Carolina Hurricanes at New Jersey Devils: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

Jim McIsaac

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils 65th game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 8th. Read on for the details.

In a game that probably should have been put to bed in the second period, the Devils watched a three-goal lead slip away, but were able to get the winning goal and hold off the Canes. Tuomo Ruutu made a memorable debut at the Rock and saw his team to victory. Though it wasn’t always easy to watch after the implosion against the Red Wings the previous night, the Devils put together a fantastic passing performance. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: Every single one of the Devils forwards generated a shot attempt (SAG) against Carolina. Eight of the forwards generated at least one shot (SG). They finished with a S/SAG rate of 61.5%, which is the second highest total I’ve seen (62.9% against Edmonton before the Olympic Break) since I started looking at both teams’ passing totals. A great effort.

Tuomo Ruutu put together a similar stat line as in the Detroit game, finishing 10/13 and generating two shots (SG) on two shot attempts (SAG). Ryane Clowe (16/18) and Jaromir Jagr (13/18) each generated three shots on only three shot attempts as both were incredibly efficient.

Michael Ryder (11/14) continues to generate offense for others, finishing with 4 SAG and 2 SG. Adam Henrique got back into the distribution thing with three SAG and one SG on 14/16 passing. Dainius Zubrus (16/21, 3 SAG, 2 SG) and Damien Brunner (8/11, 2 SAG, 2 SG) rounded out the multiple-shot generators for the game.

Defensemen: After generating seven shot attempts and five shots against the Red Wings, the defense improved on that slightly, finishing with six shots generated on eight attempts. They were not as accurate, nor did they have the volume of pass attempts, as in the Detroit game, but they did less with more.

This time around, it was Andy Greene and Marek Zidlicky who led the offensive charge from the blue line. Greene (10/14) generated three shots on four attempts, and Zidlicky (13/16) generated three shots on only three attempts. That is great efficiency from the two of them. Bryce Salvador (13/17) added the last SAG.

Devils_canes_game_65_passing_1

Devils_canes_game_65_passing_2

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: Much better than the Detroit game (and a good thing too, since they had to carry the defensemen) as they finished with a 54.7 PE%. There were still six turnovers (Stephen Gionta—two; Steve Bernier, Brunner, and Ruutu—one each). Henrique had a great game coming out of the zone with possession (77.8 PE% on nine attempts). Ryder completed a 180 from the previous night, finishing at 85.7 PE%. The culprits were Patrik Elias (25 PE%), Brunner (20 PE%), Gionta (42.9 PE%), and Ruutu (44.4 PE%).

Defensemen: Much worse than the Detroit game (26.5 PE%). Ten turnovers, but also ten chips out of the zone and three icings meant little possession going forward from the defensemen. Carolina was able to get in and generate chances off of turnovers and sustain pressure when they shouldn’t have. Only Mark Fayne and Salvador finished at 50 PE%, but they only attempted four and two exits respectively. As dominant as Greene and Zidlicky were in the offensive zone creating chances, they were terrible in their own zone.

Devils_canes_game_65_zone_exits

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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