Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sharks Shot & Goal Differentials

Shots on goal... what they tell you about a game is an interesting question.

I've been told by a fellow Sharks fan that they don't really tell you a lot... the logic behind this would be that if a team in losing in the 3rd, they'll likely have a lot of shots, but... still wind up with the loss.

While this made sense to me for 3rd period shot differential, I became interested in digging into the #s to see what they would say... and here it is (through 16 games):

13-3 W-L record
average shots for and against
3.2-2.4 average goals for and against

Impressive #s all, but here's the detail behind them.

1st Period
12-8 average shots for and against
0.8-1.0 average goals for and against

2nd Period
14-8 average shots for and against
1.3-0.5 average goals for and against

3rd Period
11-9 average shots for and against
1.1-0.9 average goals for and against

* The #s below do not include OT shots/goals, just those from the first 3 periods

If you look at these to try to tell how the Sharks are playing thus far this season, the breakdown by period seems to be as follows:

1st Period: Starting fairly well with a slight shot advantage and slight goal disadvantage.
2nd Period: Pouring it on with fairly significant advantages in both shots and goals.
3rd Period: Finishing with slight advantages in both shots and goals. This becomes impressive, though, when you consider that the #s tend to show the Sharks leading entering the 3rd... (with said consideration taking a page from said fellow Sharks fan).

So... this shows how the Sharks have played thus far. As to the question of shots as an indicator... I think they do matter quite a bit in both the 1st and 2nd periods (can't score if you don't shoot). In the 3rd period, I think good teams (i.e. those who have the lead after 2) prove themselves good by holding their own in the shot differential department.

As an aside... if someone would like the Excel file containing the raw data which went into these calculations, just let me know.

Final aside... shots for tonight's game #17 of the season were 57 for SJ and 29 for Nashville... with a final score in OT of 4-3 in favor of the Predators. Well, that's the way it goes sometimes and I feel comfortable saying that on average the Sharks will win most games they're leading in shots 43-18 after 2 periods.

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