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Category: Stats (Page 1 of 2)

Exactly How William Karlsson Scored Each Of His 43 Goals

Backhand, wrister, deflection, empty netter, you name it, Wild Bill did it. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We all fondly remember William Karlsson’s 43 goal season as a glorious collection of one-timers, diving empty netters, and between the legs dandies, but now thanks to TSN’s Travis Yost we know exactly how #71 put all 43 goals into the back of the net on the way to one of the most incredible breakthrough seasons in NHL history.

The numbers are fascinating to read, especially when you look at Lady Byng winner William Karlsson’s chart.

The Golden Knights star center will probably forever be known for this, but according to Yost’s research, Karlsson scored the majority of his goals by wrist shot. Yost found the goal percentages by shot type; backhand, deflection, slap shot, snap shot, tipped shot, wraparound, and wrist shot. As you can see on TSN’s chart, Karlsson has an incredibly lethal wrist shot. The top line center scored 41.9%, or 18 of 43 goals off his wrister.

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Pacific Division Goaltender Rankings

ESPNNNNNNN’s Greg Wyshynski spoke with TSN Edmonton this week about the Pacific Division and Jon Gibson’s eight-year extension goaltender with the Anaheim Ducks.

He’s a solid goalie. He’s a workhorse, it’s a position you don’t have to worry about. They’re a contender. Gibson is going to give them a chance and make them a contender for a bit. -Greg Wyshynski, ESPN

Just like Vegas, the Ducks re-upped their goalie but have many questions elsewhere on the ice. While Gibson may help Anaheim compete, at this moment Fleury is in a better spot to win.

So, with that in mind, let’s rank the goaltenders 1-8 in the Pacific Division. We charted top centers earlier this week, so let’s do the same with the PAC-8’s goaltenders.

The Elite

Jonathan Quick
2017–18: 33-28-3 Record, 5 Shutouts, 2.44 GAA, .921 Save %, 37 Quality Starts
Career: 293-195-56 Record, 49 Shutouts, 2.28 GAA, .916 Save %, 305 Quality Starts

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

In six separate seasons, Quick finished in the top ten for most wins and goals against average, including last season. LA’s goaltender was ninth with 33 wins, and tenth posting a 2.40 GAA. The 2012 Conn Smythe award winner’s 49 career shutouts are fourth among active goaltenders, one ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury. Quick steps his game up in the playoffs posting a 2.23 career postseason GAA and a .922 career postseason save percentage. The Golden Knights swept the Kings in the first round but LA couldn’t put the blame on their goaltender, who posted four consecutive quality starts. Without Quick in net, the series would’ve been a two-game mercy rule.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Marc-Andre Fleury
2017–18: 29-13-5 Record, 4 Shutouts, 2.24 GAA, .927 Save %, 31 Quality Starts
Career: 404-229-72 Record, 48 Shutouts, 2.56 GAA, .913 Save %, 319 Quality Starts

What more could I possibly say about Fleury? Golden Knights fans witnessed a star reborn and lead their team to the Stanley Cup finals. Fleury amazed start after start… remember he started 20 out of 21 games down the stretch? Fleury had a renaissance season becoming an All-Star for the first time since 2015, finishing fifth in the Vezina award voting, and passing 400 career wins. To top off a near-perfect season, the 33-year-old morphed into a flying brick wall in the postseason. In 20 playoff games, Fleury allowed just 47 goals, and registered 12 quality starts. Sure, I gave Quick the slight edge, but it’s clear which goalie Vegas fans would rather in net.

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Ranking The Top Centers In The Pacific Division

This week the NHL Network ranked the league’s twenty best centers. Lady Byng trophy winner William Karlsson came in at 17th place, not bad for a guy who wasn’t rated in the top 100 last season. Connor McDavid, Anze Kopitar, Ryan Getzlaf and Leon Draisaitl were the other Pacific Division centers to make the NHL Network’s list.

So let’s have some fun and rank the top centers in the Pacific Division.

1. Connor McDavid: There’s not much to write. McDavid has 256 career points in 205 games, averaging 1.22 points per game. The Edmonton center has more points (208), goals created (77), assists per game (.84), and adjusted points (220) than any other player in the NHL since 2015-16. McDavid will continue to remain the top center in the division, and the league for many, many years.

2. Anze Kopitar: Again, this is another no-brainer. The Kings captain has averaged almost a point of game over his career, and put up his best (1.12) PPG average last season. After 12 NHL seasons, the Slovenian continues to get better. Kopitar ended the season with a career-high 92 points, and took home the Selke trophy. Also, he’s a faceoff wizard. Against Vegas in the postseason, Kopitar posted a 60.4% faceoff win percentage. Pretty impressive, considering the puck was in his zone most of the series.

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

3. William Karlsson: I battled myself trying to be as objective as possible and at the end of the day, ranking Karlsson third behind McDavid and Kopitar was the only right decision. Most of the players on this list have consistently produced for multiple seasons. However, the overall skill Karlsson showcased leads you to believe he’ll repeat his production from 2017-18.

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Total Goals To Win The Pacific Division

The Golden Knights scored 99 of their 268 goals against Pacific Division opponents. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Last season it took the Golden Knights 268 goals to win the Pacific Division title. Vegas finished fifth in the NHL behind Tampa (290), Winnipeg (273), Pittsburgh (270) and Toronto (270). The league average for goals scored was (244), 24 short of the Golden Knights’ output. San Jose (247) was the only other Pacific Division team to score more than the league average.

Clearly, the Golden Knights produced enough offense last season to win their division going away. Vegas was only five tallies behind Winnipeg, the Western Conference leader, and we all know how that ended up. Vegas, Tampa, and Winnipeg were in the top five in regular season scoring and all appeared in the conference finals.

Here’s how the rest of the Pacific Division teams fared in 2017-18.

Anaheim
231 Goals (19th)
2.82 Goals For Per Game
220 Goals Scored in 2016-17
2017-18 (+11 Goals)

Arizona
206 Goals (30th)
2.51 Goals For Per Game
191 Goals Scored in 2016-17
2017-18 (+15 Goals)

Calgary
216 Goals (27th)
2.63 Goals For Per Game
222 Goals Scored in 2016–17
2017-18 (-6 Goals)

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Drawing Penalties Could Be A Problem In 2018-19

James Neal’s face seemed to attract sticks to it last year. VGK might need a new stick/face magnet if they want to keep up the scoring pace in 18-19. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Over the course of the 2017-18 season, the Golden Knights drew 249 penalties, good for 15th in the NHL. Vegas converted on 53, ranking them 12th in power play goals scored and 10th in power play percentage at 21.4%. Compare that to the 3rd overall ranking in even strength goals and it’s fairly clear the Golden Knights did not rely on a man-advantage to win games.

Nonetheless, power play goals remain the easiest way to score in the NHL (aside from empty netters of course) and the Golden Knights certainly cashed in on a few big ones along the way to a Western Conference Championship.

During the year 26 different Golden Knights drew penalties. Two players made up for 55 of the 249, or 22%. Those two players are now members of the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues.

James Neal led the Golden Knights drawing 29 penalties in the regular season while David Perron was right on his heels with 26. The next closest Golden Knights were Jonathan Marchessault and Colin Miller, each with just 19. (Plus, Neal missed 11 games and Perron missed 12. Math says if they had both played the entire 82 game season they would have drawn a combined nine more penalties.)

55 penalties at a scoring rate of 21.4%, what the Golden Knights finished the regular season with, adds up to nearly 12 power play goals created off drawn penalties by only Neal and Perron.

The Neal, Perron, Haula line drew 68 penalties while the top line of Marchessault, Reilly Smith and William Karlsson drew just 40.

Tomas Tatar and Paul Stastny, the two players expected to replace a majority of Perron and Neal’s minutes drew a combined 36 penalties.

The numbers are alarming, especially considering Tatar has yet to show the success he’s had elsewhere in Vegas. It’s not crazy to think however that Tatar, Stastny, and the increased role for Alex Tuch can help to replace the 41 goals Neal and Perron produced, but expecting these same three guys to draw 50+ penalties is probably asking a lot.

The real bummer is this likely means fewer times to chant “shame” at the guy sitting in the box too.

Golden Knights Weren’t Just Off In The First Eight Minutes

Wonder if Gallant makes any changes to the lineup. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

NBC announcers Joe Micheletti and Pierre McGuire used words like panic, upset and frustrated to describe the Golden Knights in Game 1. In the first period, Micheletti even said “Winnipeg is the quicker team” and he wasn’t wrong, at that time. The Jets deserve a ton of credit jumping on Vegas early and winning the series opener.

However, outside of the first twenty minutes of play, the final numbers tell a different story. The Golden Knights average game stats were all out of whack but can take away some positives.

Shots on goal
VGK – 21
WPG – 26

  • Vegas tied their lowest SOG total over the entire regular season and postseason
  • First game this season without a shot from Erik Haula, Colin Miller, James Neal and David Perron
  • First game since 2/21 (loss at Wild) that James Neal failed to register a shot on net
  • Colin Miller now has four postseason games without a shot on net
  • David Perron has three postseason games without a shot on net

Giveaways
VGK – 11
WPG – 14

  • Third highest total of giveaways in a playoff
  • Vegas is 1-3 when they turn the puck over 10+ times in a game

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The Most Impressive Stat Of The Playoffs Came On The Road In Game 6

Through two rounds of the playoffs, the Golden Knights lead postseason teams in a few crucial statistics. First and for most, Vegas is tied with Tampa for the most postseason wins with eight. Vegas leads the playoffs with 204 blocked shots and 106 takeaways despite playing the fewest number of games of any playoff team. However, the stat of the postseason may have happened last night in the series-clinching Game 6.

Against a desperate Sharks team, Vegas played smart protecting the puck and maintaining possession all game. Amazingly, the Golden Knights gave away the puck only once in Game 6. One giveaway in a road closeout game. One!

Unsurprisingly, they are the first team this season to complete a game with just one giveaway.

Some argue giveaway/takeaway stats are not truly accurate, but even with the margin of error involved in scoring hockey games, one giveaway is incredible. The definition of a giveaway is when a player’s own actions result in a loss of possession to the opposing team. Think back, can you even remember the one?

Overall, the Golden Knights have hit their giveaway average in four of ten postseason contests.

Fewest Giveaways in a single playoff game (1)
Fewest total Giveaways in Playoffs (83)
Fewest Giveaway average per game (8.3)

Won’t lose many games giving away the puck just once in 60 minutes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Vegas was so responsible with the puck in Game 6 that San Jose had trouble gaining possession for a majority of the night. To be fair, the Golden Knights only created two takeaways in last night’s closeout game, but that was likely a result of Vegas playing conservatively with a lead while their opponent chased.

If the Golden Knights continue to play error-free hockey, the remaining teams should look out. Surprisingly, Vegas turned the puck over 15 times in Game 5’s victory. Proving the Pacific Conference Champions can win a sloppy game or two… or eight.

(In case you were wondering, Deryk Engelland committed the one giveaway in the game. Oh, and while we’re on the topic of giveaways, keep your eyes out for the next Adam Kutner contest. He’s giving away, see what we did there, two tickets to every Western Conference Finals game, and it’s free to enter. More details soon.)

Odd Numbered Wins Prove Massive In 7-Game Series, Especially Winning Game 5

7 down, 9 to go! (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Game 6 is tonight and the Golden Knights are one win away from the Western Conference finals. Kind of chilling, isn’t it? History shows Game 5 was a whopper of a win for the Golden Knights.

In league history, 267 series have been in scenarios where the higher seeds have a 3-2 series lead.

  • Game 5 winner has a 79% chance of winning that series.
  • Game 5 winner on home ice has 81% chance of winning series
  • Teams trying to close out series in Game 6 are 102-61 (.623)
  • Visiting team up 3-2 has 53% chance of winning Game 6
  • Home teams hosting Game 7 have a 58% series edge

We talked about the importance of winning odd-numbered games. Vegas did their job winning games 1, 3, and 5. Odd games give the winning team control allowing them a chance to take over a series with another win. The Golden Knights faltered in their first two chances, but they have a third tonight.

  • Teams that win Game 1 win the series 69.9% of the time
    • Home teams that win Game 1 win the series 76.7% of the time
  • Teams that win Game 3 win the series 65.0% of the time
    • Away teams that win Game 3 win 71.6% of the time

Oh, and if you were worried about Game 6 going to an overtime period, don’t be. Home teams are 36-45 in sudden death.

We’re no good at prognosticating, but stats say, Nighty Knight San Jose.

Good vs. Bad Teams, Bad vs. Good Teams; The Story Of The Sharks Season

It’s often said that the regular season doesn’t matter beyond eliminating 15 of the 31 teams from playoff contention. While technically it is true and all that really matters is winning four of seven, four times in a row, the regular season does tell a story that can often offer context clues for the playoffs.

The best teams in the regular season do not always succeed in the playoffs, but if you look hard enough, the reasons for their playoff failures were on display at some point. The regular season is the haystack and playoff success or failure is the needle. It’s there, it’s just not always easy enough to see.

All of that was simply a set up to allow this data to stand without being cast aside as unimportant or irrelevant as we head towards a second round matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks. So, here’s the data.

The Sharks finished the regular season with 100 points, good enough to qualify for a playoff spot as the 3rd place team in the Pacific Division. They did so by winning 45 games and earning 10 points via overtime loss. Their points percentage was 61.0% Those numbers are fine, but when you drill down into San Jose’s path to 100 points, it doesn’t look so pretty for a matchup against Vegas or any other remaining playoff team for that matter.

San Jose played 25 games against the Pacific Division minus Vegas. They played five against Vancouver and four against Los Angeles, Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, and Arizona. In those 25 games, the Sharks managed a record of 20-3-2 for 42 points. That’s a points percentage of 84.0% and accounted for 42% of the Sharks total points in 30% of their games.

The Sharks earned 65 points in 42 games against non-playoff teams, if you add in the Ducks and Kings, that’s 78 points in 50 games. 78% or their total points against teams who either did not qualify for the playoffs or were swept in the first round.

The other 22% came in 32 games against playoff opponents including the Golden Knights. 22 points in 32 games is a points percentage of 34.4% which extrapolates over 82 games to 56 points, six more than the last-place Buffalo Sabres.

Compare these numbers to the Golden Knights? Vegas earned 109 points in 82 games (66.5%), 36 in their 25 games against those same six Pacific teams (72.0%), and 41 points in 32 games against the 13 playoff teams not including LA, Anaheim, and themselves (64.1%). Extrapolate Vegas’ number against playoff teams for a full season, they finish with 105 points.

Hey, remember when you thought the Sharks were good? (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Yes, that’s right, against playoff teams that were not swept, Vegas was on pace for 105 points and San Jose was on pace for 56. Fifty-six!

So what does this all mean? Well, the Sharks were very good against bad teams and very bad against good teams. They were clearly better than the six Pacific teams that are now eliminated from the postseason, but by these numbers, they are nowhere close to the Golden Knights. Both Vegas and San Jose beat up on the Pacific whipping boys, but Vegas beat up on the teams still playing too. The Sharks cannot say the same.

But Ken! The Sharks were a different team after they acquired Evander Kane! Not so fast. The numbers do not agree. After adding Kane, the Sharks played 19 games, they went 12-6-1 for 25 points, but they did it by winning nine of the 12 games against non-playoff teams. Since adding Kane, they went 3-5-0 for six points out of 16. Small sample size, sure, but that’s a points percentage 37.5% or 61.5 points over 82 games.

Does this mean the Golden Knights will sweep the Sharks like they did the Kings? Nah, not necessarily, but it certainly makes it seem more likely than it did 600 words ago, right?

William Karlsson Named Finalist For Lady Byng Trophy; Snubbed For Selke (Fleury Not A Vezina Finalist Either)

Lady Byng, of course, but not even a Selke finalist? C’mon people, open your eyes. (Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Award season is nearly upon us and over the course of the next week, we’ll learn the finalists for each of the individual awards. Today, the finalists were released for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy and Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson was among the three named.

The Lady Byng is awarded to the “player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.” It’s voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Usually the trophy is given to the best offensive player who took the least penalty minutes. That’s no different this year as Aleksander Barkov (14 PIM) and Ryan O’Reilly (2 PIM) were named as finalists with Karlsson (12 PIM).

Karlsson should win the award when it’s handed out at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards Show on June 20th.

But with the positive news comes some negative news on the awards front. Despite posting some of the best numbers of any goalie in the NHL, Marc-Andre Fleury has not been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy (best goaltender). The main knock on Fleury was that he missed a large portion of the season and only logged 47 games. However, Fleury had a better goals against average (2.24) and a better save percentage (.927) than any of the three finalists. Connor Hellebuyck, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Pekka Rinne are the finalists.

The bigger snub, however, is William Karlsson in the Selke Award for best defensive forward. Karlsson was not listed among the three finalists and when the ballots are made public we will see that Karlsson is not even among the top five on many ballots, including voters from Las Vegas. We’ve already talked about Karlsson’s 12 PIM, but when you throw in his +49 rating, the fact that he and his linemates played against the opposition’s top line every game, and Karlsson’s ability on the penalty kill, and it’s hard to believe anyone would leave him off their list.

The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor wrote an extended story making the case for Sean Couturier to win the Selke. In doing so, he proved the incredible year Karlsson had as well. It’s an incredibly in-depth article, but it does a tremendous job of going beyond the standard stats to show the candidacies of each of the top Selke finalists.

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