Last week, we analyzed whether it was such a big deal for a team to get the first goal. This week, the follow-up: Is it the end of the world if you DON’T score first? Judging by the figures shown last week, one would think so, with just a handful of teams below .500 when they score first. However, no team has a 1.000 winning percentage when they score first, so there always is a chance to come back. So, what teams are the best at coming back? Read on to find out:
|Team||02-03 record||Win %||03-04 record||Win %|
|3) St. Louis||22-15-6-3||.478||3-2-1-0||.500|
|9) New Jersey||12-14-3-5||.353||2-1-1-0||.500|
|10) New York I.||14-26-4-1||.310||2-4-0-0||.333|
|12) New York R.||12-21-4-3||.300||1-3-2-0||.167|
|13) San Jose||12-23-4-3||.286||2-5-2-2||.182|
|14) Tampa Bay||12-17-10-3||.286||1-2-1-1||.200|
|16) Los Angeles||11-24-2-3||.275||1-3-0-0||.250|
Current records are as of games played through Friday, November 14, 2003. Winning percentage is calculated by the number of wins divided by total games played in which the team did not score first.
Looking at the chart, we see that no team had a .500 record, so coming back from a 1-0 deficit isn’t as easy as it sounds (just like several other things in hockey). Just like in the previous article, the top-10 teams in the chart made the postseason, while the bottom-10 did not. It just goes to show you that in order to make the playoffs, your team must be able to battle adversity in roughly half of the games they play (some are more than 50%, others less). Judging by this season’s current stats, it seems that the Canadiens, Sabres, and Mighty Ducks may be in trouble unless they can start coming back when they don’t get on the board first. Otherwise, they’ll have to start learning to battle back after bogeying the past golf hole (or 2 or 3) in early April.
Now, since this is a Canadiens’ fan website, let’s dig a little deeper into the inability for this team to score goals after being scored on first. In 2001, the team was 8-23-4-2 for a .216 winning percentage and made the playoffs. A year later, they had a better percentage at .220, but did not make the playoffs. Why is this the case? Below is a chart that shows the records when trailing after 1 and after 2. Here, you will see why this is the way it is.
|Year||After 1||Win %||Rank||After 2||Win %||Rank|
Year in bold represents the year the Canadiens made the postseason.
As you can see, in 2001-02, the Habs had the best winning percentage of the 3 years shown above when trailing after 1, and actually won a couple of games that year when down after 40 minutes, something they were unable to do all of last season, and have failed to do so far this season. Of course, being down after the 1st period doesn’t mean that Montreal didn’t score first and then coughed up the lead, but this was the case slightly over 80% of the time, meaning that the Habs are on their heels quite often nowadays. In order for the Canadiens to make the playoffs this season, they will have to figure out a way to win when they don’t score first, AND when they’re trailing after the first and second. A winning percentage of .000 just isn’t going to cut it, in any of these cases. One can only hope that the Habs will be able to turn this around with still 60+ games left in the season.
Questions/comments? E-mail me at [email protected].