New Jersey Devils at Chicago Blackhawks: Zone Exits and Passing Stats

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

This is another look at the domination suffered by the Devils at the hand of the Blackhawks. While the passing stats were limited, but not awful, the zone exits saw the defensemen put up a season high in turnovers. Read on for the details.

One game after posting a season high of 54 SAG, the Devils managed just over half that amount against Chicago. They did manage to set a season high in turnovers, so the game was memorable for something. With the inability to generate any consistent pressure, the Devils were simply outworked and outplayed in both ends of the ice. No one skater stood out for positive reasons, although there were personal-lows for several players.

Passing Stats

Forwards:

Typically, the line of Dainius Zubrus, Travis Zajac, and Jaromir Jagr will each attempt around 10 passes in the offensive zone alone, generating between 3 – 5 shot attempts. Against Chicago, Zubrus went 2/2 in the OZ with 0 SAG, Zajac went 2/5 with 1 SG, and Jagr went 1/5 with 0 SAG in the offensive zone. Jagr did generate 2 shots from beyond the OZ, however. So, knowing how ineffective this line was, it’s easy to imagine where the numbers go from there.

Adam Henrique was probably the most efficient forward on the night, finishing 7/8 in the OZ, 11/12 overall, with 5 SAG and 1 SG. His poor passing in the DZ aside, Michael Ryder also contributed well going forward. Jacob Josefson went 9/12 with 2 SAG/1SG. Mattias Tedenby went 10/11 overall and generated 1 shot attempt. Reid Boucher went 7/8 with 2 SAG. Not bad for the young crowd.

Note that not a single forward attempted more than 10 passes in the offensive zone, a sign of little territorial control. They generated 23 shot attempts, but as a group, the forwards only attempted 16 more passes in the OZ than the DZ. One of the next things I’ll look at in the 40 game recap, is what percentage of a player’s passes occur in each zone to see who is more active where.

Defensemen:

The defensemen managed to generate only 5 shot attempts and 1 shot. Their passing in the defensive and neutral zones was average at best, and they only attempted 7 passes in the offensive zone as a group. Simply put, the defense was unable to get forward to make any significant contributions. Andy Greene had the most efficient night, only missing one of his 19 attempts. Anton Volchenkov only missed 1 pass as well, but attempted only 9. Marek Zidlicky (4), Mark Fayne (6), Eric Gelinas (4), and Jon Merrill (4) missed a combined 18 passes, which were performances all below their average numbers.

Game_38_devils_hawks_passing

Passing Data Explained:

Pass: A reasonable and deliberate attempt to get the puck to a teammate which results in 1 of 3 outcomes: 1) Maintaining possession; 2) Allows for the recipient of the pass to make a “hockey move” (dump in, deflection, another pass etc.); 3) A shot attempt. 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. You’ll also see a “shot generated” or “SG” column to track the highest quality of shot attempts. The last column totals the percentage of shot attempts that result in shots on net.

Zone Exit Stats

Forwards:

As a group, the forwards finished at 51.7 PE%. Zubrus and Ryder led the team in total attempts with 11 each. Zubrus was his usual solid self (54.5 PE%) but Ryder only netted a 36.4 PE%. Josefson was 8/8 in exits and finished a strong 62.5 PE%. Patrik Elias only had a 22.2 PE%. The forwards committed 4 turnovers, which, combined with the defensemen’s 11, means the team turned the puck over in the defensive zone 15 times!

Defensemen:

Zone_exits_game_38_devils_hawks

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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