It’s the 3rd period, and your favourite team is up by a goal. Are you confident or not? Whether you actually are or not depends on firstly who your favourite team is, and whether they outscore their opponent, or get outscored in the 3rd. If you’re a fan on the Montreal Canadiens, there isn’t much of a reason to be optimistic in this situation. Who’s the best 3rd period team in the league? I think you’ll be quite surprised. The chart below will explain.
|Team||3rd GA/Total GA||% of GA||3rd GF/Total GF||% of GF|
|New York I.||13/54||24%||22/58||38%|
|New York R.||15/56||27%||20/62||32%|
Figures as of games played through Friday, November 28, 2003.
So, as the chart shows, Pittsburgh is the team to be feared most in terms of an opposition’s 3rd period production, scoring 45% of their goals in the 3rd period. However, keep in mind that it is Pittsburgh, and teams more than likely just let up in the 3rd after getting a big enough lead, although there isn’t a stat to physically prove this. Second place here is Nashvile at 39%, who is the ‘unofficial’ leader since teams won’t let up in the 3rd period against currently one of the better teams in the West. Columbus and Minnesota are tied for last in the goals scored department, with 22% of their goals coming in the 3rd. Montreal is also towards the bottom here, with 29% of their goals coming in the final frame.
In terms of defensive stinginess, Washington has the lowest percentage of goals allowed in the final period, with only 23%. Boston, the Islanders, and Phoenix are all tied for second at 24%. What’s interesting here, is only one of these teams (Boston) is playing well at the moment, perhaps teams are letting up on the others after getting the lead? New Jersey is far and away the worst team defensively in the 3rd period, allowing over half their goals (51%) in the final stanza. That being said, they have the second fewest goals allowed in the league, so I’m sure coach Pat Burns can forgive them for tending to sit back on a lead. Who wouldn’t be, with Martin Brodeur between the pipes? The Habs are in the upper half in terms of goals allowed in the 3rd, with only 30% of their opponents’ goals coming here. (For those who aren’t too sure, this is a good thing.)
The usefulness of these stats here could be debated, especially when you see Pittsburgh and the phrase ‘top offensive team’ in the same category, and New Jersey and ‘worst defensive team’ in the same category. However, NHL teams will take this seriously in preparing for games. The teams that can best exploit these trends should be successful in getting to the playoffs. From there, all the numbers become 0 again, and anything can happen after that.
Questions/comments? E-mail me at [email protected].