The last 24 games for the New Jersey Devils have been, well indescribable. A record of 20-2-2, and taking 42 out of a possible 48 points (0.875 points percentage) is just unheard of. Everything is going right for the Devils: The team has been scoring in clutch moments, the defense has been solid, and the goaltending has been strong. Their best players have been exactly that. Their veterans have been contributing, and the rookies are molding into some fine young players. Seriously, I could go on and on about how good this team is playing.
Anyway, I've done this a couple times this season, so I thought now would be a good time for a revisit. With the help of some websites, I've been keeping track of each Devils game and where they shoot the puck on goal in all situations. I devised an image where I broke down the offensive zone into 10 areas. I've summed those numbers per area, calculating the shooting percentage and average shots per game.
The last time I did this was during All-Star Weekend. It was shortly after John showed the improved shooting percentage of the team for January. There was some debate on whether the team shot differently (in terms of 'where' on the ice) between current coach Jacques Lemaire and former coach John MacLean. It turns out that the Devils shot the puck in basically the same location between both coaches. It was defensively where Lemaire has made the difference.
So what about now? How do the season numbers look after 65 games? How do they compare between offense and defense. The Devils are still a minus-29 in goal differential for the record. How about this recent stretch of games? How has the team been shooting (again, in terms of location), during this 20-2-2 run? Where has the opposition shot as well? How does this compare to the overall season numbers? These are answered and more after the jump...
Here's a more detailed explanation of the shot zones and the image:
I've created an image to illustrate the zones. The image below is a bird's eye view of half a rink where each zone is. All 10 zones are between the crease line and the blue line. Each zone is color coded. Any shot taken behind the net, in the neutral zone or further is colored black and is considered Outside ("Out" for short). Note: any goals scored beyond the blue line were empty netters - UPDATE - or lame dump in goals.
All but four of the zones are mirrored of each other because of the symmetry of the ice. You can see the net, the circles, and the trapezoid to get a sense of orientation. There are also four tiers of distance. Zone 1 is everything around the net and between the circles. The next tier contains zones 2, 3, and 4, making up the slot between the circles and about half of the face-off circles. Zones 5, 6, 7, and 8 are along the boards towards the outside and slightly above the face-off circles. Zones 9 and 10 are shots along the blue line. I tried my best to correlate some of the zones and this image Gabe Desjardins created at PuckProspectus way back in 2009.
I've compiled and summed up the numbers using espn.com's gamecast like this one. Occasionally there is a missing shot or the shots overlap and it's difficult to get an accurate number, so I use nhl.com's ice tracker as a back up. Usually, the two sites are one in the same - I use espn's because it easier to work with.
First, here's the overall season numbers for the Devils offense and the opposition's offense (Devils defense):