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Will underlying numbers be undoing of Red Wings?

Analytics unkind to Detroit

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Derek Lalonde, Red Wings coach
Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde can't be liking what he's seeing in his club's analytics of late.

Detroit Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde loves to talk about the underlying numbers. He’ll often throw them out as evidence that the club deserved a better fate in a setback than the actual outcome.

Lately, those underlying numbers are indicating that the Red Wings are gaining a better fate than they deserve.

While the club’s recent five-game win streak has succeeded in bringing the Red Wings into the thick of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Wild Card playoff hunt, the fact of the matter is that the underlying numbers may be suggesting that it’s all fool’s gold.

In all five of Detroit’s victories, the underlying numbers are displaying that the club was being significantly outplayed. The measurable of this fact is shots attempts, referred to as SAT in NHL analytics. It’s viewed as a reflection of how much time a team spends in the attacking zone. In several games, this difference was extremely lopsided. Overall, the Red Wings are at a 424-251 disadvantage in shot attempts over the past six games. In even-strength shot attempts, commonly referred to as Corsi, the Wings are showing a 339-170 disadvantage through those same six contests.

In the two wins over Calgary, the shot attempts were 72-39 Flames (2-1 Detroit victory) and 80-40 Flames (5-2 Detroit win). During the 5-4 shootout win at Edmonton, SAT favored the Oilers 80-40. Even in the 6-1 rout at Vancouver, the Canucks were holding a 59-41 shot attempt edge.

Is Success Of Red Wings Sustainable?

Looking at those underlying numbers, analytics experts would be viewing long-term success as not sustainable. Yet oddly enough, in Saturday’s 4-2 loss at Seatle, the Kraken were holding a slight 60-57 advantage in SAT. That’s the closest Detroit has come to winning the battle in terms of shot attempts.

“This was a winnable game,” Lalonde told Bally Sports Detroit after the Seattle loss. “We had plenty of opportunities. We just didn’t execute throughout and give ourselves a chance.”

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For the season, the Red Wings are showing a shot attempts differential of -427, which is 28th overall in the NHL. The teams below them – Anaheim (-682), Chicago (-662), Arizona (-527) and Columbus (-475) – occupy four of the bottom-five places in the NHL standings.

According to NaturalStatTrick.com, Detroit’s Corsi For Percentage (CF%) is 45.52, which is 29th overall in the NHL. The three teams worse than the Wings are Chicago, Anaheim and Arizona.

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