Taking my recent article about Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei just a little bit further, I decided to extend my stat dive into this line to see just how critical this line is for the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have not wasted production from Pesce and Skjei when it comes to scoring, points or their good nights in the +/- column. Moving forward into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as Carolina’s offense continues to sputter, and their goaltending remains tenuous, this line will be relied upon to generate not only goals, but assists while playing in the plus.
Reaching the 80 game mark, I updated my rather simple stat sheet to include the most recent games, and expanded it to include the +/- to see if that was yet another indication of the Pesce/ Skjei line’s importance. Here is what I found.
When Brett Pesce scored the first Hurricanes goal in the 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators for his 4th goal of the year, it was his first since back in January. However this was the first goal of his to come in a Carolina Hurricanes loss, proving yet again what I said in the original article. If Brett Pesce scores, the Canes win. To the tune of 75% of the time. Still holding true as well is my statement that if Brett Pesce scores twice, the Carolina Hurricanes win, as has only happened once. The aforementioned two goal game came against the Columbus Blue Jackets where Pesce had 2 points and was +3. Though there is a small sample size with just 4 goals total, the sample size is much larger with Brady Skjei’s 18 goals. A full 78% of Skjei’s 18 have come in Carolina wins, with only four being wasted on Hurricanes losses. Skjei has scored in 28% of Carolina’s 50 wins for the season and 13% of the losses.
As with points, when it comes to goal scoring Skjei has more goals, more evenly spread out, but Pesce lighting the lamp comes when the Hurricanes need him to the most.
Pesce and Skjei have both registered points on the same night 14 times thus far in the season. Of those, the Hurricanes have won 9 games. If either Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei register a point the number of wins jumps from 9 to 30. If my math is correct, that is 60%. What other defensive line, on any other team has that kind of influence on the game?
But it is not just the line itself that is critical to the 50 wins the Hurricanes have accrued thus far. Both Pesce and Skjei have contributed work individually to the Hurricanes success. It has not gone unnoticed that Brady Skjei has come out of the woodwork this season having tallied a point in nearly half (46%) of the Hurricanes wins this season and 90% of the losses. In total he has points in 46.25% of the games he’s played this season. Not to mention his 6 multi-point games. Of those the Hurricanes have celebrated a beloved Storm Surge after 5. That’s a full 83%. Although Skjei has received the majority of the limelight, Brett Pesce has quietly been contributing. Where Skjei has points spread out over the season, Brett Pesce has 7 total multi-point games with 71% of those coming in Hurricane wins, showing up his line mate by one.
Again, Skjei’s points come more frequently, Pesce has the tendency to come through in the big time.
Originally I looked just at goals and points to prove the Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce where of, to quote Janis Joplin, “great social and political import” to the Hurricanes. As you can see they are. But what about in the +/- column? As the numbers go there was as strong a correlation between Pesce and Skjei and the Hurricanes winning as there was with scoring and points. When the Pesce/Skjei line is zero or better in +/- the Hurricanes win 46% of the time. Individually, if Brett Pesce is in the plus column, that number climbs to 51%. It reaches 61% for Brady Skjei.
As frequently as Pesce and Skjei were on the plus side of the puck for Carolina wins, what was even more staggering was how often they both were essentially playing the same game. Unlike goals scoring or point production, Pesce and Skjei are consistently on the same page with it comes to +/-. Of the 80 games the Hurricanes have played as of this writing, 48 of them saw BOTH Pesce and Skjei at zero or better. That is a whopping 60%. Any better and they would be on a reunion tour with the Backstreet Boy because they’re NSNYC.
With the Carolina Hurricanes continuing to draw offense from their defensive players, Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei will be critical. Their goal scoring, point production and night +/- are all tied directly to Carolina winning hockey games. If either or both of them are having a good night, look for the Hurricanes to come out on top.