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An Advanced Look: Chicago Blackhawks versus Nashville Predators

By Melissa Peterson
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In preparations for the first round of the Central division playoffs, we’re going to take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators overall seasons, and the games they played versus one another to see just what the series may have in store for it.

If you’re not familiar with some of these abbreviations or terms, the entirety is listed at the bottom under “Resources” with brief explanations for your convenience. All charts can be clicked on to enlarge.

With regards to their specific games, Chicago has a 3 wins, 1 loss record against Nashville.

Table compiled by Melissa Peterson

Overall, Chicago spends more time controlling the puck, as shown by their higher CF%. They have a pretty well matched shooting percentage and save percentage, as their averages for both are each within less than one percent of each-other. It’s actually just their higher CF% that really gave Chicago the edge in any of these games, so NSH would be wise to focus on upping possession in this series.

With regards to goaltending, Pekka Rinne has started in three of the four games against Chicago (Carter Hutton started 18 October), whereas Corey Crawford has only started in two of the four (Antti Raanta started on 23 October, and Scott Darling on 6 December). Rinne has a 92.5 sv% against Chicago, with Crawford boasting the same against Nashville for this season.

Chicago’s numbers also don’t dramatically change whether they are home or away against Nashville. For away games, CHI has a save percentage of 92.95 and a shooting percentage of 6.45. CF is 50.905. For home games, CHI has a save percentage of 92.5, a shooting percentage of 7.45 and a CF% of 55.01.

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However, one must take into consideration what those numbers look like in comparison to Nashville’s. For away games, NSH has a save percentage of 92.55 and a shooting percentage of 7.5 and CF is 44.99. For home games, NSH has a save percentage of 93.55, a shooting percentage of 7.05 and a CF% of 49.095.

When it comes to home games, there isn’t as much of a gap in overall possession to cover Chicago’s gap in shooting percentage from NSH. The better shooting percentage and save percentage Nashville has boasted in home games against Chicago could give them an early win in the first game. It’s also interesting that Chicago has not faced Nashville since Patrick Kane‘s injury. As a scorer who usually makes the one-goal difference that more evenly matched teams like Chicago and Nashville face, without him on the ice, who knows what that could mean for this first round. Although it has been said that he could play.


The problem with focusing solely on that four-game series is how small of a sample size it really is, as well as how widely varied these factors can be from game to game as you can see. So let’s take a look at overall season performance for these two teams.

All stats courtesy war-on-ice

ALL SCENARIOS

CHI has a CF% of 54.2%. One of the things that becomes an issue with looking at CF% when it’s not solely based on two teams but rather their performance in the league overall is that percentages are susceptible to overall event rates. What this means is that you have to take a look at the specific CF rate. Based on the 113.2 at 54.2% CF for CHI, we can determine that the CA rate is 95.7 events at 45.8% CA. For NSH, it is 111.0 at 52.7% CF, 99.6 Corsi-against events at 47.3% CA. What this tells us is that NSH is overall spending a less percentage of time taking the shots, but has a slightly higher event-per-60 rate than Chicago (210.6 Corsi events total versus 208.9 for CHI).

This brings us into looking at Goals For (GF). While NSH has more GF overall, (+6 over CHI), it becomes clear with their Goal Differential (G+/-) that they aren’t as successful at preventing goals against which makes a difference in overall wins. How does this play out taking into account shooting percentage and save percentages?

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Values computed by Melissa Peterson

Well, one thing that’s important to look at is Shots on goal. It’s important to remember that SOG is what is used when computing shooting percentage, not Corsi For. Looking at the all scenario SOG rates above, we can estimate that CHI would take 34.15 SOG for, scoring 2.7 GF with a 7.9 sh%. NSH would take 31.7 SOG for, scoring 2.7 GF as well with a 8.6 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 30.5 SOG against and lose 2.3 GA with a 92.5 Sv%. Nashville would face 28.05 SOG against and lose 2.45 GA with a 91.3 Sv%. Save percentage, here, gives the edge to Chicago overall.

We can repeat this for each scenario, then, and see who might have the edge in each circumstance.

PENALTY KILL

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Values computed by Melissa Peterson

Looking at the Penalty Kill SOG rates above, we can estimate that CHI would take 0.625 SOG for, scoring 0.04 GF with a 5.9 sh%. NSH would take 0.5875 SOG for, scoring 0.03 GF with a 6.4 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 4.0625 SOG against and lose 0.43 GA with a 89.3 Sv%. Nashville would face 4.0625 SOG against and lose 0.57 GA with a 86.0 Sv%. Save percentage, here, gives the edge to Chicago overall.

POWER PLAY

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Values computed by Melissa Peterson

Looking at the Power-play SOG rates above, we can estimate that CHI would take 4.94 SOG for, scoring 0.56 GF with a 11.4 sh%. NSH would take 4.57 SOG for, scoring 0.51 GF with a 11.1 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 0.75 SOG against and lose 0.09 GA with a 88.1 Sv%. Nashville would face 0.62 SOG against and lose 0.06 GA with a 90.2 Sv%. Shooting percentage, here, gives the edge to CHI overall.

EVEN STRENGTH

Chart courtesy war-on-ice | Values computed by Melissa Peterson

Looking at the even-strength SOG rates above, we can estimate that CHI would take 26.83 SOG for, scoring 1.85 GF with a 6.9 sh%. NSH would take 25 SOG for, scoring 2.03 GF with a 8.1 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 24.39 SOG against and lose 1.59 GA with a 93.5 Sv%. Nashville would face 22.56 SOG against and lose 1.56 GA with a 93.1 Sv%. Shooting percentage, here, gives the edge to NSH overall.

Overall, they’re pretty evenly matched, but CHI has the slight edge going into this series.

The series begins Wednesday, April 15th in Nashville at 7:30pm central.


Resources

  • Corsi: For those that are unsure of what Corsi even is, it is measured as Corsi For and Corsi Against (CA). Corsi is the total number of on-ice shot attempts (on goal, missed, or blocked) taken during a game/series/season. Corsi For is the amount of the total Corsi taken by one team or player on said team. Corsi Against is the amount of the total Corsi taken against one team or player on said team.
  • CA% : Corsi Against Percentage (of total) What this means is they’ve totaled up the Corsi Events that took place for both teams, and divided the individual team’s total by that number and multiplied it by 100 to get a percentage.
  • CP60 : Corsi Per 60. What this means is they’ve totaled up the Corsi events that took place for both teams and divided it by 60 to get an average Corsi Events per 60 minutes.
  • G+/- : Goal Differential. The total number of Goals For (GF) minus the total number of Goals Against (GA). If it is a positive number, the team is outscoring their opponents.
  • FO%: The percentage of Face-offs won.
  • OFOn%: On-Ice Unblocked Shot Attempts on Goal
  • OSh%: On-Ice Shooting percentage
  • OSv%: On-Ice Save percentage
  • PDO: On-Ice Save percentage + On-Ice Shooting percentage
  • ZSO%: The amount of Offensive Zone starts. The larger the number, the more often a team starts (with a Face-off) in their Offensive Zone

Sources

Stats and charts courtesy of war-on-ice.com

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