Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Series Focus: Ducks vs. Wild - G4

Since I posted my thoughts on the match-ups that Anaheim and Minnesota were employing against each other Vic created a fantastic tool for finding head-to-head ice time. If you haven't checked it out yet, please do - it is a simply wonderful tool if you're into that sort of thing. Coming off the heels of Minnesota's first win in the series I think it's prudent to have another look and see how the Wild have adjusted on home ice.

The results are actually quite interesting for a guy like me (plus I get to toot my own horn a little bit). In my post below I stated that the best strategy I could think of for Demitra and Gaborik would be to admit the nearly impossible task of getting them away from Pronger and Scott Niedermayer but focus instead on getting them away from the Pahlsson-Moen-Rob.Niedermayer trio. If you compare the numbers alone, you get the following clear indication that this is what the Wild were out to accomplish:

(Click to enlarge)

The difference in minutes against Pahlsson's line amounts to about 2.5 minutes for Gaborik and about 1 minute for Demitra. Could this be directly related to their sudden burst in offensive production? I can't make that sort of claim absolutely but if you take all 4 goals Minnesota scored last night, the only one of Sami Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer, and Travis Moen that was on the ice for even one of them was Moen who was trying to kill a penalty when Gaborik scored on the PP.

The next interesting part of this whole process (to me at least) is to be able to look at the juggling that took place to create such a difference in minutes. If you look at the following shift chart and focus just on Rob Niedermayer vs. Marian Gaborik to make it easier on the eyes it is clear that not only were the Wild aggressively trying to avoid the match-up but the Ducks were doing their best to re-engage it.

(Click to enlarge)


I am a firm believer in the idea that context means at least as much as results do (in life and especially in hockey) . I realize that I am in many ways preaching to the choir by making a post like this on this particular blog but I've been watching a lot of hockey lately with some very intelligent people who've been involved in almost every aspect of the game and it seems like most of them are blind to this kind of thing.

8 Comments:

Blogger RiversQ said...

Hey Showerhead, put in the total ES minutes for Gaborik and Demitra. The totals don't mean a heck of a lot without a point of reference. That helps things a lot.

However, I suspect the results themselves help your point.

Also I noticed from the game sheets that the Penner/Getzlaf/Perry line in particular was victimized by these guys. Don't tell Healy.

4/18/2007 2:13 pm  
Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, looking at G4 minutes, it still looks like Carlyle was able to match up the stopper line for about 50% of Gabby's minutes, lower even than what he did in G3 (roughly 60%).

One key thing to note about last night, as it pertains to ANA's blueliners, though, was that minute-eater Beauchemin was unavailable. Basically the whole blueline got a pretty good shuffle out of that, so I'd expect the matchups got softer on the blueline, but less because of coaching / more because of personnel.

4/18/2007 2:27 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Showerhead/Earl/ Whover-else-is-watching-this-series:

How has the balance of play gone in this one? Do the Ducks really deserve to be up 3-1? My impression from the media is that this is a fair count.

In any case it's going to be tough sledding for the Wild tonight in Anaheim. Especially if Johnsson can't play.

4/19/2007 12:35 pm  
Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Do the Ducks really deserve to be up 3-1?

It's a pretty fair outcome. I think G1 was closer than it could have been (Backstrom kept it close), but G2 was really an up in the air thing: Wild really could have taken that had they been able to score on one of their 8-straight power plays (or something like that).

The games in Minny were both really one-sided, with the Ducks owning G3 and the Wild owning the late stages of G4.

3-1 is fair, 2-2 is a possibility, but I would be shocked to be down in the series after the first four games.

Backstrom is a monster in net, though. Everyone's talking about Gaborik & Demitra not producing, but there's not one Duck forward that has his second goal yet.

4/19/2007 12:53 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Earl,

Thanks. I've been watching quite a bit of the OTT-PIT and BUF-NYI series and I think you can apply the same there.

Both could easily be 2-2, but on the whole 3-1 is probably the fairest result. And that's what they have.

For some reason the hockey gods are staying uninvolved this season. I mean I'd expect a couple of teams, or at least one team, to be leading 3-1 without deserving it, in fact deserving the opposite. A bit of a dull first round for that reason, and usually this is the fun time of the playoffs. Ah well.

4/19/2007 4:46 pm  
Blogger PDO said...

Vic,

You just had to taunt them, didn't you?

If Calgary wins this game I'll throw up a bit in my mouth. They've been dominated and have a goal that went off a defenseman and another TWO on extended 5 on 3's.

Sigh..

4/19/2007 10:03 pm  
Blogger Showerhead said...

RQ: kind of funny that I lauded the role of context in analyzing hockey and then gave you numbers without it.

Vic: I would say Earl Sleek's description is accurate.

I'd get those numbers now but it's a little after the fact (and I'm lazy). If something sticks out to me match-up wise in round 2, does it warrant a new post or should I post it in the comments section for the H2H minutes site?

4/23/2007 3:59 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

showerhead:

New post is best I think, personally I often don't notice when comments are added to older posts. But whatever you want to do.


And Go Stars! :)

4/23/2007 4:48 pm  

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