While waiting for Canes Country's preview of tonight's game, I noticed some extreme contrasts between the Canes and the Lightning.
1. TB is first in shots against, allowing 27.0 per game. The Canes are 29th, allowing 34.5.
2. Despite this, TBL allows more goals than the Canes: 3.31 GPG vs. 2.90.
3. As the first two points suggest, there's a big disparity in save percentages. Both Ellis and Smith stop about 88% of shots against them. For the Canes, Cam Ward stops 92.6% and Justin Peters 88%.
4. There's a big difference in shooting percentage by the teams' leading scorers, but only small differences in shots taken by the two teams and the leading scorers. The Lightning put 32.7 shots on goal per game to the Canes' 30.8. Stamkos has taken 122 shots and scored on 20.5% of them (5th in the league) for 25 goals. Staal has taken 123 shots and scored on 13% of them (92nd in the league) for 16 goals. (The Canes' leaders in shooting % are Tlusty with 13.6 and Ruutu with 13.5, with Sutter at 13.0; this excludes Jon Matsumoto 18.2% on only 11 shots.)
5. Tampa Bay's scoring is more concentrated, with Stamkos accounting for 26% of their goals and Stamkos + St. Louis accounting for 38%. The top 3 scorers (Ryan Malone is the third with 9 goals) account for almost half of Lightning goals (47%). Staal scores 19% of the Canes' goals and, combined with Skinner, scores 28%. The top 3 scorers account for 36% of goals.
6. Nothing new here, but there's a big edge to Tampa Bay on the power play. They lead in home power play scoring percentage with 27.6% and are fourth overall with 23.7%. Carolina scores on 16.2% of its power plays, 22nd overall, thanks to recent improvement.
7. Big edge to the Canes on stopping and scoring shorthanded goals. Tampa Bay is worst in the NHL, allowing 7 shorthanded goals, while the Canes are among the best, allowing 2. That doesn't eliminate the goal differential on power plays, but narrows it from 12 to 7. Tampa Bay hasn't scored a SHG. The Canes have scored 2. That further whittles down Tampa Bay's advantage on power plays.
8. Tampa Bay has 4 EN goals to the Canes' 1, and 5 5 on 3 goals to the Canes 3. That seems like a big disproportion on goals in those unusual situations. The teams are virtually tied in 5 on 5 goals, with TBL having one more at 58, but having played an extra game.
Looks like a great night for Sutter's line to have a great night against Stamkos. It would be fatal to repeat the 5 on 3 and 6 on 3 mess that the Canes allowed the Ducks.
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