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An Advanced Look: Chicago Blackhawks versus Minnesota Wild

By Melissa Peterson
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In preparations for the second round of the Central division playoffs, we’re going to take a look at the Chicago Blackhawks and the Minnesota Wild’s 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, 2 loss record against Minnesota.

Table compiled by Melissa Peterson

Overall, Minnesota 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 two percent of each-other. Chicago would be wise to focus on upping possession in this series.

With regards to goaltending, Devan Dubnyk has started in two of the five games against Chicago (He was previously with the Arizona Coyotes; Niklas Backstrom started the first three games against CHI), whereas Corey Crawford has started in four of the five (Antti Raanta started on 16 December, and Scott Darling has not yet faced MIN this season). Dubnyk has a 98.5 sv% against Chicago, with Crawford boasting a 94.8% against MIN for this season. This unmatched goaltending is one of the reasons CHI will have to focus hard on increasing possession; they’ll need to make more shot attempts to beat out Dubnyk.

Chicago’s numbers are better as the home team against Minnesota. For away games, CHI has a save percentage of 94.25 and a shooting percentage of 5.75. CF is 35.84. For home games, CHI has a save percentage of 93.43, a shooting percentage of 8.3 and a CF% of 51.70.

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However, one must take into consideration what those numbers look like in comparison to Minnesota’s. For away games, MIN has a save percentage of 91.7 and a shooting percentage of 6.57 and CF is 48.29. For home games, MIN has a save percentage of 92.1, a shooting percentage of 5.75 and a CF% of 64.16.

When it comes to home games, Chicago could gain an early one-game edge starting at the United Center.


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 61.35 at 54.2% CF for CHI, we can determine that the CA rate is 51.85 events at 45.8% CA. For MIN, it is 55.39 CF at 51.0% CF,  53.21 Corsi-against events at 49.0% CA.

This brings us into looking at Goals For (GF). While MIN has more GF overall, (+7 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%. MIN would take 31.1 SOG for, scoring 2.8 GF with a 9.0 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 30.5 SOG against and lose 2.3 GA with a 92.5 Sv%. Minnesota would face 27.7 SOG against and lose 2.4 GA with a 91.3 Sv%. They cancel eachother out at +0.4 Goal differential.

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%. MIN would take 0.56 SOG for, scoring 0.05 GF with a 8.9 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 4.0625 SOG against and lose 0.43 GA with a 89.3 Sv%. Minnesota  would face 3.70 SOG against and lose 0.39 GA with a 89.5 Sv%. Save percentage, here, gives the edge to Minnesota 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%. MIN would take 4.88 SOG for, scoring 0.47 GF with a 9.6 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 0.75 SOG against and lose 0.09 GA with a 88.1 Sv%. Minnesota would face 0.625 SOG against and lose 0.04 GA with a 94.2 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%. MIN would take 23.78 SOG for, scoring 2.14 GF with a 9.0 sh%.

Taking into account save percentage (Sv%), Chicago would face 24.39 SOG against and lose 1.59 GA with a 93.5 Sv%. Minnesota would face 21.71 SOG against and lose 1.89 GA with a 91.3 Sv%. The goal differential gives the edge to MIN overall.

It ought to be a great series, but you’d be crazy to write Minnesota off. If you saw anything from the STL-MIN series, Minnesota was able to curb the blow of a lot of their lower scoring times with Dubnyk’s save percentage. After just having watched Carey Price essentially drag the Montreal Canadiens into the second round, it’d be a mistake to discredit the impact goaltending could have on this series.

The series begins Friday, May 1st at 830pm 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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