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Comparing Red Wings’ 2017-18 hot start to 2016-17

We’re only six games into the regular season, and the Detroit Red Wings’ season is starting out awfully similar to last season when they started 4-2-0 after six games before losing nine of their next 13 games to begin a freefall to the bottom of the standings.

This season, the Red Wings are 4-2-0 after a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday and find themselves in second place in the Atlantic Division. With games against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday and the Washington Capitals on Friday, Detroit easily could be 4-4 by the weekend.

So is the downfall on the horizon for the 2017-18 version? Let’s take a look at some stats from last season and this season.

 5v5 adjusted 2016-17 2017-18
CF/60 45.55 48.56
CA/60 49.33 49.35
CF% 48.01 49.6
GF/60 3.11 2.68
GA/60 1.33 2.18
GF% 70.04 55.08
xGF/60 2.38 2.15
xGA/60 2.19 2.42
xGF% 52.09 47.04
Sh% 10.6 10.54
Sv% 95.33 92.03
PDO 105.93 102.57

You can see a lot of similarities between the two seasons. The Red Wings are taking less than 50 percent of the shots in each season, and they are shooting about 10 percent through six games.

Last season, they had incredible goalie performances split between Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard. This season, Howard has done most of the heavy lifting, save for the loss Monday.

In both seasons, they are scoring more goals than they are expected to (although the gap isn’t as wide this season), according to Corsica’s expected goal model. However, their expected goals for percentage is less than 50 this season, which means based on their shot location, angle, type, etc., they are expected to give up more goals than score this season.

As far as special teams go, the Red Wings are doing better on the penalty kill (89.3 percent this season vs. 73.9 percent last season) and not as good on the power play (16.7 vs. 24.0).

So while it’s tempting to be hopeful for a better season with the Red Wings in second place after six games, they will start to regress. Obviously, six games isn’t much of a sample size, but they are getting outshot almost every game, they are scoring less per 60 minutes and allowing more goals per 60, and they are exceeding scoring expectations, which is a sure sign of regression.

All advanced stats via Corsica.hockey.