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Rangers By The Numbers Game Preview: Rangers @ Maple Leafs

This first foray into doing a pre-game RBTN is going to be relatively bare bones on the analysis. It was kind of an impromptu idea that the BSB staff discussed and we are just going to feel it out for now. I'll leave the numbers and charts and graphs to do most of the talking. Feel free to discuss and ask questions in the comments section. As things progress, we will probably refine the approach to these if we continue to do them.

He's back!
He's back!
Bruce Bennett
Time Saturday, 7:00 EST
Season Series 0-1
Last Meeting 
6-3 Leafs 10/12/14
The Enemy Pension Plan Puppets Scoring Leaders

R. Nash 10-3-13
P. Kessel 7-11-18

Maple Leafs
6-4-2 SEASON RECORD 6-5-2
14 Points 14
8th Conference Position 9th
Won 1
Streak Lost 2
2.75 (14th)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.85 (9th)
3.00 (22nd)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.62 (16th)
14.3 (24th) Power Play % 20.4 (12th)
79.6 (19th) Penalty Kill % 83.7 (12th)
49.9 (16th) Faceoff Win % 50.4 (13th)
13.3 (26th) PIM / GP 9.7 (6th)
31.8 (4th) Shots For / GP 30.9 (9th)
29.4 (14th) Shots Against / GP 32.6 (25th)
Maple Leafs
50.11 (16th) Score Adjusted Fenwick For % 46.06 (26th)
51.9 (9th) 5v5 Close Corsi For 48.0 (25th)
2.90 (3rd) 5v5 Goals For / 60 2.26 (13th)
2.57 (22nd)
5v5 Goals Against / 60 2.66 (20th)
3 (8th)
5v5 Goal +/-
-1 (21st)
52.31 (11th) 5v5 OZS % 43.33 (28th)
9.0 (7th) 5v5 Shooting % 7.88 (14th)
90.54 (25th) 5v5 Save % 92.52 (11th)
99.8 (16th) PDO 100.4 (13th)

M. Zuccarello +6.95

J. Moore +4.72

5v5 Corsi Rel % Leaders

(min 50 min)

J .Lupul +12.09

N. Kadri +9.17

T. Glass -7.40

D. Girardi -5.26

5v5 Corsi Rel % Anchors

(min 50 min)

R. Panik -8.38

P. Holland -5.17

R. Nash 4.98

D. Brassard 2.95

5v5 Points / 60 Leaders

(min 50 min)

P. Kessel 3.50

D. Winnik 2.76

Stepan's Back

The Rangers play the first of a back-to-back tonight, hoping to continue the trend of solid play that has led to points in seven of their last eight games. The big news going into Toronto is that Derek Stepan is expected to return to game action for the first time this season. In preparation for this, the Rangers sent down Chris Mueller. I expect Stepan to slot in on a line with Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider for now. But that of course could change, as the top 6 has been a bit of a rotation thus far.

News out of Toronto is that Kessel is a go, which of course won't help the Rangers' cause. He has been one of the most prolific scorers in the NHL, making his linemates better in the process. His solid play has him near the top of the NHL in 5v5 Points per 60 minutes, while also providing solid powerplay contributions as well.

Out for Toronto is Daniel Winnik, who had been enjoying a particularly successful stretch of hockey, playing alongside Kadri and lately Kessel, when his numbers really began to flourish (surprise surprise). He took a nasty tumble in Colorado that resulted in a concussion. No timetable for his return, though the rumor is that he isn't showing symptoms.

Also out for Toronto: Joffrey Lupul, David Booth, Carter Ashton, and Brandon Kozun. So the Rangers aren't the only club with injuries. The Leafs will rely on a top-heavy attack and fairly potent powerplay to capitalize tonight.

Cam Talbot is going to get the first part of this back-to-back. He'll go up against Jonathan Bernier, who has been solid despite heavy even strength pressure, a veritable constant for this Randy Carlyle-coached team (though it's been better this season).

Key to the Game:

Not a whole lot has changed with how you approach Toronto. Shut down the play-driving of Kessel and the offensive creativity of Nazem Kadri and John van Riemsdyk, and take advantage of the underbelly of a soft bottom 6. This is a team that is weaker than most in center depth. Pushing tempo and forcing guys like Kadri, Tyler Bozak and Peter Holland to play in their own zone, where they decidedly don't want to be, will be key. Though I would be remiss not to mention that Kadri has been much improved at evens this year, and his line has generally driven play in the other direction for the Leafs.

Finding and forcing shots from the middle of the ice will do the trick. And Toronto likes to give up shots from the middle of the ice at a higher rate than most teams.

Their score adjusted Fenwick reveals that when the game is close, especially early, they are going to give up shot attempts. Lots of 'em. Further, their bottom of the league offensive zone start percentage (28th in the league) reveals that at 5v5, they have the propensity to get pinned in a bit.

This team can be had at evens if the Rangers push tempo and control the puck.

Expected Lines


Rick NashDerick BrassardMartin St. Louis

Chris KreiderDerek StepanMats Zuccarello

Carl HagelinDominic MooreLee Stempniak

Tanner GlassKevin HayesAnthony Duclair

Marc StaalDan Girardi

Kevin KleinMatt Hunwick

Conor AllenMichael Kostka

Cam Talbot


Josh LeivoNazem KadriPhil Kessel

James van RiemsdykTyler BozakDavid Clarkson

Leo KomarovPeter HollandMike Santorelli

Richard PanikSam CarrickMatt Frattin

Dion PhaneufCody Franson

Morgan RiellyRoman Polak

Stephane RobidasJake Gardiner

Jonathan Bernier


Toronto: It's all about shutting down the top 6. Everything else falls in place after that.

Toronto Usage Chart

Rangers: Rick Nash carries the 5v5 torch in a few ways, but mainly 5v5 P/60, where he leads the league. Most of this has to do with his high shooting percentage to start the season, which should (will) regress a bit. He will continue to be the focal point of the offense, though. And will continue to produce in Rick Nashy-like ways.

Meanwhile, St. Louis should benefit from getting back to regular wing duty, where he is by far more comfortable. Zuccarello...just keep doing you son. The guy has been going nuts. Axel and I will almost assuredly discuss this more in future articles, as it was the center of an interesting twitter discussion we had (@nmercad@axelfanteldh.

Rangers Usage Chart 11-7

AV, please stop it with Tanner Glass. Right now.

Boy...usage charts put on full display how useless Tanner Glass has been. He isn't getting a majority defensive zone starts, which is his presumable purpose. Despite this, he is at the bottom of the team in possession metrics. The absolute bottom. And against the weakest competition. AV, please stop it.


Sporting Charts Heatmap NYR v Tor



We will get to explaining these more soon. Just wanted to toss them in for now. Feel free to discuss in the comments.

NYR v Tor Matchup Preview Axelgraph

NYR v Tor 1st Line 5v5


Anything from Ommegang. But this right now:

Game of Thrones Beer

Because winter is coming.

Parting thoughts from Michael Scott:

Be a boss, Stepan. Be the boss.

Tack your score predictions, musings and thoughts on the numbers in the comments homies.

Stats compiled from:,, and