Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Seattle Portland Playoff Preview Part 1: Head to Head Stats

Looking ahead to the Portland Seattle series that starts this Saturday, there are strangely a lot of unknowns for a match up that we have seen 12 times this season. This is due to the fact that Seattle and Portland's best players did not play in many of those games.

Seattle had Anaheim Duck's 1st round pick: Defenseman Shea Theodore miss the first 7 games of the 12 game set, while expected first round pick: Mathew Barzal missed 4 games and Danish Center Alexander True was absent for 7 games; some of which were because he played for Denmark in the World Juniors.

Portland's leading scorers Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nic Petan and Chase De Leo were also absent for many games in the series due to being at NHL camps and the World Junior Championships. De Leo was gone for 3 games, while Bjorkstrand missed 5 and Petan 7.  Blake Heinrich, a Washington Capitals draft selection also missed time at the start of the season due to a concussion he suffered in the preseason causing him to not be able to play in the first 3 games of the series. Other pivotal Portland players to miss time were Keegan Iverson, Alex Schoenborn, Dominic Turgeon and Anton Cederholm, among others.

Keeping this in mind, a 12 game sample size is still a pretty good look at how two teams match up with each other.
Let's take a look at some of the numbers from the 12 head to head match ups.

-Seattle 7-4-1 overall
4-2 on the road and 3-2-1 at home.
-Portland 5-5-0-2 overall
 3-3 on the road and 2-2-0-2 at home.
-It should be noted that Seattle won the first three games in Portland and Portland has won all three since.

-Portland actually outscored Seattle 35-34 overall in the 12 games, helped out by games in which they scored 5 and 7 times. This is far less goal scoring overall than I expected.
-If you look at by the period scoring both teams' were pretty even across the 3 periods. Seattle scored 11 in the first periods, 10 in the 2nd and 13 in the 3rd, while Portland countered with 10 in the first periods, 12 in the 2nd and 12 in the 3rd. The Hawks also have the series' sole Over Time goal, scored by Miles Koules.
-Seattle's 3rd period scoring was not surpsrisingly very important to them as they pulled out wins in the first two games of the series by outscoring the Hawks in the last period.
The first goal of the game was scored by a Winterhawk 9 out of the 12 times.

Shots on Goal:
-This is where Seattle really had the edge as they out shot the Hawks in 10 of the 12 games and never allowed the Hawks to get more than 35 shots on goal in any game, while piling up three games in which they had 43 or more shots.
-The most lopsided games in turns of shots on net were always in Seattle's favor as in three straight games they out shot the Hawks by 15, 14 and 23 respectively.
-Seattle fired a total of 420 shots on goal over the 12 games for an average of 35 a game, while Portland fired a total of 338 or an average of 28.17 a game.

Special Teams:
-Seattle had a season power play average of 21.2%, which was 10th out of the 22 WHL teams. In the 12 games with Portland: Seattle was 7/46 or 15.2%, well under their season average.
-Portland was 22.5% PP on the season for 5th in the WHL. In the series vs. Seattle, the Hawks were 8/38 or 21.2%, just under their season average.
-What does this mean? Well considering 2 of the 7 T-birds PP goals over the 12 games were in the first game when Portland was missing 11 regulars, this could mean that a present and healthy Portland defense has the ability to stifle the T-birds PP. From the goals that I remember Seattle scoring this year, a lot were off open ice rushes or after sustaining 5 on 5 pressure, not while on the power play.
-This at the very least could mean that Seattle's Power Play will not find it easy vs the Hawk's PK unit, usually existing of Anton Cederholm and Blake Heinrich on the blue line and usually Nic Petan, Oliver Bjorktrand and Miles Koules and Chase De Leo (Dominic Turgeon and wither Paul Bittner or Keegan Iverson see time here too).

Season Series Stats:
*=No Longer on active roster.

Player Position GP Goals
Assists Points
Ryan Gropp LW 10 10 4 14
Mathew Barzal C 8 3 8 11
Roberts Lipsbergs LW 5 3 5 8
Jerret SmithD12246
Keegan KolesarRW10325
Evan WardleyD11325
Turner OttenbreitD11044
Shea TheodoreD5134
Cory MilletteLW5224
Donovan NeulsC11044
Nolan VolcanLW12044
Jared HaufD12224
Nick HolowkoLW12123
Justin HickmanRW4123
Calvin SpencerRW11033
Scott EansorC12112
Ethan BearD12022
4 tiedN/AN/AN/AN/A1

Taran Kozun: 11GP, 6-3 record, 0.854 Save % and a 3.43 GAA vs the Hawks.

Season Series Stats:
*=No Longer on active roster.

Player Position GP Goals
Assists Points
Oliver Bjorkstrand RW 7 13 2 15
Paul Bittner LW 12 4 6 10
Nic Petan C 6 1 9 10
Chase De LeoC9459
Layne ViveirosD12088
Keegan IversonRW11257
Miles KoulesRW11617
Keoni TexeiraD12055
Dominic TurgeonC11325
Alex SchoenbornRW8044
Evan WeingerRW11123
Anton CederholmD11112
Blake HeinrichD9022
Jack FlamanC9011
*Austin GrayRW1011
Adam HenryD5011
*Tyson PredinchukD5101
*Ethan PriceRW5101

Adin Hill: 9GP, 4-4 record, 0.925 Save % and a 2.71 GAA vs Seattle.

-Scott Eansor, the 7th leading scorer for Seattle this year, has only 2 points vs. Portland. Although this is probably due to him being assigned with the task of stopping the Hawk's top unit, usually the best way to beat them is to control play and get some scoring chances yourself. It will be interesting to see how Eansor matches up with Petan in the playoffs.
-Keegan Kolesar is a huge loss for Seattle in this series as he is the big physical winger, who gives Portland real problems in front of hteir own net.
-Adam Henry actually notched 1 assist for Seattle vs Portland 1 assist for Portland vs Seattle this year.
-Keegan Iverson plays this role for Portland had 7 of his 39 pts this season vs Seattle.
-Gropp led Seattle in scoring and had 14 of his 58 pts vs Portland.
-13 goals for Bjorkstrand in just 7 games is insane and speaks to how how impossible it will be for Seattle to stop him.
-Look for Shea Theodore's name to pop up in the scoring column more than it has vs Portland this year.
-I half expected Kozun's stats to be a lot better than they were, though Hill was always facing way more shots than he was, so I guess it should not have surprised me too much.
-Paul Bittner was able to contribute offensively, even without his two elite play making line mates and if he stays with Koules and De Leo, I think that his scoring won't be as affected as some may think.
-Nick Holowko had only 9 pts on the year but somehow had 3 vs Portland. It seems like there is a depth guy on each team in the U.S. Divison that always brings it a little more vs Portland Holowko appears to be that guy.

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