This post will focus on offensive-zone passes, and their impact on Montreal Canadiens wins, goals, shots, and penalties drawn. The first graph is a visualization of the Habs offensive-zone passing success-rates from each 2011-12 game. The second graph represents the total number of completed offensive-zone passes in each game. The green lines are wins, while the red ones represent losses.
An offensive-zone pass is defined as any pass that originates in the offensive-zone. For a pass to be considered complete it has to be fully controlled by a teammate without being blocked or intercepted by the opposition.
Aside from the obvious; goals for and against, I have yet to find any one even-strength event involving skaters that is constantly and substantially higher during wins. That said, there are some traditional statistics that are consistently higher during wins. One example is special team success; which I wrote about here. While the other is save percentage; which I wrote about here.
I also touched upon the impact of offensive and defensive-zone play in each of the three zones, which you can find here, and the impact of offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries.
OFFENSIVE-ZONE PASSING PERCENTAGE BY GAME
The Montreal Canadiens were successful with an average of 59.8% of their offensive-zone passes at even-strength last season. In terms of raw numbers the 2011-12 season saw the Habs complete 4513 of 7434 o-zone pass-attempts. They completed an average of 60.91% of their passes during wins, and 59.12% of their passes in losses.
Succeeding with more than 60% of their o-zone passes had only a small impact on wins. They had a record of 16-25 in games where they completed over 60% of their offensive-zone pass-attempts. This gave them a winning percentage of 0.390; just slightly better than their overall season winning percentage of .378.
Getting above the 60% mark in o-zone passes did help them score more ES goals; but only slightly. Through all 82 games, the Habs scored an average of 1.99 even-strength goals per-game. In games where they completed more than 60% of their o-zone passes that average jumped slightly to 2.02 even-strength goals per-game. Overall, they scored an average of 1.40 ES goals per-game in losses, and 2.97 ES goals per-game in wins.
Completing more than 60% of their o-zone passes did not increase shot totals. Montreal averaged 27.9 shots per-game last season. That average jumped to 28.06 in wins, and dropped to 27.8 in losses. In games where the Habs were successful with more than 60% of their offensive-zone passes they actually averaged only 27.26 shots per-game; even lower than their average during losses.
In terms of individual players, Montreal had 7 forwards who completed over 60% of their offensive-zone pass-attempts. They include; Ryan White (69%), David Desharnais (65%), Aaron Palushaj (64%), Michael Blunden (61%), Blake Geoffrion (61%), Mathieu Darche (61%), and Lars Eller (60%).
Every defenseman who played for the Canadiens last season was successful with over 60% of his o-zone passes. Raphael Diaz led the group with a 72.33% success-rate.
TOTAL SUCCESSFUL OFFENSIVE-ZONE PASSES BY GAME
The Habs were successful with an average of 55.06 passes per-game during the 2011-12 season. They completed an average of 55.87 passes during wins, and 54.57 passes in losses.
Completing more than 60 offensive-zone passes in one game had a substantial impact on the Canadiens ability to win games. The Habs won/loss record in games where they completed over 60 total offensive-zone passes was 15-17. This gave them a winning percentage of .469; well above their overall 2011-12 winning percentage of .378.
The 60 offensive-zone pass mark also had a slight impact on the number of even-strength goals the Habs would average in each game. As mentioned earlier, Montreal averaged 1.99 even-strength goals per-game over the entire season. That average jumped to 2.09 ES goals per-game when they would complete over 60 offensive-zone passes.
Sixty completed o-zone passes also helped the team increase their shot total. Once again, as mentioned earlier, Montreal averaged 27.9 shots per-game last season. That average jumped to 28.06 in wins, and dropped to 27.8 in losses. In games where they completed over 60 offensive-zone passes, that average jumped to 28.63 shots per-game.
In terms of powerplay chances, there was no obvious link between completed offensive-zone passes, and powerplay opportunities. Overall, the Habs averaged 3.62 powerplay chances last season, but only averaged 3.34 PP chances per-game when they completed over 60 offensive-zone passes at even-strength.
In terms of individual players, Scott Gomez averaged the most completed offensive-zone passes per-minute of even-strength ice-time (0.45). Other players who averaged more than 0.30 completed offensive-zone passes per minute played include; Aaron Palushaj (0.40), David Desharnias, (0.35), Lars Eller (0.34), Max Pacioretty (0.32), Andrei Kostitsyn (0.30), and Tomas Plekanec (0.30).
Tomas Kaberle led all defenseman, with an average of 0.25 completed offensive-zone passes per-minute of even-strength ice-time. He was the only defenseman above the team average, and well ahead of Andrei Markov's second-best total of 0.20.