Why Early Goals Against are Better:

In my recent study, I collected data relating to the time of game in which goals were scored and the result of the game for 51 goalies across the league (most of which are backups and starters) from the past 2 seasons. I broke up each period into five 4-minute windows. The first thing I focused on was what happened after a goalie let in a goal in the first 4 minutes of a game, and when the next goal they let in occurred. It was surprising to find that 13.8% of the time they let in an early one, goalies would shut out the opposition for the rest of the game. To measure just exactly how much these goals affected the rest of the game, the likeliness of getting scored on was found for each time frame of an average game, and compared to the [4 min] predictions (I like to use "[# min]" to tell me which time frame I’m paying attention to, that way it’s literally in a window frame).

As you can see, goaltenders are scored on less in generally the 2nd and 3rd periods after letting in the early goal compared to their chances in the average game.

The benefit of this to Jets fans is that they can be assured Pavelec will shut-out the 2nd and 3rd after letting one in during the first 4 minutes and holding it to that for the rest of the first. I can only say this about the average goalie because looking at a single goalies stats for this, as I would Pavelec, there simply aren’t enough situations to base confident results off of. Out of all of the data I collected, Pavelec was put in this situation only 10 times.

One other way I used this information was to make a "live" prediction chart. This is where I calculated the chances of scoring for each time frame when the goalie has let in the 4-minute goal, but hasn’t let in another. In other words, it’s the chances of being scored on when the goalie hasn’t let in another goal up to that point.

When watching a live game in which a team just so happens to score in the first 4 minutes, remember that there’s a slightly better chance that the next goal will come either in the 4 to 8 minute frame, or in the beginning of periods 2 and 3.

What we can conclude from these statistics overall is that being scored on early brings the chances of the other team scoring again down 1.8%, which might seem insignificant, but if anything it tells us that there’s clearly some mental motivation that comes with trailing early.



If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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