Winnipeg Jets at New Jersey Devils: Zone Exit and Passing Stas

Bruce Bennett

This is a look at how the New Jersey Devils fared at zone exits and how effective their passing was. Both were very good against Winnipeg, and should have resulted in a win.

The New Jersey Devils played a high-event game against the Winnipeg Jets. They posted some of their most efficient stats for zone exits and passing. This led to lots of shot attempts, but due to a high amount of blocked shots and less-than-desirable passing accuracy in the offensive zone, it left the fans wanting, and perhaps expecting, more from the Devils. In the end, it wasn’t enough as the Devils fell 3-1. In this article, we’ll take a look at the game through zone exits and passing stats.

Passing Stats

Forwards:

Overall, this was one of the Devils forwards’ most productive games. Every forward not name Cam Janssen had at least 1 SAG. Unfortunately, it was also one of their more wasteful games as the forwards finished 11% lower than their season average in terms of offensive zone completion percentage. The usual forwards were busy in the offensive zone, but the accuracy wasn’t there to capitalize on the Devils’ possession. In the other two zones, the Devils finished above 92%, which would be season highs.

Dainius Zubrus went 9/15 with 3 SAG. Steve Bernier went 8/11 with 4 SAG. Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias, and Jaromir Jagr also each attempted 13 or more passes, completing 11, 10, and 9 respectively. Ryan Carter played perhaps his best game, completing all 13 of his passes and generating 4 shot attempts.

Defensemen:

In terms of shot attempts generated, the defensemen more than doubled their season average and finished with 13. Marek Zidlicky led the way with 5 and each had at least 1. The blue liners as a group went 24/26 in the offensive zone, well above their season averages of 13/16. Needless to say, the defensemen were very involved with the offense against the Jets.

In the defensive zone, Andy Greene was the busiest, going 15/20. Mark Fayne had fewest pass events, going 6/6, but he had the most in the neutral zone, finishing at 5/6. Eric Gelinas had a rough night in the defensive zone, but was 2nd only to Zidlicky in terms of offensive zone efficiency, generating 3 shot attempts. Peter Harrold had a decent game, generating 2 shot attempts. Jon Merrill played well, missing on only 1 pass all game, finishing 16/17.

Game_24_devils_jets_passingPassing Data Explained:

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 above 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, or tipped pass on goal, 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.

Zone Exit Stats:

Forwards:

Zubrus, Zajac, Elias, and Jagr all had at least 5 carries, and contributed to a season high 75.5 PE% for the forwards. Based on season averages, the forwards attempted about the same amount, so it was simply a very efficient night. Andrei Loktionov finished at only 57 PE%, which would be great on any other night, but was one of the lower percentages. Henrique finished at 50%. No finished lower than that, which is amazing.

Defensemen:

This was one of the best games the defensemen played in terms of zone exits and keeping possession. Unfortunately, it was also one of their busier games as they had 10 more successes and 11 more attempts than their season average. So, while they were incredibly efficient (61.3 PE%) they spent more time than they should have in their own zone.

Mark Fayne was 100% all around, but only had 2 attempts. Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill had very good games, going 9/10 and 10/11 overall, and finishing at 70 and 72.7 PE% respectively. Andy Greene had a very solid game as well. Marek Zidlicky and Peter Harrold had a few turnovers, but otherwise played well. Harrold, on a night where the defensemen collectively averaged 61.3 PE%, still couldn’t finish higher than 45%.

Zone_exits_game_24_devils_jetsZone Exits Explained: 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).

Possession Exits:

(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.

Every 10 games or so, I’ll post a separate article looking at overall play up to that point.

What reactions do you have to this data? What's your feeling on it? Does it match your thoughts during the game?

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