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Shots, faceoff wins lead to Blue Jackets wins

by Kristyn Repke / Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets are officially halfway through the 2013-14 regular season. It's been somewhat of a roller coaster ride these first 41 games, but the recent activation of Nathan Horton, Sergei Bobrovsky and Dalton Prout from injured reserve should help the team in terms of both stability and confidence moving forward.

Through the first half of the season, the Blue Jackets amassed a record of 18-19-4 – good enough for 40 points in the standings. What are some of the statistical factors that have come into play with Blue Jackets wins and losses? Let's break it down.

Shots on goal
When the Blue Jackets allow 26 or fewer shots on goal, they're 8-2-0. When they give up 35 or more, they have a 2-6-1 record. This makes sense as an examination of the NHL standings shows that the majority of the most successful teams are the ones who have the most shots-for and the largest shots-for/shots-against differential.

Blocked shots have also had an impact for the Blue Jackets. When Columbus blocks 20 or more shots, they have a 3-1-1 record. When blocking ten or fewer, they're 5-5-0. Consistently having defenders disrupt opponents’ passing lanes and prevent pucks from getting to the net means less work for goaltenders, allowing them to can stay focused on stopping the shots that do get through.

Winning faceoffs are often the difference between a win and a loss. Teams who win draws spend more time with the puck, which means more time creating offensive opportunities and less time chasing down the puck. Columbus is just out of the NHL's top 10 in terms of faceoff winning percentage which adds significantly to the team’s puck possession time – a key factor when it comes to winning games.

When the Blue Jackets are 50 percent or better in the circle, they have a 13-8-2 record. When they don't, they are 5-11-2. Those are some pretty telling numbers right there. 

Fighting majors
It's no secret that the Blue Jackets are one of the most physical teams in the league. They lead the NHL in road hits (640) and are fourth overall in total hits (1263). The team has also been assessed 24 fighting majors this season, which ties them for third NHL.

Sixteen of Columbus’ first 41 games have featured fighting majors and the team’s 5-9-2 record in those games is not at all shocking. About 70 percent of the time, the Jackets’ fighting majors were assessed when they were involved in a game with a goal differential of at least two. This shows that most of the fights this season were due to frustration--either by the Blue Jackets or their opposition, rather than simply as retaliation for a big hit. When the Blue Jackets don't fight, their record is 12-11-2.

Furthermore, when the Blue Jackets stay out of the penalty box more than their opponent, they are 7-3-1. Simply put, when teams are playing at even strength or with the man advantage, they tend to win games, no matter where their power play ranks in the NHL.

Individual player records
There are several Blue Jackets who have pretty impressive records this season when they register a goal, an assist, a point or multiple points. Once again, simple logic--post points, win games.

As a Blue Jacket, the active player with the most wins when he has a point in his is R.J. Umberger (103). No real surprise, considering he's played 412 career games with the club. Other notable records include an 8-2-1 mark when Nick Foligno scores this season and 12-4-2 when he registers a point. Columbus has a 9-0-1 record when Cam Atkinson has an assist and is 12-2-1 this season when he tallies a point. For his career, the Blue Jackets are 20-4-2 when Atkinson dishes out an assist and 24-8-4 when he records a point.

What might be more impressive, though, is that out of the 28 players who have suited up for the Blue Jackets this season and out of eight total records kept per player total (goal, assist, point, multi-point for both the 2013-14 season and Blue Jackets career) for a total of 224 individual win-loss-overtime loss records, just fourteen of them are below .500. All-time, every player on the current Blue Jackets roster who has had a multi-point game in his career is above .500 with the exception of rookie forward Boone Jenner (0-1-0).

Statistical anomalies
Not every statistic makes sense when it comes down to Blue Jackets wins and losses. A few of the more intriguing ones include when the Blue Jackets give up 18 or more shots on goal in a single period, their record is 2-1-0. They were outshot in both of those wins. The Blue Jackets are also 2-1-0 when they've recorded just two shots on goal in the first period. Another anomaly? When fewer than 16,700 fans attend a Blue Jackets game, whether it is on the road or at home, the team has a 12-7-2 record. Not to say that the attendance has a direct impact on the result of the game, it is just something interesting to note.

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