New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins: Zone Exits and Passing Stats

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Jacob Josefson carried the puck out of the zone quite a bit against Pittsburgh. The forwards as a group did very well, while the defensemen lagged behind. Let's take a look at who else performed well in the zone exit and passing departments. Hint: Several Devils passed the puck well.

The Devils passed and shot, passed and shot, and then passed and shot some more. Once the Penguins went up 3-0, the Devils stormed back to tie it within the first five minutes of the second period. They didn’t slow down and went after the Penguins shift after shift. In doing so, the Devils generated their highest amount of shot attempts via passing this season with 55, 17 for the defense, and 38 for the forwards. Let’s take a look at how they fared individually.

Passing Stats

Forwards:

Jacob Josefson missed only 1 of his 12 pass attempts and generated 2 shot attempts. Dainius Zubrus went 22/26 and generated 6 shot attempts in the offensive zone. Reid Boucher played another effective game, except for his 2 missed passes in the neutral zone. He did go 5/5 in the Pens end and generated 2 shot attempts.

Travis Zajac had the most passes in the offensive zone with 17, completing 14 of them. Zajac created the most for his line mates with 7 SAG. Patrik Elias tied Zubrus with 6 SAG, though 2 of his were from outside the offensive zone. In fact, everyone generated at least 1 shot attempt except for Cam Janssen. His partner-in-crime, Tim Sestito managed to generate 2.

The forwards totaled over a hundred pass attempts in the offensive zone for the second straight game.

Defensemen:

Similar to the Columbus game, the defensemen were very active in the offensive zone. Marek Zidlicky led the way with 12/15 passing in the Pens end, generating 4 shot attempts. He also generated 1 shot attempt outside the offensive zone. Overall, Zid attempted 35 passes, completing 28. Anton Volcheknov was more active than usual, completing 20/27 passes and generating 4 shot attempts inside the offensive zone.

Each defenseman generated at least 1 shot attempt and attempted a pass in each zone. Mark Fayne only missed 1 pass on the night, generating 3 shot attempts. Andy Greene wasn’t as sharp as he normally is, misfiring on 7 of his 32 pass attempts. He still generated 2 shot attempts.

Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill weren’t awful with regards to their passing as each missed only 3 passes on the night. Each generated some offense for their teammates. I’m not surprised Deboer split them up as they’ve been turning the puck quite regularly lately.

Game_33_devils_penguins_passing

Passing 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 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:

Elias (7), Zubrus (7), and Josefson (8) made the most of their zone exits and finished at 100, 71.4, and 75 PE% respectively. Michael Ryder also had 7 attempts and though he was successfully each time, he only retained possession on 2 of them. Damien Brunner, Steve Bernier, and Boucher all finished at 50 PE% or higher as well. Overall, the forwards were very strong, finishing at 63.2 PE%. In fact, only Ryder, Jaromir Jagr, and Janssen finished below 50%.

Defensemen:

Zone_exits_game_33_devils_penguins

Zone 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.

What reaction do you have to these stats? How do they compare with your viewing of the game?

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