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Rangers By The Numbers Analytics Preview: Game #38 - Rangers @ Kings

The New York Rangers take on the Los Angeles Kings in a rematch of Stanley Cup Finalists.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers vs Kings coverage

Time Thursday, 10:30 EST
TV NHL-N
Season Series 0-0
Last Meeting 
-
The Enemy Jewels From The Crown Scoring Leaders

R. Nash 25-14-39
R. Getzlaf 11-18-29

Rangers
CATEGORY
Kings
22-11-4 SEASON RECORD 19-12-9
48 (4th Metro) Points 47 (4th Pacific)
1.30 (8th NHL) Standing Points Per Game 1.18 (14th NHL)
Won 3
Streak OT 1
2.63 (4th)
5v5 GF/60
2.23 (15th)
2.02 (10th)
5v5 GA/60
1.98 (6th)
20.2 (11th) Power Play % 20.3 (10th)
82.2 (12th) Penalty Kill % 79.8 (19th)
9.1 (8th) PIM / GP 10.2 (17th)
51.2 (16th)
5v5 SCORE ADJUSTED CORSI (SA CF%)
54.2 (3rd)
51.4 (22nd) 5v5 SA CF/60 58.8 (3rd)
50.0 (11th) 5v5 SA CA/60 47.6 (3rd)
51.7 (13th)
5v5 Score Adjusted Scoring Chances For % (SA SCF%)
53.3 (6th)
51.1(16th) 5v5 SA Fenwick (SA FF%) 53.2 (6th)
101.4 (4th) 5v5 SA Corsi Pace/60 106.5 (20th)
56.5 (3rd) 5v5 SA Goals For % 53.4 (8th)
50.2 (18th)

5v5 Raw CF%

54.7 (2nd)
24.2 (23rd) 5v5 SCF/60 28.1 (6th)
22.6 (4th) 5v5 SCA/60 24.6 (11th)
50.0 (19th) 5v5 SA ZSO % 54.8 (4th)
9.29 (3rd) 5v5 Shooting % 7.19 (24th)
92.59 (11th) 5v5 Save % 92.71 (9th)

J. Miller +6.3

K. Klein +4.9

5v5 Score Adjusted CF%Rel Leaders

(min 150 min)

T, Lewis +6.3

A. Kopitar +4.3

D. Girardi -8.2

D. Stepan -6.3

5v5 Score Adjusted CF%Rel Anchors

(min 150 min)

J. Nolan -7.2

R. Regehr -5.7

J.T. Miller 61.9

D. Boyle 57.5

5v5 Score Adjusted SCF% Leaders

(min 150 min)

T. Lewis 59.3

J. Carter 57.3


Key to the Game: Bend, But Don't Break

I am going to be short and to the point. The Los Angeles Kings are a very very good team. Just as good as they were last year. For the season, they are at the very top of the NHL in shot attempt differential, and in producing scoring chances (score adjusted, 5v5). Their overall goaltending numbers have been solid. Their "70s" line has been transcendent, despite scoring production slowing from their early unsustainably torrid pace. They are suppressing shot attempts as well as anyone, and doing a good enough job stopping quality scoring chances, though probably not quite as well as their best version of themselves can do.

Don't believe the pundits, who seem to have a remarkably short memory. The Kings are just as much a threat as last season. And they are pretty much in the same exact predicament as last season, with minor differences. They may not win every game. But they play an extraordinarily efficient and effective brand of hockey.

Since November 1st, the analytics earmarks for quality play are even better than they were when they= Kings were scuffling a bit in October. They've produced scoring chances for differential (5v5 SA SCF%) at a 55.5% rate, which is best in the NHL since that date. They've had the best 5v5 SA CF% at 56.6%. To put it simply, they've been dominating games.

Despite this, despite creating more scoring chances than any other team over that span, they've only managed a 7.3% 5v5 shooting percentage (23rd), and their goaltending at even strength has dipped down to 91.5% (25th) in that time. This has them at a 98.8 PDO (26th) since November 1. Thus, despite beating opponents over the head all game...they aren't really making hay in the Pacific as of yet because they are giving up nearly as many goals as they are generating right now.

So it goes. That puck is fickle. But let's not take them lightly. On the back end of a back-to-back, the Rangers need to simply weather the storm and continue to benefit from what they have been doing well: generating high end scoring chances coming across the high and low slot. Chances that they are putting away right now at a better rate than nearly any other team in the NHL.

On the other side, Rangers goaltending, tonight its Cam Talbot, has to stand up to the lofty standards that they (mostly Henrik Lundqvist) have set for themselves during that same timeframe. Since November 1st, the Rangers have the highest 5v5 Sv% in the NHL (93.6%). To beat LA, good goaltending has to trump lots of chances that, apparently aren't dropping at a high enough rate for the Kings, for whatever reason.

It won't be easy. But with the way Rangers have limited quality chances of late, it can be done.

Derek Stepan Needs To Be Better Defensively

Yes. Derek Stepan is producing points (2.0 5v5 P60, 5th amongst forwards). No, he hasn't been playing his usual brand of defensively sound three zone hockey. While Stepan has been on the ice this season, the Rangers have lost the shot attempt battle rather handedly (44.8 5v5 CF%). Even if we score adjust that, to take account of the fact that he is often tasked with taking on difficult assignments late in games with a lead (when the team is turtling and more prone to giving up shot attempts), it doesn't help him all that much (46.2% 5v5 SA CF%).

NYR Forwards Usage 1-8-15

As noted in the stat table at the top of this article, he has actually surpassed Tanner Glass in his negative Corsi Relative (-6.3 5v5 SA CRel%). He is worst amongst Rangers forwards in that department.

He isn't shooting particularly high himself at 6.5% 5v5 sh%. However, his on-ice sh% (the team sh% when he is on the ice) is 10.48% (5th amongst NYR forwards). What does it all mean? It means that Step has benefitted from his teammates putting home chances at a higher than league average rate. If you watch him play, he of course also has a hand in this. He is an exceptional passer. Quite literally, the Rangers have two of the very best setup passers in the NHL in Stepan and Mats Zuccarello.

But if he continues to give up shot attempts against at the rate he has (57.3 CA/60, worst amongst forwards), it will be a problem eventually. You just can't have one of your top centers being that significant of a shot suppression liability.

Stats compiled from: nhl.com, puckon.net, war-on-ice.com, and stats.hockeyanalysis.com