Something of a new approach to this bit today. One of the things that people have pointed to in this current Hawks’ streak of silliness is that the second line hasn’t scored much. Kane and Pantera have only combined for four points in the past nine games. We’ve been commenting that the top line hasn’t really pulled its weight at even-strength for any length of time this season, and I wanted to see if this has affected how teams have played them. It kind of looks like it has:
This is a graph that shows the competition, or more to the point the time on ice of competition. for Kane and Toews. As you can see, the level of competition that Kane has had to face has gotten harder and harder in the new year. March is the first month that Kane hasn’t been over a point-per-game, though he has seven points in 10 games which is hardly pathetic. But the Hawks have needed him to score at the silly pace he was on before this.
Toews has only seen his competition slip very recently, and this might not be a trend. Looking over the past few games, the last two home games Toews wasn’t really matched up against anyone, spread out evenly against the other teams’ top two or three lines by Q. The last road game in Winnipeg, Paul Maurice sent out his Scheifele-Wheeler line against Anisimov’s line, when normally we would see that against Toews.
In Dallas, the last road game before the one in Winnipeg, Lindy Ruff had Antoine Roussel match up with Toews and Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin play against the Anisimov line. We know Maurice and Ruff are not idiots, and clearly have spotted the trends. Luckily for the Hawks it didn’t matter what the Jets did, who they’ll see again next week, and it shouldn’t matter what the Flames and Canucks do. We’ll see if the three teams that visit the UC during the last week, all with good coaches, try and get matchy-uppy on the road. But it certainly is worth watching when the playoffs being.
Here are some other effects. Here is the rolling five-game average of scoring chances for Kane and his teammates when he’s out there:
And here are the high-danger chances:
Some of this is that chances and space dry up as the season goes along and the playoffs start approaching, where more teams are more desperate and have a little more to play for then they do in November. But you can see where this is heading.
Warning: these are heavily sample-sized influenced. These are Hossa’s Corsi percentages with Toews, without Toews and with Anisimov. The problem is the second number only has a 165 minutes of time, and the third one only has 60 minutes of time. But still, with the last few games here providing a time for experimentation as the Hawks playoff seeding becomes more and more settled, it might be worth unpacking a little more with the requisite ease in competition it would see.