After another terrible loss, this time at home, I've grown to enjoy doing these scouting reports. There's something about watching a competitive game that's really quite exciting, and I think it's important that we, as Oiler fans don't lose that enjoyment of the game. Some people are coping with this incredible failure of a hockey team by watching less hockey; I'm coping by watching less Oilers' hockey. It's a good system. Anyroad, the Oilers' next opponent is the Phoenix Coyotes, and their last game was against Calgary. Once again, I've tracked scoring chances for the game and will use that as the basis for my analysis.For those who'd like a definition: a scoring chance is defined as a clear play directed toward the opposing net from a dangerous scoring area - loosely defined as the top of the circle in and inside the faceoff dots, though sometimes slightly more generous than that depending on the amount of immediately-preceding puck movement or screens in front of the net. Blocked shots are generally not included but missed shots are. A player is awarded a scoring chance anytime he is on the ice and someone from either team has a chance to score. He is awarded a "chance for" if someone on his team has a chance to score and a "chance against" if the opposing team has a chance to score. Finally, a big thanks to Vic Ferrari for making the whole damn thing possible with his awesome scripts.
Before I present the data, I also wanted to explain the chart a little bit. Most of it is pretty self-explanatory, but the "situation" column refers to whether the chance was created by Zone Pressure (ZP), within five seconds of an offensive zone faceoff (FO) or if it instead came in Transition (T). Any chance that resulted in a goal is in bold font.
|CGY||3||0:37||ZP - EN
|PHX||3||0:09||T - EN
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
This game is of particular interest from a scoring chances perspective because Kent Wilson also counted chances and the two of us came to quite different conclusions. He scored the game 18-16 CGY, which is a hell of a lot closer than 20-12. Put together, we counted 43 different plays as scoring chances with 23 of those chances being common, 9 being unique to me, and 11 being unique to Kent. If we look at just the 23 common chances, Calgary won the battle 14-9. If you're interested in how chances are tracked, I'll look at each of the 20 unique chances tomorrow, but for now, let's talk about the Coyotes!
The Coyotes were dominated thoroughly in the first period of this game, and it was really only Ilya Bryzgalov who kept them afloat. The Flames made it challenging to match lines because Sutter was constantly throwing new combinations over the boards, especially with Jarome Iginla, who played an absolute tonne. The result was that Dave Tippett was unable to get a consistent match-up against Iginla, and the future King (?) did did his part with the extra shelter, outchancing the Coyotes 10-4 (by my count) and finishing with the game's best Corsi rating (+17). Tippett will not have the same problems against Renney's Rawhide, and should be able to get the matchups that he likes.
That said, if what he wants is Keith Yandle on defense and Martin Hanzal up front, they're going to need to play a whole lot better, because they got crushed in this one, and weren't alone. In fact, there wasn't a single Coyote who ended the night with a positive Corsi rating, which I can tell you definitely was a fair reflection of where the puck spent most of its time. Some of that was the Coyotes effectively shutting the game down once they got up 2-0, but strangely, when it was once they started hanging back that they actually seemed more effective overall, not just in limiting chances, but in getting a better share of the play in the right end of the ice. And on the bright side for Oiler fans, that shut-it-down style might help the Oilers to lose by less than four goals for only the second time in six games... Goilers!