Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Tide turning in Rangers-Sens series?
By Mike Hume
Following the New York Rangers' 1-0 victory over his Ottawa Senators, Sens bench boss Paul MacLean indicated he was very happy with the effort his team turned in, even if it didn't earn the desired result.
For the game, Ottawa outshot New York by a whopping 16 shots (39-23) and it was clear to most that Vezina Trophy candidate Henrik Lundqvist was the difference maker, proving his priceless value with a stellar shut-out performance for the Blueshirts. But while the Rangers now lead the series 2 games to 1, there's a disturbing trend emerging in New York's defensive end.
For the past two games the Rangers have been out-chanced by the Senators, meaning New York is yielding more high-quality shots to their foe than the Rangers are generating for themselves. Take a gander and the scoring chances as recorded by Senators blog The 6th Sens:
Scoring Chances: NYR vs. OTT
SOG: Shots on Goal; SC: Scoring Chances; G: Goals
If you'll recall from an earlier post, a scoring chance is a shot directed towards the goal from the area that extends from the goalposts to the faceoff dots and up to the top of the circles. This is a stat that NHL teams track religiously and put a lot of faith in since a shot from 60 feet out that floats into a goalie's chest (which counts as a shot on goal) isn't the same as a wrist shot from the slot.
Even more alarming than the increasing shots on goal disparity is the rising number of quality shots against the Rangers. In Game 1, just under 30 percent of the Sens' shots toward goal came from the high-quality scoring area. In Game 3, that number rose to 38 percent with an additional eight scoring chances. Fortunately for the Blueshirts, Lundqvist was able to fend off the attack, but it's something the Rangers must address to prevail in this series. Sustaining a barrage like the one seen in Game 3 isn't a recipe for success against the NHL's fourth-best offense during the regular season.