Angry At Numbers 6/5

Time to just go through some numbers popping out from Game 1 and beyond. You love it when we get nerdy. Nerds are in, you know it, I know it. If only I paid this much attention to math in high school (I think I got a 590 on the Math section on the SAT while rocking the verbal, and my Rain Main-like father never forgave me for it, despite the fact that he was a writer. It was a strange family).


That was Jonathan Toews’s Corsi number for Game 1, and that’s with the score adjusted. It’s the third lowest number he has produced in the past two playoffs, as Kopitar kicked him down to a 37% in Game 6 last year in L.A. (while Kane dragged them out of the pits like little Miho got Clive Owen), and earlier last spring Mikko Koivu held him to a 25% in Game 4 against Minnesota. But that’s it, and I guess it says a lot that the Hawks went 2-1 in those games. It’s not a formula the Hawks would have any intention on repeating, though. And just how likely is it the Lightning can keep Toews down… down on the ground…


That was Valtteri Filpulla’s Corsi number, and he was the one doing most of the damage to Toews’s line (because you can take the nuisance out of Detroit…). It’s the second highest Filps has put up in these playoffs, with the highest being Game 4 against the Rangers which was 68. He broke 60% one other time this spring, against the Red Wings in Round 1. However, Filppula has had 10 games this spring where that number is under 45%. So yeah, he’s been able to spasm some real dominant games, but he’s carrying a 49.2 for the entire playoffs, and Toews a 53.3. The Captain’s justice will be swift, and it will be violent, and it will be righteous.

52.3, 54.3

This is stealing some of Ryan Lambert’s thunder (GET IT?) as he wrote about Teuvo Teravainen on Puck Daddy today.  But the first number is Teuvo’s possession numbers from the playoffs as a whole, and the second is the percentage of high danger scoring chances he’s on the ice for vs. the ones he’s on against. So not only is Teuvo driving the play, with a lot of help from Vermette and Sharp obviously, but it’s not just empty possession. Yes, as you’ll see from Lambert’s piece, there’s a fair amount of sheltering of this line, but this line can only shred who they’re put out against. And they’ve been doing it, except when their coach stops them from doing so.


That’s Kris Versteeg’s Corsi number from Game 1, and that’s score-adjusted as well. That’s probably the highest number we’ve seen in the playoffs for any Hawk. Good things happen when you’re put on a line with Marian Hossa, as you feel he could kill Versteeg with a glare if he gets out of line. Certainly Steeger earned another look in Game 2.


That’s Crawford’s save percentage since he re-entered the Nashville series in Game 6. EARN YOUR MONEY, CRAWSTINK!


The amount of shots generated by The Triplets Of Belleville. While Toews’s possession jumped out about Game 1, we know the Hawks can survive a game of that, maybe even two. The Bolts are most certainly going to survive any game where The Troika aren’t even hinting at being a threat.

A word on the Lightning’s strategy here. I wonder if this isn’t a failure of scouting. From their perspective, you get what they were thinking. They’d won Games 5 and 7 against the Rangers by playing a tight defensive game, why not go for it again? But how could anyone on that coaching or scouting staff look at the Rangers, and then look at the Hawks, and think it’s the same thing? Did no one watch tape of the Predators series and see how much trouble the Hawks had when the games moved up through the gears? I wonder if they didn’t see the Ducks hold the Hawks to one goal twice, and think that a solid defensive effort is the way to go, ignoring how Andersen had a .960+ SV% in those games. Unless you’re counting on your goalie to be brilliant, which can’t ever be a strategy you’d build a castle on. So I’m obviously very curious to see what they do tomorrow night.

  • CliffD

    Curious to see if the Bolts switch to a more aggressive plan all though the game and that leads to a more open style of hockey they are likely to get burned with regardless.
    Bottom line as been said before is the Hawks can handle any style thrown at them

  • bigtreina

    “…little Miho got Clive Owen…” Love the Sin City reference. Deadly little Miho.

  • Bob Lanz

    Sam I love what you and McClure do here, but I am really happy that you both are getting air time on the score. Love that goff and spiegs and terry and Dan reference your work and have you on to get hockey/ blackhawk expert commentary! Keep it up ToS!

    You left out one vital number… 3, as in three more wins away from the third cup in this glorious era. I am trying so hard to enjoy all this, I must do better because this truly is a very special time.

    P.s. Fuck capacalypse 2.0!

    • Stick taps to The Committed Indian, keep it up boys!

    • denislemieux

      Happy for you guys getting local air time. The morning show is ok but I can’t listen to those arrogant afternoon airbags. Clearly they have a market, if they couldn’t sell ads they’d be gone. I’ll look to hear you guys more on NHL radio.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    I see the the whole thing about the Lightning need to skate the Hawks into submission, but truthfully I don’t think they can.

    1) Rosie isn’t out there skating a regular shift anymore. So that isn’t an option for them to exploit the way Nashville did. Even if Keith is babysitting Rundblad, he doesn’t seem to be cheating as much now.

    2) The Bolts are trying to get away with playing 3 lines, only two of which can score. It’s awfully hard to push the pace to the degree they were to start the game for a whole game with only 9-10 forwards.

    3) When they do go for breakneck, they give up big glorious chances. The Rangers gouged them in the games they played wide open to the tune of 5 & 7. I think it’s safe to think the Hawks would do similar. That is totally saying that they are relying on Bishop to win the game and for him to have to make a lot of saves against grade A scoring chances; not his strong suit.

    4) From memory, what they’ve done the last couple years vs the Hawks is trap and counter punch. They just waited for the Hawks to make a mistake with a line change, blue line turnover, bad dump in, whatever and rip them on the PP. The Hawks did just that on the breakaway and weren’t getting anything between the circles, until they did 🙂 and made them pay. I’d be shocked if Cooper goes the Helter Skelter route, it would mean he’d have to expose all of their forwards and Bishop to making saves from prime real estate, and that’s a recipe for disaster.

    This is why I wasn’t concerned about this series. They just don’t have the horses yet. After game 1 I’m even more confident, because the Hawks did steal that one and they are very capable of going in there and beating them without needing to steal victory. A game vs A game, Hawks win. More scoring depth & a better goalie.

    • ZigZags82

      Effectively 2 #1 pairs for the Hawks too, while only spare tires for the Bolts after Hedman and Stralman…………

    • mazer_rackham

      Let’s not completely underestimate the Bolts. I imagine the Rangers and Detroit were also feeling their oats after game 1 wins.

      • You’re not wrong, but the Blackhawks are just on a different level than those teams in my opinion. Can’t overlook the Lightning but if the Blackhawks play like they should, I don’t see how they lose four before they win four.

        • mazer_rackham

          I don’t know that they’re on a different level, but I do think that the Hawks are more rounded than any of TB’s previous opponents. The Hawks need to play to win every game, though. It isn’t going to be a cakewalk just because they looked good for 40 minutes. The Bolts have one of the most explosive offenses in the league and they won’t be held to 1 goal for 3 more games…

          I’m optimistic, but cautiously optimistic 🙂

          • Well, while this is a belief probably best-saved for the bar stool, I still think the Eastern is the lesser of the two conferences. Not as much as in years past perhaps, but there’s a reason why six of the nine Cups won since the lockout, including four of the last five, have been won by the Western Conference representative. Couple that with the experience gap between the two teams and the fact this Blackhawks team has a certain sense of finality to it, it just feels to me like it would take catastrophe for the Blackhawks to lose. Anything is possible – “That’s Why They Play The Games” – but I just don’t think Tampa is up to the task this year.

          • limoman

            I agree completely . Just recall what the Kings did to the Rangers last year . The Cup was won for all intents and purposes on the Duck Pond back 8 days ago. Will the next 3 W’s be a cake walk? No of course not but those guys know how and what still needs to be done , and are more than up to the task.

          • ZigZags82

            Hawks have actual game breakers that aren’t past their primes, are rolling 4 lines, and have two #1 D pairs. Hawks are a different level from those teams

        • rhodes

          “if the Blackhawks play like they should”

          For me, this is the key. Hawks are a better team overall (read: deeper) than Tampa. The question is will they consistently put together 60-minute efforts. They were slow to start Game 1, but their goalie kept it close until they got it together in the 2nd and kind of took it over in the 3rd. This is not a recipe for long term success.

          Personally, I think they will get it done, but if I had to name one fault of this team over the course of the regular season, it would have to be lack of consistency.

          • Yeah I dunno what game you were watching but that was total domination by the Blackhawks after the first ten minutes of the first period Wednesday night.

          • rhodes

            I was watching the game where the Hawks were behind 1-0 until the 6 minute mark of the 3rd.

            Total domination.

          • Oh you’re one of Those, OK then!

          • ZigZags82

            Still controlled play……….goals come then

          • ZigZags82

            I mean….they’ve been pretty consistent in the playoffs, it’s an ebb and flow sometimes……

    • 5) Given enough time, the Blackhawks have shown a great propensity to introduce the other team’s goalie to Mr. Mayhem. Even if the Bolts manage to extend this series to six or seven games, the Blackhawks will crack Ben Bishop like an egg at some point.

      • ZigZags82

        Six. Only Six.

        • lizmcneill

          For the sake of all our blood pressure!

    • Jim

      I think they overreact to their “defensive shell” 3rd period, and go for speed attacks like they did in the 1st period. Then they open themselves up to flips over their attack or open chances at Bishop. We are certainly going to see max frenetic energy from TB.

      • ZigZags82

        They open the umbrella and then the Hawks will pounce and feast!

  • dkdan

    Hawks fans spotted in Flensburg Germany.

  • HawkVision

    I’m thinking the Bolts go full track meet tomorrow night. Knowing they gotta have this one at home, hope for early goal(s) and 2-0, 3-1 lead(s), get the crowd into it, etc. and just hope they outscore the Hawks in a 6-5 like contest. As what’s been said aplenty on this site, that could be disaster, but I can’t see Cooper going into prevent D at home again – especially since that strategy was the ALL the rage to criticize post game one.
    Also, holding their top 6 scoreless at the price of holding our top 6 scoreless…I’ll take that every game. As HockeeNight stated, Andrew Shaw has outscored their entire bottom six in the playoffs.

    • Say what again

      I agree…except the part about the crowd. I don’t think any team gives a shit about the crowd. In any sport.

      • ZigZags82

        Depends on the crowd. If it’s in Tampa where it’s 40% Hawks fans and 60% Hawks fan at the end when the Hawks are about to win, then yes Tampa cares.

        Then when Tampa comes into the UC into the raucous sea of red while the Hawks look to clinch, it will also rattle Tampa.

        • lizmcneill

          The Tampa front office seem to care more than the team.

    • Jim

      This is what I think also, full track meet. But that opens up their defense to shots and rebounds. All 4 Hawks lines can do track meets, they only have 2 lines.

  • Leo W

    “i haven’t heard anyone asking this but…”

    …is there a glimmer of a tampa bay-related version of what you guys do? or any other team for that matter? i know there has to be. i’ve drudged through some BR pages and they’re mostly homeritic crap.

    • SamFels They’re pretty good. Cassie runs a pretty good ship over there.

    • ZigZags82

      I mean TCI is homer sure, but they’re honest more often than not. The Hawks are better and will have the Cup soon. *knocks on wood*.

  • Matthew Blecha

    skate for blood