In this series, I’ll show you how many there were, from where on the ice they were created, and who was involved in each of the offensive chances created from the passing of the New Jersey Devils and their opponents. If unfamiliar with passing statistics, please refer to my primer. This week, we focus on the games against the New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Ottawa Senators. Recaps for said match ups are here, here, and here.
A few notes on how to read the charts: The "Close" columns indicate which events a player was involved in while the game was within a goal in the 1st or 2nd periods, and a tie game in the 3rd period. The columns that do not have the "Close" designation represent a player’s stats during non-close situations. Obviously.
You’ll see a sortable excel table for each team’s stats. You can filter by individual player, position, position grouping, and team totals if you wish. You can also download or open up the full gamesheet I use when tracking in another window. One note on the charts: the totals may appear to be incorrect at first glance, but the formulas built into the spreadsheet account for each shot to also include a shot attempt in the total so that the efficiency columns are correct. I did it this way rather than have everyone recording double the work. Let’s get to it.
This week, I’ve decided to focus on Marek Zidlicky, as he was instrumental in each game. Yes, he made a terrible pass against the Rangers to allow them to tie the game. Zid will make plays like that in which he leaves you frustrated, angry, and calling for him to be benched. I’m hoping after reading through this, you’ll realize that he is the only option on the Devils defense that will drive play, distribute, and generate offense single-handedly. He does catch a lot of flak and whereas Bryce Salvador offers very little apart for his "defensive skill," Zidlicky offers worlds more. I guess that's what I'm getting at: if a defenseman is only known for his ability to suppress shots, I don't care for him. You can't generate offense by suppressing shots, you can't score goals by suppressing shots, you can't win by suppressing shots. You need to get forward and do more as a player than simply exist to play defense.
Devils vs Rangers
Here, we see Zidlicky do something that he so often does: make a pass for a deflection. He calmly looks up, sends the pass for Dainius Zubrus, who moves to the front of the house and presents himself for the pass quite nicely, and Zubrus is able to get a clean deflection on goal for a shot. On the game, Zidlicky generated four attempts, three shots, and two of those were scoring chance shots.
The rest of the Devils were led by attempts generated from Travis Zajac (4), Patrik Elias (3), and Ryane Clowe (3).
The Rangers did most of their damage through the passing of Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello, as each generated four shots on five attempts. Derek Brassard added three shots on four attempts. Neither team did much in transition, but the Rangers did generate four attempts to the Devils' two.
Devils vs Stars
Oh, another pass from Zidlicky to a Devil in the house for great scoring chance. I mean, Mike Cammalleri isn't even that open when Zidlicky makes this pass. Cam probably scores on this more often than not, so I think they were a little unlucky not to get a goal here. But, how often do you see this pass made by another defenseman? I'll wait here while you look. For the night, Zidlicky generated seven attempts, five shots, and four scoring chance shots.
Lots of Devils got in on the shot generation in this game. Zubrus and Ryane Clowe added four attempts each, Cammalleri, Zajac, Adam Henrique, and Damon Severson each added three attempts.
The Stars were led by Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza, each posting identical stat lines of three shots generated on five attempts. Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff each added four attempts generated. The Stars led the Devils in attempts generated in transition (11-8, but 11-7 in close situations). Both teams generated lots of scoring chances, but the Devils held a slight edge (13-12).
Devils vs Senators
I wanted to focus on this little play here between Henrique, Zubrus, and Severson. Zubrus and Severson play catch and then Henrique comes around to support them. Zubrus gives it to him and then skates to present himself for a deflection opportunity. While this happening, Henrique gives the puck to Severson, now being pressed a bit by the Senator in front of him, has to dish back to Henrique, who then creates a little space for a shot. It's creating something out of nothing that often gets overlooked and rarely do the Devils move the puck in this way. Most of the time, this type of play would result in Zubrus taking the puck down the boards to cycle down low or hammer the puck around the boards. Instead, a little bit of skill, patience, and support from teammates, ends up with Henrique getting a shot on net rather than the lower percentage shot from the point.
For this game, Henrique led the team with seven attempts generated, three shots, two of which were in transition. Zidlicky didn't generate a scoring chance, but scored a goal on the power play, showcasing he's not just a passer.
The Senators were led by Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, and CLarke MacArthur, each generating three attempts. Karlsson and Ryan led with three shots generated each.
What do you think about this week's games? As always, leave them in the comments and I'll respond as quick as I can. Thanks for reading.