Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dissecting the Regular Season and Looking Forward to the Playoffs

Here are some charts I put together looking at some basic regular season stats now that it has come to an end. I will be posting more (hopefully doing a better job) as well. Because it's fun for me even if no one reads it.

2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics by Team

It's not surprising that the bottom teams in all categories failed to make the playoffs. The only teams to finish in the top 5 in any categories that didn't make the playoffs would be Edmonton (PP%), Montreal (PK%), Colorado (FO%), and Toronto (FO%). All these stats aren't the best predictors of the future, though, as we all know; just a reflection of the past season, and even these numbers aren't necessarily the best indicators. Boston's PP%, for example, should probably be much lower than it is, but their insane numbers from November and December skewed a lot of the end-of-season results.

St. Louis gives up the fewest shots per game ,which explains partially why they won the Jennings Trophy for lowest goals against average. They score under the league average in goals per game, so they rely heavily on goaltending. The same is obviously the case with Los Angeles and Jonathan Quick's 10 shutouts. They scored in the bottom 5 for goals per game, yet are in the top 5 for fewest goals allowed per game. They, too, have few shots against.

A team like Detroit, whic his a contender every year, not surprisingly finished in the top in most categories. They have the best goal differential ratio at even strength, are good in faceoffs, get a lot of shots on net, and don't give up a lot of shots either. The President's Trophy winning Canucks also finish high in all categories, except for penalty killing, and shots for or against per game. They're efficient scorers. Pittsburgh leads the league in goals per game as well as shots per game, which should make an interesting series against the 2nd place scorers and shooters, Philadelphia.

Some other notes in general show that the Blackhawks have poor numbers on the special teams, but still have a high average of goals per game. San Jose has a good penalty kill but a poor power play, and New Jersey has the best penalty kill while falling in the bottom 5 for faceoff % and shots per game. They also keep shots against per game very low. Like with Vancouver, it gives me the impression that they have good goaltending, but not necessarily great goaltending at times. Should be interesting...

Boston finished with the best faceoff percentage in the league, and in the top 5 in goals per game, 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio, and shots per game. As yo ucan see below, Boston didn't finis hlast in any of these categories, while washington finished in the bottom 5 based on the 16 playoff teams in most goals against pre game, lowest goals for/against ratio at 5-on-5, power play and penalty kill, and face off percentage. Based on all 30 teams this season, Washington was at just about league average on all of these categories, and well below the averages based on just the 16 playoff teams.

2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics by Playoff Qualifying Teams
Note that Boston is the only playoff team not to rank in the bottom 5 among the 16 teams in any category, while Washington and Florida are the only teams not to rank in the top 5. They are also the only 2 teams with a negative goal differential.

The above graph indicates how the teams compare in goals against, goals scored, and 5-on-5 goal ratio. Pittsburgh has a huge spike in goals per game, give up a little more than the average in goals against per game, and are average in even strength goal differential. They rely pretty heavily on special teams.

Boston/Washington Matchup

I'll look at this a little more in-depth later.

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