Thursday, April 21, 2011

Head-to-Head Corsi, Game 4

That was painful to watch. Too many penalties, too much chasing in the defensive zone, and misplaced nastiness the first two periods. Once the teams stopped running goalies and got down to play (and with the help of, perhaps, a slightly overconfident Rangers team and some shaky rebound control from Henrik Lundqvist, plus score effects), the Caps simply outclassed the Rangers. Special teams, even strength, goaltending, you name it. I was a little worried about Michal Neuvirth once it got to 3-0, and half-expected Boudreau to go with Semyon Varlamov, but Neuvirth came back with a vengeance (and that oft-mentioned mental toughness) later in the game, coming up with some great saves on Stepan, Gaborik, and Boyle, among others.

My code outputs data with the home team in rows and the visiting team in columns (i.e. Ovechkin in Game 2 had his H2H line going across, in Game 3 his line was up and down). I swapped the axes and removed the zone starts, but I didn't switch the positive and negative numbers. The Corsi differentials are from a Rangers point of view, so as a Caps fan, be happy when you see negatives.

I did use colors to help, again. Green is good for the Caps, yellow neutral, and red bad. I also separated by lines, although both Boudreau and Tortorella were juggling the third player with Ovechkin-Backstrom and Gaborik-Dubinsky respectively.

First, forwards:

A lot of the green is because the Caps were trailing for so long, but regardless, good effort from a lot of the Caps on the whole (even though they were crap for two periods, they were solid for 2.5 after that). Johansson, Fehr, and their linemate (Chimera or Laich) were strong together, and Drury was solid from the other side. I'm actually surprised all the Caps' lines got the better of the Boyle line (teaches them to run our goalie!).

The Corsi numbers may be a bit misleading for the top line since Ovechkin had so many shots blocked (and for Dan Girardi, blocking shots is probably in large part a skill).

And defensemen:

140 Corsi events is a helluva lot. I thought Schultz was strong, but I guess it's hard to be in the green when you're not getting TOI when your team is trailing. I also thought Green was pretty good, but I guess the numbers say otherwise. I guess it should be noted Green-Schultz were +2 zone start, Hannan-Erskine -5, and Carlson-Alzner -2.

Sauer-McDonagh were +9, Drury +15. Boyle and Prust were +7 and +6, respectively, as well. Caps were -5 as a team.

Now go out there and finish this thing on Saturday, boys.

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