The Crease Report finds the best goaltending values on a given slate by looking at a goalie’s own metrics and the quality of team defense played in front of them. Team shot maps, shots against (SA), scoring chances against (SCA) and high danger chances against (HDA) are all weighed and considered to determine the best matchups. In addition to the individual goaltenders and their team defense, their opponent’s offense is examined as well, using the team shot map, shots for (S), scoring chances for (SCF) and high danger chances for (HDF). A teams’ xGF/60, expected goals for per sixty minutes and xGA/60, expected goals against per sixty minutes, will also be factored in. Ideally we’re looking for goaltenders that play on teams with a moderate amount of shots against but low amounts of scoring chances against and high danger chances against, and an opponent with high shot volume but low scoring chances for and high danger chances for.
Florida Panthers Goalies vs. Vancouver Canucks
Sergei Bobrovsky GP 24 SV% .917 GAA 2.57 QS 13
Spencer Knight GP 14 SV% .896 GAA 3.39 QS 5
There is certainly a difference in the level of play between Bobrovsky and Knight that needs to be considered when deciding to play a FLA goalie. Bobrovsky isn’t just superior in traditional goaltending stats but his quality start percentage is above .500 (.542) while Knight’s is almost equally below (.455). This matchup will be favorable for either goalkeeper but if Bobrovsky gets the start he has a much higher ceiling.
The Panthers defense is surrendering 31.77 shots against per game but they’re limiting their SCA to just 20.08/game. Also according to their shot map they’re allowing shots from the point or the top of the face off circles more frequently than anywhere else, which helps keep their xGA/60 at 2.52, 2% lower than the league average.
The Canucks shot volume (33/game) makes it appear as if their offense is effectively generating pressure however their lack of SCF (20.91/game) and HDF (5.67/game) highlights the limitations of their offense. Their shot map shows a team that gets off most of their shots from the point and high along the left wing boards. Vancouver’s xGF/60 is just 2.35, 8% below the league average.
Because of the Canucks reliance on point shots and an inability to create high danger scoring chances, whoever starts in goal for the Panthers has a shot at not just a victory but the 35+ save bonus.
Columbus Blue Jackets Goalies vs Chicago Blackhawks
Elvis Merzlikins GP 21 SV% .907 GAA 3.20 QS 10
Joonas Korpisalo GP 12 SV% .886 GAA 3.86 QS 3
There’s only a slight drop off from Merzlikins to Korpisalo so either of these goalies should be able to take advantage of this situation. While both of these netminders have elevated GAA and below average SV% this matchup sets up beautifully for any goalkeeper.
Columbus’ shot map doesn’t give a very favorable picture because of the extremely high amount of shots against (34.84/game) they contend with. The Blue Jackets basically see shots above league average from everywhere in the offensive zone but that happens when you’re allowing nearly 35 shots a game. Their xGA/60 isn’t fantastic either, sitting at 2.91 which is 13% over the league average and they’re allowing an average amount of SCA (23.96/game) and HDA (6.33/game).
The Blackhawks don’t have an elevated shot volume (28.08/game) that typically lends itself to a ceiling performance for goaltenders but due to their opponents heightened shots against Chicago should be putting more pucks on net than their season average. Chicago’s shot map shows a team with numbers well below league average in all dangerous scoring areas, and their xGF/60, 2.14, which is 17% below league average, reveals how ineffective their offense is. That’s also backed up by their lack of SCF (18.42/game) and HDF (5.22/game).
The Blue Jackets team defense is certainly underwhelming but Chicago struggles to get scoring opportunities virtually anywhere in the offensive zone, if Columbus stays disciplined their starting netminder is looking at a potential 30+ point night.