I should warn everyone, I'm kind of a numbers dork. Especially when it comes to sports. I'm a sabermetrics guy when it comes to baseball, and I love the same type of stats that are being applied to hockey.
There's so much about this sport to be learned outside of the normal coverage.
So let's have some fun, shall we?
When studying Wednesday night's game, or any game really, I like to study something called CORSI Rating. It's a pretty easy stat to understand. CORSI Rating is a measure of the amount of shots a team attempts while a certain player is on the ice versus the amount of shots that are attempted against that team while he's on the ice.
These are shots attempted, not just the ones on net. So ones that are blocked or miss the target are also included.
So in Wednesday night's Game 1, Drew Doughty's CORSI Rating was plus-15. That means that while Drew Doughty was on the ice, the Kings attempted 15 more shots than the Devils did. It's not a perfect stat by any means. One could simply stand still at the red line and check out fans in the first deck, and as long as his teammates are doing the work he could end up with a plus CORSI Rating.
But it's a pretty good indicator of whether a team is attacking or defending more while a player is on the ice -- after all, you're not firing shots from your own zone. And it's a decent barometer of how much your team has the puck while a player is on the ice.
So in Wednesday night's game, Doughty was plus-15 and his partner Rob Scuderi was a plus-14. Obviously, this is quite positive. It means that the Kings' top pair was easily surviving the Devils' forecheck and getting the puck up the ice for the Kings to create.
What's slightly worrying for the Kings, though hardly panic time, is that no other D-man was above a plus-1. Obviously, you'd worry if those numbers were negative in a big way.
But it suggests that the bottom four blue-liners -- Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene, Slava Voynoy, and Alex Martinez -- are just battling to stay equal. They aren't helping the Kings create chances more than keeping them from happening against. This was the worry in the series, as the Devils' speed and skill when getting the proper matchup is a problem for either slow or inexperienced defensemen.
This should be watched in Game 2, when Devils coach Pete Deboer has the option to get his big guns out against the defensemen who might not be able to handle them, as he did more of in the 3rd period of Game 1.
If those four D-men can keep their CORSI at level, the Kings should be ok. If they start to list even more, this series will go on a while.
Sam Fels is the proprietor of The Committed Indian, an unofficial program for the Chicago Blackhawks. His work has appeared on NBC Chicago, SB Nation, Yahoo's Puck Daddy and NBC's Pro Hockey Talk. Fels is a lifelong hockey fan and also writes for Second City Hockey.