I wanted to start off by thanking Matt Barlowe for helping me with some Python questions I had to make my code cleaner and easier to manage to make these diagrams. Thank you, Matt!
This post will focus on the results of each shot and take a look at individual player shot outcomes. It will likely be the last (maybe second to last) post that’s solely just standard shot data. I think a lot of the charts here are pretty self-explanatory, so there won’t be too, too much reading here. I think things will get a little more interesting soon, so stick with me!
To start, here’s an overview of each shot attempt for both power play units from where they were taken and whether it resulted in a shot on goal, a goal, a blocked shot, or a missed shot.
It’s clearer in the count plot below, but 43 shot attempts hit the net (48 with goals) while 32 missed the goal, 20 were blocked, and five went for goals.
And for closer looks at where each shot outcome occurred, here are charts for the results.
Shots on goal
Shots on goal ranged from all over the ice and don’t seem limited really to any one spot. Obviously they’re more concentrated around the net and the slot, but there isn’t much of the ice where the Terriers didn’t hit the net.
Of the 31 power plays I looked at, BU converted on five of them for a 16.1% success rate, a bit below its season average of 19.4%. The goals they did score, though, were scored mostly on the perimeter of the home plate region, which, as an entire space, is where goals are generally easier to come by than other places on the ice. The Terriers never scored from the middle of the home plate area, but all but one of their goals do fall there.
It’s not all that surprising, but there aren’t any blocked shots lower than that lowest hash mark. It pretty much goes without saying, but the fewer bodies in between you and the goal, the less likely it is that a shot will be blocked. If the Terriers fired shots from below the hash marks, they either missed the cage cleanly, hit it, or scored.
Shots off target
I don’t have much to say about the missed shots. They can clearly come from anywhere. If you compare it to the shot on goal chart, it doesn’t look all that different so that’s all! A lot of the ones close to the net were deflections—not point-blank misses—which I might get into in a later post.
Individual shooter outcomes
Now for a more individual look at these shot attempt results. Here’s a basic view of each player’s shot outcomes, with the first five shooters being members of PP1 and the next five of PP2. Again, because of sample size, it’s not the most extensive data, but it’s interesting to see how distance from the net impacts each player’s distribution.
I also wanted to look at the results for each unit on its own, so I just made some other charts that narrow things down. They’re basically the same as above, just with fewer data points. The shape of each unit’s shot attempts should be familiar from prior posts, but these visualizations give a bit more information than past ones.
In the graph below, you can see that PP1 had 31 shots on goal (35 including goals), 21 missed shots, 11 blocked shots, and four goals. With some simple division, we can tell that PP1 had a shooting percentage of 11.4%, which is up less than 2% from their season’s 9.95% figure in all situations (122 goals on 1226 shots). That’s not really giving them a huge advantage when they’re on the power play. If we look back above and count the number of shots in the home plate area though (15 shots, 3 goals), we can see that BU’s shooting percentage (3/15 = 18.75%) did go up when it shot from that space on the ice.
For a further breakdown of this, we can revisit the initial shooter outcomes but just with PP1 this time. The count plot makes a reappearance, and so do the individual shot charts from previous posts. These ones, however, have shot attempt results factored in, so it’s easier to see how effective each player was in his role. As usual, click through for the full size.
Greenway and Harper lead the way here with eight shots on goal apiece, while JFK, Keller, and McAvoy each contributed six. That only adds up to 34 shots because for the back half of one power play, Curry was in Greenway’s spot in front of the net with the rest of PP1 and hit the net and missed. So the first unit is credited with his shot totals, but they’re recorded in his individual chart.
I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with McAvoy’s ability to get the puck to the net from that distance so consistently. For contrast, take a look at Fabbro’s chart in the second unit’s section and see how many shots he got through for comparison. To be fair, McAvoy typically shot from closer to the net (average shot attempt distance: 40.47 ft) than Fabbro did (average: 56.25 ft). By moving toward the middle of the ice, too, McAvoy shaved his shot distances down a few feet, whereas Fabbro stayed farther to the right.
For a better look at average shot distances, I have included this table for PP1 and another below for PP2. Values are all in feet.
And here is our look at the second power play unit, which had one goal (from the home plate area) on 13 shots on net. That’s good for a 7.7% shooting percentage, 2% below the season’s all situation mark, though it’s not really that telling since 13 shots on goal is a veeeeery small sample to look at.
Like before, here’s a general count plot for the second unit. PP2 had 12 shots on net (13 with the goal), 11 missed shots, nine blocked shots, and one goal.
For a closer look at each player’s contributions, another count plot!
And here we have individual shot charts for the second unit, detailing again just how stationary they were as a power play.
Something I just wanted to touch on here for the shot distance table (all values in feet again) is that there seems to be a bit less variance in distance for the second unit. Again, the sample size isn’t doing me any favors here, but each player generally stays in his spot on this unit to shoot while for the first unit, shots aren’t necessarily taken in a set position. For example, Bellows had shots on goal, blocked shots, and missed shots all within a bit more than a two foot radius. The defensemen clearly had their heels in the vicinity of the blue line at almost all times, which wasn’t the case for the first unit. Curry never got farther than eight feet away from the net for a shot attempt, compared to his counterpart Greenway who slid around and fired a few chances on the rush.
In the next posts, I hope to take a deeper look at the strategy behind both units to see what worked and what didn’t work for each one, whether it was the penalty killers, the breakout, the neutral zone forecheck, the entries, etc. Maybe the first unit struggled in some places the second unit excelled, or vice versa, or maybe that’s not the case at all. Either way, now that we’ve gone through most of shots, we can move on to some more complex data and sequences.