December Scoring Chance Summaries

The New York Rangers just completed a 8-3-1 month, allowing only 2 goals or less in half of the efforts.  As on should expect, the Rangers' controlled the scoring chances for most of the month, finishing +25 at even strength, and +32 overall.  This marked the first of the 3 months where the team came out positive overall, further proof that this team is finding it's groove.  As a refresher and for the newer Banterites, here's the definition again:

A scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included, but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score.

The project is made possible courtesy of Vic Ferrari, who gave us the script that keeps this project relatively simple.

As I did in October and November, I'll start with the summaries of the goalies:

EVF EVA EV +/- EV Time EVF/60 EVA/60 DIFF
Lundqvist 143 134 9 514.38 16.68 15.63 1.05
Biron 27 13 14 83.35 19.44 9.36 10.08
Total 170 147 23 597.73 17.06 14.76 2.31
PPF PPA PP +/- PP Time PPF/60 PPA/60  DIFF
Lundqvist 34 6 28 66.28 30.78 5.43 25.35
Biron 3 0 3 10.08 17.85 0.00 17.85
Total 37 6 31 76.37 29.07 4.71 24.36
SHF SHA SH +/- SH Time  SHF/60 SHA/60
DIFF
Lundqvist 6 28 -22 49.18 7.32 34.16 -26.84
Biron 1 3 -2 3.80 15.79 47.37 -31.58
Total 7 31 -24 52.98 7.93 35.11 -27.18

Martin Biron received only two starts in December, and only completed one, so his numbers are of the smaller sample variety, especially on special teams.  The number that has stayed consistent is the 19+ even strength scoring chances per 60 minutes the team generates when he's in net.  To appreciate the full impact of the extra 3-4 chances that Biron benefits from, we can take a look at the team's scoring chance shooting percentage for the season thus far:

  CF CA GF GA CF SH% CA SV%
Lundqvist 355 377 54 48 15.21% 87.27%
Biron 141 92 24 18 17.02% 80.43%
Total 496 469 78 66 15.73% 85.93%

*Data is 5v5 play only

Martin Biron has played 9 of the 37 games thus far (8 full games and two 1/2 games), which projects to approximately 20 games for the year, or 11 more this season.  Those 33-44 chances means an extra 5-7 goals of support, based on how the team has converted chances so far.  5 goals in 11 games may not seem like much, but realize that if Henrik Lundqvist was receiving that same support in his 60 starts, you're now talking about an extra ~32 goals of support.  The Rangers are already one of the top goal scoring teams at 5v5, this could mean the difference between playoff dangerous and serious cup contender. 

Continue reading for the skaters:

EVF EVA EV Time EVF/15 EVA/15 PPF PPA PP Time PPF/15 PPA/15 SHF SHA SH Time SHF/15 SHA/15
Fedotenko 43 39 183.38 3.52 3.19 12 0 19.58 9.19 0.00 0 5 9.78 0.00 7.67
Gaborik 53 41 177.50 4.48 3.46 25 3 43.75 8.57 1.03 0 0 1.32 0.00 0.00
Boyle 51 45 175.98 4.35 3.84 4 1 4.08 14.69 3.67 3 8 19.12 2.35 6.28
Dubinsky 54 40 169.72 4.77 3.54 21 3 37.17 8.48 1.21 4 20 20.95 2.86 14.32
Prust 52 41 169.00 4.62 3.64 5 0 3.20 23.44 0.00 4 10 19.38 3.10 7.74
Stepan 52 38 168.93 4.62 3.37 18 2 39.30 6.87 0.76 0 0 4.35 0.00 0.00
Anisimov 41 33 142.62 4.31 3.47 3 3 15.58 2.89 2.89 0 4 10.55 0.00 5.69
Frolov 47 25 131.83 5.35 2.84 16 2 32.90 7.29 0.91 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00
Avery 33 36 119.98 4.13 4.50 1 0 3.57 4.21 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00
Christensen 27 29 115.95 3.49 3.75 9 2 28.65 4.71 1.05 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00
Callahan 25 20 82.03 4.57 3.66 11 1 20.02 8.24 0.75 2 10 10.62 2.83 14.13
Drury 26 29 68.92 5.66 6.31 3 1 9.55 4.71 1.57 1 5 9.32 1.61 8.05
Zuccarello 13 6 35.48 5.50 2.54 4 1 7.12 8.43 2.11 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
White 2 7 25.35 1.18 4.14 0 0 1.13 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.58 0.00 0.00
Boogaard 1 2 13.22 1.13 2.27 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00
Weise 2 6 6.72 4.47 13.40 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00 0 0 0.00 0.00 0.00

*Highlighted cells indictate high (green) and low (red) players for the rate stats. ES minimum of 100 minutes, PP and SH 15 minutes. Table is sortable by clicking the column headers

Alex Frolov had a very good month, leading the team in both chances for and chances against for the month.  This should not really come as a surprise, as Frolov's role has been greatly reduced as the season has evolved, and against 3rd and 4th line competition, someone of his talent level is going to find success.  Back in October, Brandon Prust was generating chances, but only had 1 point to show for it.  When he and his linemates started finding the back of the net to coincide with the chances, the points started to come in bunches. We may very well see the same for Frolov soon.

The other highlighted players at even strength, Sean Avery and Erik Christensen, have been hot topics for speculation this week.  They have both been popular players who bring other attributes to their game beyond the score sheet, but their play has been at a level below that of their counterparts. Sean has kept up offensively, but is allowing too many chances from the 4th line.  Christensen, more known for his offensive skill, has been the team's worst both at even strength and with his power play time. 

With Christensen now out 4-6 weeks, it will be interesting to see how other players perform with those minutes.  So rather than focus on the other regulars whose numbers are all relatively close together, it's worth looking at the two newcomers to the lineup, Mats Zuccarello and recently recalled Dale Weise.  Weise had only one game against a very talented Philadelphia Flyers club, where his line found difficulty dealing with an abnormally talented 3rd line of James Van Riemsdyk, Jeff Carter, and Nik Zherdev.  I would not expect him to continue to be on ice for triple the chances against of our regular forwards. 

On the flipside, Zuccarello came in and got to face three of the worst 5v5 teams in the NHL, in the Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils.  Not surprisingly, Frodo came in and had good success.  Much like Weise, I would expect different results when the competition level flips, but his vision and playmaking skills should give him at least some chance of maintaining his rates.

On special teams, the month of December did not provide many minutes for reliable data, but there are a couple things to take note of.  Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan, normally our most reliable killers, struggled to keep the chances down.  Instead, new favorites Brian Boyle and Brandon Prust kept opponents in check, while generating and converting their own offensive chances at the same time.  Speaking of Boyle, for the season now, he has 14 chances for in 16 minutes of PP time.  Personally, I will be majorly disappointed if he doesn't get at least some of those PP minutes that Christensen's injury frees up.

On to the defense:

QoC EVF EVA EV Time EVF/20 EVA/20 PPF PPA PP Time PPF/20 PPA/20 SHF SHA SH Time SHF/20 SHA/20
Staal 1.310 72 64 243.15 5.92 5.26 16 4 40.03 7.99 2.00 6 14 33.87 3.54 8.27
Girardi 1.344 58 69 232.15 5.00 5.94 12 2 20.53 11.69 1.95 4 17 30.15 2.65 11.28
Rozsival 0.574 85 43 210.82 8.06 4.08 14 3 26.50 10.57 2.26 3 10 15.57 3.85 12.85
Sauer -0.973 34 40 161.83 4.20 4.94 2 0 0.28 141.18 0.00 1 7 9.57 2.09 14.63
Eminger -0.700 41 38 157.88 5.19 4.81 2 0 1.53 26.09 0.00 0 13 16.60 0.00 15.66
Del Zotto 0.349 39 26 129.53 6.02 4.01 9 2 24.87 7.24 1.61 0 0 0.08 0.00 0.00
Gilroy -1.075 19 18 66.02 5.76 5.45 4 0 4.38 18.25 0.00 0 1 0.13 0.00 150.00

*Highlighted cells indictate high (green) and low (red) players for the rate stats. ES minimum of 100 minutes, PP and SH 15 minutes. Table is sortable by clicking the column headers

At the recommendation of commentor NTB, I've included the Quality of Competition measure from behindthenet.ca.  This shows a clear separation in what each of our three pairs have had to deal with this season.  Accordingly, it's still worth tackling them pair by pair.

Dan Girardi continues to have a very good season, but a trend that has also continued is his team worst chances against number.  5.94 is a very good improvement over the 6.88 and 6.84 he posted in previous months, but he continues to be at least a little overwhelmed by the upper echelon competition.  His partner, Marc Staal, has had the season long task of catching up to Girardi, but it certainly seems like he has gotten there defensively.  Staal has consistently allowed fewer chances at even strength than Girardi, but for the first time, there's a large gap in the shorthanded play as well.  It would appear Staal is finding his groove.  Both are still prone to mistakes, but everyone is against the top lines in the NHL.

On the second pair, for all the heat Michal Rozsival takes, the team was dominant while he was out there in December.  66% of the total chances for his shifts were Rangers' chances.  In addition, the PP and SH numbers were also at average, yet acceptable levels.  His mistakes are often of the memorable variety, but his defense otherwise was superb this month.  Michael Del Zotto, a consistent scratch of late, did not have as bad as month as one may expect, at least at even strength.  He did struggle on the PP, 'helping' to generate the fewest chances of any of the regular PP defensemen.  He was also taken completely off of his limited PK duties, shielding him from more exposure defensively than necessary.

Michael Sauer, the previous anchor of our 3rd pairing, for the first time started to show some cracks in the dam.  He has not been any worse than his counterparts, but that still a diversion from his performance the first two months.  Though his competition level is still down, the ice time indicates an increase in responsiblity, and possibly one he is not quite ready for.  Steve Eminger, on the flip side to Sauer, posted his first positive month, but continues to get murdered on the PK.  Unfortunately, we don't have a more reliable 4th option there, so the veteran will continue to get that time.  Matt Gilroy is the last of the lot, and while his defense hasn't been there, he continues to show signs of the offensive skill that got him here in the first place.

There you have it, the not so quick and dirty look at the Rangers scoring chances for the month.  Anyone who wants more information on the players, the opponents, or anything else, fire away in the comments.

 

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