The Stars next game is in November. The season is really flying by,eh? Two more games were added to the docket over the past weekend. If not for the hatchet job given to my chest collectively on Thursday and Friday (thanks baseball) we would have had a couple of posts, but, as a lot of people did, I went into seclusion. A new week is here, a new month starts tomorrow, and the Stars are playing good sensible hockey. What more can a girl ask for?
Today I will be covering both Stars games this past weekend in a double post. In the future don't anticipate many more double posts. Life happens, and some might be necessary, but the goal is one per game. Today we have a double-post covering a win and a loss. The Stars lost to the Kings 5-3 on Thursday night, and Saturday night the Stars beat the New Jersey Devils 3-1. The Stars played well in both games, and out chanced both opponents.
We're reaching the point where we need to start wondering if this team is for real. They're improving, and out chancing their opponents. If you generate more chances than the guys on the other side you're more likely to score more goals, and most importantly, win more games. The Stars are winning, and as a wise man once said "the numbers don't lie". So, follow the jump to read the story of the Stars hockey extended weekend in scoring chances, and witness the continued improvement of your favorite neighborhood hockey team.
Before we get started I would like to point out the link to the incomplete Defending Big D Hockeymetrics Glossary linked above. I had been meaning to link that to each scoring chance post, but I've forgotten more often than not. Fear not though. I am going to make a better effort ot keep everyone involved who wants to be involved with this. The ideas presented in these posts aren't massively difficult concepts to understand, but there are a lot of details which are easy to confuse if you don't have much experience working with them.
Below is the anatomy of a 5-3 loss to the division rival Los Angeles Kings:
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
Despite the fact that the Stars took it on the chin against the Kings they still played well. The Stars were out chanced in the second period, but overall they outchanced the Kings 16-13 for the game. Check out the special teams. The Stars generated seven chances on the power play, but they only gave up six to the Kings power play. They've been severely in the red on special teams early in the season mainly due to not generating ANYTHING on the power play. Which unit got the power play going? You already know...
The Benn, Ott, Eriksson, Souray, and Daley five pack was a +5 in scoring chances on the power play. The Ribeiro, Ryder, Morrow, Goligoski, and Robidas unit was also a +2 on the power play, but they did so with an extra minute to play with than the Benn unit got.
The top performer against the Kings was El Capitan. Brenden Morrow was a +4 at even strength, and his linemates Ryder and Ribeiro were +2's. One thing about the report made me really laugh today. The short handed ice times for the Stars are about the same as any normal day EXCEPT for one thing. Mike Ribeiro and Michael Ryder combined for 24 SECONDS of penalty kill time. I have no idea why this is, and I don't want to try to explain why it could have happened. I just want it to "be". At this rate, Ryder will hit a minute and a half of penalty kill time by April.
Saturday night's game was a different affair entirely. I recorded eight fewer chances for Stars vs Devils than I did for Stars vs Kings. Eight chances is as much or more than were scored in any period Saturday night. This might seem like faulty data, but consider the teams. The Stars want to play a defensive game where they protect the net. The Devils are the Devils. They play defense. It's what they do. So, losing an entire period? Whatever. They'll score enough to win with Martin Brodeur in net....oh, wait....
I'd like to point out something written at In Lou We Trust about the game:
At least, it's not in the NHL.The Devils out-shot the Stars overall 32-23, and out-attempted them 60-51. The Devils were superior at even strength, leading 30-18 in shots. The Devils were by far the better team in terms of approximate possession from the first period onward: +11 in Fenwick and +15 in Corsi. The Devils were usually quite good at cleaning up pucks in front of their net tonight; so they did tighten up on defense. In my opinion, the Devils were the harder working and better attacking team tonight.
Yet, as it so happens in hockey (and in several other sports), you can do all of these things and still manage to lose. That's what happened.
The Devils out shot the Stars 32-23, but by my count the Stars out chanced the Devils 12-9. The Devils attempted 60 shots on the night, but only 9 were actual scoring chances. The Devils took a ton of perimeter shots. They shot off the rush numerous times without attempting to get into a good scoring area.The Devils Fenwick and Corsi numbers were higher than the Stars, but those are based on shots so obviously they'll be higher.
So, did the Stars get outplayed? I don't think so. They played their game, and won while the Jamie Benn line dominated once again.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
As I mentioned, the Stars out chanced the Devils 12-9. At even strength they gave up one in the chance battle to the Devils, but on special teams the Stars as a whole were a +4. I think this is a tangible bit of proof that the special teams are improving. The power play had been stuck in a rut, and it appears that this past weekend they finally began to come out of it. You will also notice that the first and second periods were inverted. The Stars out chanced New Jersey 6-2 in the first, but got out chanced 2-6 in the second. Weird.
Benn is your player of the game. He was a +4 for the game at even strength. His linemates Ott and Eriksson were both +3 chances at even strength. The Fiddler line was in the red though. Fiddler was a -3 on the night in his ten even strength minutes.
Unfortunately, Michael Ryder didn't get anymore penalty killing time. I was looking forward to his push for a minute and a half for the season, but I suppose one game doesn't derail that quest too much. The incident that drew me to the penalty killing time was watching the game and noticing Ribeiro on the ice on the penalty kill. Against the Devils he got 30 seconds of prime defensive ice time without allowing a chance against. I want to say it was even a 5v3 situation, but don't hold me to that.
We now have an entire work week to kill until the next Stars game. With the extra time my plan is to finish the scoring chance database I've been working on. It's almost done, and in my next post I'm 99.5% likely to be sharing the direct link with you, the good Defending Big D reader. The next time you hear from me will be exciting. With a week to kill as the first month of the season is ending there is no better time to look back and reflect on what we've seen so far. My next post will discuss the scoring chance data of the bulk of the early season. What period do the Stars struggle the most in, who has been the most productive player, and numerous other quetions will be answered.
As always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave a comment, email me, or send me a tweet @JoshL1220.