Sunday, February 8, 2015

The impact of controlled-entries and dump-ins on the Habs record

When the Montreal Canadiens average more than 1 controlled offensive-zone entry to every 1 dump-in they enjoy a substantial advantage in possession-time, and produce more scoring-chances. That said, they also allow more scoring-chances against.

In games where the Habs have averaged more controlled entries than dump-ins they have produced a CF% of 51.3%; compared to 46.8% otherwise. In terms of puck-possession events, the Habs have engaged in 3.7% more events in the offensive-zone when their controlled entry to dump-in ratio is above 1, while also engaging in 32.2% of their overall events with possession in the offensive-zone; compared to 28.7% otherwise.

That said, the Habs winning percentage in games where they average more controlled entries than dump-ins is a solid .558. But, that winning percentage jumps to .883 when they dump the puck in more than they carry it. Other teams I've tracked this season have produced similar results; In games I've scouted, the Nashville Predators have a .500 winning-percentage when they've attempted more controlled entries than dump-ins, and a .750 winning percentage otherwise. As for the Toronto Maple Leafs, they have a .545 winning percentage when they attempt more controlled entries than dump-ins; compared to 0.833 otherwise. It's important to note that I haven't scouted any Leafs games since their coaching change.

Loose puck-recovery totals and possession-ratings remain consistent regardless of the Habs play at the offensive blueline; indicating that the level of play and compete remain constant in both instances.

As we mentioned earlier, Montreal's CF% is substantially better in games where they attempt more controlled entries than dump-ins. That said, a look at the actual per-60 totals show us that while the Habs do attempt more shots when they favour carry-ins; 58.1 compared to 48.2 otherwise. They also allow marginally more shot attempts in these games; 55.2 compared to 54.7 otherwise.

Equally interesting is the fact that when the Habs average fewer dump-ins than controlled o-zone entries, 30.8% of the shot-attempts against them are scoring-chances, while when the Habs dump the puck in more often only 29.2% of the shot attempts against are scoring-chances.

The type of scoring-chances against also shift when the Habs attempt more carry-ins than dump-ins. In this situation, the Habs produce just over 1 more scoring-chances off the rush, while giving up approximately 2 more off the rush. This is important to note, as success-rates (goals scored) off of rush-chances are higher than chances off the cycle.

This tells us that despite a net-increase of 3 scoring-chances (4 more for/ 1 more against) in games where the Habs attempt more controlled-entries than dump-ins, the actual net-increase in scoring-chances off the rush is -1 (1 more for/ 2 more against) during those games. In terms of percentages, 42.2% of the scoring-chances Montreal gives up during games where they attempt more controlled-entries than dump-ins occur off the rush, while only 33.7% of chances occur off the rush when the Habs dump the puck in more often than they carry it in.

Also of note, both Montreal's defensive and puck-possession success-rates in the neutral-zone are slightly lower in games where they carry the puck in more then they dump it in.

Keeping in mind the fact that scoring-chances off the rush have a higher success-rate than chances off the forecheck, faceoff, or cycle; the Habs lower winning-percentage in games where they attempt more controlled entries than dump-ins may not be so difficult to understand. That said, the results still require more research into individual possession metrics, score-effects, and save percentages in order to (hopefully) find a definitive answer to the questions imposed by the results.

Stay tuned.