a game against Anders Nilsson, Clarkson just threw up a wrist shot and it somehow dropped through a tiny hole in coverage. You can see it on GF #28. It was surprising that shot went in then since Nilsson was looking like a wall all game (and in the last one he played against the Devils).
Still, this isn't to say that Clarkson just lucked out on every goal in this set of eleven goals. He had some very impressive shots of his own. GF #23 was just a sweet wrist shot. You can see him get into space in dangerous areas on each of his his three one-timer goals GFs #24, 27, and 30. It's arguable that those goals were really created by the one who set up Clarkson; but without his presence and his finish, it would have been just another stop by the goalie. Clarkson could have had a fourth goal scored by a one-timer, but he got stopped and instead just backhanded the rebound on GF #29. Related to that, Clarkson got
six five of these goals on shots that would be deemed scoring chances. If you include the deflection in GF #33 and one other goal that'll be highlighted at the end of this commentary, then that's eight seven scores where Clarkson was close and around the net in this set. It further suggests that he's able to get those areas and be in a position to benefit his team.
Last and certainly not least, it is in this set of eleven that I saw the rare and magical Clarkaround. Yes, Clarkson scored on a wraparound attempt in 2011-12. You can see it in GF #25. Unfortunately, it didn't power the Devils to victory that night. Still, he got one success - and exactly one - on that move within the past campaign.
This concludes the look at all 33 goals that Clarkson scored in 2011-12. Next week, I'll summarize all of the findings from this review and attempt to come up with some conclusions with how Clarkson did and whether it means anything going forward. In the meantime, let's discuss these eleven goals.
What did you think of the eight regular season and three playoff goals in this set? Which of these goals did you remember the best? Which one do you think Clarkson was the most fortunate in scoring? Would you agree with what has been called a fluke? How about the scoring chances? Are you more bewildered that GF #32 happened or that Clarkson actually converted on a wraparound on GF #25. Please leave your answers and other thoughts on these eleven goals by Clarkson in the comments. Thank you for reading.