I scoured through some of the Leafs schedule when I was looking at the worst penalty minute stretch. It started to look like a hint of something a little different. I started thinking about the breakdown in season segments and how the Leafs performed over 10-game segments. How did the Leafs do at even strength?
Using timeonice.com scripts I dissected the Leafs schedule into eight separate segments of ten games, *although I added the last two regular season games to the eighth segment since a two-game sample is just ludicrous*. I wanted to isolate the two components of interest, shooting percentage and save percentage.
Starting with the easy stats, based on the accumulated running total available on these nifty little pages at Behind the Net, I isolated goals and shots, and then calculated shooting percentage and save percentage, all these at even strength.
|Set||Goals For||Goals Against||Shots For||Shots Against||Sh%||Sv%||PDO|
The records per segment appear here below.
Cam explains PDO in a similar post that focused on the Leafs monthly production.
The penalty-filled 20 game segment started in Game 20, a 7-1 drubbing of the Washington Capitals on November 1 and lasted until Game 40, on January 3, 2012. The Leafs were 9-8-3 during that stretch.
Attention is attracted in the next two charts depicting on-ice shooting percentage and on-ice save percentage at even strength during the 3rd and 4th 10-game segments.
The Leafs were shooting upwards of 10% at its peak during the fourth segment, before the rapid tumble afterwards. During that span, they were firing 24% on the power play (17-for-71) in a numeric palindrome. Using the timeoneice scripts, the following team totals were returned per each 10-game segment.
As a penalty-killing unit, they were atrocious, giving up 23 goals on 84 opportunities, for a 72.6% efficiency. They allowed 37 even strength goals, scoring 45. At even strength, they were firing at a respectable 10.4% clip with a .920 save percentage, for an even-strength PDO of 1023.
So what happened in the crease?
At even strength, they had their best goaltending peaking at .932 in the third 10-game segment, during the first half of the 20 game penalty killing stretch. They gave up 11 of the 23 goals during that first 10 game stretch (72%). They were still winning during this span (5-4-0). During the second 20 games, they were allowing an average of 32 shots on goal, 23 averaging at even strength.
The decline in even strength save percentage was symptomatic of the later collapse, one that cost Ron Wilson his job. The collapse starting from the peak in the fourth segment coincided with the 17-game stretch not allowing a power play goal. When the penalty killing let up after that, and the goaltending was suspect at even strength, it was the long slow death knell to coach Wilson.
That changing of the guard occurred during the 7th period, as the shooting percentage dipped to a low of 6.2%. Something else was happening too. The power play dried up.
During the nine games of losing leading up to Wilson’s dismissal, the Leafs scored twice on the power play on 25 opportunities for a whopping 8% proficiency. The penalty-killing fell apart allowing five goals on 24 opportunities (79%) after going 17 games not allowing any power play goals, and even showing discipline recording four games without allowing a power play.
Another anomaly is illustrated below where both Corsi and Fenwick during the same 10 game segments show a markedly increasing trend while both the shooting and saving percentage were in decline.
At even strength, Toronto was competitive. When special teams came into play, especially the penalty kill the team fell apart. It started early in the season around Game 20 and heralded the demise of their coach.
And another spring without playoffs.