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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Game-Winning Save UPDATE - by Big Tex

On the first day of the 2009-10 season, I wrote about a theory I’d developed last season and called it the Game-Winning Save (GWS). For those of you who don’t feel up to reading my original post, here’s GWS in a nutshell:

If a team trails by one goal at any point in the 3rd period and takes a shot which hits the post and does not go in the net, that team loses the game every time.

For more about the reasoning behind this, you’ll just have to read the original post. In the meantime, after watching a great many games over the first three weeks of the season, I have some results to report:

GAME 1: (Saturday, 24 OCT) San Jose 4 @ Atlanta 3. Evander Kane scores 40 seconds into the 3rd period to make the score 4-3. 48 seconds later, Rich Peverley hits the post.

GAME 2: (Monday, 26 OCT) Islanders 2 @ Montreal 3 (OT). Montreal leads, 2-1, and with 7:25 remaining in the 3rd, Bruno Gervais hits the post. The Isles score just over three minutes later to tie the game, but Montreal finishes them off in OT.

According to the Accounting Department, that makes two games in which the GWS theory has proven true. It hasn’t been disproven (yet), but there’s always an exception to the rule. If you should happen to see a Game-Winning Save-related event – whether proving or disproving the theory – please let me know, either via email (matt@ongoalanalysis.com) or Tweet (@OGAs_BigTex). Before you go emailing or Tweeting, however, there are a couple of rules to keep in mind:

1. The shot off the post must take place in the 3rd period.
2. At the time of the shot, the shooting team must be trailing by one goal.

Simple, right? So far this season, I’ve only seen the above criteria met in two games. It’s not easy, primarily because shots off the post aren’t normally tracked as a game statistic. What it boils down to, then, is something you have to see with your own eyes, either by watching the game live or in highlights (thank you, NHL Network). I’m going to track this to the best of my ability, but feel free to let me know of any instances you witness of a team either proving or dis-proving the theory. I’ll post more updates as conditions warrant.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.

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