Charting and Analysis of Zone Exits and Zone Entries for Jets at Capitals

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

As we continue our season-long look at Capitals possession characteristics within a game, we shift our focus to varying methods utilized for puck control and puck movement for zone transitions. This post is the first in a series of pieces that will look at Capitals zone transitions within a particular game. The first installment simply charts basic methodology for zone “Exits” or “Entries” (crossing the blue line). 

The following data was aggregated and charted for the Winnipeg Jets at the Washington Capitals played on Monday, October 12, 2018 (Game re-cap is here). It’s important to note that this is a single game sample, and NOT meant to derive any particular trends or unique characteristics regarding Capitals possession.

For the purpose of this initial tracking effort, the following terms and definitions were used to chart defensive zone “exits” and offensive zone “entries” for the aforementioned game.

  • Exits – “Exits” refer to the zone transitions (crossing the blue line) starting from within the defensive zone and transitioning to the neutral zone or in some cases, transitioning to the offensive zone.
  • Entries -“Entries” refer to zone transitions from the neutral zone or defensive zone to the offensive zone.
  • Carry – “Carry” represents a controlled exit or entry with a player carrying (controlling) the puck out of the defensive zone or into the offensive zone.
  • Pass – “Pass” represents defensive zone exists or offensive zone entries where a player-to-player pass was made across a blue line to exit or enter a zone.
  • Dump – “Dump” represents zone exits or entries that have no intended receiver, was utilized to clear the defensive zone, or “dumped” into the offensive zone.

The charting effort simply identified each and every Capitals zone transition for the game. Each blue line transition was identified as “Carry”, “Pass” or “Dump”. The results were summarized period-by-period, and detailed below.

A total of 107 defensive zone exits were charted for the game. (It should also be noted that the game went to overtime, and those stats are not included in this tracking efforts). The following presents the raw data charted and compiled for defensive zone exits period by period.

Not surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of all defensive zone exits were executed via the pass. Carries were somewhat consistent period-to-period. “Dumps” were higher in the first period, primarily due to Capitals penalty kill efforts. 

A total of 88 offensive zone entries were charted for the game. The following presents the raw data from the charted defensive zone exits period by period.

Offensive zone “dumps” were higher (nearly double) in the third period likely due to the Capitals holding an early 2-1 lead in the final frame.

It should be noted that players were identified and tracked for all offensive zone entires that were “carried” into the zone. Here is a period-by-period breakdown of who “carried” the puck into the offensive zone. The listing is sequential for the period.

First period: 65, 13, 92,19, 92, 18, 8, 13, 43, 9, 19, 20, 18, 77, 19
Second period: 9, 28, 65, 13, 10, 92, 77, 8, 92, 8, 92, 77
Third period: 25, 8, 77, 92, 8, 9

Our next zone transition analysis piece will build on this initial look and take a look at the results of  zone transitions. What was the result of each particular zone transition? (continued possession, turnover, or other). The analysis will also look at better defining game characteristics (score, time, players, power plays/penalty kills, etc.) associated with each of the zone transitions.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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5 Responses to Charting and Analysis of Zone Exits and Zone Entries for Jets at Capitals

  1. Ian Ratcliffe says:

    Love your stuff Jon. As a Cap’s fan living in Canada I don’t get a chance to watch every game but i catch what I can. An interesting stat would be zone time. I feel like the Oshie, Eller, Vrana line spent a lot of time chasing the puck in the defensive zone. More importantly Oshie seems to be on the ice lots when bad things happen, goals against, scoring chances and extended zone time. Obviously TJ isn’t having the year everyone expected, Was last years success a product of playing with Ovi and Backy or is this year just a “bad Year” as they say. Keep the good stuff coming

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      First off, thank you, Ian! I agree about charting zone time. It’s been on the “to do” lister some time, and promise I’ll get to it. I agree it will be interesting to see the numbers. The other item I came away with, from chartinthe last game, was the failed defensive zone Exits. Seemed to be a lot. I plan to track the failed exits by player in the next few games. Thanks again for your thoughts, Jon.

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