It’s been a few days since I posted anything on the scoring chance data so it seems good to throw up yet another way of breaking down the data for the first half of the season, this time into two groups of results: home results and road results. To see my other work on scoring chances, just click on the scoring chances tag at the end of the post. If you haven’t yet checked out some of the work Bruce has done on the scoring chance results for the period before the all-star break or would like to see the results that Dennis has logged for the most recent games, you can find all of that here. I would certainly encourage people to join in on the conversation there, and if you missed a game, looking at the chance log, augmented by the highlights or a game summary of the major events tells a great story of how the game shook down. And of course another big thank-you to Dennis for doing all of the ground-work on the Edmonton Oiler scoring chance project.
(For those unfamiliar with the metric a player is awarded a chance any time someone on the ice has a chance to score. He is awarded with a “chance for” if someone on his team has a chance and awarded with a “chance against” if someone on the opposing team has a chance to score. The results are broken down into three game states, EV (even strength), PP (Power Play) and SH (Short-Handed). The players are organized according to their jersey numbers.)
Home Games 1 to 20, October 12 to January 11
Missing Home Game 19 vs San Jose
Road Games 1 to 21, October 15 to December 31
Missing Road Games 15 at St. Louis and 20 at Vancouver
Overall, most players do a little bit better at home than on the road and the Oilers as a team have outchanced at home and have been outchanced on the road. This shouldn’t be too surprising. What is surprising is that the gap is not very large. In the games under consideration here the Oilers home record was 9-7-3 and the Oilers road record was 9-10-0. Judging from these chance numbers, the Oilers record in both of these situations is about where it should be. If anything, the Oilers have probably been a little bit lucky on the road since the special teams are much improved at home than they have been on the road. This of course points to the biggest warning in the given sample: the Oilers had 12 of the first 15 games (and 18 of the first 30) on the road. How much of the difference in scoring chances is resulting from an advantage from playing at home and how much is the result of improved play in either the first or second half? It's tough to answer, but I'll look at some of the larger spreads at EV and try to come up with answers for each. Those that are not mentioned here have about the same differential at home as they do on the road.
Nilsson - +8 at home and -4 on the road. I think that this is what most would expect, although I would've expected the numbers to be more extreme. Nilsson is able to create more against weak opponents at home and is a little bit more exposed on the road.
Cogliano - -6 at home and +8 on the road. This is not what most would expect. Given that Cogliano was playing with Moreau in the last ten games, mostly at home, I think that this is a pretty hefty indictment of Ethan Moreau. To be fair Cogliano may have been playing slightly more difficult minutes but... yikes.
Moreau - -13 at home and -41 on the road. Well, at least he's getting beat down worse on the road? I don't know. This is bad. It would seem pretty clear that opposing coaches don't mind thinking of Ethan as the candy minutes.
Cole - +12 at home and -4 on the road. I think that this is mostly the result of his placement in the lineup. The last stretch of games Cole and Gagner were dominant. They may have been a beneficiary of favourable matchups but since they didn't play together on the road it's difficult to say that Cole has been better at home than on the road. It's probably better to say that he's been better with Gagner than without him.
Pisani - E at home and -22 on the road. See: Moreau, Ethan. Also, Pisani at center was a failure and was exposed badly when MacT couldn't protect him. In fairness, the sample at home is only 5 games, but given that it's his better number, I don't know if the small sample hurt him.
Grebeshkov - +21 at home and -5 on the road. More games at home paired with Visnovsky and more games on the road paired with Gilbert. He's also played better later in the year, but I for one would chalk it up mostly to the Visnovsky factor.
Strudwick - -3 at home and -23 on the road. Plays more forward at home and it shows in the numbers. He and Staios (who isn't included because he's bad all the time) were badly exposed on the road.
Stortini - E at home and -9 on the road. He doesn't quite fit the criteria but given his limited ice time I think this shows that opposing coaches are exposing him when the Oilers are on the road.
Gilbert - +7 at home and -20 on the road. He and Grebs were struggling together on the road and since then he's been handling mostly toughs in all situations. The biggest difference might be his partnership with Souray since he'd been doing toughs both at home and on the road. I think it's safe to conclude the partner shifting worked out well for both of the young dmen.
Gagner - +21 at home and +3 on the road. Similar to Nilsson, this is what one would expect and it's good to sign the + on both sides of the ledger. As was mentioned with Cole, they ate the opposition alive in the last ten games when paired together so the home numbers may be inflated.