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A numerical look at what went wrong for the Red Wings this postseason

(Photo: Bridget Samuels)

(Photo: Bridget Samuels)

The Bruins and Canadiens are one day away from playing Game 3. You’ve had enough healing. It’s time to examine what went wrong with the Red Wings in the playoffs. The good thing about Detroit’s ouster is that it took just five games, exactly half of one of our 10-game segments from the regular season (well, most of the time they’re 10 games).

Taking half of an average Red Wings segment and comparing it to the postseason performance can give us a good indication of what went wrong.

Half an avg. segment Playoffs
GF 13.6 6
GA 13.8 14
5-on-5 GF 9.6 4
5-on-5 GA 9.2 6
PPG 3.1 2
PPG GA 2.9 6

(*The splits don’t add up to the total because I didn’t include empty-net goals, short-handed goals, 6-on-5 goals, etc. on the chart.)

Simply: The Red Wings couldn’t score. After averaging almost 14 goals per half segment in the regular season, the Red Wings registered just six in the playoffs.

Here’s a look at the Red Wings’ top six players in total GRM from the regular season and what they did in the playoffs:

1. Gustav Nyquist (+15.14 regular season GRM) ……. -0.75 Playoff GRM

2. Johan Franzen (+10.74 regular season GRM) ……. -0.75 Playoff GRM

3. Henrik Zetterberg (+8.85 regular season GRM) …….  +0.45 Playoff GRM, third on the team

4. Justin Abdelkader (+8.69 regular season GRM) ……. +0.53 Playoff GRM, second on the team

5. Tomas Tatar (+8.26 regular season GRM) …….  0.00 Playoff GRM

6. Pavel Datsyuk (+7.12 regular seasom GRM) ……. +1.00 Playoff GRM, first on the team.


Zetterberg played in two games and had as much of an impact as he could. Datsyuk and Abdelkader performed. Everyone else didn’t. Nyquist’s was the team’s top producer by almost five GRM in the regular season but didn’t register a point in the playoffs and almost single-handedly gave up the tying goal in Game 4. At a certain point in the regular season, Johan Franzen was the entire Red Wings’ power play. In playoffs he was part of the reason Detroit only scored twice with the man advantage. Tomas Tatar didn’t even register a GRM event, good or bad, throughout the five games.

It’s ironic that the offense was the problem. Most of the year was spent arguing about trading Quincey, cutting Brendan Smith and/or Jakub Kind and injuring Jimmy Howard. Aside from Howard, who only played half the series (he gets an incomplete), the back end was decent to (gasp!) good. At the very least, they gave a performance indicative of what they showed all year.

Goals against was right on average with 14. Five-on-Five goals against dropped from 9.2 to six, but a drop should probably be expected in an Eastern Conference playoff series. The one problem was the penalty kill. Detroit gave up as many power play goals in five game as they usually do in 10 to 11 games. Why it did has been well documented, (it had a lot to do with Dougie Hamilton and the Red Wings’ fascination of Patrice Bergeron) and since it has, it’s time to take some positives out of this: Mainly that Niklas Kronwall is a monster.

Kronwall posted a +0.31 GRM, which was fourth on the team. Kronwall is a defensemen. Most defensemen finish segments in the negatives.

He also averaged 26 minutes a game and, while matched up against Boston’s top forwards, his Corsi for percentage for the series was 55% (Corsi explainer). To be fair it wasn’t even production throughout. He played excellent in Games 4 and 5, decent in Games 2 and 3 and not very well in Game 1.

The rest of the defense corps performed well enough. They had to in order to get those numbers. Only Brian Lashoff got victimized regularly (-0.92 GRM, worst on the team).

Now, did they play well enough to beat the Bruins if they would’ve gotten more scoring and/or better penalty killing? That’s debatable.

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