Goalies stealing or giving away games

One can look at team goals against average and save percentage to get an idea of how good or bad a teams goaltending is but I wanted to get a better idea of how much each team has been affected by good or bad goaltending. As a quick and easy way of doing this I defined as either of the following:

  1. a game in which the team scored 2 or fewer goals, allowed 30 or more shots and won
  2. a game in which the team scored 3 goals and allowed 35 or more shots and won.

It is a pretty arbitrary definition but should give a fairly reasonable idea of what teams are benefiting from very good goaltending. So here are the results:

Num Team Stolen
1 Columbus 7
2 Vancouver 6
3 New Jersey 5
4 NY Rangers 5
5 Anaheim 4
6 Atlanta 4
7 Calgary 4
8 Minnesota 4
9 Montreal 4
10 Nashville 4
11 St. Louis 4
12 Boston 3
13 Buffalo 3
14 Chicago 3
15 Edmonton 3
16 NY Islanders 3
17 Ottawa 3
18 Philadelphia 3
19 San Jose 3
20 Colorado 2
21 Dallas 2
22 Pittsburgh 2
23 Washington 2
24 Detroit 1
25 Florida 1
26 Phoenix 1
27 Tampa Bay 1
28 Toronto 1
29 Carolina 0
30 Los Angeles 0

Wow. Who’d have thought Columbus would be at the top of the list. I guess the likely reason for that is that the Blue Jackets have a lot of games in which they give up 30 or more shots. Not many surprises after that. At the bottom of the spectrum are Carolina and the Los Angeles with no stolen games. The Hurricanes are a bit of a surprise as I thought they would have managed at least one or two but the Kings and their generally horrid goaltending is no surprise.

I also defined blown games as:

  1. a game in which the team scored 4 or more goals, allowed 25 or fewer shots but lost.
  2. a game in which the team scored 5 or more goals and allowed 26-30 shots, but lost.

Again, those definitions are arbitrary but reasonable I think. And the results are:

Num Team Blown
1 Colorado 6
2 NY Rangers 5
3 Toronto 5
4 Anaheim 4
5 Columbus 4
6 Tampa Bay 4
7 Carolina 3
8 Florida 3
9 Los Angeles 3
10 Nashville 3
11 Phoenix 3
12 San Jose 3
13 St. Louis 3
14 Washington 3
15 Calgary 2
16 Chicago 2
17 Edmonton 2
18 Montreal 2
19 NY Islanders 2
20 Ottawa 2
21 Philadelphia 2
22 Atlanta 1
23 Buffalo 1
24 Dallas 1
25 Detroit 1
26 New Jersey 1
27 Pittsburgh 1
28 Boston 0
29 Minnesota 0
30 Vancouver 0

I am guessing that most of those Colorado blown games came early in the season by Jose Theodore. Seeing the Rangers at the top of both lists is evidence of the up and down season that Lundqvist has had this year and as a Leaf fan I am not surprised to see Toronto near the top of the list. At the bottom of the blown games list you get the expected teams like Vancouver, Minnesota, New Jersey, Buffalo, etc. but a few surprises in Boston and Pittsburgh.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Well, I think your “blown games” list suffers from the fact that many teams just don’t score 4 or 5 goals in a game, and are therefore “immune” from blown games in this system. Vancouver’s an example that I’m familiar with: they rarely scored 4 or more this year. I won’t argue that Luongo blew many (any?) games, but this is still a pretty major hole in this argument.

  2. Yes, and the reverse is true as well. Some teams (Detroit) don’t give up a lot of shots so opportunities for the goalie to steal games by my definition is not there. But, if Luongo gives up 3 goals on 28 shots and lost 3-2, did he blow the game, or did Vancouvers inept offense blow the game or was it just a game that Vancouver did not deserve to win? Of those 3 options I’d probably say Luongo blowing the game is the least likely.

    What I was trying to do with this research was to get an idea of how many games a team should have won but didn’t due to (likely) bad goaltending, and how many games a team should have probably lost but won do to (likely) stellar goaltending.

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