The playoffs are upon us! This is the best time of year, isn’t it?
In preparation for the first round matchup vs. the Boston Bruins, we will be providing tons of coverage to preview the series. We already had some great content yesterday, and I recommend you check it out.
For this article, I wanted to list as many interesting stats I could think of, and compare them between Ottawa and Boston. The team with the better number is in italics. Just remember though: don’t shoot the messenger.
Tale of the Tape
|52.21%||Corsi Last 25||48.66%|
|Brad Marchand (85)||Top Scorer||Erik Karlsson (71)|
So obviously, the Senators do not come out looking great through these stats. There are a few stats that some people might have wanted me to include such as blocked shots, faceoffs, and hits, but those haven’t shown any strong correlation to winning, so I found it a bit unnecessary to include them.
For those curious, Ottawa ranks better than Boston in blocked shots and hits, but worse in faceoffs.
It isn’t that encouraging to see Boston have the advantage in so many categories, although this table is confirming what I already knew coming into writing this. Of course, I have to acknowledge that corsi is not everything, but it is significant if your team is getting 54.7% of the attempts.
Furthermore, Ottawa’s -2 goal differential is something that not even old school hockey people can ignore. Yes, some teams are better than others in close games, but it is not necessarily a repeatable skill. If you’re looking for a silver lining, Boston’s +22 isn’t that much better than Ottawa’s, but allowing more goals than you scored on the year is not a good look.
One of the more worrisome categories is special teams.
Boston has the best penalty kill in the league, and I don’t have to remind you how bad Ottawa’s powerplay can look at times. Even the Senators penalty kill was awful to finish the year. If they want to win the series, there’s no way they can have such horrible special teams, unless Boston is equally bad.
On the other hand, one of the reasons why the Senators could win this series is due to goaltending. Ottawa has the clear advantage in that category, and Craig Anderson’s .933 SV% in the playoffs makes me confident that he can steal a game or two.
Tuukka Rask is no slouch either, but he has only been an average goaltender (.915 SV%) for the last two seasons. He has very high peaks as well, but also some deep lows. This would have sounded funny a few seasons ago, but right now I’d rather have Anderson.
Now, some of these numbers mean less if both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo are out. The Bruins definitely will not be as good as they should be with two of their top-4 defensemen out. Also, the Bruins possession numbers have gone down under Bruce Cassidy, which is a good sign:
I'm obviously of analytics, and to me a full season's worth of data is the most valuable predictive tool out there, but: pic.twitter.com/K4BR6P1nPP— Nate (@NKB121) April 10, 2017
By objectively looking at the stats given, it’s hard to say that Ottawa looks stronger. At the same time, Ottawa could be healthier and have home ice advantage, which could shift things dramatically.
I feel like some Senators fans think this will be an automatic win just because Ottawa swept the season series, but there are also those in the national media who think that Boston will easily win. In reality, I bet this series will be incredibly close.
I can’t wait to watch some playoff hockey.