Is the 3rd line's early success a result of protection?

Leafs fans and Avs fans had quite a kerfuffle before the game over at Mile High Hockey.  Most of it was a pissing match, but one comment caught my eye. Chemmy (an editor and chief over at Pension Plan Puppet- A hilarious Leafs Blog)made a comment that the Winnik-O’Reilly-Landeskog line was being protected. I didn’t think that was true, so I did some basic research. Then another of the Leafs minions mentioned matchups.

After looking at it: So, is the The Avs 3rd line: featuring Winnik(26)-O’Reilly(20)-Landeskog(18) protected?

I don’t think so, but I guess it’s possible that I wasn’t noticing something. So I checked the quick and dirty: That line is taking ~ only 1/3 of their faceoffs in the Offensive zone

The response: “They aren’t facing quality competition”

So I decided to look that up as well

VS Detroit:     Shots/Fenwick/CorsiHeadtoHead
@ Boston:      Shots/Fenwick/CorsiHeadtoHead
@ Columbus:  Shots/Fenwick/CorsiHeadtoHead
@ Ottawa:      Shots/Fenwick/CorsiHeadtoHead
@ Montreal:    Shots/Fenwick/Corsi HeadtoHead
@ Toronto:     Shots/Fenwick/CorsiHeadtoHead

Against Detroit they faced off against: Kindl, Ericsson, Helm, Filpulla, Abdelkader

Against Boston: Corvo, Seidenberg, Seguin, Ference, McQuaid

Against Columbus: Carter, Nash, Martinek, Prospal, Tyutin

Ottawa: Cowen, Alfredsson, Gonchar, Karlsson, Kuba

Montreal: Gorges, Diaz, Descharnes, Pacioretty, Kostitsyn

Toronto: Kessel, Lupul, Liles, Fransen, Bozak

Now those aren’t the top lines, well except Carter/Nash and Kessel/Lupul, but those are some pretty good lines.

So how is that 3rd line doing against those above-average NHLers: 4g-6a-9points Despite starting i their own zone 2/3 of the time!

also, their Corsi %’ on the season (minus the Tornto game which isn’t in the stats yet): Winnik - .602 … O’Reilly - .599 … Landeskog - .592

Again 2/3 of their faceoffs are in the Defensive zone, yet they are dominating their opponents: Real good NHL players, possessionally.

(All Small sample size caveats apply, FYI)

I think it’s safe to say that, No: They are not being protected. In fact, other teams should start thinking of protecting their players from Winnik-O’Reilly-Landeskog


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