If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that I’ve recently been puzzling over why Bruce Boudreau’s teams are so good after they lose offensive zone faceoffs. The NHL average Corsi% in those situations is about 54%; Boudreau’s teams routinely post numbers in the mid to high 60s.
My suspicion is that this is tactical thing. The Ducks saw a big jump in this area immediately upon firing Randy Carlyle and hiring Bruce Boudreau so it can’t be player related. I’m in the process of gathering some video to look into it. What I’ve got already is pretty telling. This is a series of Maple Leaf offensive zone faceoff losses in Washington, a game where they should have been pushing because they were behind all night. Watch how the forwards play once the draw is lost. Then I’ve got a series of Duck faceoff losses against the Oilers.
To me, the difference in how the teams play could not be more obvious. The Ducks seem to have the inside winger pressuring the puck, whether by going in behind the net or by going hard to take away the far boards a lot more. The Leafs seem to have one guy chase the puck carrier behind the net while the other two forwards are setting up to back up and defend.
This is a tiny little window, so it’s hardly definitive – I think I’m going to work some more on this to nail it down a little more. That said, the results are overwhelming. There is something that Anaheim does that’s different than other teams do and they get results from it.
If you follow the Oilers at all, you’ve heard the local media go on ad nauseum about how the Oilers need to get bigger. I’m sure that the Ducks’ size doesn’t hurt them. At the same time, as you watch these, a lot of this isn’t size – it’s a willingness to challenge and engage the other team as opposed to kind of falling back and hoping that they screw up.Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org