Habs: Loose-puck recoveries and their effect on wins
This post will focus on offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries, and their impact on Montreal Canadiens wins, shots, and penalties drawn. Offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries are exactly what their name indicates. This event could also be described as the act of controlling any puck not currently in possession by any other player on the ice. Players with high loose-puck recovery totals generally demonstrate strong hockey instincts, as well as solid speed and agility over short-distances.
Aside from the obvious goals for and against, I have yet to find any one even-strength event involving skaters that is constantly and substantially higher during wins. That said, there are some traditional statistics that are consistently higher during wins. One example is special team success; which I wrote about here. While the other is save percentage; which I wrote about here.
I also touched upon the impact of offensive and defensive-zone play in each of the three zones, which you can find here.
OFFENSIVE-ZONE LOOSE-PUCK RECOVERIES BY GAME
The Canadiens averaged 56.23 offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries in games they won, and 57.49 in games they lost. Simply put, they averaged more o-zone puck-recoveries in losses than they did in wins. Their record was 10-22 in games where they recovered more than 60 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone, and were 4-9 in games where they recovered more than 70 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone.
This suggests that loose-puck recoveries do not have a direct impact on wins and losses, so I decided to turn my focus to the impact of o-zone puck-recoveries and their impact on shots on net. The Canadiens averaged 27.9 shots per game during the 2011-12 season. They averaged 28.06 shots during wins, and 27.8 shots on goal in losing games. But, in games where they recovered more than 60 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone they were able to average 34.19 shots per-game; 6.29 shots per-game more than their average.
The next thing I wanted to evaluate was whether more offensive-zone loose-puck recoveries would result in more penalties drawn. Logically speaking, the more often a team has the puck in the offensive-zone, the more likely the other team is to take a penalty. That said, the numbers do not validate this hypothesis. The Canadiens averaged 3.62 powerplay chances per game during the 2011-12 season. They averaged 3.75 PP chances during wins, and 3.42 in losses. But, in games where they recovered more than 60 loose-pucks in the offensive-zone, they averaged only 3.13 powerplay chances per-game.
Loose-puck recoveries in the offensive-zone did not have a direct impact on Habs wins, or the number of drawn penalties. That said, they did help increase shots on goal, and by extension; scoring chances.
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