Pass: A reasonable and deliberate attempt to get the puck to a teammate which maintains possession or results in a shot attempt. This excludes zone clears, dump-ins, and anything that is akin to a desperate swipe at a loose puck. If a player passes a puck into space or off the boards, it finds a teammate, and it appears it was done deliberately, that shall be a pass. When in doubt, common sense will prevail.
What you see below is a chart illustrating pass completions, pass attempts, and pass percentages for each player in all three zones. A pass that goes across a zone or two will be marked as occurring in the zone it originates from.
Each completed pass that results in a shot taken by a teammate counts as one “shot attempt generated” or “SAG” in the chart below. This is tracked to attempt to determine which teammates are better at generating opportunities to shoot.
Forwards: Steve Bernier had an efficient game, generating 5 shot attempts and completing all his passes. The data continues to suggest that when the CBGB line is effective, Bernier is often the skater generating most of the opportunities.
Andrei Loktionov, Patrik Elias, and Jaromir Jagr continued to pass efficiently enough and generate shot attempts. After Bernier’s 5 SAG, the next highest totals were Loki’s 4 and Elias’s 3. Jagr’s 2 was shared with Adam Henrique and Michael Ryder. Stephen Gionta was the only forward not to create a shot attempt.
Aside from Loki and Bernier, no one completed 5 or more passes in the offensive zone. This doesn’t surprise me as most of the game the Devils were retrieving the puck from their own end. As a whole, the forwards were crisp in the neutral zone, only misfiring on 1 pass the entire game. They really shouldered some of the transition work from the defensemen, as you see by the pass attempts alone.
Defense: Marek Zidlicky had a woeful night in his own end. Yes, he scored the tying goal towards the end of the game, but he was consistent in his misplaced passes and horrendous zone exits (take a look below and wince accordingly) throughout the first 57 minutes of the hockey game. His 43% passing percentage in the defensive zone was 30% points lower than the next Devil, Andy Greene. Fantastic shot on the PP, but I have a feeling this is going to become a common refrain for Zidlicky. His did complete 5 of 6 passes in the offensive zone, generating 2 shot attempts.
Adam Larsson and Eric Gelinas were busy men. Larsson completed 20 of 26 passes in the defensive zone, while Gelinas completed 18 of 21. Neither was that effective at generating offense (just the 1 SAG by Gelinas between them), but the number of passes Larsson has gone up considerably since he’s been paired with Gelinas. Peter Deboer, like the rest of us, appears to be impressed with the pairing and I hope he continues to let them play.
Andy Greene was below his partner on passing percentages: 73% to Mark Fayne’s 81%. Fayne even generated a shot attempt while Greene came up empty there. Steady, if unspectacular. They could do a bit more going forward, but it seemed like this game was all about the defensemen getting the puck to the forwards in the neutral zone, where they excelled at moving the puck into the Bruins’ end of the ice.
Zone Exits: Any attempt made by a player to advance the puck from their defensive zone. These actions fall into the below categories (as illustrated on the below chart).
(P) Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone and it successfully finds a teammate.
(C) Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, maintaining possession.
Successful Zone Exits without Possession
(FP) Failed Pass: When a player passes the puck out of the zone, but it fails to find its target.
(FC) Failed Carry: When a player skates with the puck out of the zone, but loses possession shortly thereafter.
(CH) Chip: When the player lifts the puck out of the zone or throws it off the boards and out.
(X) Other: Any action that results in a successful zone exit not already covered.
Unsuccessful Zone Exit
(PT) Pass Turnover: When a player fails to clear the zone with a pass and it results in a turnover to the opposition.
(CT) Carry Turnover: When a player fails to skate out of the zone with the puck and loses possession.
(I) Icing: An attempt to clear results in icing the puck.
(T) Turnover: Any action that results in a turnover not already covered.
Forwards: Rostislav Olesz had an efficient game, carrying the puck out of the zone 4 times. Bernier, Jagr, Loki, and Ryder also had strong games maintaining possession with their exits. The forwards as a whole were over 50% possession while exiting the zone, which is the highest individual game I think they’ve had as a group. The lowest performers were Zubrus (25%), Gionta and Brunner (20%), Henrique (28%), and Carter and Elias (33%). Travis Zajac rounds out the group at 50%.
Defense: Zidlicky had a 7% possession exit rate. 7%. Out of his 13 attempts to exit the zone, the Devils did so while maintain possession once! He had 4 turnovers via poor passes (the other 5 defenseman had 5 between them). Overall, his zone exits were at 61%. This is the poster child for a “bad game in your own end.” His defense partner, Volchenkov, was 100% on his exits overall, maintaining possession almost 43% of the time. Not terrible, not great, just ho-hum A-Train. Stay that way.
Greene and Fayne were steady on exits, but not so much in terms of possession exits. Fayne (37.5%) was a bit better than Greene (25%). Greene had 2 turnovers to Fayne’s 1. It wasn’t one of Greene’s better games.
Larsson attempted 17 total zone exits and maintained possession 47% of the time. That's impressive considering how many he attempted. Gelinas was a bit better (55%) on just under half the attempts. One thing I plan to look at in the 10 game splits will be Quality of Competition to evaluate the difficulty of getting the puck out and holding possession against the other team's best players.
Have any questions? Comments? Suggestions? Hit me up on Twitter at @RK_Stimp.