Something a lot of analysts tend to mull over these days is shots on goal. Last week, we looked at shots for, this week shots against. The main question here is are shots allowed that important? Everyone knows this is the case for New Jersey, but does that mean that this is the case for the other 29 teams in the NHL? The chart below will explain:
|New Jersey||624||15-5-7-0||4th East|
|St. Louis||669||17-6-2-1||4th West|
|New York I.||693||11-13-2-1||12th East|
|Los Angeles||705||15-10-1-3||3rd West|
|Philadelphia||722||17-3-8-1||1st East (1st league)|
|Tampa Bay||727||13-8-4-1||7th East|
|New York R.||870||11-11-5-2||9th East|
|San Jose||873||9-8-10-2||7th West|
|Pittsburgh||984||6-16-4-2||15th East (30th league)|
As of games played through Friday, December 12, 2003. Teams ranked 1-3 per conference are division leaders.
So, are shots allowed as big of a deal as some say? One could argue yes, seeing that the 4 teams with the most shots allowed are not currently in a playoff spot, while the 4 teams with the fewest shots allowed are currently in a playoff position.
Let’s look at the team with the fewest shots allowed, Calgary. Now honestly, who would have thought Calgary would be leading in this category? Anybody? Didn’t think so… The Flames’ success can be directly attributed to this new defensive concept, hence why they’re sitting in a playoff spot through 2 months of the season. Considering Roman Turek’s out for them at the moment, it’s an even more astounding feat. As for the bottom teams, Florida and Pittsburgh, it’s quite simple, neither team has a quality defensive corps, which leads to a large number of shots allowed. Considering Florida has one of the arguably top-10 goalies in the NHL in Roberto Luongo, it’s relatively safe to say here that the quantity of shots allowed can get to you over the long haul.
As saddening as it is to say here, it seems as if the fewer shots on goal a team allows, the greater chance of winning, quantity can indeed outweigh quality. This means that the team(s) with the best defensive systems have a better chance of winning games and getting to the postseason, which is what many argue is the exact thing wrong with the NHL today. Of course, we’re just past the quarter mark in the season, so things can be changed, who knows, maybe offensive systems will dominate before season’s end? (Nah, probably just wishful thinking here…)
Questions/comments? E-mail me at [email protected].
Statistics courtesy of the National Hockey League.