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By The Numbers: Round One

Guest writer Callum Fraser is back with a statistical look at the Sens first round victory over the Boston Bruins.

by Callum Fraser @CallumFraser18 / Ottawa Senators

After defeating the Boston Bruins in six games, the Ottawa Senators are focusing solely on their second round series with the New York Rangers, but that doesn't mean we can't celebrate the many victories in Round 1.

Over simplified, the Senators' combined success in team play and individual production made them the far better group in the first leg of the postseason and was the reason why they are moving on to Round 2.

Let's take a closer look at why Ottawa came out on top in their first ever playoff series with Boston.

 

Team Play

While the series was only one goal away from going the distance and each game was decided by a single tally, the Senators were the better team in nearly every category.

They won the possession battle against a team that finished second in the league during the regular season with a 54.7% 5v5 Corsi For rating, and had better goaltending by the smallest of margins.

Special teams impacted the series largely with the Senators receiving 23 power plays - the Bruins' staggering six puck-over-glass penalties largely affecting those numbers - and scoring on five of them. Ottawa's 21.7% success rate on the man advantage was most prominent with Clarke MacArthur's series-clinching power play goal in Game 6.

 

Bobby Ryan - Offence

After putting up unfavourable offensive numbers in the regular season due to a nagging hand injury and an overwhelming case of bad luck, Bobby Ryan came alive in the first round.

Only six games into the postseason, the 30-year-old has already tied his career high in points and is one back of his career high in goals. Ryan leads the Senators in goals with four and in 5v5 individual scoring chances with five.

Since every game in the series was determined by a single goal, the game-winning goal statistic may have been the most important category during the best-of-seven. If that's the case, then Ryan completely deserves to be named a star of the series. He was in on three of the four game-winners (two goals and one assist) Ottawa needed to get past the Bruins.

 

Derick Brassard - Offence

After six games of brilliant hockey during his first playoff series as a Senator, the legend of Derick "Big Game Brass" Brassard continues to grow.

Only Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has more points than Brassard after the first round. The Hull native leads all Senators with eight points and is tied for the team lead in power play points with four.

Brassard had points in five of the six games during the series and was in on 53.3% of Ottawa's 15 goals (two goals and six assists). In the four wins, he racked up two goals and five assists.

By far the player with the most success in the playoffs on the team, Brassard has 52 points in 65 career games. Since 2013, only Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have more points in the postseason. That's pretty decent company.

 

Ryan Dzingel - Possession

After being a healthy scratch in Game 1, Ryan Dzingel came in and provided a unique boost of speed, skill and structurally sound play for the final five games of the series.

Dzingel recorded a primary assist on Kyle Turris' go-ahead goal in Game 6 and showed flashes of finesse with a breakaway and a couple other fantastic scoring chances throughout the best-of-seven, but what was most important were his possession numbers.

The 25-year-old led all Senators forwards with a plus-26 5v5 Corsi rating, far ahead of Turris in second place with a rating of plus-18.

The Senators benefitted greatly from depth players in the first round. Along with Dzingel, Ben Harpur and Freddy Claesson were magnificent coming in when injuries hampered the blue line.

 

Erik Karlsson - Offence, Possession, Time on Ice

The hockey world had witnessed Erik Karlsson take over a series before, but never like this.

The Senators captain recorded six assists against the Bruins - only Malkin had more in the first round - a couple of them creating two of the most iconic goals in franchise history. And though you already assumed so, yes, he leads all NHL defensemen in points during the postseason.

The 26-year-old controlled the play with ease. No one was more influential, no one had more poise and no one was more electrifying than Karlsson. All this came together to give him the third best 5v5 Corsi For rating amongst defensemen with over 100 minutes played. Karlsson finished Round 1 with a rating of 56.7%; only Minnesota's Ryan Suter and Montreal's Jordie Benn boasted better numbers.

Then there was the sheer amount of ice time No. 65 racked up. Karlsson led all players with 30 minutes and 23 seconds of ice time per game and 182 minutes and 23 seconds overall; Boston's Zdeno Chara was the closest with 10 fewer minutes.

Karlsson may have been the league's MVP for the first round.

 

Craig Anderson - Increasing SV%

Senators goaltender Craig Anderson may have stumbled a bit in Game 2 and Game 3, but when the team needed him most, he was unbeatable. His play down the stretch in the final three games of the series was a huge reason why the team was able to close out the series in six.

It was close as can be, but Anderson outduelled Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask, posting a 92.1 save percentage to Rask's 92.0.

 

In our final By The Numbers article before the first round, we discussed Anderson's stellar playoff resume. The great news was he had a career postseason save percentage of 93.3; one of the best in the league during the last decade.

Well, get ready for even better news because when the Rangers come to town to kick off Round 2, they'll be facing a goaltender they've seldom been able to solve in the past. Anderson has a career 94.4 save percentage against the Rangers and during the 2012 series versus New York, he posted a 93.3 save percentage in seven games. 

 

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