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

Jim McIsaac

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils' 78th game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes on April 5th. Read on for the details.

The New Jersey Devils went into Carolina a banged up group and eeked out another close game against the Hurricanes. It wasn’t pretty and there were plenty of wasted opportunities in the passing game, but a win is a win. At the time, this put the Devils one point behind Columbus and had Devils fans were happy as the weekend ended. Unfortunately, we all know how the rest of the week would go. This win was the last time Devils fans dreamt of the playoffs in the 2013-2014 season. Amusing, then, that it should be a particularly ugly performance. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: A poor night passing and shot-generation-wise. The forwards converted merely 29.2% of their shot attempts in shots. Woeful. As a group the forwards generated twenty-four shot attempts (SAG) and only seven shots (SG). Now, each forward apart from Mike Sislo generated at least one shot attempt. Jaromir Jagr and Travis Zajac led the way with four each, but only one shot each. Damien Brunner was quite active as he went 15/20 and generated two shots on two attempts.

Stephen Gionta had an efficient game as well, completing all eight of his passes and generating three shot attempts. Tuomo Ruutu (10/12, 3 SAG, 1 SG) and Michael Ryder (7/12, 2 SAG, 2 SG) had some of the better numbers for forwards.

Defensemen: Seven attempts generated and three shots generated—about average production from the blue line. Marek Zidlicky was busiest as he went 23/27 with one attempt generated. Andy Green and Mark Fayne each generated two attempts, but both of Greene’s attempts resulted in shots. Only Eric Gelinas generated another shot from the defense.

Game_78_devils_canes_passing_1

Game_78_devils_canes_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:Ryan Carter, and Mike Sislo. Only Carter and Zajac were under 50 PE% as the group finished at 52.6 PE%. Carter and Zajac accounted for twelve exit attempts but only three possession exits. Ruutu led the group with seven attempts and four possession exits.

Defensemen: Zidlicky was not good, committing three turnovers and finishing 2/7 on his possession exits. Anton Volchenkov was…well, Anton Volchenkov with zero possession exits on seven attempts and two turnovers. Peter Harrold “led” the group with a 42.9 PE% as this group once again was the Achilles heel of the team. Jon Merrill more than double the next highest defenseman as he attempted fourteen exits, five of which kept possession.

Zone_exits_game_78_devils_canes

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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