Note: We’re posting the scoring chance and possession data for each of 2012-2013 season’s games as practice for next season, when we’ll be publishing scoring chance, possession, time on ice and zone events in addition prior to breaking down each match.
Since this our initial post using this subject, if you’re not wading into unfamiliar territory, skip ahead. Otherwise, please read the following for a hasty breakdown of key points:
- In the absence of officially-tracked zone time, we use shot events (all types: shots on goal, saved shots, missed shots and even blocked shots) as a proxy for it and thus possession, given the logic that a team that controls the puck more will tend to fire more shots.
- Since a significant majority of all games is played at even-strength, especially with five skaters and a goalie on the ice for each side, we are most interested in how a team performs in this game state.
- We also think accounting for “score effects” (another topic that will have its own primer here) is important so we are interested in seeing how a team performs when the game is “close” (in the first and second periods of games within two goals or any duration where the game is tied) as opposed to all times play is 5v5 without an empty net.
- “Fenwick” and “Corsi” (again, topics that will have more in-depth primers here) are just names given to slightly different shot attempt differentials (or percentages), the latter with and the former without blocked attempts for and against, as you can see in the team and player data tables below.
- We believe large samples of shot events reveal trends have significant analytical and predictive value, which means we wouldn’t use data from a single game or very few to make strong conclusions about a team or player’s overall talent or future performance.
With the timing, and sequencing, of this post in mind, I’m going to spare the type of brief commentary I would probably give by reviewing the team and player data that’s provided in tables in the tabs below and instead discuss something I find interesting in a more general sense.
Recording shot attempt totals at different intervals strikes me as an obvious way to add further context to how the possession battle plays out in game, probably because I’ve seen others do pretty much just that. I often cited, using my own or Bolt Prospect’s twitter account, the different shot event totals for both clubs after each period of Lightning games last season (here’s an example from the previous match the two teams played on April 2) but I wasn’t consistent enough to really utilize the information. Next season we will definitely record the period totals diligently. There’s a tool, though, that I’ve noticed before but haven’t made much use of previously: shot timelines made available via Behind the Net.
The shot timeline for this game is below but I do find the title is a bit deceiving in that neither the shots on goal or sum of all shots attempted match the total where both clubs end up (in the low 40s) on the graph. If you ignore missed attempts, adding just shots on goal (goals + saved shots) and shots for that were blocked for each club, the final totals then seem to match as Florida ended up 43 on goal and blocked attempts for (32 + 11) for while Tampa Bay put up 42 (31 + 11) . I’m not sure why missed attempts would have been excluded while blocked attempts would be included. If I’m correct about that, then it’d be interesting to see whether the missed attempts, if plotted, would reinforce the pattern that’s evident (which I suspect is the case) or alter it significantly.
At any rate, we can see there was a busy stretch of action occurred during the first ten minutes of the second period, shortly before the second Panthers goal (which tied the game) and about 5 minutes after the Lightning regained the lead. What followed was a protracted duration of approximately 15 minutes that carried into the final frame where the Panthers controlled the bulk of play and eventually evened the score at 3. At that point the Lightning, during a 10-minute stretch that saw them eliminate the gap in shot events, managed to turn the tables before Tomas Fleischmann scored the back-breaker with just over 6 minutes remaining.
5v5 “Close” Summary