LGD - Game 5: Leafs @ Perds - Smashville!

Cam Charron
October 10 2013 12:34PM

 

NHL teams are playing at least one game in every city this season, and tonight marks Toronto's visit to Nashville. Fresh off a defeat to the Colorado Avalanche, the Maple Leafs look tonight to earn their first win against a Conference III opponent. The Leafs roster gets a little more inexperienced tonight, with David Broll suiting up for his first ever NHL game, becoming the fourth Leaf this season to do so.

It's tough to drum up interest or storylines between non-conference opponents early on in the season. The Leafs hosted Nathan MacKinnon last time around, so I guess it's fair to say that now they'll be visiting the new home of the No. 1 prospect in the June draft, Seth Jones, who wound up being selected 4th overall. He's found his way onto the first pairing with Shea Weber much faster than anybody anticipated, after Weber's normal partner Roman Josi went down with a concussion.

That pairing has so far lasted for one game. Nashville got tremendously outplayed by the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night but skated away with a 3-2 win, their first on the season. The Perds were outshot 26-15 at even strength and gave up 57 overall shot attempts to 42, and that's somewhat indicative of their season to date.

KEY STATISTICS

Just because I found this interesting, breaking down the Corsi Close team percentages by Division:

  Corsi Tied
Smythe Division 52.1%
Conference III 51.1%
Flortheast Division 49.3%
PatrickPlus Division 47.9%

The Western Conference (Pacific [Smythe], Central [Conference III] Division) so far boast the strongest overall teams. There's a sizeable gap in shots for and against when Western and Eastern teams play against one another Add that to Columbus with a 51.4% Corsi Close and Detroit with a 53.5% and it's easy to see why people think the West is simply better than the East.

Nashville is so far 28th in the NHL in Corsi Close at 41.1%, ahead of just the Sabres and Rangers, but they've played games against excellent shot-generating opponents St. Louis, Minnesota, and Colorado. This will be their first game outside of the division.

MAPLE LEAFS LINEUP

As noted above, David Broll is in, and maybe Joffrey Lupul, despite him missing from practice yesterday. The Leafs lineup looks to be a bit of a mess right now, with David Broll slotting in for Trevor Smith, who has been sent back down. Interestingly, T.J. Brennan made the trip to Nashville, though I don't see where he fits on the roster. Paul Hendrick suggested he won't play, however, and is likely insurance should a defenceman get hurt during warmups:

van Riemsdyk - Bozak - Kessel
Lupul - Bolland - Raymond
Ashton - Kadri - Bodie
Broll - McClement - Orr

Gunnarsson - Phaneuf
Rielly - Franson
Ranger - Gardiner

So, it's the first NHL game for David Broll, as Josh Leivo sits out. The Leafs are making excellent use of bonus cushions and the long-term injured reserve to fit players under the salary cap. Ironically, if Mark Fraser were healthy, the Leafs wouldn't be able to carry around Leivo as forward insurance. Only five games left in this mini cap crunch (after tonight) before David Clarkson can rejoin the roster from his suspension.

Yeesh. Roster info compiled on Twitter via Jonas Siegel and Paul Hendrick.

PREDATORS LINEUP

How bad are things in Nashville. Nick Spaling's return from an upper-body injury and insertion into the lineup is "seeing Nashville's forward depth play a role".

Spaling, 25, has 27 NHL goals to his name in 228 games, and will be filling in for Gabriel Bourque, who had been on the second line:

Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling - Matt Cullen - Craig Smith
Eric Nystrom - David Legwand - Filip Forsberg
Richard Clune - Paul Gaustad - Matt Hendricks

Seth Jones - Shea Weber
Victor Barley - Kevin Klein
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis

That's via DailyFaceoff. Its last update was today (although doesn't reflect the Spaling-for-Bourque change just yet). Coach Barry Trotz appears to have flipped partners on the bottom two units: last game, Bartley played with Ellis and Ekholm with Klein.

STARTING GOALIES

Since it isn't a back-to-back for Nashville, you can pencil in Rinne anytime. For Toronto, it looks like Jonathan Bernier will be the guy tonight. "After playing just 153 minutes with Toronto," Glenn Healy writes, "he's already the king of the Leafs' net."

Bernier is playing excellent this season, with a .968 save percentage at even strength and .941 save rate on the penalty kill. His overall save percentage is .963. Look, he's been fantastic and given the Leafs a more than great chance of winning in all of his appearances, but let's not act that this is the first time a Toronto goaltender has gone on a two-and-a-half game hot streak since the days of Ed Belfour.

TOMAS HERTL

Apparently it's been mandated that every hockey post today have a section dedicated to Tomas Hertl. Here is Jonathan Willis' take on showboating over at Oilers Nation.

The Maple Leafs and Predators drop the puck at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. Click here to sign up for Streakcred.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 Bertly83
October 10 2013, 12:43PM
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can we have one article without the word "corsi"? thanks.

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#3 Billyb0y
October 10 2013, 12:47PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

What, specifically, bugs you about "Corsi"?

Can I call it something else? "Attempted shot rate"? Or is it the concept of looking at possession metrics to judge hockey teams that has you buzzed? If it's the second, you're probably running out of hockey blogs that appeal to you.

I don't think it's what you call it that's the issue. It's the basic irrelevance of the whole stat.

By the way, it's "Leafs @ Preds". I've never heard of the "Perds" before.

Nice one.

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#5 jon
October 10 2013, 01:12PM
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@Billyb0y

You missed the joke and made yourself look like an idiot in the process. Nice one.

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#6 Billyb0y
October 11 2013, 10:32AM
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Did I comment without reading the article?

Perhaps.

So last night the "Perds" knocked the leafs around corsi-wise, yet lost 4-0.

Any smart A** response to that Cammy?

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#7 Bertly83
October 10 2013, 12:58PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

What, specifically, bugs you about "Corsi"?

Can I call it something else? "Attempted shot rate"? Or is it the concept of looking at possession metrics to judge hockey teams that has you buzzed? If it's the second, you're probably running out of hockey blogs that appeal to you.

Shot rate vs Shot Quality. Leafs are a poor possession team, but make the most of their chances.

I just think that holding the puck/taking a lot of shots should not be a true determinant of a successful team. A player can carry the puck for hours and take 20 shots but not score. While someone else gets it briefly and pots it in.

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#9 Cerdis
October 10 2013, 01:05PM
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@Billyb0y

http://nashvillepost.com/blogs/postsports/2013/9/4/the_road_to_perds_ition Not getting jokes; nice one.

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#10 Bertly83
October 10 2013, 01:05PM
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Cam Charron wrote:

Teams have not been shown to sustain high shooting percentages from one year to the next.

Most of this sounds counter-intuitive. There have been other teams like the Leafs that have taken a low volume of shots but were successful at a high rate.

The battle between Minnesota fans and stat analysts in 2012 was legendary.

Just read the DGB blog. I'm feeling a bit better. haha

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#11 TheGroobster
October 10 2013, 02:23PM
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I believe it's Nick Spalding, not Nick Spaling.

On another note. The time here(Toronto) is 4:23PM but the posts are showing 2 hours earlier. I can't see a way to change my timezone. Not that it's that important. Just thought I'd mention it.

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#13 graham
October 10 2013, 03:36PM
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Cam thanks for the article. Whats the deal with advanced stats haters? I love the nation network to keep me up to date without having to rely on the ridiculousness that is tsn. Keep up the good work everyone- good comments are what also make this site great.

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#14 Ron Moore
October 10 2013, 04:36PM
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"Teams have not been shown to sustain high shooting percentages from one year to the next."

I'm not a stats guy but look at what you wrote. Wouldn't this stat be more useful if teams didn't change so much? No team is exactly the same year in and year out. I mean the players that generate the data you guys collect move to different teams, yearly.

So, if that person is a shot taking machine or a giveaway machine and they have moved on or off a team that will change the stats the team generates. With that in mind, I don't see any correlation or relevance of comparing two completely different iterations of a team using these types of stats that compare one years teams' numbers with another considering my points of what happens during a year and off season. I don't think there is any valid probable predictability to come from these types of comparisons but its close and should really just used as a small window but by no means the be-all and end-all.

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#15 Joe
October 11 2013, 09:37AM
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I am sure happy the Leafs are one of the worst puck possession teams in the NHL.

Leafs keep winning.

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#16 Joe
October 11 2013, 09:40AM
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Too bad the analytics(couple of highschool kids behind computers in parents basements crunching inaccurate numbers) haven't learned how to calculate quality scoring chances.

Leafs are one lucky team.

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