Morning Thoughts: Chicago-Blues Zone Tracking

Alex Pietrangelo
Thoughts on Game 6 of the Blues-Blackhawks series using zone entry stats.

While the St. Louis Blues used to hold a commanding lead on the Chicago Blackhawks in the series, they began to falter and found themselves tied 3-3 in the series. The Blackhawks were able to storm back to force a Game seven by winning Game six by a score of 6-3. Tracking every zone entry for each team, there were interesting stats about different players and how well they performed at entering the opposition’s zone in Game 6.

Richard Panik was moved to the top line midway through the game and it paid dividends for Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. Panik had the second most successful zone entries on the team with 11 and was tied for the second most successful zone entries by a player in the entire game. Panik also had seven out of those 11 as controlled entries, showing that he continuously penetrated the Blues’ line of defense throughout the game to carry the puck into enemy territory. The left wing spot on the first line for Chicago has mostly been a revolving door of players but Panik seemed like a great fit there. Panik’s contract ends next season but he’s only a restricted free agent so if the Blackhawks can resign him cheap, he could be a good option to slot into the top line.

Jonathan Toews led the Blackhawks and both teams combined with 12 successful zone entries on the night. Chicago’s first line in general was excellent at entering the offensive zone but Toews was an important part of that. Barreling down on St. Louis defenders and forcing the puck into the offensive zone, Toews generated a lot of scoring chances from his entries. Just another reason why he deserves to be paid over $10 million dollars a year.

For the Blues, I was actually surprised when I was going over data for the first line of Jaden Schwartz, Jori Lehtera, and Vladimir Tarasenko. My initial thoughts was that Tarasenko would have the most successful zone entries of the team but that turned out to be far from true. Schwartz actually ended up leading the line, and the team, in successful zone entries with 11. Tarasenko finished the game with only five. Five isn’t bad and Tarasenko is still obviously one of the best offensive players in the league but I found it interesting how many times Schwartz entered the zone compared to Tarasenko.

Blues Roster

Player # of successful entries # of controlled entries
0 0 0
9 4 1
10 2 0
12 2 2
15 6 5
17 11 6
19 2 0
20 9 6
21 8 3
22 2 0
26 10 4
27 3 3
28 1 1
36 5 2
41 2 1
42 7 1
55 3 1
91 5 3

 

Blackhawks Roster

Player # of successful entries # of controlled entries
2 3 1
4 3 0
5 0 0
7 2 0
11 3 2
14 11 7
15 5 4
16 5 3
19 12 8
22 0 0
25 8 3
52 0 0
57 2 0
65 2 0
72 7 5
81 7 4
86 6 3
88 8 3

 

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