Carolina Hurricanes’ Monthly Stat Roundup: The October Surprise

Not all stats are equal.  Some stats are fancier than others.  We dissect the Carolina Hurricanes October with only the fanciest of stats so bring your monocle and take a look.

October has not been kind to the Hurricanes in the past, and this year is no different.  The Carolina Hurricanes finished the with a 2-4-2 record for four points and last place in the Metropolitan Division.  When a John Tortorella coached team full of washed up and overpaid veterans earned more points than your team something has gone terribly wrong with the team.

But was Carolina as bad as their record said they were?  The stats are a little mixed, but they generally show Carolina played pretty well despite their record. These stats are from Corsica, 5v5, and  adjusted for score/venue.

Stat Hurricanes Rank in NHL
CF% 7th
CF60 12th
CA60 4th
GF60 8th
GA60 26th
xGF60 7th
xGA60 7th
SCF60 7th
SCA60 9th
GF% 23rd
xGF% 3rd

As the table shows, Carolina was in the top ten in a lot of important stats.  The most telling stat though, is the difference between GA60 and GF% compared with xGA60 and xGF%.  Corsica’s Expected Goal (xG) model is one of a few that tries to measure shot quality in addition to volume.  Taking into account the quality of shots against the Canes they should be giving up way less goals. So what is driving the difference between the model and reality?  You knew the answer before you even finished the sentence: the goalies.  Cam Ward and Eddie Lack have been awful in net, and there performance is even more telling when one realizes the Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the league at limiting both quality and volume of shots.

So are the Hurricanes as bad as their record?

No.  In every aspect of the game other than the net, the Carolina Hurricanes are playing like a payoff caliber team.  Even in their first game in November, the Canes dominated the Senators in the first period and still came out tied. Cam Ward allowed an unscreened shot slip by to tie the game.  Insert whatever cliche you want about dead horses and broken records, but until Carolina solves the problem every analysis of the Canes begins and ends with their play in net.  But even that should hopefully regress to the mean soon.

In terms of their stats, the Carolina Hurricanes are playing even better than they did last year.  But just like last year, goaltending continues to be a big issue.  When the Canes get league average goaltending  the wins will come.  The months of December and January of last season prove that.  Ultimately what the stats show is a team ready to contend for a playoff spot.  The offense is there.  The defense is there.  Hopefully the percentages start coming through and the Hurricanes will start getting rewarded for their overall good play instead of being punished for a few mistakes.

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