The first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup saw 205 goals (121 from the East, 84 from the West), 18 overtime games (five in one series), 319 penalties and, fortunately enough, eight winners. All this with no game seven.
So, who were the star performers? How did the teams perform?
Let’s take a look.
Pretty easy to break down this section, really.
|Goals||Sean Monahan||CGY||4||Jake Guentzel||PIT||5|
|Assists||Ryan Johansen||NSH||5||Evgeni Malkin||PIT||9|
|Points||Ryan Johansen||NSH||6||Evgeni Malkin||PIT||11|
|G/G||Sean Monahan||CGY||1||Jake Guentzel||PIT||1|
|A/G||Ryan Johansen||NSH||1.25||Evgeni Malkin||PIT||1.8|
|P/G||Ryan Johansen||NSH||1.5||Evgeni Malkin||PIT||2.20|
I’ve thrown the points per game in here for us to study later in the campaign. One massive blowout in San Jose aside, there weren’t a tonne of goals scored in the West, as you can tell by Sean Monahan’s goal-a-game effort in Calgary losing in four.
The Pens, on the other hand, have had themselves a hoot. They scored more goals than Calgary, Minnesota and Chicago combined. The East has better top scorers – Bobby Ryan, Bryan Rust and Auston Matthews all scored four – and it is hard to see that changing, unless Connor McDavid finally gets going.
Goalies are voodoo, we know this, but there have been some strong goaltending performances that have helped teams along.
To make this chart, a goalie must have started a game – so there’s no Jonathan Bernier or Chad Johnson, for example.
|All Sv%||Pekka Rinne||NSH||.972||Henrik Lundqvist||NYR||.947|
|EvS Sv%||Pekka Rinne||NSH||.991||Henrik Lundqvist||NYR||.952|
|GA||Pekka Rinne||NSH||3||Henrik Lundqvist||NYR||11|
|GAA||Pekka Rinne||NSH||0.7||Henrik Lundqvist||NYR||1.7|
Rinne has been superb for the Predators, and until Jake Allen got blown up in game five, he was running him close, but as it stands Rinne is comfortably the best in the West.
No such troubles for the King of New York. Lundqvist’s closest rivals are Carey Price (eliminated), Marc-Andre Fleury (some miracles but very beatable) and Braden Holtby, who hasn’t been as stonewall as he usually is.
Special teams are important if you want to win a cup, right?
|PP%||Calgary Flames||37.5||Pittsburgh Penguins||33.3|
|PPG||Sean Monahan||CGY||4||C MacArthur
|PK%||Minnesota Wild||93.3||Montreal Canadiens||93.3|
The best power-play and penalty kill in the West are gone. So are the best PK in the East. In fact, the top four penalty killing teams are gone – the Wild, the Habs, the Sharks and the Blackhawks.
Of the remaining eight, four have PP% over 20. At the complete other end of the spectrum, the Blues and the Rangers have a measly 6.7% conversion rate.
LA didn’t get in! Minnesota lost! It’s the death of Corsi!
You know what, it’s almost as if Corsi isn’t a prediction tool and is actually a measurement of something measurable instead.
Let’s look at teams first.
Instead of just including the usual possession stats, I’m adding in PDO here. PDO (which stands for nothing, it’s just a group of letters) adds your team’s save percentage to its shot percentage. It is about the best way to measure a team’s luck. It should be around 100% – any lower and a low shot percentage or goalie is letting you down, any higher and your boys are streaking.
Stats are 5v5, adjusted for score, venue and zone, and the data is from the wonderful corsica.hockey. Teams with bold stats are the positive possession players. PDOs in italics are teams who are negative possession teams with above average PDOs.
Main takeaways here:
- Anaheim rode a good goalie with an obnoxiously high shot percentage. They weren’t far off being level with the Flames, but they qualify for the “lucky” badge.
- St Louis and the Rangers rode their respective goalies to the highest meaning of the term. Jake Allen was incredible in the first four games, and Henrik was being ridden like a donkey on Scarborough beach.
- Pittsburgh are the rare example here in that they have lightning offence and Fleury has had a point to prove, with Matt Murray’s injury.
- Minnesota need better shooters. They were absolutely dominant and couldn’t convert.
- Pekka Rinne’s performances aside, the Preds dominated the Hawks. It’s not like they had to ride him, although he was good when needed, rather that they dictated play and stopped the Hawks playing.
Death of Corsi? Half the field are positive possession teams and, perhaps Edmonton aside, will be the favourites in round two. Hold your horses.
As for individual players, instead of looking at the best and worst of each team, or doing the top of the charts (because Minnesota), I’m going to look at the remaining teams, and pick their top performers out. Again, stats are SVZ adjusted, with a minimum of 10 minutes per game played.
CF%: D – Josh Manson (56.52) F – Antoine Vermette (52.68)
FF%: D – Josh Manson (57.83) F – Antoine Vermette (53.26)
CF%: D – Oscar Klefbom (59.11) F – Jordan Eberle (61.24)
FF%: D – Oscar Klefbom (59.28) F – Jordan Eberle (63.44)
CF%: D – PK Subban (60.74) F – Ryan Johansen (57.24)
FF%: D – PK Subban (60.70) F – Viktor Arvidsson (61.94)
New York Rangers
CF%: D – Brendan Smith (51.94) F – Jesper Fast (55.04)
FF%: D – Brendan Smith (51.69) F – Jesper Fast (53.02)
CF%: D – Erik Karlsson (57.15) F – Zack Smith (61.40)
FF%: D – Erik Karlsson (55.50) F – Ryan Dzingel (64.78)
CF%: D – Ian Cole (50.39) F – Scott Wilson (51.84)
FF%: D – Ian Cole (50.67) F – Scott Wilson (53.39)
St Louis Blues
CF%: D – Carl Gunnarsson (50.88) F – Vladimir Tarasenko (46.40)
FF%: D – Carl Gunnarsson (53.35) F – David Perron (47.48)
CF%: D – John Carlson (53.49) F – Tom Wilson (56.45)
FF%: D – Brooks Orpik (54.29) F – Tom Wilson (57.70)
Tie of the round
Leafs/Caps was hella good eh? Each game close, each game winnable by either side. Easily the best tie of the first round.
Game of the round
Penguins 5 – 4 Jackets in game three. It was the first sign of life from the Jackets, the first on their home ice, and if overtime had gone the other way we could have had ourselves a series. As it was…