Thursday, December 27, 2007
Devils & Accuracy Part 2
However, the comparison stops being favorable when you consider the opposition. The opposition must enjoy playing at the Rock too. While they get 6 fewer opportunities to shoot on average, they are almost 5% more accurate and miss nearly 3 fewer shots on average! Yes, their average shots on net when they host New Jersey, but surprisingly they are not as accurate in missing more shots on average Not that hosting New Jersey doesn't have any benefits; opponents block an astonishing 13.36 shots on average! The Devils players must think twice about shooting into traffic, especially on the road, because they are getting denied quite a bit.
OK, so there does seem to be difference between the home and road in terms of shot accuracy. Now, let's look at a more obvious point of comparison: wins and losses. Intuitively, I thought the Devils would be more accurate than their opponents when they do win and less accurate than their opponents when they lose. Therefore, I set up another chart with the same averages, calculated between Devils wins and Devils loss:
Here, my intuition was correct. The Devils, on average, put more shots on net, make more attempts to shoot, and their percentage of those attempts hitting the net are greater than their opponents when they win. While the Devils make more attempts on net than their opponents on average when they lose, the opposition puts more shots on net and a percentage of those attempts hitting the net than the Devils. This chart does show more than confirmation of what one would expect. The opposition still blocks more shots on average than the Devils regardless of whether the Devils win or lose. Regardless of the Devils achieving victory or defeat, the Devils still miss approximately 11 shots on average. This is another area that I would suggest the Devils players would work on: those 11 shots could become much more dangerous and perhaps even goals if more of them are on net. Interestingly, while the Devils block more shots on average in losses, the opposition blocks more shots on average in both situations. The Devils could also stand to get in front of more shots in general. Nevertheless, the Devils are more accurate in their wins than in their losses, which makes sense to me (at least).
So through these comparisons, the most obvious conclusion is that the Devils could be more accurate. The opposition blocks more of the Devils shots than the other way around regardless of the Devils winning or losing and regardless of the Devils being on the road or at home. In addition, the Devils miss more shots on average than the opposition. It isn't all bad, the Devils are consistently making more attempts at shooting the puck than their opposition. However, the fact the the Devils are missing so many shots on average and having so many blocked shots on average are both sources of lost opportunities. Not just because those missed and blocked shots would go on net and have a low probability of resulting in a goal. When a shot is missed or blocked, it means the offense failed to do what they set out to accomplish. Momentum suffers when a shot by the Devils is blocked, scoring chances are wasted and momentum suffers. This makes the Devils efforts on offense much more difficult. Also, the Devils defense needs to make a better effort in blocking shots if only to make it easier on the Devils goaltenders.
In short, the Devils are not as accurate as their opposition and for the New Jersey offense to be more productive, the players will need to improve in setting up shots, deciding when to shoot through traffic and when not to, and in their shot accuracy in general. It would also be more beneficial if the Devils defenders make more of an effort getting in front of shots to reduce the workload Brodeur/Weekes would face on a night to night basis.