Game #3: Thrashers Suffer 1st Loss in Ottawa

It is very difficult to say anything intelligent about a game only broadcast on the radio. Throw in some drinking with fellow hockey players at Battle and Brew before the Thrashers game...and that pretty much leaves me with just stats to work with for today's post. On the one hand, it is almost ridiculous to look at team statistics after just three games. On other hand, we have a nearly an entire week before the next hockey Thrashers game, so why not?

Below I have created a table with stats for the Ottawa game, except for the final two columns which show the season Corsi Numbers (net shots fired at ES) and season Net Goal Differential (ES Goals For Average - ES Goals Against Average) for each player.

When working with a very small amount of data there can be a lot of noise (randomness) that hides the true patterns. In fact, if we look at the Corsi and Goal Differential numbers for Thrasher defenseman they give conflicting messages. According to the Corsi column Hainsey and Enstrom have the best Shots Differential and Kubina and Salmela the worst. However, if we look at the actual Goal Differential (controlling for ES ice time) Hainsey and Kubina rate as the most effective and Enstrom and Bogosian as the least effective. (stats say: Hainsey good, mixed on Enstrom.) As the team plays more games these data should become more consistent. Personally, I think Enstrom and Bogosian are playing just fine, so it could be a matter of some bad luck in a small number of games. Time will tell.



Season ES Corsi Season ES GD
Pavel Kubina 0 1 1 2 20:22 1:47 2:33     24:42 -18.2 3.41
Zach Bogosian 0 0 -1 2 20:17 1:05 1:38 23:00 -9.4 -1.05
Tobias Enstrom 0 0 -1 2 17:53 3:30 0:16 21:39 -7.2 -1.20
Ron Hainsey 1 0 1 3 19:16 0:07 2:14 21:37 -6.1 3.67
Anssi Salmela 0 0 -1 1 11:00 0:00 0:00 11:00 -15.3 1.53
Christoph Schubert 0 0 -1 0 13:38 0:00 1:39 15:17 -10.1 0.00
Ilya Kovalchuk 1 0 1 4 18:32 3:37 0:11 22:20 -19.0 1.53
Bryan Little 0 1 1 1 16:04 2:55 0:00 18:59 -19.8 3.71
Nik Antropov 0 1 1 0 17:01 1:12 0:00 18:13 -17.3 2.47
Vyacheslav Kozlov 0 0 -1 2 14:33 3:30 0:00 18:03 -7.9 -3.16
Maxim Afinogenov 0 0 -1 3 16:17 1:40 0:00 17:57 -5.7 -4.29
Todd White 0 0 -1 1 12:27 2:55 0:44 16:06 -14.3 -4.77
Colby Armstrong 0 0 0 1 13:30 0:00 1:20 14:50 4.6 2.32
Rich Peverley 0 0 0 3 12:41 1:05 0:54 14:40 1.6 3.28
Evander Kane 0 0 0 2 12:40 0:00 1:45 14:25 -1.7 3.44
Marty Reasoner 0 0 -1 0 8:36 0:00 1:58 10:34 0.0 3.91
Chris Thorburn 0 0 -1 1 5:07 0:00 1:28 6:35 -16.8 3.36
Eric Boulton 0 0 -1 0 5:08 0:07 0:00 5:15 -17.3 3.45


If we look at the forwards, we can see that the #1 line of Kovalchuk-Antropov-Little are getting killed in Net Shots Differential but they have a postive Net Goal Differential. To be honest, I was very surprised to see how badly they have been outshot because my eyeballs are telling me that the Kovalchuk line is doing much better at producing sustained shifts in the Offensive Zone.

The data on the 2nd line is unambigous, they are being both out shot and out scored so far. In fact the #2 line is the ONLY Thrashers line with a negative Goal Differential so far this season. It is rare for any NHL team to have all their lines firing at once, so hopefully this line will catch fire as another one cools off.

Last year Colby Armstrong was the Thrasher Corsi MVP by a wide margin. He is off to another good start and leads the squed with a +4.6 per 60 minutes of ES TOI. In fact, the 3rd line is the only Thrasher line that has not been outshot by a significant margin. They have also out scored the opposition. This strikes me as a very good 3rd line in the NHL.

The 4th line scored in both of the first two games thanks largely to the heroics of Eric Boulton. On the other hand, they are getting killed in shots. Let's hope they can hang on and just finished the season even in Goal Differential. That would be a big plus if they can pull that off.

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