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Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils: Zone Exit and Passing Stats

This is a look at the zone exit and passing statistics for the New Jersey Devils' 72nd game of the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 23rd. Read on for the details.

Adam Hunger
After their deflating loss the previous night to the New York Rangers, the New Jersey Devils needed to bounce back against a ripe-for-the-taking Toronto Maple Leafs team that had lost four straight. They did just that, chasing James Reimer from the net after putting three goals past him just a few minutes into the second period. They held off the comeback attempt and left the ice 3-2 winners. Let’s get to it.

Passing Stats

Forwards: The shot-generation was much more spread out against the Leafs than against the Rangers, as only Patrik Elias went without generating either a shot attempt (SAG) or shot (SG). Dainius Zubrus led the way with three shots generated on five attempts, to go with his solid 18/21 passing effort. Ryan Carter (7/7) was just behind Big Z with two shots generated on four attempts.

Ryane Clowe (8/12, 2 SAG, 2 SG) and Travis Zajac (16/19, 3 SAG, 2 SG) were the only other forwards with multiple shots generated.

Defensemen: The defensemen were far less active in the offensive zone in this game, attempting only thirteen passes there. Jon Merrill, Marek Zidlicky, and Peter Harrold were responsible for generating all the shooting opportunities as they combined for nine attempts and four shots generated. The group didn’t have much of a presence in the neutral zone either, with only eight pass attempts.



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: The exited the defensive zone with possession 53.3% of the time against the Leafs. Elias (16.7%), continuing from his subpar passing effort, was the lone dud among an otherwise strong team performance. Damien Brunner had a turnover and finished at 40 PE%. Adam Henrique and Zajac each committed a turnover, but finished at or above 50 PE%.

Defensemen: After a strong game against the Rangers, the Devils defense came back down to Earth with a 41.0 PE% performance. Merrill and Zidlicky were turnover-free, while all of the other defensemen had at least one, and the Captain had two.


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?