November 14, 2019
HARD FOR LEAFS TO BEAT THE ISLANDERS WITH 22 DZONE TURNOVERS 5 ON 5
In the 5 – 4 loss to the Islanders this week, the Leafs had 22 turnovers when 5 on 5 after 100% puck possession in the Dzone (that is puck possession even for an instant). Under 10 Dzone turnovers in a game against a top team could be an acceptable result to expect a win. There are obviously other factors. Against lesser teams our powerful offence will often overcome our rather soft Dzone defence, and I don’t just mean our defencemen.
There were 17 turnovers by defencemen, 4 by forwards and 1 by the goalie against the Islanders. The turnover numbers were pretty evenly spread among the 3 periods. Only 1 goal resulted from these (Muzzin) which you could say is OK being so low but what we miss when we say this is how many of the 21 others lead or could have lead to Grade “A” scoring chances directly or indirectly? The key is to lessen the Dzone turnovers and lower the risk of quality shots against.
There was also one blatant blind drop pass turnover by Johnsson just over his blueline in the Nzone that resulted in a goal against after Nylander failed to check their player in the Dzone
In the Leafs loss to the Bruins earlier the Leafs had 27 Dzone turnovers.
Here’s the Dzone Turnover Scorecard by player in the 5 – 4 Islander loss. Look whose names are not there and consider too who had more minutes to be fair on a relative basis:
Dermott – 7 Kerfoot – 2
Muzzin – 3 Matthews – 1
Barrie – 3 Petan – 1
Reilly – 2
Holl – 1
Ceci – 1
Andersen – 1
TOTAL = 18 TOTAL = 4
Now, forwards need to help down low and elsewhere in the Dzone in lots of ways, so knowing the above results are just a starting point to drill down on the plays that lead to these 22 turnovers. Too simple to just say “more play in their zone”. This doesn’t really help. Maybe we should measure Dzone turnover assists.
However this is accomplished, until Dzone turnovers are substantially reduced by 50% +, expect Leafs wins when we are playing under 500 teams, but not many wins when we are playing top teams unless our offence and PP are on fire.