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#1 Triumph

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:03 PM

On October 24th, Peter DeBoer shifted Zach Parise to center to play with Ilya Kovalchuk. This was the big news, but the bigger impact has been putting together Dainius Zubrus with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias. Since then, the line has gone on to score 8 goals at even strength. While that's important, I'm more impressed with how they've been doing.

This is a table that shows four things about Patrik Elias. I think Elias has double shifted some over the last few games and he hasn't always been with Sykora and Zubrus, but it's close enough. Anyway, Fenwick is shots on goal + missed shots differential at even strength while on the ice. A positive is good, a negative is bad. OFace vs. DFace is how often Elias was used in the defensive zone versus the offensive zone - a player gets a +1 for being on the ice during a faceoff in the defensive zone, and -1 for being on the ice during a faceoff in the offensive zone. The 'Team Faceoff' column refers to the entire team - was the team typically getting offensive zone faceoffs, or defensive zone faceoffs, or is it about even? The last column is the forward who faced Patrik Elias for the most ice time.

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We see the Elias line moving the play forward even though it's not getting favorable zone starts and it's usually up against stiff competition.

Even though it hasn't always been the opponent's best matching up against Elias, especially on the road, we can see that at home, generally that line is facing the best of the opposition. And right now, it's doing well. This line gives the Devils so many options if it can stay healthy when Kovalchuk, Zajac, and Josefson return. It'll be interesting, with this home and home, how Deboer ends up using the line both at home and on the road, or what Boudreau might do to counteract that line.
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#2 NLinfante

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:16 PM

Interesting numbers. I'm typically hesitant to put any stock in corsi, fenwick or whatever the hell else people cite, but in this case the numbers seem to prove Elias' recent success, even against the other team's top players.

However, I'll still stick with my own eyes to determine how well a player is playing. Far too much "good" hockey or "bad" hockey takes place away from the puck or has nothing to do with +/- stats. A great example is Zubie's play the other night on Henrique's GWG. DZ took on two canes in the corner and battled for the puck down on one knee until Adam swept in and scored. The fact that Zubie made a great play has nothing to do with the assist he received.
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#3 msweet

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:39 PM

Let me simplify:
Elias has been our best player since last season
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#4 Triumph

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:17 PM

Interesting numbers. I'm typically hesitant to put any stock in corsi, fenwick or whatever the hell else people cite, but in this case the numbers seem to prove Elias' recent success, even against the other team's top players.

However, I'll still stick with my own eyes to determine how well a player is playing. Far too much "good" hockey or "bad" hockey takes place away from the puck or has nothing to do with +/- stats. A great example is Zubie's play the other night on Henrique's GWG. DZ took on two canes in the corner and battled for the puck down on one knee until Adam swept in and scored. The fact that Zubie made a great play has nothing to do with the assist he received.


Sure, that was a great play by Zubrus. But how often is it going to lead to a goal for the Devils? Not that often. If Henrique doesn't score there - let's say he gets a shot off and the goalie holds the puck for an offensive zone faceoff - do you remember the play? Probably not. But Fenwick does. And that's the whole point - Zubrus has maintained a positive Fenwick every year he's been with the Devils, and I'm sure a lot of why is his superior board work.
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#5 NLinfante

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:24 PM

Being a former, albeit club, hockey player and a current hockey coach, you'd be surprised what I remember when I watch a game, haha. I think your point is well taken, and I didnt mean to antagonize you, but I think it's obvious that Patty's line has been dynamic even without looking at the stats.

D-men breaking up 2 on 1's is another great example. Half the time they dont even go down as a blocked shot, but we all know how big those plays are.
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#6 thefiestygoat

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 08:14 PM

Solid analysis as usual Triumph, thanks for posting the info. Its always nice to have the numbers to back up our eyes and confirm our assessment.
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#7 Anhkheg

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 09:34 PM

Would be nice to have something to measure referee performance on an individual games and see how they call penalties for/against teams. I think all fans in the NHL would agree.
... We can then have two categories for them: anti-Devils and Neutral (lol).

Edited by Anhkheg, 10 November 2011 - 09:34 PM.

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#8 insanity_gallops

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 10:42 PM

My biggest thing with this line is that I expect to see Sykora getting more goals soon. Dude's been snakebitten more often than not the last week, from miraculous saves by goalies to blocked shots by desperate sliding defensemen to the other night's post-crossbar-post shot. No way he continues to have such bad puck luck.

But yes, the stats back up what's been visible in the games lately, mainly that this line is certainly the #1 line. I just hope that when everyone gets healthy it really does help the team and doesn't turn into that season with Lemaire where the team played its best while key components were injured. (2009-2010?)
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#9 justdo3043

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:48 PM

Solid analysis as usual Triumph, thanks for posting the info. Its always nice to have the numbers to back up our eyes and confirm our assessment.


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#10 Onddeck

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 11:54 PM

"On October 24th, Peter DeBoer shifted Zach Parise to center to play with Ilya Kovalchuk. This was the big news, but the bigger impact has been putting together Dainius Zubrus with Petr Sykora and Patrik Elias. Since then, the line has gone on to score 8 goals at even strength. While that's important, I'm more impressed with how they've been doing."

I could not have said that any better myself. Although we definitely have to figure out the holes in our first line, i think we can agree that the Zubrus, Sykora, Elias line should be kept the same. That line has consistently been our best line on the ice all season. they play great hockey together
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