Rush Shots Leading vs Trailing and Home vs Road

Yesterday I introduced the concept of rush shots which are basically any shot we can identify as being a shot taken subsequent to a rush up the ice which can be determined by the location of previous face off, shot, hit, giveaway or takeaway events. If you haven’t read the post from yesterday go give it a read for a more formal definition of what a rush shot is. Today I am going to take a look at how rush shots vary when teams are leading vs trailing as well as investigate home/road differences as arena biases in hits, giveaways and takeaways might have a significant impact on the results.

Leading vs Trailing

One hypothesis I had is that a team defending a lead tends to play more frequently in their own zone and thus have the potential to generate a higher percentage of shots from the rush. Here is a table of leading vs trailing rush shot statistics.

Game Situation Rush Sh% Other Sh% Overall Sh% % Shots on Rush
Leading 10.43% 8.03% 8.62% 24.3%
Trailing 9.36% 7.15% 7.63% 22.0%
Leading-Trailing 1.07% 0.89% 0.98% 2.28%

As expected, teams get a boost in the percentage of overall shots that are rush shots when leading (24.3%) compared to when trailing (2.28%). This higher percentage of shots being rush shots would factor in to the higher shooting percentages but it actually doesn’t seem to be all that significant. The more significant impact still seems to be that teams with the lead experience boosts in shooting percentage on both rush and non-rush shots. The hypothesis that teams have a higher shooting percentage when leading due to the fact that they have more shots on the rush doesn’t seem to be true. It’s just that they shoot better. Note that empty net situations are not considered and thus the shooting percentages when leading are not a result of empty net goals.

 Home vs Road

My concern with home stats is the various arena game recorders dole out hits, giveaways and takeaways at different rates. I determine what is a rush and what isn’t based in part on those events so there is the potential of significant arena biases in rush shot stats. To investigate I looked at the percentage of shots that were rush shots at home and on the road for each team. Here is what I found.


That is about as conclusive as you can get. The rush shot percentage at home is far more variable than on the road with higher highs and lower lows. It is possible that last change line matching usage tactics that coaches can more easily employ at home could account for some of the added variability but my guess is it is mostly due to arena scorer biases. From the chart above I suspect Buffalo, Minnesota, New Jersey  and Pittsburgh don’t hand out hits, giveaways and takeaways as frequently as other arenas. This chart takes a look at last years real time stats (the above chart is for last 7 seasons combined).


Most teams have more hits+giveaways+takeaways on home ice than on the road. The teams that have more on the road than at home are Buffalo, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Despite comparing a 7-year chart with a 1-year chart the two charts seem to align up fairly well. There does seem to be significant arena biases in rush shot statistics so when looking at team and player stats it is certainly best to consider road stats only.


This article has 1 Comment

  1. Just an idea about possible factors in the sh% increase when teams are leading.
    When the game is tied coaches often match lines more aggressively putting defensive players against the other teams best offensive ones.However, when they fall behind perhaps they abandon this strategy somewhat and are more likely to play offensive players more often which might provide ‘better’ chances for the leading team?
    Just a thought
    thanks dan

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