Senators News: March 9th; Ottawa 3, New York Rangers 2

-Ottawa defeated the New York Rangers 3-2 last night; Robin Lehner made 33 saves for the win and was able to recover from allowing two soft goals.  Zack Smith, Patrick Wiercioch, and Jakob Silfverberg scored for the Sens, who gave up a 2-0 lead only to win the game late in the third.  The game featured a rare moment from Chris Phillips who decided a Michael Haley check on Jim O’Brien required him to drop the gloves.  The Rangers got a powerplay from the altercation as well as considerable momentum–they dominated the game from the point until the second half of the third period (Haley later drilled O’Brien again, but there was no reaction).  Peter Regin again played the least among forwards (9:39), although not to the great extent he did in the previous game.  Here’s the boxscore.

Scott breaks down the Sens last 12 games in terms of scoring chances, possession (via a link to Behind the Net), and special teams play.  It’s well worth a read even though there aren’t any surprises, just statistical backing to what we’ve seen (Turris and Gryba struggles etc).

Scott Cullen writes about the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which includes some interest statistical looks at hockey.  The most interesting one to me was this:

Eric Tulsky presented a research poster (worked on by Eric with Geoffrey Detweiler, Robert Spencer and Corey Sznajder) on zone entries that revealed how valuable it is to enter the offensive zone in control of the puck, as opposed to employing a dump-and-chase technique. Certainly, there are times (eg. outnumbered by defenders, line change etc.) when dumping the puck into the offensive zone may be the most reasonable play but, circumstances being equal, teams were about twice as likely to generate a shot on goal when they carried the puck into the zone and that didn’t vary much based on the skill of the players involved. As Eric wrote about previously, Jaromir Jagr and Zac Rinaldo generated shots at the same rate for the Philadelphia Flyers last season when they entered the offensive zone with possession. Since there is a rather wide talent gap between the two, it then becomes relevant to note that the frequency with which they entered the offensive zone in possession of the puck was vastly different. While some advanced stats might appear counter-intuitive, the zone entries paper totally fits with expectations of the logical hockey observer. The odds of keeping possession of the puck, when you already have it, is of course higher than it would be to retrieve a dumped-in puck that, effectively, becomes up-for-grabs.

This runs contrary to a certain line of conventional wisdom that was (is?) very common in the hockey community (the importance of dump and chase).   It gives credence (not that it’s needed) to Detroit’s puck possession style that the Sens try to emulate.

-Binghamton defeated Connecticut 3-0 last night; Nathan Lawson made 34 saves to earn the shutout, while Fredrik Claesson, Chris Wideman (his first), and Wacey Hamilton (empty-net) tallied the goals.  Here’s the boxscore and the highlights.

-Binghamton faces Rochester (30-22-3) tonight; the Amerks are lead by Mark Mancari (49 points) and backstopped by David Leggio (29-17-1 2.62 .922).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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