Game 8 Statcap: Bruins 5, Lightning 0

It’s fair to say that sometimes, shots don’t tell the whole story.

A common criticism of those (like us) who rely heavily on possession metrics to analyze hockey games and hockey players is that shots don’t tell the whole story. They tell you a lot, about where the puck was most of the night, who had it, and what they did with it when they had it, but sometimes, one team just capitalizes when they have it and one team team doesn’t.

That was the case on Saturday in Tampa against the Boston Bruins. The Fenwick graph below looks like a tightly contested match between two evenly-matched teams, but the reality of the game couldn’t be further from that. Over long samples, Corsi and Fenwick will correlate very highly with winning, but over the course of a single game — in such a small sample size — almost anything can happen. We’ll look to scoring chances to show you the difference between the Bruins and the Lightning in this one.

Chances ended up 15-9 for the Bruins, which isn’t an astronomical gap and doesn’t seem to fit well with the 5-0 final score. But it was a night for Boston where everything seemed to go right — converting on a full 1/3 of your scoring chances is an absurd night of offense. Blown coverage let the first one past Ben Bishop, but a lucky bounce to Adam McQuaid and a well-timed screen caused the second goal, taking the wind right out of Tampa Bay’s sails after what had been at terffic start to the second period. Tampa Bay, now wholly deflated, just collapsed as the Bruins continued to convert on their scoring chances while the Bolts whiffed on theirs.

Shawn Thornton is not a sniper, but he somehow managed to skate in on left wing and put the perfect shot over Anders Lindback’s shoulder after Bishop had been pulled. We can safely chalk this game up to “one of those nights” where everything goes right for one team and nothing works for the other. Not to take anything away from the Bruins, who once again played a very tight game defensively and neutralized the Stamkos-St. Louis combination yet again as they are almost always able to do with Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. Bergeron finished +5/-2 in scoring chances playing mostly against Stamkos and Chara was +4/-1 with the same match-up. So even at home, Jon Cooper struggled to get Stamkos away from the top shutdown players for Boston. One suggestion I threw out on Twitter that I’ll be curious to see if Cooper tries the next time they play Boston will be splitting Stamkos and St. Louis so Chara and Bergeron can’t be used to stop them both. A simple swap of Stamkos and Valtterri Filppula would force Claude Julien to either load up Chara/Bergeron on either Stamkos or St. Louis, or split them against the two top lines, which might give the Lightning forwards more time and space to work against lesser defenders.

2013-2014_Game-8_vs-BOS_Fenwick-Timeline

Following is the scoring chance and zone event data we tracked for this game that is, we believe, exclusive to Bolt Statistics:

Lightning Totals

Scoring Chances

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Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

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Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

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Game Logs

Scoring Chances

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Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

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Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

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We’d like to acknowledge utilizing data from the game report produced by Extra Skater and the Scoring Chances and Zone Entry Nexus applications created by Josh Weissbock.

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