blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Statistical Anomaly - New Jersey Devils Offense

Friday, February 5, 2010

Statistical Anomaly - New Jersey Devils Offense

First in their division, second in conference, and sixth overall with 72 points, the New Jersey Devils are amongst the league leaders in wins (4th), win % when scoring first (3rd), win % when opponent scores first (4th), win % leading after first period (3rd), win % leading after second period (3rd), points (6th), points per game (4th), goals against per game (1st), shots against per game (2nd), and win % when outshot (1st).

What's unusual is the Devils score fewer goals per game than most (21st), are weak at even strength (23rd), and are mid-pack in shots per game (13th). Their success rests instead with frugal defensive play, timely production, and record-setting goaltending from Martin Brodeur who leads the NHL (both this season and all-time) in wins and shutouts.

If a single move could resolve their offensive shortcomings, last night's acquisition of Ilya Kovalchuk may have done just that. Thus far this season, Kovalchuk has .63 goals per game (5th), 21 even strength goals (5th), and 179 shots (24th) in 49 games. Adding these numbers to New Jersey's totals bumps the team from 2.54 (21st) to 3.17 (4th) in goals per game, 92 (23rd) to 113 (5th) in even strength goals, and 30.2 (13th) to 33.8 (1st) in shots per game (179 shots/49 games = 3.6).

Time will tell if Ilya can maintain his productive pace in New Jersey and whether his individual output directly translates into team improvement. At first blush, however, it looks like Lou got it right.