Devils win without solid underlying numbers
En route to the match tonight against the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils have won 5 of their last 6 games, the final 3 against Philadelphia, a 1-1 split against Boston and Thursday night’s game against the Isles. It has been an impressive series of games and fun to watch, especially compared to how they have played the majority of the season.
Fans can take the win in different ways. Some fans, now that the Devils are clearly out and doing a good tank job, would rather see the team continue to lose. Indeed, a look at Friday’s standings was NJ 27th in the league, now ahead of Detroit, Vancouver and Anaheim. If they had gone 1-5 in their last 6 games instead of 5-1, there’s a good chance they were the second worst team outside of Buffalo, with the second best odds to win. in the draft lottery. As it stands, they could even end up overtaking Columbus if they win, which will drastically reduce their chances of making the top-5 in the draft.
Others, however, will examine the positive aspects of this victory. We want the team to hurt so they can recruit good talent, but that talent then has to develop. And when players have time to develop in the NHL, as they are now for this team, those players will develop faster and become better players if they play in competitive and winning teams. Most often, this is true. At this point, you really can’t have both with this team. You can either make them lose games for a better pick, at the expense of the strong growth of young players on this team, or see strong growth in some young players at the expense of a higher draft pick this year. And the Devils, in their last 6 games, have mostly gone for the latter approach.
However, what’s interesting is that when you look at the numbers in the NHL since April 27, when the Devils won the first of three wins over Philadelphia, their rosters haven’t been great. Across the league, here are some of their numbers and rankings thanks to Natural statistical tip, with everything here to come in 5v5:
So what have been the bright spots for the Devils in their last 6-game streak against the league? At the end of the day, percent shot, percent save to a lesser extent, and PDO. So essentially the Devils have been extremely lucky when it comes to playing 5v5. An unbearable shooting percentage, the team currently at 7.81% all season, 19th in the league. A 5v5 save percentage almost 3% above the season average and a very high PDO, indicating that if the Devils kept playing for a long time, if the season wasn’t about to end, things could fall back to earth, and do so as soon as possible.
However, look at everything else. As of April 27, New Jersey are last in shots for percentage, last in expected goals for percentage, and last high-risk death Corsi. They also rank 27th in Corsi For. But again, despite this, they rank 10th in the league in GF% thanks to their very high shooting percentage. Again, this is not the model of sustainability. In fact, you should bet it’s going terribly wrong anytime now. How does a team that died last in xGF and the worst team in high danger, and the one with the worst shot differential, manage to win many games? It just doesn’t happen too often, or for very long.
The good news for the team, at least in that sense, is that they only have two games left, today’s game and a tilt against Philly on Monday. This does not leave time to allow regression. So realistically, the team could end with two more wins getting some solid shots and saving percentages, despite their underlying low numbers as shown above. It would be great for the players and for the morale, and it would give the team a positive outlook as we approach the offseason and prepare for next year. However, this is not something to bet on given that the underlying numbers are so poor at 5 to 5. In fact, if you are betting you might want to bet against them winning specifically because of their. low level of possession. danger, and the expected 5v5 goals. They’ve won games despite that, but it’s not something that should happen consistently or over long periods of time. The fact that this has happened 5 of the last 6 games is pretty impressive like that.