In this series, I’ll show you how many there were, from where on the ice they were created, and who was involved in each of the offensive chances created from the passing of the Chicago Blackhawks and their opponents. If unfamiliar with passing statistics, please refer to my primer. This week, we focus on the games against the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, and Ottawa Senators. Recaps for said match ups are here, here, here, and here.
A few notes on how to read the charts: The "Close" columns indicate which events a player was involved in while the game was within a goal in the 1st or 2nd periods, and a tie game in the 3rd period. The columns that do not have the "Close" designation represent a player’s stats during non-close situations. Obviously.
You’ll see a sortable excel table for each team’s stats. You can filter by individual player, position, position grouping, and team totals if you wish. You can also download or open up the full gamesheet I use when tracking in another window. One note on the charts: the totals may appear to be incorrect at first glance, but the formulas built into the spreadsheet account for each shot to also include a shot attempt in the total so that the efficiency columns are correct. I did it this way rather than have everyone recording double the work. Let’s get to it.
Hawks and Flyers
In what will come as a surprise to no one, the Hawks simply dominated this game. They finished with twenty-eight shots generated on forty-six attempts (seven on twelve attempts in close situations). It really was over for the Flyers as soon as it began, as the team from Philly generated only three shot attempts and no shots while the game was in a close situation.
The Hawks generated nine attempts in transition, twenty-two in the offensive zone, and fifteen scoring chances. I wanted to take a moment to illustrate what I mean by a shot generated in transition. Look at this swift breakout against the Flyers.
Johnny Oduya makes a great zone exit pass to Marian Hossa. In one move, Oduya’s able to advance the puck to Hossa, giving both he and Patrick Sharp plenty of open ice to work with as they enter the Flyers zone. Hossa and Sharp trade places as Hossa dishes to Sharp in the neutral zone. Sharp is able to comfortably advance for a shot. Two passes and a clean shot. This is a shot generated in transition. On their nine attempts, the Hawks generated five shots. Teams are more efficient at generating offense this way due to the simple fact that there are fewer defenders between them and the goal. Oduya’s outlet pass eliminated the number of Flyers that Hossa and Sharp had to work around in order to generate a shot.
Another player I want to highlight is Marcus Kruger. Through this early season, he’s been among the team leaders in generating scoring chances. I want to look at one from the Flyers game and another from the Predators game below.
Here, Kruger retrieves the puck from the corner and skates up the wall. Niklas Hjalmarsson cuts across the face-off circle, presenting himself for Kruger to pass to. Kruger makes the pass and Hjalmarsson is able to attempt a shot from inside the house. For where he is on the depth chart, Kruger is probably the envy of many teams. He could easily go elsewhere and play in their top nine forwards.
Hawks and Predators
Now, we see Kruger and line mate, Ben Smith, play a give-and-go in the corner and Kruger throws the pass across the crease, leading to Smith’s goal against Nashville. The two of them are very involved with each other, generating chances off of each other’s movement and passing. I could fill this page with gifs of the two of them creating chances like this, but I don’t want to bog the page down.
The rest of the game didn’t go the Hawks’ way, as Nashville found ways to continually frustrate Chicago, particularly once the Hawks entered the offensive zone. The fact that Chicago generated thirty-four attempts, yet only fifteen shots points to a lot of hurried, blocked, or otherwise, less than dangerous offense. In close situations, they were even worse, generating six shots on fifteen attempts. How did this happen?
Well, the Hawks generated another nine attempts in transition, yielding five shots. They also added eight scoring chance attempts, yielding four shots, so that area of their game was strong. Where they were subpar was in attempts in the offensive zone beyond the house: they generated a measly six shots on seventeen attempts. These are your attempts from above the face-off circles and beyond the face-off dots. As I mentioned above, why teams generally are more efficient in transition is because there’s fewer bodies to get the shot past. Considering half of Chicago’s pass-generated attempts were in the offensive zone and outside the house, coupled with an aggressive defense in Nashville, there’s your evidence of an off-night.
Hawks and Blues
This game was a waste. The Hawks generated eight scoring chance attempts, yet only one shot to show for it. Patrick Kane, for all his impressive abilities, tends to pass the puck quite hard at times. There were several occasions where he could have generated an attempt, but the pass was just too hard to corral and put on goal. Ease up, Patty.
Of the Haws eleven shots generated, Duncan Keith generated four of them, two in transition and two in the offensive zone. For the forwards, Brandon Saad led them with four attempts generated, while Jonathan Toews, Hossa, and Sharp each added three attempts.
The Blues didn’t have much offense going on at evens, but were more efficient about getting it on net. They generated nine total shots, but required only eighteen attempts. Compare that to the Hawks’ eleven shots on thirty-three attempts generated and you end up with a lot of wasteful possession for Chicago.
Hawks and Senators
Well, this was closer than I would have thought had I only looked at my numbers afterwards. The Hawks generated eighteen shots on twenty-eight attempts, including five shots on six scoring chance attempts and seven shots on nine transition attempts. Patrick Kane led all players with four shots generated on five attempts.
The Senators were simply atrocious, generating only eight shots on twenty-five attempts. They had a bit of the Hawks-Blues efficiency from in close, generating only two shots on eight scoring chances. Erik Karlsson (2 SG) and Mike Zibanejad (3 SG). Other than that, not much was working for the Senators at evens.
What did you think of this week's games? What are some things you'd like to see week in and week out in this space? Sound off below and thanks for reading!