Photo credit: Greg Fiume
Stop me if you heard this one before: Boudreau is making line changes. Not exactly Yoko and the Beatles, but it looks like Ovi and Backstrom are being split up. Again. Will it make a difference?
Tough to say. Last year the numbers suggested Backstrom needed Ovechkin way more than the reverse, but this year the numbers at even strength are not so clear.
|Ovi + Backstrom||165||122||25||18||57.5%||15.2%||85.2%|
|Ovi w/o Backstrom||193||161||28||23||54.5%||14.5%||85.7%|
|Backstrom w/o Ovi||186||149||28||24||55.5%||15.1%||83.9%|
SCF = scoring chances for, SCA = scoring chances against, GF = goals for, GA = goals against, SC% = Percentage of scoring chances in Caps favor, Convert% = Goals scored off chances for, Save% = Goals prevented off chances against
Not much of a difference, eh? Chances go about the same. Converting and preventing on those chances are about the same. Yawn. Perhaps it is just regression to the mean after all?
There have been some line combos that have worked during 5v5 with Ovechkin and Backstrom:
The Ovi-Backstrom-Semin line is exactly what you would expect: fun-n-gun with scant regard for defense, putting only slightly more than half of the chances in the Caps’ favor while producing 4 goals (GF/60) off 20 chances (SCF/60) per 60 minutes of ice time. The “sweet spot” looks to be the line with Laich and the Dynamic Duo, which would leave Knuble and Semin on the second line with either MP85 or MJ90. Unfortunately, there has been only a handful of minutes for these lines this season. Maybe they offset the opportunity cost of moving Laich to the first line, maybe not — we’ll have to wait and see.
As for Saturday’s line combo of Ovechkin – Johansson – Laich? Only one chance against over 17 minutes of ice time. I guess we’ll know more Saturday on this line as well.