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St. Louis Blues at New Jersey Devils: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing stats for the New Jersey Devils 51st game of the season against the St Louis Blues. Read on for the not-so-pretty details and why the score line flattered the Devils.

In was perhaps the most relaxing game since the 5-0 blanking of the Nashville Predators, the Devils got goals from 7 different players in their 7-1 rout of the Blues. Despite the one-sided score line, there were aspects of the game that did not appear so one-sided. Specifically, the zone exits were not good at all as the Blues forwards forced numerous turnovers in the Devils’ zone. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: The forwards still managed to attempt 80 passes in the offensive zone despite the score line, so they weren’t sitting back the entire game. Of course, they didn’t need to generate as many changes and this game only saw the put 20 SAG with 8 SG. Steve Bernier was very effectively, especially early on, as he tied Travis Zajac for the team lead with 4 SAG; Bernier, however, was much more efficient as he generated 3 shots. In fact, the CBGB line, much better together than apart, generated 8 of the forwards’ 20 SAG.

Ryane Clowe, Jaromir Jagr, Damien Brunner, Reid Boucher, and Patrik Elias were the only other forwards to generate actual shots on net.

Defensemen: Not the best night for Mark Fayne as he struggled out of the gate, finishing 8/13 in his own zone (12/17 overall) and failed to generate anything offensively. Eric Gelinas went 11/13 and generated 2 shot attempts and 1 shot. Bryce Salvador and Marek Zidlicky had the most efficient passing games as they each completed 18 passes and generated 2 shot attempts. Salvador did a bit better in that he also generated 2 shots.

Collectively, the defensemen completed 25/26 in the neutral and offensive zones, so I was a bit surprised they only generated 7 shot attempts. They were a bit below average in their own end (77.1 completion percentage).


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: While the forwards were better than the defensemen, they were still several points below their season average. They committed 7 turnovers as well. Boucher, Clowe, and Stephen Gionta led the team with 10, 9, and 9 zone exit attempts respectively. Gionta had, arguably, one of the better nights as he finished with a 55.6 PE%. Henrique had the worst night as each of his 4 exit attempts failed to retain possession. Clowe and Jagr attempted 15 exits combined and only 5 with possession. Off nights by both of them drove down the group’s overall percentage.

Defensemen: 9 total turnovers for the defensemen, 4 of which were passes that were intercepted by Blues in the defensive zone. Collectively, the defensemen finished at 35.1 PE%, which is significantly lower than their season average mark of 44%. They were improving, but one step forward, two steps back. Gelinas actually finished with the highest percentage, but he attempted the 2nd fewest attempts. Fayne led the way with 9 attempts, but only 3 with possession. Zidlicky and Andy Greene continue to put up similar numbers. Anton Volchenkov: 6 exit attempts, 0 with possession.


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?