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By the Numbers: A Streak to Remember

Unwind from your turkey hangover with a nice, quick read on some ‘Canes #FancyStats from the winning streak.

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NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Carolina Hurricanes
Nov 20, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Victor Rask (49) celebrates his third period goal with teammates forward Lee Stempniak (21) and forward Derek Ryan (33) against the Winnipeg Jets at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-1
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

If you can remember what happened in last night’s game despite your post-Thanksgiving dinner turkey comas, then you might recall that Carolina’s five-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens.

While it was unfortunate to see the streak conclude, all good things must come to an end, so it had to happen eventually. But in the spirit of being thankful, I think it’s best to take a quick look back on some of the great things we saw from the ‘Canes throughout that five game run.

A Dominant Stretch

Here’s a few numbers to chew on from the winning streak. Thanks to’s custom query tool, I am able to tell you that from November 11th to November 23rd, the ‘Canes advanced numbers looked like this in relation to the rest of the league:

  • Expected goals: At 5-on-5 play, the Hurricanes were expected to score 12.68 goals and concede 9.70 goals. Adjusted for ice time, their rate of producing expected goals per 60 minutes trailed only the Pittsburgh Penguins during that stretch.

When expressed as a ratio, the Hurricanes were 4th in the league in expected goals share (56.66%), behind only Pittsburgh, Boston, and Minnesota. So the ‘Canes did some serious driving of shot quality while they were winning, especially offensively.

  • Scoring chances: A slightly more subjective measurement than expected goals, the Hurricanes also did very well at driving shot quality by this metric. Over the five wins, the ‘Canes generated 50 scoring chances and allowed only 32.

Once again, when adjusted for ice time, Carolina’s 12.5 scoring chances per 60 minutes rank second in the league behind the Penguins. In scoring chance share, they’re 3rd in the league (60.98%) over this time frame trailing just Pittsburgh and Minnesota.

  • Penalty differential: Throughout the winning streak, the ‘Canes drew three more penalties than they took at 5-on-5 play. That +3 penalty differential over the streak was good enough to have them tied for fifth in the league in the category. Which brings us to...

  • Special Teams: The power play’s underlying numbers were good but not elite. Their xGF/60 of 6.41 while a man up was 12th in the league during the winning streak. You’d like to see some improvement there, but it’s still acceptable as is.

The penalty kill, on the other hand, has probably not been as good as it has seemed to be. The team’s xGA/60 when a man short of 7.25 has them 26th in the league for the date range. Even when Cam Ward has been struggling mightily at even strength, it’s typical for him to post strong numbers while the team is shorthanded. Maybe there’s something that expected goals as a stat misses about the ‘Canes penalty kill, but if not, it looks like the team’s streak of consecutive kills may be imminent and we may be headed for some hard regression while shorthanded. Lets’ hope that’s not the case.

  • Goaltending: Have to give credit where credit is due on this one. Despite a brutal month of October for Ward, he came through and helped the team throughout the winning streak. Ward’s even-strength save percentage was a sterling .952. Which, while probably not repeatable, is a good sign that he’ll be able to come in around that .930 range on a more consistent basis.

If Ward is able to perform like that, and the ‘Canes can continue to drive both shot quantity and shot quality in well above-average ways, then I truly do think that this could finally be the season that a certain other streak that we’re all very aware of may come to an end. We’ll see if they can deliver on that.