For all intents and purposes, Keith Kinkaid took over the #2 goaltending spot in December 2014 and never looked back. Scott Clemmensen was essentially in Albany for the rest of the season after Kinkaid was called up. His only return would have been to sit on the bench when Cory Schneider suffered a minor injury. In retrospect as it was at the time, Kinkaid won the job with three impressive starts.
Kinkaid got some more time in January and February 2015 under the new coaching regime. Like teams, all goaltenders have rough patches. Kinkaid's six starts did not go nearly as well. He gave up at least two goals in four of them and he got hurt in his last appearance in February against Carolina. While he gave up no goals in that one, the point was that it wasn't all sunshine and good times for #1. Given the poor possession, limited talent, and poorly coached 2015-portion of the 2014-15 New Jersey Devils, they were eventually going to come. Well, they came.
Now that the season has long since been over, we can coldly take a look at the goals against Kinkaid in those games. Were they bad goals to give up? Were there any common traits to them? Were most of them in an area we'd call for a scoring chance? How many flukes were there? To find those answers and more, I looked at the NHL.com video of all seventeen goals Kinkaid gave up in the five games he gave up at least one goal in January and February 2015.
The 17 Goals Against Kinkaid in Jan. & Feb. 2015 - A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?||Sit.|
|1/2||8||Under the left arm||Bournival counter-attacks and takes a sharp-angled shot. It goes off Merrill's skate and through Kinkaid.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|1/2||9||Between the legs||Pacioretty slides one low through traffic, gets in.||No||Link||--||Yes||PP|
|1/2||10||Past the right shoulder||Weise shot is stopped by Kinkaid's blocker. Rebound drops to Bournival in front for a put-back.||No||Link||Tootoo||Yes||ES|
|1/9||11||Past the left shoulder||De Haan gets the puck off a draw and fires a wrister, Bailey tipped it up high past Kinkaid.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|1/9||12||Off the right skate||Okposo misses on a slapshot. Tavares collects loose puck, fires it in off Kinkaid's skates.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|1/9||13||Past the blocker||Tavares took the puck from Larsson, cut in, and beat Kinkaid.||Yes||Link||Larsson||Yes||ES|
|1/16||14||Above the blocker||Beleskey drops it back for Lindholm, who fires one high past Larsson and Kinkaid.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|1/16||15||Past the left pad||Cogliano goes for a wraparound, Silfverberg one-touches it in at the crease.||No||Link||Cammalleri||Yes||ES|
|1/16||16||Over the glove||Getzlaf springs Maroon for a one-on-one with Kinkaid. Shot goes high and in.||Yes||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|1/16||17||Above the glove||Lindholm makes a cross-ice pass to Silfverberg. One-timer beats Kinkaid high.||No||Link||--||Yes||PP|
|1/31||18||Past the glove||Campbell collects cleared puck, passes across to Pirri, who hammers in a one-timer||No||Link||Harrold||Yes||ES|
|2/7||19||Above the glove||Markov hammers a one-timer from the point, hit off Pacioretty, beats Kinkaid.||No||Link||--||No||PP|
|2/7||20||Above the glove||Fraser's blind clearance is picked off by Subban. Pass across to Eller for a one-timer.||No||Link||Fraser||Yes||PP|
|2/7||21||Above the glove||Subban collects loose puck from Plekanec's miss. Passes to Plekanec for a one-timer that hits.||No||Link||Henrique||Yes||PP|
|2/7||22||Between the legs||Gallagher gets Markov's shot, puck comes off him to an open Plekanec. He puts it in low past sliding Kinkaid.||No||Link||Fraser||No||ES|
|2/7||23||Past the left pad||Kinkaid stops Pacioretty's shot from distance. Weise jams puck past left pad.||No||Link||Zidlicky||Yes||ES|
|2/7||24||Past the left pad||Pacioretty retrives dump-in and flings it in front. Weise beat Greene to it for a one-timer.||No||Link||Greene||Yes||ES|
The good news for these two months is that Kinkaid did not give up a lot of soft goals. I counted only two, in fact. Both are arguable given their situation. GA #13 was that lovely John Tavares steal-cut to middle-score move that won the game in overtime for Islanders back in January. I tagged that one as soft because Kinkaid went down as Tavares cut in. All it did was give Tavares the space he needed to shoot at, which he did and scored. Adam Larsson got hit with an error since he had the puck stolen by Tavares. The other one was GA #16. Ryan Getzlaf impressively sprung Patrick Maroon just over the center of the ice - yes, across the Royal Road - for a one-on-one with Kinkaid. Maroon barely got into the scoring chance area and ripped one high past Kinkaid. While Kinkaid did come out to cut off some of the angle, he just was flat-out beaten by the shot. I thought about tagging Peter Harrold with an error, but decided against it as he was immaterial on the play prior. In any case, only two soft goals out of seventeen - ten of which were in blowouts by the opposition - is pretty good. What was not at all good was the general play by the Devils in those games, but we knew that then and we know that now.
In fact, to add further perspective, I counted just as many fluke goals as I did for soft goals. The very first one in this chart, GA #8, was a fluke. Michael Bournival's shot went off the back of Jon Merrill's skate and past Kinkaid. As Ken Daneyko said on the NHL.com video, there's really not much one can do about that one. The other fluke came in the same Islanders game on January 9. On GA #12, Kyle Okposo went Brian Rolston on a shot and the puck dropped to John Tavares at the goal line. Tavares looked up, saw an unaware Kinkaid, and put one in off his skates. I thought about marking that as soft, except it was a really fortunate occurrence that Okposo missed and the puck went off the glass and right to Tavares in that spot. That was a fortunate bounce, so I marked it as a fluke. Past those and the soft goals, it was just a lot of goals against Kinkaid that speaks more poorly about the rest of the Devils and/or speaks better about the teams they played against.
I tagged nine different goals with skater errors. They included Devils getting beaten inside right in front of the net (GAs #10, 15, 22, 23) that led to goals against. That was the most common occurrence. There were others. Greene on GA #24 just got beaten by Dale Wiese. Adam Henrique chose to cover no one as Tomas Plekanec got two attempts at a power play one-timer - he hit on the second one - on GA #21. Mark Fraser attempted a blind, backhanded clearance during a penalty kill that led to P.K. Subban feeding Lars Eller, who crushed in a one-timer on GA #20. Lastly, and most sadly, Peter Harrold crashed into Kinkaid prior to Brandon Pirri scoring Florida's lone goal, GA #18. Kinkaid could've made a stop on it if he wasn't recovering from getting knocked down by his own man. I'm sure a more picky or more knowledgeable person could pick out even more given how seven out of the last nine goals that beat Kinkaid went across the center of the zone and twelve out of the nineteen goals were from scoring chances. With the opposition making those difficult passes or getting into choice areas to take shots so often, there are plenty of Devils skaters who are not doing so well.
Outside of that, I will say that in these two months, Kinkaid was beaten more often on his left side than anywhere else. Be it one-timers hammered from distance and past traffic or close shots that just got past the left pad. The disparity from left to right was eleven to four. It's something to keep an eye on for the final two months. Height was not as dramatically different, although the most common area where Kinkaid was beaten was to the high left.
Kinkaid certainly had more to deal with in these two months. The Devils got blown away in two of his appearances and they were outplayed in most of the others. And given that a backup goaltender would only get a handful of starts each month, a bad game or two can spike the number of results. That said, the fact that only two of those goals were ones I think he should have stopped out of seventeen is evidence that Kinkaid taking the #2 slot was a good decision.
There will be about as many goals to look at in March and April, so there will be some more to analyze and review before the summary. In the meantime, let me know what you think of the seventeen goals Kinkaid did allow in the first two months of 2015. Would you agree that the two goals I called soft were soft? What about the skater errors? Should there have been more than what I noted? What else have you learned from looking back at the goals against Kinkaid? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about the goals against Kinkaid in January and February. Next Sunday will have his final two months of the 2014-15 season with a summary coming up in the following week. Thank you for reading.