We take a look at 5 of the most interesting stat-based storylines going in to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens.
Stone enters the Stanley Cup Playoffs as arguably the hottest offensive player in the league. Fresh off of winning the NHL's Third Star or the Week, he's also in the midst of a 9-game point streak and finished the season tied for the rookie lead in scoring with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames with 64 points. Since the calendar flipped to 2015, Stone has taken his game to another level and has rattled off 47 points (18 goals, 29 assists) in 46 games.
The Sens rookie also tied for the league lead in takeaways with Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly this season as well, compiling 98 in 80 games played. His final credited takeaway of the year against the Philadelphia Flyers was probably his most crucial and helped the Sens punch their ticket to the playoffs
Incredibly, this will be Mark Stone's third post-season with the Sens and he actually made his NHL debut in the playoffs way back in 2012, registering an assist against the New York Rangers.
2. SAT (Shot Attempts)
Enhanced stats are still relatively new to NHL.com, so if you're unfamiliar to these concepts, this might be a good first read. The numbers we take a look at below really boil down to being on the ice at even-strength for more "shot attempts for" than "shot attempts against"...
Shot attempts (SAT) and unblocked shot attempts (USAT) are used to measure puck possession for a player or team. When a shot is attempted during 5-on-5 play, all of the skaters on the ice for the team that attempted the shot receive a +1 in shot attempts (SAT) and the players on the opposing team receive a -1.
Looking first at the Sens and Canadiens overall, neither one finished the season in the top half of the league in team SAT. Ottawa ranked 18th with a +33 while Montreal was 23rd with a -219. What does that mean? Each team benefited from some very good goaltending in order to make the playoffs (and we'll talk about how good in a minute).
At an individual level, each team has some standouts when it comes to SAT. For example, Erik Karlsson finished 71st in the NHL with a SAT of +169 but where he really stood out was SAT For where the 1,660 shots that were attempted while he was on the ice at 5-on-5 trailed only the King's Drew Doughty this season.
Here's a quick look at each team's top 3 SAT players...
- Erik Karlsson - 169
- Marc Methot - 137
- Patrick Wiercioch - 137
- Brendan Gallagher - 148
- P.K. Subban - 124
- Max Pacioretty - 68
3. JGP: The Habkiller?
When the Sens first round playoff match-up was announced, I think everybody immediately thought of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and this from 2013...
I know we did...
But has Pageau really been THAT good against Montreal? So far in his NHL career, he's faced the Canadiens 11 times (including playoffs) and over that span he's registered 9 points (5 goals and 4 assists) which works out to an average of 0.82 points per game. His career PPG is 0.29 so yeah...the numbers suggest that he seems to feast on MTL early in his career.
Oh, and did we mention he currently has a 3-game point streak going against the Canadiens (4 points over that span)? Because he does.
If there was an area where the Habs have a clear-cut advantage, it may be in the face-off circle. Montreal finished the season with the 4th best face-off winning percentage in the NHL at 52.1% while the Sens were 24th at 48.2%. The Canadiens also boast the 2nd best centre in terms of winning percentage in Manny Malhotra at 59.3%.
Here's a look at each teams top 3 pivots...
- Kyle Turris - 50.1
- Mika Zibanejad - 48.8
- David Legwand - 46.6
- Manny Malhotra - 59.3 (2nd)
- David Desharnais - 52.9
- Lars Eller - 51.6
5. Hammond vs. Price
Throughout the ladder part of the season, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has garnered a lot of well-deserved Hart and Vezina Trophy consideration. His numbers have been unreal and he leads the league in the majority of popular goalie statistics...but only because Andrew Hammond fell about 2 and a half games short of the league required minimum to be included in the final rankings. The Hamburglar actually sports a better goals against average and save percentage this season but unlike Price, he only played a partial season. Price obviously earns HUGE points for maintaining his stat-line for an entire year and he should be handsomely rewarded come NHL Awards time.
Here's a look at their stats from this season...
Andrew Hammond - 24 GP, 20 wins, 1.79 GAA, .941 SV%, 20-1-2
Carey Price - 66 GP, 44 wins, 1.96 GAA, .933 SV%, 44-16-6
What you won't find in Hammond's numbers is saves like this though...
Game 1 is set for tonight with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. in Montreal and for more info on tonight's game, check out the Game Preview here.