Round 2 - 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs
The Sharks win over the Avalanche in game 7 capped off another exciting round of action in the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The Sharks, Big Bad Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and the “Bunch of Jerks” from Carolina are all moving on. ICEBERG Hockey took a deeper look at some of the more interesting metrics surrounding the second round series.
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Danger zone - abbreviated DgZ - "house-shaped" area consisting of the slot - where the most high quality shots tend to come from
Possession % - percentage of time that the team held possession
xG - "expected goals" - this metric associates an expected goal value with each shot, taking into consideration a plethora of variables including pre-shot movement, distance to goal, speed of shot, etc.
DgZ Shots (EV) - count of shots from inside the danger zone when at even strength
DgZ SV% (EV) - goalie save percentage on shots within the danger zone
% of xG blocked - Percentage of opponent's xG that was blocked via blocked shots (higher percentage = more blocked xG)
xG/20 on PP - expected goals per 20 minutes of PP time
Western Conference Matchups:
San Jose (2) vs Colorado (WC)
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Colorado Avalanche in 7 games in the second round and it was an extremely evenly matched series at even strength. Possession % at even strength was identical and expected goals at even strength (xG (EV)) were nearly identical as well. Colorado had 4 more shots in the danger zone at even strength (DgZ Shots (EV)) and San Jose had a slightly higher save percentage in the danger zone at even strength (DgZ SV% (EV)). The percentage of xG blocked was very similar and San Jose held the advantage when it came to expected goals per 20 minutes of PP time (xG/20 on PP).
St. Louis (3) vs Dallas (WC)
The St. Louis Blues game 7 overtime hero, Patrick Maroon, ended a back and forth series between the Blues and Stars. The Blues held an advantage in 5 of the 6 metrics Iceberg Hockey analyzed including a 10% possession advantage at even strength. They also had an expected goal value at even strength (xG (EV)) of 2.7 more goals than the Stars and had 29 more shots in the danger zone at even strength (DgZ Shots (EV)). Danger zone save percentage at even strength (DgZ SV% (EV)) slightly favoured the Blues while percentage of xG blocked was virtually the same between both teams. The Stars held an advantage in expected goals per 20 minutes of PP time (xG/20 on PP).
Eastern Conference Matchups:
New York (3) vs Carolina (WC)
The Carolina Hurricanes continued their surprise run in the 2019 NHL Playoffs, sweeping the New York Islanders in the second round. It is often said that hockey is a game of inches and although this series ended in a sweep, the numbers indicate a much tighter series. Possession % was slightly in favour of the Islanders while expected goals at even strength (xG (EV)) was slightly in favour of the Hurricanes. Danger zone shots at even strength (DgZ Shots (EV)) were virtually identical. The biggest differentiator in the metrics Iceberg examined came in danger zone save percentage at even strength (DgZ SV% (EV)). Between Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney, the Hurricane netminders stopped 100% of the shots they faced in the danger zone at even strength. The percentage of xG blocked was basically identical between the two teams, and the Islanders held a slight advantage in expected goals per 20 minutes of PP time (xG/20 on PP).
Boston (2) vs Columbus (WC)
The second round of the NHL Playoffs signalled the end for the Cinderella story Columbus Blue Jackets. After knocking off the President’s Trophy Champion Tampa Bay Lightning in convincing fashion, they were not able to maintain the magic in their matchup with the Bruins. While possession % at even strength was equal, the Bruins expected goal value (xG (EV)) was 4.4 more than Columbus’. The Bruins held a significant advantage in shots within the danger zone at even strength (DgZ Shots (EV)) and Tuukka Rask had a much higher save percentage on shots within the danger zone at even strength (DgZ SV% (EV)), than Sergei Bobrovsky. The percentage of xG blocked was essentially even but the Bruins held a slight advantage in expected goals per 20 minutes of PP time (xG/20 on PP).