Int he last two months of the season, Keith Kinkaid was used just about the same. He made four appearances and three starts in March, and three appearances and two starts in April. March was better statistically than April in that a 92.7% save percentage with seven goals allowed in four appearances is better than 90% save percentage with nine goals allowed in three appearances. The 2014-15 season for the New Jersey Devils was well beyond lost by that point so it was all a bit moot. And those who remember those games like myself would agree that if there were any problems with the Devils, it certainly wasn't with #1 or #35 in the crease.
Of course, the season has long since been over and so now is the time to take another look at the goals given up. Kinkaid's last few appearances were scuttled by superior teams laying a smack down on the Devils. However, I didn't think he was that bad. I thought he was quite good, particularly in March. By reviewing the sixteen goals he gave up in the last two months of the season, we can at least confirm what we thought.
The 16 Goals Against Kinkaid in Mar. & Apr. 2015 - A Chart
|Date||GA#||Where Beaten?||GA Description||Soft?||Video||Errors||SC?||Sit.|
|3/8||25||Past right arm||Devils lose faceoff, Schenn fires from distance, deflection in front by White||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|3/8||26||Over the right pad||White counter-attacks, draws 2, Raffl gets free into the slot: pass, shoot, SH goal.||No||Link||Cammalleri Gelinas||Yes||SH|
|3/10||27||On the right flank||Suter's shot goes high, Parise gloves it down. Parise slides it towards net, Vanek last to touch it past Kinkaid's stick.||No||Link||Larsson Greene||Yes||ES|
|3/20||28||Behind him after a stop||Gionta shoots, Kinkaid saves. Ennis shoots, Kinkaid saves. Moulson taps in puck after save.||No||Link||Greene||Yes||PP|
|3/28||29||Past the right shoulder||Rask leads 3-on-2, hits Terry with cross-ice pass. Terry collects it and picks the top corner of the far post.||Yes||Link||--||No||ES|
|3/28||30||Past the right pad||Murphy takes a shot outside of the left circle, Kinkaid stops it. E. Staal piles in the rebound.||No||Link||--||Yes||ES|
|3/28||31||Through the legs||Lindholm wards off Zajac and passes back to Faulk. Faulk unleashes a low shot that beats Kinkaid||Yes||Link||--||No||ES|
|4/3||32||Past the right shoulder||Devils lose faceoff, Gonchar takes puck to center point, passes it to Plekanec, who fires one past a screen||No||Link||--||Yes||PP|
|4/3||33||Below the blocker||After two failed clearances, Petry fires a wrist shot that hit off Eller's knee and into the net.||No||Link||Merrill||No||ES|
|4/4||34||Through the legs||Nash springs Stepan for a breakaway and he scores.||No||Link||--||Yes||SH|
|4/4||35||Off the right side of the body||Brassard takes puck to goal line and fires a sharp angle shot. It goes off Kinkaid and in.||Yes||Link||--||No||ES|
|4/4||36||Under the right arm||McDonagh fires from above the right circle, Moore deflected it in.||No||Link||--||No||ES|
|4/9||37||On the left flank||Johnson leads 3-on-2 rush and passes to Kucherov. The two switch up and Johnson is wide open with an empty net to tap it into.||Yes||Link||Greene||No||ES|
|4/9||38||Past the right shoulder||Nesterov fires a slapshot through traffic and finds its way in.||No||Link||--||No||PP|
|4/9||39||On the right flank||Stamkos didn't get the first cross-ice one-timer off from Palat. He got the second one off shortly thereafter.||No||Link||Yes||PP|
|4/9||40||Past the left pad||Johnson gets the puck on the goal line and attempts a pass across the crease. It goes off Helgeson's leg and past Kinkaid.||No||Link||--||No||PP|
Over these past two months - or Kinkaid's last seven appearances - I only counted four soft goals. Out of sixteen, that's not too bad considering some of these are nights where things went all kinds of wrong for the Devils. Let's discuss those first. GA #29 was that awesomely well-placed shot by Chris Terry. Kinkaid managed to make himself look small when he should've cut down the angle. Terry's shot was just about perfect, but that was a poor one to allow in retrospect. In the same game against Carolina, GA #31 was just a long shot from Justin Faulk that he saw and just should've stopped. The video on it was short, but I didn't see any screen or deflection or anything that would've really stopped Kinkaid from trying to make a save on the shot. GA #35, one of the three allowed against Our Hated Rivals, was a perfect example of what can happen if the goalie doesn't cover the whole post. Sharp-angled goals are poor when it involves some kind of error like that. The last one that Kinkaid allowed that he should've done better on was GA #37. This was a failure on both Kinkaid and Andy Greene's part. Tyler Johnson led a 3-on-2, passed it to Nikita Kucherov, the two Lightning players crossed-up, and everyone went with Kucherov. Kinkaid slid his way out of the play and Greene looked like he forgot Johnson was in front of him a second prior. An easy goal for Johnson and a really soft one. That said, 25% isn't all that bad considering how badly the other teams tended to wail on the Devils from a shooting and possession standpoint. It's nothing that makes me reconsider what I thought then: Kinkaid deserved a better team in front of him.
Greene's error on GA #37 was the only egregious error on a soft goal. I did note a few others. Mike Cammalleri and Eric Gelinas didn't keep with Michael Raffl before he scored a shorthanded goal on GA #26. Adam Larsson and Greene managed to have not one but two Wild forwards behind them. One of them gloved the puck down, the other got the final touch past Kinkaid's outstretched stick, and that was GA #27. And while it was a penalty kill, Greene wasn't really covering Matt Moulson and ended up behind him when Moulson poked in GA #28. Greene's a solid defenseman but when he makes an error, it can get ugly as one may expect when any defender falters. Jon Merrill rounded out the skater errors in front of Kinkaid with a botched clearance that ended up becoming GA #33.
From a directional standpoint, Kinkaid continued to get beaten to his right more often than not. Eleven of the sixteen goals allowed in these two months were to his right. I understand he hasn't played nearly enough to conclude whether he's weaker on that side. I will also add that these do include deflections and rebounds; not necessarily something Kinkaid can necessarily control. It is something to keep in mind. As far as where the shooter was, seven of the sixteen goals were in the scoring chance area. Plenty of goals originated from outside of the circles, be it below it, behind the dot, or just above the area; four of the goals against were deflections, after all. There's something to be said for keeping opponents to the outside,
Lastly, the last goal Kinkaid would give up this season was the only fluke I noted. GA #40 ended up being a pass by Johnson than went off Seth Helgeson's leg and past Kinkaid. It ended the game as it was in overtime. It was a perfect fluke in that Helgeson didn't do anything wrong, Kinkaid didn't do anything wrong, and the puck just took an odd carom. I wonder whether Tampa Bay is familiar with such an occurrence; maybe they can recall something from the current playoffs.
I'm going to try to summarize the results from the last three weeks of posts for next Sunday. It should paint an interesting picture as to what beat Kinkaid, where he was beaten, how many of those goals allowed he probably shouldn't have allowed, and so much more. Once done, I'll move on to that other goaltender in New Jersey. I think his name is Cory? I'll figure it out by then.
In any case, what did you make of the goals Kinkaid allowed in March and April? Would you agree that the four I called soft were ones he should have stopped? Do you think there could be something to Kinkaid being beaten to his right more often than not? What else have you noticed from these two months of goals against? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about Kinkaid's play in March and April. Thank you for reading.