Monday, April 21, 2014

What's Bourque doing differently?

There's no denying just how well Rene Bourque has been playing through the first 3 games of the playoffs. He's scoring more goals, and creating more scoring-chances. His numbers are up almost across all zones; including success-rates and events per-minute played.

Bourque's creating more scoring-chances at even-strength. He was directly involved in the creation of 0.133 scoring-chances per-minute played during the season. Through the first 3 games of the playoffs he has produced 0.307 scoring-chances per-minute.

Bourque is involved in substantially more events per-minute at even-strength. He averaged 3.73 events per-minute during the season, and has averaged 4.40 events per-minute during the playoffs. The increase in events has coincided with an increase in successful events, as his even-strength rating has improved from 0.99 during the season (it has hovered between 0.80 and 0.95 through each of the last 2 seasons), to a forward-best 2.27 in the playoffs.

Bourque is creating more takeaways, while limiting his turnovers, as he has gone from averaging 1.458 takeaways for every 1 turnover during the season, to an impressive 2.29 takeaways per-turnover during the playoffs. His T-to-T ratio in the offensive-zone has gone from 1.46 to 2.05, while his ratio in the defensive-zone has gone from 2.20 to an incredible 7.5.

His offensive-zone rating has jumped from 0.37 to a team-leading 1.04, as his offensive-zone puck-possession success-rate has improved from 48.4% to 61.2%. Expressed differently, Bourque turned the puck over 51.6% of the time he had possession of the puck in the o-zone during the season, but has turned it over only 38.8% during the playoffs. He's also recovering more loose-pucks in the offensive-zone; from 0.523 to 0.733.

He's producing substantially more successful cycle passes per-minute, and has an improved success-rate, as well. His overall success-rate when attempting to beat players 1-on-1 (deke) along the wall in the offensive-zone has gone from only 35% during the season, to an impressive 75% in the playoffs.

In terms of shooting, Bourque is not only attempting more shots, he's getting a higher percentage of those shots through to the net. This improved stat can be traced to how much less-often Bourque has missed the net during the playoffs; he missed the net with 26.2% of his shots during the season, but has only missed the net with 10% of his shots during the playoffs.

Defensively, Bourque's defensive success-rates in all zones are similar to the number he put up during the season. As mentioned earlier, his puck-possession success-rate is up in the offensive-zone. Impressively, they are also up in both the neutral, and defensive-zone. He's gone from turning the puck over 38% of the time he had possession of the puck in the defensive-zone during the season, to only 10% in the playoffs. His possession success-rate in the neutral-zone is up 4.4 percentage points in the playoffs.

Data-generated scouting provides us with the opportunity to go beyond perception alone. Anyone watching the Habs in the playoffs surely noticed the fact that Bourque has been playing well. Breaking down all the metrics, provides us with an otherwise unavailable opportunity to see just what exactly he's been doing differently.

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