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New Jersey Devils at Philadelphia Flyers: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils' 66th game against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 11th.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
In a penalty-filled affair, the New Jersey Devils’ top line of Tuomo Ruutu, Jaromir Jagr, and Travis Zajac led the way to a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Martin Brodeur was good when he had to be and more than made up for a forgettable goal against early in the second period to make all Devils fans uneasy. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: The forwards generated ten shots (SG) on nineteen shot attempts (SAG), so they again finished above a 50% conversion rate in their passing game. Jaromir Jagr was a beast as he went 14/20 in the passing game and generated three shots on only three attempts. Ryane Clowe stood out (8/12, 4 SAG, 2 SG) as a solid performer as well. Tuomo Ruutu (14/18) continued his efficient play as he generated two shots on only two attempts. Quality over quantity.

Patrik Elias (7/11, 1 SAG) and Adam Henrique (8/10, 1 SAG, 1 SG) weren’t their usual dynamic selves, but with their hot start after the Olympic Break, I suppose they were due for an off night. Michael Ryder was basically a ghost out there (3/5 passing and nothing generated).

Defensemen: Marek Zidlicky was the man on defense for the Devils in this one. He completed twenty-five of twenty-nine passes and generated two shots on three attempts. He was very active everywhere on the ice. He accounted for half of the group’s SAG total and two-thirds of the group’s SG total. So, once can imagine the rest of the defense didn’t contribute as much.

Andy Greene at least had an effective game on 17/19 passing with one SAG. Bryce Salvador added the other SG on one SAG and finishing 7/9 overall. To put that into perspective, Zidlicky attempted seven passes in the offensive zone alone, whereas Salvador attempted nine for the game.



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: Awful. A pathetic display at zone exits as the Devils finished at 36.6 PE%. Ruutu was the team’s best performer as five of his eight attempts kept possession, but it was downhill from there for many skaters. Dainius Zubrus, Ryan Carter, and Henrique were the only other forwards that finished at 50 PE% with at least four exit attempts.

Defensemen: Business as usual for the defense: turnovers and a PE% right around 42 – 44% (they finished at 43.9%). Only Zidlicky didn’t have a turnover as he went 6/6 in terms of possession exits. A solid night all around as he still showed when he’s on, he’s the best the Devils have in terms of offensive defenseman.

The rest of the blue line finishing between 25 – 37.5 PE%. Greene (two icings and a turnover), Salvador (one icing and a turnover), and Jon Merrill (one icing and a turnover) were less than stellar.


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?