I wanted to explore Binghamton’s improved record over the last month to point out specifically what’s changed for the team. Before we get into details it’s important to note that these changes have simply moved the BSens from awful to average and that it’s unreasonable to expect the hot streak to continue.
Since December 7th (a period that includes 14 games) the BSens are 9-4-1. To spell out how much better they’ve been, they were only 5-14-2 beforehand, so this is an enormous change (from a 0.285 winning percentage to 0.678). Why has this happened? Combing through the numbers and performances there’s only one consistent element that starts at that time: no Zack Stortini. Binghamton has not won a game with the useless pugilist in the lineup since November 19th–he’s currently on an eight-game losing streak. He, of course, isn’t the only reason.
Other factors: Jason Akeson rounding into form (after being held pointless his first three games; the aforementioned streak begins with his first assist); sticking with the hot hand in net; an improved powerplay (9-50, 18%); no Ryan Rupert (he hasn’t played for Binghamton since December 3rd); and finally, more scoring (43 goals, so roughly 3 per game). The goals aren’t attached to lopsided shot advantage (the team is 6-8 in terms of shooting more during the streak), hot goaltending (combined the two goalies are only .900 or better in half the games), or a good penalty kill (34-45, 75%). Recently (the last five games) Kleinendorst has been using seven defenseman, something that seems to help an otherwise weak blueline (the only blueliners who have played all 14 games are Chris Rumble and Chris Carlisle). Here are the player numbers during the streak (powerplay points noted as well):
Akeson 14-2-10-12 (3 PPP)
Rumble 14-3-7-10 (5 PPP)
Rodewald 14-7-2-9 (5 PPP)
Paul 14-3-6-9 (2 PPP)
Varone 11-2-5-7 (3 PPP)
Harpur 11-1-6-7 (PPP)
Flanagan 8-3-3-6 (PPP)
Bailey 9-4-1-5 (2 PPP)
Carlisle 14-1-4-5 (PPP)
Kostka 11-1-3-4 (3 PPP)
Erkamps 4-0-1-1 (PPP)
Driedger 4-2-1 GAA 2.41 S% .932
O’Connor 5-2-0 GAA 2.72 S% .898
Greenham 0-0-0 GAA 7.50 S% .750
I’m surprised by Harpur‘s offensive totals over the streak; this is the most productive Paul has been since Tobias Lindberg was traded away last year; and McCormick! These are the kinds of totals he should be getting at this stage of his AHL career. On the down side you expect much more from Blunden (he averaged 0.77 points per game last year); Kostka‘s 5-on-5 production is negligible (1 point); you want more from a FA signing like Nehring; and rookies like Englund and Gagne haven’t hit the scoresheet at all. Clearly the team doesn’t miss Curtis Lazar (it’s also worth noting that Fredrik Claesson has been out of the lineup due to injury).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)