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

Paul Bereswill

This is a look at the Devils zone exits and passing stats for the 41st game of the season against the Penguins. Quite simply, it was a game dominated by the Devils forwards at both ends of the ice.

The Devils took on the Penguins and came away with a well-deserved 2-1 win on New Year’s Eve. The defensemen attempted their fewest zone exits of the season and were below their season average in passes in the defensive zone. The forwards were active all over the ice as they picked up the slack in terms of zone exits and passes in the defensive zone. Even after losing Patrik Elias, the top two lines for the Devils were especially efficient in terms of shot generation. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards:

The top line of Dainius Zubrus, Travis Zajac, and Jaromir Jagr continued to put up solid numbers. Zubrus went 17/20 and generated 2 shot attempts with 1 shot; Zajac went 17/20 as well and generated 3 shot attempts with 1 shot; and Jagr finished 19/23, generating 6 shot attempts and 5 shots.

Not to be outdone, the second line of Michael Ryder, Adam Henrique, and Ryane Clowe put up equally impressive numbers. Henrique completed each one of his 17 passes, generating 5 shot attempts and 3 shots; Ryder completed 11/13 passes, generating 2 shot attempts and 1 shot; and Clowe completed each one of his 11 passes, resulting in 5 shot attempts and 2 shots generated.

With these two lines, I’d like to see a 3rd line of Elias, Andrei Loktionov, and Reid Boucher/Steve Bernier once Elias comes back. Throw in Damien Brunner once he returns and this team is as deep if not deeper offensively than the 2012 team…if Deboer doesn’t mess up the lineup of course.

Loki finished 8/11 and generated 2 shot attempts. Bernier had a good night as well, completing 11/12 passes with 3 shot attempts and 2 shots generated. Stephen Gionta completed 7/9, but failed to generate any shot attempts. Boucher put up a similar stat line.

Defensemen:

While they were about 20 passes below their collective average in the DZ, the defensemen met their average in the other two zones, and generated 9 attempts and 4 shots. Marek Zidlicky generated 4 attempts and 1 shot while completing 15/18 passes. Andy Greene generated 2 shots with his 2 attempts on 17/20 passing. Jon Merrill was the busiest in the Devils own end, but finished 21/22 with 1 shot generated. Bryce Salvador had the weakest passing game as he only completed 7/13 passes.

Game_41_devils_penguins_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:

Since the defensemen’s exits were so low, the forwards picked up the slack and attempted 66 zone exits. They still finished at 57.6 PE%. Boucher attempted the most with 12, yet only 4 maintained possession. Bernier (42.9 PE%) and Zubrus (40 PE%) were the only other Devils under 50 PE%. After Boucher, Ryder attempted 10 exits, completing all 10 with 7 maintaining possession. As in the passing stats, this game belonged mostly to the forwards.

Defensemen:

Zone_exits_game_41_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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