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Blues by the Numbers

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NHL: St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So in an attempt to include a few more analytics on this site I thought I would spend my Sunday making a few charts. This first one I have is Blues Corsi Against (opponents shots on goal + blocked shots + missed shots) versus Blues Corsi For (Blues shots on goal + blocked shots + missed shots) for 5 on 5 play grouped by opponent. In the hockey world Corsi is used to determine who possessed the puck the most. If you are shooting the puck a lot you must be possessing the puck a lot. Stats provided by NaturalStatTrick.com

As you can see the Blues were outshot in every game except the last two. Obviously the last couple games were against two of the less talented teams in the NHL and the first 7 were against some of the more talented. The reason these numbers are a little concerning is because in order to score goals you have to posses the puck. The other reason is because it is obvious by the last two games that the Blues want to play a possession style game, they just can’t do it against better opponents.

However, there is some good news. First of all, the score and location of the games (home vs away) certainly comes into play. When a team is trailing in the third period they are usually going to be throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at the net. That is going to skew the data a little. Secondly, the Blues block a lot of shots that never end up making it close to the net. Are these technically shot? Yes. Are the scoring chances? Not really. Which brings us to our second fart err I mean chart. Stats once again provided by NaturalStatTrick.com

Due to score and venue adjustment things appear to be a little more even. Granted the numbers still aren’t terrific but there appears to be only two blowouts that are bad for two different reasons.

The first would be the Lightning game. Obviously that was a loss and it is pretty easy to see why. When your opponent almost doubles you in shots I think it is fair to say you didn’t posses the puck as often as you would like.

The second one is the game Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights. The numbers are a little bit skewed because of the 4 power plays that Blues failed to convert on but it still goes to show just how much the Blues dominated the game in terms of possession but how badly the failed to convert on those chances.

Before you say anything I already know what you are thinking, “That is why #FancyStats don’t tell the whole story, dummy.” It’s true that while a team can fire shot after shot if they are getting blocked then it is a mute point. Which brings us to Fenwick.

Fenwick is the measurement of shots on goal + shots that miss the target. Unlike Corsi it does not include blocked shots. This is why Fenwick, in my opinion, is more of a measurement of a team’s scoring chances and not as much possession. Fenwick should tell us who had the better scoring chances in a given game. To start out we have the Blues Fenwick For% vs the Blues Corsi For% for every game 5 on 5. Both Fenwick For % and Corsi For % is equal to Shots For divided by (Shots For minus Shots Against) or formulaically speaking FF/(FF-FA)=FF%.

Above 50% means the Blues were controlling the puck or, in terms of Fenwick, were getting more scoring chances than their opponent. Below 50% is just the opposite. Stats provided by NaturalStatTrick.com.

Here is the same chart but instead of 5 on 5 it is score/venue adjusted.

As far as Fenwick is concerned 5 on 5 is just ok but when we adjust for score/venue it starts looking even better.

Of those shots that weren’t blocked how many made it on goal. Here are the Blues shots for and against for each game (score/venue adjusted). Thanks again to NaturalStatTrick.com

We have talked about the offense and defense so now let’s take a look at special teams. This time we are just comparing the Blues average to the league average. Stats are from the site Hockey-Reference.com.

I think we may have found the Blues weak link. To have the 24th ranked power play is one thing but to have a penalty kill that is only better than 4 other teams in the entire NHL is simply inexcusable. The PK used to be the Blues bread and butter, it was something the took pride in, it was their identity. This year it is laughable. Until the Blues special teams can at least be better than half of the league expect moes like the one on Saturday night.

So there you have it. Some #FancyStats to help you better analyze this team or at least impress your co-workers with. You feel smarter already, don’t you.

Thanks for reading and Go Blues.