Once again, GMH has come through with a solid post looking at some key statistics for the Circus Trip and what ever the hell we want to call this recently completed trip. It's a great read and there's plenty of room to jump in with your own theories on things as some people have already done in the comments. Also, a note to GMH - sorry for the one slight change... we're not allowed to curse in our headlines.
I wanted to throw up this fanpost before I lost steam from last night's rage-fest; it's nothing fancy, just a cursory look at the data from the Blackhawks' two major road trips this season. Shot differential, special teams, goaltending, and--probably the most interesting part of this--partial confirmation of our suspicions that the defense has been lacking lately.
The Circus Trip spanned 9 days and the team traveled well over 5000 miles; they won the first four games almost at a trot before losing a bit of steam in SoCal, eventually taking 9 points out of a possible 12. The just-concluded freakshow (we need a name for this) covered 14 days and roughly 8000 miles, and the 'Hawks earned 10 points out of a possible 16, which is just about what most people expected from them. The numbers, however, aren't exactly brilliant in comparison to the Circus Trip:
We can start with goaltending, but let's not beat the dead horse deader, agreed? Save percentage was subpar (below .850) in half of the games on Road Trip 2, resulting in three losses (Ottawa, Vancouver, and Carolina) in which the 'Hawks outshot their opponents by an average of 15 per game. The average save percentage dropped 8.2%. Niemi was very very good in two wins (Detroit, Calgary), as was Huet (Edmonton, San Jose). Both goaltenders also looked pretty bad on other occasions.
Looking closely at the three losses, though, the offense may have outshot their opponents by double digits, but the average save percentage of the three goaltenders they faced (Elliott, Luongo and Ward) was an eye-socket gouging 0.965
With only four goals spread across those three losses, you can't really pin everything on the goalie. It should be noted that the 'Hawks gave up the first goal in all of the losses sustained in both extended road trips, although only the Anaheim game was a blowout the first time around--the second time around, all of the losses were by at least two-goal margins.
We can look to the power play numbers as well: While common "the PP is still clown shoes!!" knowledge states that it's not uncommon for the 'Hawks to be blanked with the man advantage, in the three losses to Ottawa, Vancouver, and Carolina, the PP was (respectively) 0-for-5, 0-for-4, and 0-for-3. You betcher ass a goal or two on the PP would have made a difference in those games. Overall, the 'Hawks ran at a 1-for-3 clip during the Circus Trip, and just over 1-for-4 on the January road trip. (PK numbers remained stable at around a 75% kill.)
The most miserable conclusion we can draw from the numbers is probably the GF/GA differential between the two road trips: The GF numbers for the Circus Trip might have been unfairly endowed by the two blowouts at Calgary and San Jose, and 3 goals/game is still pretty respectable on the road, but the concern, as we suspected, lies at the wrong end of the ice. The 'Hawks gave up nearly two more goals per game in the second road trip, which honestly can't all be blamed on bad goaltending.
Exactly how much worse was the defense? I'M SO GLAD YOU ASKED.
I used both CORSI and +/- to try and paint a better picture of performance vs. results, and the difference is a bit startling, especially in the case of Seabrook (who shat the bed quite a few times in January) and the Soupy-Meatball pairing.
I feel like part of the reason why Marlboro 72's CORSI is so wack the second time around is because
Q's been playing them practically half the game some nights (especially when trailing). I'm not going to go back and look up TOI for everyone, sorry. (NOTION DEBUNKED! See comments for TOI numbers, theories; contribute your own, etc.) Good grief, Duncan Keith's numbers are staggering when you consider that he's had to mitigate the poor play of his blue-line partner for three weeks. He's the only d-man besides Barker (who, if Keith gets the match-up equivalent of bedpan duty, then let's not kid ourselves, Barker is the guy who taps your arm and can't find the vein so he ends up jabbing you a zabillion times) in the plus column after eight games, as well.
I don't remember who first proposed that other teams were starting to target our puckmoving d-men, and it would be interesting to find out how many hits each of them took this trip, but the drop-off for Campbell and Hjalmarsson seems to uphold that theory. Hjammer's CORSI may be low because he sees a lot of PK time, but does anyone else find it surprising that his +/- is the worst out of all the d-men over this stretch?
Okay, I just puked out all these numbers for you guys, now go play with them. I should have been in bed a long-ass time ago.