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Bruins, Ducks might see altered states

11/5/2014

Brian Babineau/NHLI/Getty Images

The Bruins haven’t been doing their share of goal-celebrating, based on their Corsi number.Last season, the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks finished with the two best records. This year, the Ducks are leading the Pacific Division while the Bruins have had their struggles. A deeper analysis of each team suggests that they could perform very differently in the near future.

Corsi is a metric that measures the total shots directed at the net (shots on goal, missed shots and blocked shots). The higher a team’s Corsi, the more shots it is directing at the net. Teams with a high Corsi are more likely to score goals.

Why Boston might bounce back

NHL Leaders, Corsi For Pct

The Bruins (8-6-0, 16 points) have played the most games in the Eastern Conference, but are third in the Atlantic Division. Although their +5 goal differential is average, they have played better than it indicates.

The Bruins rank third in the NHL in Corsi For percentage. A team with a Corsi For percentage above 50 is out-shooting its opponents.

The Bruins are also being hurt by a 7.6 shooting percentage (goals scored per shot taken), which ranks 15th in the NHL. Last season, the Bruins were fourth in the NHL with an 8.5 shooting percentage and have finished the season in the top six in shooting percentage in three of the last four years.

If the Bruins start seeing more luck with the shots they direct at the net, they should improve on their slow start.

Why Anaheim might fall off

This season, the Ducks have a 48.0 Corsi For percentage (24th in NHL), meaning they are being outshot by their opponents. To put their performance into perspective, the six teams below them in Corsi For (Maple Leafs, Flyers, Senators, Flames, Avalanche and Sabres) average no more than one point per game and have a combined -23 goal differential.

Anaheim is 10-3-0 and leads the NHL with 20 points. However, it is unlikely that the Ducks’ current +12 goal differential will hold up given their Corsi For percentage.

The Ducks’ Corsi For looks even worse given the location of their faceoffs. They have started with a faceoff in their offensive zone 35 percent of the time, third-highest in the NHL. The Ducks’ Corsi For percentage is less impressive considering how often play starts in their offensive zone. A team with a large percentage of faceoffs in the offensive zone should be generating more shots and allowing fewer shots.