2020 NHL Playoffs goals by game state and scorer: Second Round

Continuing with the goals by game state and scorer series, we not look at the teams that were eliminated in the second round. Now as the goal totals are higher for the teams involved, we get to see different glimpses into each teams’ scoring styles.

In the second round, three series went to Game Seven, with the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Philadelphia Flyers all making it to the winner-take-all game, whereas the Boston Bruins were eliminated after five games.

Goals were scored aplenty, so without further ado, let’s dive into the data visualisations for these four teams.

How to read the charts

In the left column, goals are sorted by game state; in the right column goals are sorted by scorer. Both columns are sorted from the greatest to least number of occurrences. Game states are defined based on the number of skaters on ice, and the colours represent skaters relative to the opponent at the time of the goal.

The limitation of this data presentation is that it technically omits information on whether a goal was scored with the goalie pulled for the extra skater or on an empty net. However, in most scenarios the skaters on ice would either be 6v5 or 5v6, respectively.

While that does serve as a proxy, it doesn’t account for situations where a player in the penalty box might cause a goalie pulled situation to be represented as 5v5. Those goals would be missed in the current method of data presentation.

The visualisation may be reworked in the future to contain goaltender and penalty status, but in the mean time, the focus is only on the skaters on ice, which still serves useful information to see how a team gets their goals.

All data from Visualisations created with R and modified with Adobe Illustrator. The R “tidyverse” and “ggalluvial” packages were used to create the visualisations. Colour palette adapted from Carto.

Western Conference

With their respective series each going to Game 7, the Avalanche and Canucks had their playoff runs cut short despite both teams clawing back from a 3-1 deficits. Really, both of these teams had no troubles finding the back of the net. The Avalanche averaged a whopping 4.0 goals per game, the highest mark by any time in the playoffs.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche had the highest goal count among teams to bow out in the second round with a total of 60 goals scored. Led by the cerebral individual start to the playoffs by no other than Nathan MacKinnon, he and Nazem Kadri tied for the team lead in goals.

Andre Burakovsky and Mikko Rantanen both had seven goals apiece, while Cale Makar and Vladislav Namestikov each had four. Six other Avalanche had at least two goals, including Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.

Seventeen different players scored for Colorado in 15 games played. A majority of their goals were scored at 5v5, where Burakovsky led the team with six such goals.

Vancouver Canucks

The Canucks had the leading goal scorer in the playoffs in Bo Horvat, who scored 10 goals: five at 5v5, three at 5v4, and one of each at 5v6 and 4v5. Horvat scored literally in all situations and was a big reason the Canucks made it as far as they did.

Elias Petterssson and J.T. Miller were both high goal scorers for the Canucks as well, but they had contributions up and down their whole roster. Brock Boeser, Tanner Pearson, and Tyler Motte rounded out the Canucks’ top six scorers, with an additional eight players netting at least one goal.

The power play was pretty effective for the Canucks as well, accounting for 14 of their goals, almost tying them with the Avalanche, who had 15 goals on the man-advantage, one of which came on a 5v3 power play.

Seven different players scored on the Canucks’ power play, making it fairly hard for the opposing teams to defend against as basically any single player that skated on the power play had the ability to score.

Eastern Conference

While the West had much more scoring, the same did not hold true for the East. Neither the Flyers nor the Bruins had particularly potent offences, and that played a large part in them not advancing. Out of the 24 teams in the 2020 Playoffs, the Flyers and Bruins were respectivelly ranked 16th and 18th in goals per game.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers totaled 38 goals over 16 games and were shutout three times along the way. Scott Laughton led the team with five goals. Conversely, their goal leader from the regular season, Travis Konecny, did not score a single goal.

Whether intentional or not, the Flyers ended up spreading their scoring throughout their roster while their big names took steps back from getting goals this season. They were ranked eighth in the lead in total team points, while their top goal scorer had just 24 goals.

Scoring by committee seemed to hold true for the Flyers over the playoffs as well, but they could have used their top players finding the back of the net a little more often. Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier combined for just three goals, which didn’t help the Flyers’ case.

Another reason they faltered was that the power play was putrid, ranking 23rd overall (only ahead of the New York Rangers). Jakub Voracek amassed three of the four Flyers power play goals while Joel Farabee had the only other goal on the man-advantage. Overall, a forgettable special teams performance for Philadephia and a disappointing finish.

Boston Bruins

The best team in the regular season had major problems replicating the success that earned them the Presidents’ Trophy. The Bruins had just 29 goals over 13 games. The Calgary Flames actually had more goals despite being eliminated a round prior.

Davis Pastrnak, co-winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy alongside Alex Ovechkin, was held to just three goals over the Bruins’ playoff run. While Brad Marchand was still scoring in the playoffs, Patrice Bergeron also struggled to score. The trio played fairly good hockey though, they just couldn’t score. For a team like Boston, their top line not firing at all cylinders is bad news.

David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie Coyle provide some goals too, the former two with four goals and the latter with three. However, depth scoring just wasn’t there for the Bruins. Only 11 unique players scored, the lowest total among the four teams eliminated in the second round.

The Bruins scored four goals in the round robin, and only managed to score four goals in a game twice, both against the Carolina Hurricanes. Their paltry scoring held them to just 17 goals at 5v5. They did however manage to score 10 goals on the power play, possibly the only bright spot of their playoff run.

Second round teams overview

Through the three rounds of playoff hockey played so far, teams from the Western Conference have consistently outscored teams in the east, at least among teams that are eliminated. Colorado’s offence was one of the best overall, as they still rank second in goals scored as of September 13, with only the New York Islanders now ahead of them with more games played.

In general, teams that make it deep in the playoffs score often at 5v5 and on special teams. However, only Colorado and Vancouver did that in this group of four. Philadelphia’s power play and Boston’s 5v5 play were both less than stellar.

A unique playoff story for every team, it unfortunately ended the same way for all of them. No longer contending for the Cup, it’ll be interesting to see what each team respectively does in the offseason.

Check out the rest of the series here:

2020 NHL Playoffs goals by game state and scorer: Qualifying Round

2020 NHL Playoffs goals by game state and scorer: First Round

Stay tuned for the next two plots from the two teams that don’t make it out of the Conference Finals.

What do you think of these goals by game state and scorer charts? Though a bit of a mouthful (renaming these charts might be in order), I think they show both a good breakdown of a teams’ offence. By stepping back a bit and comparing teams, it even enables a high-level glimpse into how teams differ.

Are there any other teams (regular season or playoffs from previous years) you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @mrbilltran.

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