Welcome to the inaugural edition of a feature that will hopefully be a regular here at The Predatorial!
Going forward, I will be providing a general synopsis of how the Nashville Predators fared in their most recent contest, from an advanced statistics perspective. If you’re looking for information on the statistics examined, please refer to the guide that I wrote on the subject, or feel free to send any specific questions you may have my way via Twitter.
For the second straight game, the Predators overwhelmingly controlled possession. Whereas the result was not favorable versus the Maple Leafs, it paid off for Nashville in their tilt with the New York Islanders Islanders.
Looking first at the collective team effort, Nashville launched 53 5-on-5 shot attempts (Corsi, 38 Fenwick) at the Islanders’ net: 26 shots, 15 blocked, 12 misses. The Islanders generated 29 attempts (Corsi, 17 Fenwick) comprised of 13 shots, 12 misses, and four blocked. This amounts to a 65% advantage in Corsi events for the Predators. If you watched the game, that’s about in line with what you saw and the general “feel” of the game.
Individual Performances of Note
Matt Cullen - I made the following statement immediately after the game, prior to reviewing the actual numbers:
I've been hard on Cullen, but that was by far his best game. Probably the best #Preds forward tonight
— PredaTERRORial JN (@PredatorialJN) October 13, 2013
The numbers backed up that intuition. Cullen lead the team with a 77.3% Corsi rating at 5-on-5. While he enjoyed a heavy zone-start concentration in the offensive zone, it’s still a noteworthy accomplishment. Cullen was on the ice for 22 Corsi events: 17 for and just five against.
Mike Fisher - As I stated in the advanced stats guide, Fisher’s numbers will always trend toward the negative due to his assignments. Any time that he can land near 50%, it should be considered a good night for him. It just so happens that 50 percent is exactly where he ended up, despite playing some tough minutes–four defensive zone starts compared to only three offensive zone starts.
Ryan Ellis - I made some critiques of Ellis’s overall defensive play on Saturday night, but I don’t want that to outshine the sort of offensive performance that he will need to consistently produce if he’s going to reach his potential. The traditional statistics of one goal and one assist alone are great, but he’s got a nice advanced stats package to go along with it. Ellis’s 75% Corsi rating is up near the top of the team, with 18 Corsi events for and only six Corsi events against. Now, a little qualifier: of Ellis’s 14 even-strength zone starts, only two were in the defensive zone. What this typically represents is the concept of sheltered minutes. However, I want to point out that another defenseman with undeniable offensive abilities and questionable defensive acumen was brought along in a similar manner, and has evolved into a well-rounded defenseman: Cody Franson.
Victor Stalberg - Pete Weber called Stalberg’s Predators debut “a training camp game,” this morning on 102.5 the Game, and I think most would agree that he looked a little uncomfortable. The numbers reflect that: Six Corsi events for, five against in limited ice time–a little over 12 minutes. Now, he did have a surprising amount of defensive and neutral zone starts compared to his offensive zone starts, but that can typically be an indicator that a line was caught out in an icing situation a few times. I think we’ll see Stalberg’s numbers improve as the season goes on and he gets comfortable. The Blackhawks have been near the top of the possession charts for several seasons and Stalberg brings an impressive resume in that regard.
Filip Forsberg - The young Swede didn’t have a great game, by the eyeball or the calculator standard. He saw his time-on-ice dip by nearly two minutes from the previous contest to just over 12 minutes. At 45.5%, his Corsi rating is not only the worst on the team, but the only negative number. Forsberg was on the ice for five Corsi events for, six against. It will be interesting to see how he rebounds against the Panthers tomorrow night. Barry Trotz has not typically allowed a long leash for youngsters who struggle with the defensive aspects of the game, so the next few games could be crucial for Forsberg’s immediate future.
Overall, the Predators played their best all-around game of the season on Saturday. The possession numbers were great for the second game in a row, and if they can find a little bit of finish to go with it, they may be closer to putting things together than anyone thought. Certainly, Nabokov had a hand in keeping the goal total lower than it could have been, but there were definitely some encouraging signs.
All statistics courtesy of The Extra Skater.
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