A Few Stats Notes from Last Night’s Game

What they typically call "advanced stats" or "fancy stats" can provide you with so much information about the game of hockey.

We've briefly mentioned them a few times on the blog (here, here and here) and basically the only reason we don't mention them more often is because there are numerous sites on the Internet that are much better at keeping, explaining and interpreting them than we could ever hope to be.

However, that doesn't mean that we're going to stay away from them forever. The information that they provide is often incredibly useful and it can tell you a lot about a game, a player or a team.

Here are a few interesting stats from last night. We've taken them from ExtraSkater.com and here is their full stats list from last night's game.

Note: As mentioned earlier, we're not experts at any of this stuff but it's interesting and we'd love to learn more. If anything we say here is wrong or if we've interpreted the stats wrong, we're sorry. Please let us know.

The first stat that really stands out here is Corsi. What's Corsi? According to  Pension Plan Puppets, Corsi is "the sum of all shots directed by a team towards the opposition net (shots on goal, missed shots, and blocked shots)." 

Last night the Penguins' Corsi was 72 while the Avs was 29. Fenwick (which is basically Corsi minus blocked shots) was 50 for the Penguins and 18 for the Avalanche. Either way you look at it, the Penguins directed far more shots towards the Avalanche net than the Avalanche directed towards the Penguins' net.

Now, the shots in the game were 34 to 14 for the Pens, which tell you a lot of information about the game as it is. However, looking at Corsi and Fenwick show you just how dominant the Penguins were in the game. Not only did they get the puck on the net more, but they got it in the direction of the net more as well. 

When a team dominates the stats like the Penguins did last night, it also shows that they had the puck more often. This is good. Teams that have higher Corsi and Fenwick numbers over a longer period of time are generally more successful. There isn't anything really that "advanced" about it: The team that has the puck more often and that shoots it more often will win more hockey games more often. 

What does this tell you about yesterday's game? That the Pens outplayed the Avalanche in a number of ways. They shot more pucks on net. They shot more pucks in the direction of the net. They possessed the puck more often. The Avalanche won the game by blocking a lot of shots (they blocked 22 shots) and by having outstanding goaltending.

Teams can have success by having excellent goaltending and blocking a lot of shots. It's definitely happened before and it will happen again. However, most successful teams have strong possession numbers. If the Penguins continue to play the kind of game that they played last night, the chances that they will be successful are very high.