I’d like to start off a little pretentious today because last night’s victory was so enjoyable and complete that it demands a Shakespeare quote. So, to paraphrase the Bard, “The fault, dear Winnipeg Jets, lies not in the stars, but in yourselves.”
We seem to be witnessing a team being thoroughly outplayed and taking out those frustrations on our sweet, innocent, Montreal Canadiens.
Last night, in all situations, the Habs controlled 66.0% of the expected goals (xGF%). Interestingly enough, they didn’t control the shot attempts, or Corsi, at only 49.2%. Usually, Corsi and xGF% go hand in hand. But here’s the important distinction: Corsi is based on shot attempts, whereas xGF% is calculated based on actual shots.
So, let’s break these numbers down from most broad to most narrow. The Jets had 63 shot attempts, but only 26 actual shots on net. Montreal, however, had 61 shot attempts and 33 of them made it to the net. Montreal had a much higher success rate of getting those shots to the net. Expected goals take the location of those shots and calculates their likelihood of going in based on league averages from those spots.
A picture is emerging. Montreal might have been about even in terms of possession (measured by Corsi), but they were getting their shots through at a higher rate. And not only were those shots getting through, but they were generally from much more dangerous areas.
One of the most important pieces of information this gives us is how “lucky” a team is. For example, if the expected goals are low but a team scores a lot, then there might be quite a bit of luck involved. That would make it not overly repeatable.
But I go back to Shakespeare, because by this model Montreal was expected to score 4.4 goals and Connor Hellebuyck let in four. So, this wasn’t luck. Winnipeg’s goalie performed as a league-average goalie would. Normally he well outperforms the league average, but this shows what kind of team Winnipeg is when they don’t have a goalie bailing them out.
My preference is that Carey Price is the only goalie doing that in these matchups.