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Behind The Numbers

Senators vs. Bruins key statistics

Expect more hits than goals in gritty first-round series

by Rob Vollman / NHL.com Correspondent

The Ottawa Senators and Boston Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and ready to compete in an Eastern Conference First Round series that will feature a contrast of styles and a lot more hits than goals.

According to the numbers, the Bruins are among the NHL's best at controlling the play, but the Senators are becoming increasingly known for effective grit-based play that involves throwing hits and blocking shots.

Here are five interesting stats about this series:

 

Getting the puck on net

The shot clock is likely to favor Boston in this series.

At even-strength, the Bruins had a 3,912-3,239 advantage against their opponents in shot attempts, for an SAT of plus-673 that ranked second to the Los Angeles Kings, who were plus-720.

Video: Senators vs Bruins First Round Preview

In this regard, the Bruins were led by their top players. Center Patrice Bergeron led the NHL with an SAT of plus-439, followed by forward Brad Marchand in second with plus-434, and defenseman Torey Krug in third with plus-375. Defenseman Colin Miller ranked fourth with plus-307, and forward David Pastrnak finished sixth with plus-303.

In contrast, the Senators were outshot 3,805-3,593, for an SAT of minus-212 that ranked 23rd, and second-to-last among playoff teams to the New York Rangers, who were minus-303.

 

Shooting issues

Shot volumes will be important in this series, given each team's reliable goaltending and modest shooting percentages.

Ottawa's 8.4 percent ranked last among playoff teams, and Boston ranked second-to-last at 8.5 percent. They are the only playoff teams to score on fewer than 9.0 percent of their shots this season.

Great goaltending could restrict the scoring even further. Tuukka Rask of the Bruins and Craig Anderson of the Senators have led the NHL in save percentage, in 2009-10 and 2012-13, respectively.

Video: NYR@OTT: Anderson knocks down laser from Hayes

 

Pure grit

To counter Boston's advantage in generating shots, Ottawa will rely on its grittier play, which includes getting into the corners, throwing hits and blocking shots.

The Senators had 2,114 hits in the regular season, which ranked fourth, and blocked 1,352 shots, which ranked third.

At the individual level, Ottawa was led by defensemen Mark Borowiecki, who led the NHL with 364 hits, and Erik Karlsson, whose 201 blocked shots ranked second to Kris Russell of the Edmonton Oilers, who blocked 213.

 

Shorthanded confidence

If the series gets physical, the Bruins will put themselves at minimal risk in matching the Senators' aggressive play.

Led by top penalty killers Marchand, Bergeron, Dominic Moore, and Riley Nash up front, and Zdeno Chara, Brandon Carlo and Adam McQuaid on defense, Boston led the NHL with an .857 penalty-killing percentage and was tied for second with 10 shorthanded goals.

Ottawa's 17.0 percent success on the power play ranked second-to-last among playoff teams (San Jose Sharks, 16.7), 23rd overall.

 

Captain Karlsson

Karlsson is the key to overcoming any disadvantages Ottawa may face against Boston.

Video: OTT@DET: Karlsson nets PPG from below the goal line

In shot-based metrics, he led the Senators with a plus-567 over the past four seasons, when his 1,015 shots are 37.7 percent more than Kyle Turris, who ranks second on Ottawa with 737.

Karlsson's 17 goals were exceeded by only Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks among defensemen this season (29). On the power play, Karlsson led the Senators in scoring for the fourth consecutive season with 27 points, and his 114 points over that time is more than twice as many as Turris, who is in second place with 55.

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