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OGA StatNip – 14 November

Hopes and dreams are being dashed by realty in the NHL as we near the 20-game mark. Stock is being taken and changes made as assessments require (ask Ken Hitchcock).

The proof, for better or worse,  is now in the scorin’.

Today’s StatNip blog is all about Team Scoring Rhythms (TSRs) as they are really beginning to show some of the wear and tear of the season even before Game 20. TSRs are done in the ‘Jim Craig’ model. (The 1980 Team USA gold medal winning goalie used to break down every period of every game into 5-Minute Blocks – our 5MBs – of time to assess his performance and ‘clear the mechanism’ ala Kevin Costner in ‘For Love Of The Game.’ Thanks for the model to harp on, Jim!)

We will discuss TSRs both in terms of the overall team and players of note. We will begin each Conference section with an overall numbers review which will be of great interest to both the casual fan and professional alike. Then we will break down teams of note in the Conference for further discussion as there is a particular note to cover.

Eastern Conference TSRs

Eastern Averages

Here are the Hi and Lo notes for TSR stats in the Eastern Conference (all stats are as of games ending 13 November):

Michalek (OTT) and Lecavalier (TBL) have scored the most goals (4) in one, 5MB of the TSR. These two players’ goals are the most dominant in both the East and NHL in terms of goal scoring in one 5MB.

Seguin (BOS) has scored in the most consecutive 5MBs of the TSR (8, over the entire 2nd and 3rd Periods of BOS play). He is the most consistent scorer across 5MBs in both the East and NHL.

PIT averages the most goals scored per player and per 5MB in both the East and NHL at +1.2778, a reflection of consistent scoring throughout a game.

MTL averages the least goals scored per player and per 5MB in both the East and NHL at +.9346, a reflection of more inconsistent scoring throughout a game.

BOS has the highest goal differential (GD) per 5MB in both the East and NHL at +1.231. There are currently seven Eastern teams with a positive GD per 5MB (BOS, BUF, FLA, NYR, PHI, PIT and WSH). Of those teams, only BOS is not currently in playoff position in the standings, an indicator they surge in some 5MBs and not others as defined further below.

WPG has the lowest GD per 5MB in the East at –1.15. The other eight Eastern teams all have a negative GD per 5MB (CAR, MTL, NJD, NYI, OTT, TBL, TOR and WPG). Of those teams, both TBL and TOR are currently in playoff position in the standings, an indicator just as with the positive GD that they surge in some 5MBs and not others as defined further below.

Eastern Teams Of Note

Having given you the Hi’s and Lo’s, we now turn to individual teams with some specific interest in 5MBs. (If your favorite team is not listed, they are playing opponents about equal across the span of the average game.)

Until the last two weeks, you could just about bank on a long break at the restroom and concession stand in the 2nd Period of a BOS game when neither the Bruins nor opponents were scoring. Now BOS has outscored opponents 7 – 3 in the opening 5MB of the second period and by a +12 GD from the last 5MB of the 2nd Period through the middle of the 3rd.

BUF outscores the opposition by a +8 through the opening 15 minutes of a game and are a +7 from the last half of the 2nd Period through the opening 5MB of the 3rd. They like drama, however, as they have given up seven goals (and a –2) to close out a game.

CAR plays games about even most of the way. And then comes the mid-point of the 3rd where in that third 5MB of the period they are a –8 in GD. It does not help either in the final five minutes they are a +1, but with 15 total goals for and against. ‘Out of gas’ may be the correct assessment here.

FLA are their opponents are about even throughout the game with two exceptions. The Panthers have eight wins, 19 points and are No. 7 in the standings because they are a +6 to close both the 1st and 3rd Periods.

Why is MTL playing .500 hockey? They open the game allowing 2, 4 and 5 goals against their 4, 0 and 2 scores in the opening three 5MBs for an overall –5. That is balanced by +3 in the middle of the 2nd and a +4 in the third 5MB of the 3rd.

NJD is playing mediocre at the moment. They are outscored 8 – 2 in the opening 10 minutes of games and form the final 5MB of the 2nd to the final 5MB of the 3rd by almost a –2 per 5MB. Of note, however, they have three 5MBs with a positive differential and the Devils have allowed the least combined goals in the East during the closing 5MB of regulation (6).

NYI’s GDs are unremarkable until the 3rd period where they are outscored by an average of three goals every five minutes in the frame.

The NYR only have three 5MBs with a negative GD (total of 5/average of 1.67 goals per). The rest of the time they are even or above their opponents with particular success in the final 15 minutes of games at a +7 GD.

OTT looks to be playing behind in GD from the 5th minute of the 1st Period until the 10th minute of the 2nd, although the 1st Period is of most concern (a –13 overall GD).  Scoring is then relatively even until the final 5MB of regulation where you have to be in your seat – a total of 22 goals for and against have come at this time, the largest amount in the NHL. The Sens have eight wins off the back of many of those last-five-minute scrambles.

PHI beast you in the 1st Period where their GD is a +13.

PIT is a +5 in the opening 10 minutes of the game, and then goes –4 to close out the 1st Period before carrying a positive GD for the next 30 minutes of play. To boot, their GD is only a –2 over the final 10 minutes of the 3rd Period, so pretty much, the Crosby-less Pens own you from the 2nd Period onward.

TBL tends to get spanked in the middle 10 minutes of the 2nd Period (–8) and comes roaring back to close the 2nd Period (+6) and in the middle of the 3rd Period (+8). Inconsistently, they have both scored and given up six goals (12 total) in the final five minutes of game play. So more consistency could see them move up from the 8th seed more toward the middle of the Eastern playoff pack.

TOR began the season as a house on fire and is now cooling off. Their only negative GD issues, however, are in closing out the 2nd and 3rd Periods where they are a –5 and –6 respectively. The latter is in special need of attention to get more back upon the winning track.

WSH catches teams napping to close the 1st and 2nd Periods and open the 2nd and 3rd. Over those 20 minutes, they are a +17 in GD and are on the (slim) positive side over the last 10 minutes of games and in OT.

WPG loses games in GD beginning at the 10-minute mark of the 2nd Period. From there to the final 5MB of regulation, they are in consistent negative GD territory with an overall –16 in that 25-minute span. They attempt a closing surge for respectability in the last five minutes of games but are only a +1 for six goals scored.

Western Averages

Here are the Hi and Lo notes for TSR stats in the Western Conference:

Six players have scored the most Western goals (3) in one, 5MB of the TSR (Jokinen, Sharp, Duchene, Nystrom, Heatley and Pavelski). By comparison, there are 11 players in the East with three goals in one 5MB.

Seven players have scored in four, consecutive 5MBs, the most in the West (Glencross, Hossa, Eriksson, Kopitar, Cullen, Marleau and Hansen). Again contrasting with the Eastern Conference, four players have done the same or better. So overall, there is more scoring in the East, but it is done more consistently in the West.

SJS averages the most goals scored per player and per 5MB in the West at +1.248, just a bit behind PIT in the East.

CBJ averages the least goals scored per player and per 5MB in the West at +.975, just a bit ahead of MTL.

Representing the most parity (least goals scored and best Goalie save percentages) in the NHL, the highest GD per 5MB in the West belongs to CHI at only +.769. Of key note here is that the West is successfully playing more 5MBs with 11 teams holding an overall GD above 0 (CHI, DAL, DET, EDM, LAK, MIN, NSH, PHX, SJS, STL and VAN).

Predictably, CBJ has the lowest GD per 5MB in both the West and NHL at –1.77. The remaining three Western teams with a negative GD per 5MB are ANA, CGY and COL. Not too surprisingly these four teams are at the bottom of the Western standings.

Western Teams Of Note

ANA’s woes start early with a –6 GD in the first five minutes of games. (The opening goal of last night’s game came at 6:09 of the 1st.) They’re also outscored in the middle 10 minutes of the 2nd Period and again at the 10-minute mark of the 3rd for the next 5MB. While they tend to shut down the final five minutes of the game, they are not scoring either as they are a 0 GD with four total goals for and against, the lowest in the NHL.

CGY takes a hit at 10 minutes of the 2nd through the first five minutes of the 3rd with an overall –9 GD. Where their GD is positive, the average in those 20, spread out minutes is only a +1.75 which is why they are toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

CHI plays 40 minutes total either even or at a positive GD with the final 5MB of the 1st Period at a +7. The open and close of the 2nd Period has been their biggest headache with a combined –7 GD. But their final five minutes’ +3 has assisted when the 1st Period push has not been enough.

COL began really hot this season, particularly to close games out over the final five minutes of games. Now the first 10 minutes of the second period (with a –8 GD) and the ‘only +2’ GD at the end of the 3rd  Period are beginning to take their toll and make this team look more ordinary.

Simply put, CBJ has nine 5MBs with a combined –26 GD and only three regulation 5MBs on the positive side of things (+6 GD). They are consistently not scoring and letting the rubber into the twine at their end of the rink.

Other than the seven-goal spike for (10:00 – 15:00 of the 1st, goal time) and eight goal spike against (5:00 – 10:00 of the 3rd), Coach Gulutzan has DAL playing a rather steady and consistent scoring rhythm of an average of 3.5 goals every five minutes.

DET is playing catch up from their six-game losing streak. That said, they have 7-of-12 5MBs with a positive GD and all but the final five minutes of the game where they are a –2 or less.

EDM goes –5 in the first 10 minutes of a game, –5 to open the 2nd Period, and –4 in the final 10 minutes of contests. If they can fix the bookends and maintain the middle, they will be a playoff team this season.

After going a –5 in GD at 10:00 – 15:00 of the 1st Period, SJS holds a positive GD for the next 25 minutes of games (a +13). If they can contain the three negative GD spikes at mid-1st Period and in the 3rd, they can continue down the current winning path they are on right into the Playoffs.

STL’s main issue is the –5 GD at the 10-minute mark of the 2nd Period. After that, they need to increase the GD positively across the board where they are mostly even or just below opponents to win more consistently.

VAN can score through the 1st Period (+8), lets a lot in during the 2nd (–10) and has a problem in the 3rd  Period. While not letting too many pucks pop the twine in the 3rd Period, they have a total of three goals scored in the final 10 minutes of play. Only one of those three is an empty net goal and stands as the only marker in the final five minutes of play. It is as if the gym bags are packed up when they come out for the final stanza. This has to be rectified soon.

Wrap Up

And that is it for this week’s addition of StatNips. Next week we hit on the 13 teams who reach their Game 20 Playoff Qualifying Curve calls as well as TSRs/5MBs/GDs and other acronyms we might coin…


OGA StatNip – 8 November

Below is some Tuesday morning On Goal Analysis StatNip for your further analysis and discussion.

Within, we converse about the Game 10 (G10) Playoff Qualifying Curve which was complete with the New York Islanders game against Winnipeg on 3 November. We had the fewest calls of IN or OUT of the Playoffs at the G10 mark since the Lockout and the first time we have not had a team called Chasing
Stanley (IN) this season. We tell you what we found out and what we already know looking toward G20.

Before the first regular season puck dropped, we took a stab at predicting Wins and Losses, game-by-game, through the opening 10 games for all teams. (See As promised, we owed you our report card and it is below.

And finally, we have been following what we call team Scoring Rhythms since the season began. Why? Because teams get a ‘feel’ for what kind of effort is going to constitute a Win at game’s end. We are not on the ice, but we see their output on the score sheet at the end of the night. Take all goals scored and put them together and we have a Scoring Rhythm that, like an EKG strip, measures a team’s scoring heartbeat. What have we seen as we look at those strips?

It’s all below…

The Game 10 Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC)

That’s right – we hit the first furlong last week when all 30 teams completed their first 10 games and produced the first marker for our patented PQC.

For background, over this past summer we completed extensive research into that pesky 10% of calls we term a Shot Off The Post. A full 68% of these miscues, as you may surmise, come by Game 20 as we still make data-driven calls with less than 25% of the total W/L data set in. So we tightened things up for Game 10 just a notch.

It did not matter. Had we not made our adjustments, there would only have been one less IN or OUT call at Game 10. That is how parity prevalence in the NHL.

In the Eastern Conference, Washington was dubbed Sharpening Skates, or just short of IN the playoffs. Boston, Montreal and the New York Islanders were Dusting Off Clubs, or just short of elimination. (That’s right, the Stanley Cup champions with the huge hangover were almost at our call of Tee Time.) As many would have assumed before the season started, Winnipeg is at Tee Time. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking they won’t give you a game for your money. (Ask Philadelphia.) All other eastern teams were In The Curve, or just about average. There is an In The Curve hierarchy with Toronto and Pittsburgh at your upper echelon and New Jersey at the lower end. But teams are already making moves to correct G10 balances.

In the West, Columbus was called at Tee Time and all others were In The Curve. Those In The Curve who were pushing the envelope more toward Washington’s strata included Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton and Los Angeles. Closer to Boston were Calgary and the other hangover, Vancouver. The Western Conference it seems will be just as competitive this year as last season.

What do we already know toward the Game 20 calls? We already know 12 teams – 40% of the League – will not receive a Chasing Stanley call even if they win out to G20. We are on it, and will keep you informed. Check out the bottom of our home page for the G20 schedule which begins with Ottawa on 17 November.

Predictive Fatigue Factors

We did it. We went out on a limb the day before the season started and attempted to predict how nine Fatigue Factors would affect Wins and Losses for teams by Game 10. How did we do?

Over 137 games, and giving us 1/2 of a Win for Pick’em games which ended in a one goal differential, we were only 57.7% correct.

Twenty-eight of those games were Pick’em games that were too close to call at the season’s outset. If you throw them out, we were only about 52% correct, or right about what Las Vegas wants to guarantee income in the desert.

You would have had to correctly choose all of the Pick’em winners to surpass 60% accuracy if Fatigue Factor were your deciding criteria.

Washington was most accurate against these factors at 75% and COL – with the huge road winning streak – was worst at only 15%.

Nineteen of 30 teams were better than 50% against Fatigue Factor calls.

So based on the study, fatigue itself is only a deciding factor in games something less than 60% of the time. But there is one more thing this study accomplished. It allowed us to predict a Hi to Lo range of Wins for teams by Game 10 before the first game was played. How did your team do? Have a look at this chart:

As you can see, we were most inaccurate in predicting the Hi range of Wins for teams by Game 10 (less than 25% correct and an average of 1.02 games greater than actual performance). Our own prediction within the range came in at 56.7% correct with an average of.017 games above actual performance. Our Lo range was a superb 90% and 1.75 games below actual performance.

The more competitive Western Conference was inversely more predictable than the East. In total Hi, Projected and Lo calls, the East was only 53.3% correct while the West was 62.2%. It’s those five Hi rangeprojections coming in out West versus only three back East that is a difference maker,

In our opinion, Fatigue is a factor in predicting Wins and Losses, but not enough to make us put our money where our mouth is…

Scoring Rhythms

Since the season began, we have tracked scoring in teams by period in five-minute blocks of time to produce an overall game Scoring Rhythm profile. Doing so shows interesting trends as teams struggle to define the scoring rhythm that tells them they are on track toward a victory. Below are notes on some teams who stand out in some way. (If your team is not listed, there is nothing significant in offensive or defensive performance to report at this time.)

Eastern Conference

Until last weekend, Boston games were relative sleepers in the 2nd period. The trend is changing now, but the opposition outscores them 5-0 in the middle 10 minutes of that frame. The Bruins are currently dominant in the last five minutes of the 2nd period through the middle of the 3rd to the tune of 15-4.

Buffalo splits two stints of dominance with their opponents as they are best in the first 15 minutes and from five minutes of the 2nd through five minutes of the 3rd in games. Their opposition has a short spike in the last five minutes of the 1st through the first five of the 2nd, and have been huge in the final five minutes of games, scoring seven times.

Carolina only has 20 minutes of dominance scattered across all periods in games where they have outdone other teams 18-10. Their opponents have 30 minutes of dominance plus both OTW’s. That equals a record hovering around .500.

Florida has a 6-0 scoring spike over opponents in the last five minutes of the 1st and a 6-1 spike against in the last five minutes of the 2nd. Just about everything else is within two goals either way. So Florida is scoring and playing about even.

Montreal’s issues are primarily in the middle of the 1st period where have been outscored 8-1. There is a suspenseful 5-1 run in the Habs’ favor from minute 10-15 of the 3rd, but overall scoring is about even.

Ottawa is an interesting study overall. From the 5th minute of the 1st Period through the midway point of the 2nd, they play second fiddle to the tune of 12 goals against 26 on the scoreboard. They outscore the opposition for five minutes in the 2nd by one goal over the final 15 minutes of the game 21-14. Those eight goals of advantage have translated into a 7-7-1/9th place eastern team after games on Sunday.

Philadelphia kills you to open the game with a total of 26 goals (46.4% of team scoring) and no less than six markers in any five minute stretch in the 1st period. They are also only outscored in 10 minutes of the overall game from the start of the 2nd period until game over by a total of four goals. Can you say dominate?

Similar to the Flyers, Pittsburgh’s surge is defined by a couple of scoring spikes. In the opening 10 minutes of play, the Pens have outscored opponents 7-1. While they have been overpowered 6-2 in the final five minutes of the 1st, they punish foes throughout the 2nd period 16-7. The gas begins to run out in the 3rd period, but that equates to even with opponents to minute 10 of the 3rd and ahead by +1 in the final five minutes of the contest.

Tampa Bay is a –4 in the first five minutes of the game and behind their opponents by one goal every five minutes over the next 15. While they are outscored 9-2 over the middle 10 minutes of the 2nd, they close the last five of the middle frame with a 7-0 advantage and win the 3rd period by just enough 16-11. It is the +12 goal differential late in the game that has been the difference in seven wins and two losses in extra session.

While Toronto swings back and forth with foes throughout the game, they enter the final five minutes of the game even in goals scored.  They are a –3 in the final five of a game, a trend they need to reverse to keep from a slip to mediocrity.

Washington plays relatively even except to close and then open each period beginning at the end of the 1st. In those 20 total minutes, they outscore the opposition 22-7. They are only a +2 in the last 10 minutes of the total game and have benefitted from three OT scores.

Winnipeg leads from five minutes in the 1st through the fifth minute of the 2nd by one or two goals in each five minute block. They are crushed from the mid-point of the 2nd period until the final five of the game 8-23 which is why they have made OGA’s Tee Time list.

Western Conference

Does Anaheim need an early hole to dig out of as game motivation? We’re just asking as they are tied with Tampa Bay at an NHL-worst –4 deficit in the opening five minutes of the overall game. Ahead 11-4 over the next 10 minutes of the opening frame, the opposition outscores them by 11 goals in the next 20 minutes and by a total of 7-1 over the closing 10 minutes of a contest. That is why they have more losses than wins.

Chicago opens and closes the 2nd period with eight goals against and a combines –8. Those two stretches constitute their Achilles heel.

Columbus’ scoring issues are four-fold. In the opening five minutes, they are a combined –3. At 10 minutes of the 1st Period until its close, they are –9. Closing the 2nd Period to the 10-minute mark of the 3rd they are a –7. And they bookend a game with another –3 in the final five minutes of play. Outscored by 22 goals over 35 minutes of their overall game is the overall losing effect in Ohio never mind the tactical reasons goals are given up.

Why is Dallas the top Western team right now? They do not have a single five minute block in their overall game where they are worse than a –2, and that only happens in four of 12 five-minute stretches of time.

Why is Detroit having issues? After all, nine of 12 five-minute stretches they are either tied or outscore opponents. The problem is they average a +1.1 in those periods and average –3.33 when not dominating.
That is how close things are in the Western Conference.

Edmonton is winning total five minute stretches 7-3 and by a +9 goal differential.

Los Angeles has a relative .577 winning percentage, good enough for 8th place going into Monday night’s games. Where they make their money is that they are from one-to-three goals better than teams they play over the final 15 minutes of regulation and in OT.

Minnesota is doing rather well in fourth place in the West because they outscore opponents from the final five minutes of the 1st Period on through the 2nd and for the final 15 minutes of the game.

And a –3 from 5:00 to 10:00 and –1 for 15:00-20:00 of the 1st Period plus a –6 from 10:00 to 20:00 of the 2nd Period. That is the overall scoring difference in coaching and not coaching from St. Louis in the NHL.


And that is StatNip for the beginning of this week in the NHL. The PQC is rolling along, leading to more predictions for Game 20 of teams IN or OUT of the 2012 Playoffs. Fatigue Factors as the only determinant of victory is a dicey proposition. And scoring rhythms continue to morph as teams play into something closer to a recognizable team comfort or dis-ease zone.

We’ll have more StatNip for you next Monday…

Twitter Updates

  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 4 years ago
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