Phoenix is actually allowing 2.5% more shots on goal this season - some of that is due to playing with the lead a lot more often than they did last year, but for the most part, it shows that they are not a dramatically different team defensively than they were before. The big difference is in goal:
|2008-09||Goals Saved||2009-10||Goals Saved|
Also, Phoenix went 4-7 in extra-time last season compared to the 17-6 they've posted so far. If we substitute better goaltending and a luckier record in extra-time, here's what we get:
So Phoenix is roughly 18 goals better this season than they were last season once you remove all the luck (or for those of you who believe that shooting percentage is not luck-driven, better goaltending). That's just three wins. There just isn't a lot of space there for Dave Tippett's genius to occupy, not with Radim Vrbata playing better, Martin Hanzal continuing to improve and Vern Fiddler kicking ass on faceoffs.