Game 12 Statcap: Devils 2, Lightning 1

It’s been a few years since anyone would accuse the New Jersey Devils of being a “trap” team, but some old habits die hard, I suppose.

I won’t accuse the Devils of playing a needlessly boring and defensive system, but in this match-up, neither team had any room to work at all through the neutral zone or in the offensive third. This game featured a lot of dump-and-chase, which is a style that the Devils are clearly more suited for than the transition-offense Lightning. The Devils prevented clean zone entries all night long and extended their offensive possessions with good puck retrieval, and with that, maintained a healthy shot and shot attempt advantage for what was admittedly a low-event game (and probably the way New Jersey likes it, particularly against offensive teams like the Bolts).

The final scoring chance count in this one was a whopping 11-10 in favor of the New Jersey Devils, so suffice to say this game was a bit of a snoozer in more ways than one.

Give credit to the Devils, however, for capitalizing on a few key mistakes made by the Lightning. One, while New Jersey was shorthanded, was simply an awful giveaway by Matt Carle from the center point on the power play. I’ve questioned the needless risk of a 1-3-1 or umbrella power play formation before, and we saw it here again. While that formation does have obvious offensive advantages, it also creates situations where your puckhandler at the center blue line has to be near perfect with his puck distribution or you’re almost certain to give away a 2-on-1 rush.

That’s exactly what happened, as a slightly lazy pass from Carle hit Adam Henrique’s stick and sent the Devils away on a 2-on-1 that ended with an Henrique shorthanded goal.

Later, with Martin St. Louis rotating back to the point, he too make a terrible gaffe with the puck, sending Jaromir Jagr — perhaps one of the slowest players in the NHL — alone on a clean breakaway from the red line in. Jagr buried his shot past Ben Bishop and New Jersey created a lead the Lightning wouldn’t come back from.

The Bolts struggled all night to get anything going at 5v5, and their only goal came on the power play on a tremendous individual effort from Steven Stamkos, following up loose puck in the crease on the power play to make things interesting.

At 5v5, there weren’t very many skaters for the Bolts with significant scoring chance differentials worth mentioning. That’s to be expected in a game with only 21 total scoring chances recorded in a full 60 minutes. Teddy Purcell (+2/-0) and Alex Killorn (+2/-0) stand out a little bit I suppose for not being on the ice for a chance against. They continue to be good drivers of play helping whatever line Jon Cooper decides to put them on. They’re also the most versatile wingers in the lineup right now, as both are capable of playing just about anywhere in the top-9. Purcell has been successful with Steven Stamkos, Valterri Filppula, or Tyler Johnson as his center and he can play both the left and the right side fairly effectively, and Killorn has played back and forth between the top two lines this year as well.

2013-2014_Game-12_vs-NJD_Fenwick-Timeline
Fenwick (Unblocked Shots) Timeline via Extra Skater

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

[table “60” not found /]

Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

[table “61” not found /]

Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

[table “62” not found /]

Game Logs

Scoring Chances

[table “55” not found /]

Zone Entries (Even-Strength)

[table “58” not found /]

Zone Exits (Even-Strength)

[table “59” not found /]

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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