Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Here are the best and worst 14-game save percentage streaks during the 2009-10 regular season for each of remaining final four teams:

Philadelphia: .936 and .870
Montreal: .943 and .882
Chicago: .937 and .874
San Jose: .944 and .887

And the same thing for seven game series:

Philadelphia: .946 and .857
Montreal: .952 and .871
Chicago: .955 and .844
San Jose: .967 and .853

The similarity in range illustrates again how the margins are very small in goaltending. Over a short sample the skill element of goaltending can be completely lost in the noise of whether the opposing shooters are missing, the puck is hitting him through screens and traffic, or whether he happens to be in peak form or not. Most teams will have at least one streak of seven games or more where their team save percentage is .940 or better, yet analysts are repeatedly stunned when some lesser goalie hits that mark or a star goalie sees his numbers dive to sub-.900 levels over the course of a playoff series.

With the Canadiens' shooting and save percentages taking a clobbering in back-to-back shutout losses to the Flyers, I think we have a new leader in the clubhouse for the luckiest team in the playoffs. With an 11.8% shooting percentage and a .933 save percentage Philadelphia is absolutely rocking the percentages. Take a look at the PDO numbers (shooting percentage plus save percentage) for the teams that are left:

Philadelphia: 105.1
Chicago: 102.2
Montreal: 101.2
San Jose: 98.5

The only way the Flyers can likely compete with the Western champ is if the pucks keep going in and staying out at ridiculous rates. If Michael Leighton can keep his even-strength save percentage in the .980 range then that should probably do it, but unfortunately the winds of chance tend to be fickle, as the Canadiens are finding out. We don't know how the bounces are going to shake out for the rest of the playoffs, but it's probably fair to say that barring some ridiculous streak occurring everything looks lined up for the end of a long Cup drought in Chicago.


Anonymous said...

Solid analysis. There is no question that the two remaining Western clubs are both much stronger and deeper than the Eastern teams. The Cup Final is going to be over pretty quickly, I think.

Jonathan said...

So I'm guessing you'll take the Chicago Blackhawks who are currently at 2:3 on bodog. (I'm not a gambler for the record).

Assuming a 50% chance of winning every game, the Blackhawks have an 81.25% chance of winning their series. Considering both teams are about equal and the Blackhawks have 3 more home games left, tis is a conservative guess. Regardless, if you think the Blackhawks have at least 74% chance of beating the Flyers or Habs in a seven game series, then this would (theoretically) be a good bet to make.

This of course is assuming you don't bet more than you can afford. Betting your life savings in an attempt to double your life savings would obviously be a horrible idea, regardless of which side you're on.

Passive Voice said...

This is a great illustration because it's so simple. There's nothing theoretical or mathy about it.

(PS: word verification is "boohabbi", which seems funny given all the Oil fans in attendance. "bootambo" would probably be more fair, though.)

Bruce said...

Interesting stuff, CG. I wonder when you break down into game segments like this, if there is any team or goalie that stands out for being being particularly erratic or extra steady?

The Contrarian Goaltender said...

I didn't run the numbers on everyone, but I think that range is typical for most teams. Randomness dictates that some would have wider or narrower ranges over the course of a single season, but I'm not sure it would persist.

For example, I looked at the 14 game results for Buffalo and Toronto, just to get a sense of results for the top and bottom goaltending teams, and they both had a similar range. I don't still have the exact numbers but as I recall Buffalo's was something like .950 and .890 and Toronto range was around .910 to .850.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the numbers for Flounder. I doubt they are much different from the numbers for Toronto. If I were Ray Shero, I'd send Flounder down to the Wilkes Barre Penguins and sign Conklin, Sabourin, or whoever else is available. With the money saved on his butt, the Pens could afford an elite winger to go along with their centers.

Flounder is the living proof that even Dan Cloutier could win a cup on a stacked-enough team.

Anonymous said...

One more comment, I bet that the Dominator, at 46 years (if healthy), could outplay Flounder in a clutch game.

Bruce said...

The Dominator just won the Czech League championship, and I wouldn't bet against him outplaying anybody in a clutch game. But your Fleury hatred is more than little over the top, pal.

Over a short sample the skill element of goaltending can be completely lost in the noise of whether the opposing shooters are missing, the puck is hitting him through screens and traffic, or whether he happens to be in peak form or not.

I wonder if these ebbs and flows are not just the goalie's peak form but in the sharpness of the team in front of him. When the team is out of synch for a while, the goalie is apt to encounter a few more unpleasant surprises. I think most any team is going to see its game rise and fall from time to time (a.k.a. "streaks" and "slumps").

Anonymous said...

"A little more than over the top"? This blog is dedicated to exposing Brodeur as a fraud when by far the WORST goaltending fraud gets off light.

Flounder won't ever be Brodeur's pinkie finger, or Hasek's hangnail.

nightfly said...

Anon - I think the problem is that you're talking about MAF as if you or I could outplay him, when he is probably one of the fifty best goalkeepers in the world. He's likely better than Conklin or Sabourin, for example, and the money the Pens would save taking them instead would be penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Bruce said...

Hard to visualize the Penguins winning the Cup last year with Dany Sabourin between the pipes.

NiceSave said...

Excellent post. One of the best I've ever read on here. If it's not too much trouble, I'd also like to see it expanded to all teams.

NiceSave said...

Also, would it be possible to run these numbers against other factors like PP & PK time (compared to avg.)?