Earlier this season when the Leafs were in a string of shoot-out games (losing most of them) I e-mailed Chemmy over at uber Leaf blog Pension Plan Puppets to see if we (ok, he) could find anything interesting from looking at three years of shoot-out data.
Was save percentage the key? Was there a shooting percentage at which teams found more success?
Our first cut at the data didn't produce much (who am I kidding, it was Chemmy's first cut, I just emailed him the idea and he crunched all the numbers).
Then I thought of that dusty old aphorism that you'll often hear tossed around by a colour guy during a hockey game, usually after a string of effective special teams play: if you add a team's powerplay and penalty killing rates together, successful teams have combined rates of 100% or better.
Or as the Toronto Star put it:
Adding penalty kill percentage and power play percentage gives you a number around 100. Teams whose total is greater than 100 are teams that are good on special teams, those under 100 are hurting in that category.It was with that metric in mind that we took a second look at the data and found an interesting pattern.
Teams whose combined shooting and save percentage is around the 100% mark are hovering at .500 in the shoot-out. The higer a team's combined totals the more shoot-out wins they have; the lower their combined percentages, the fewer shoot-out wins.
Let's go to the blurry chart:
For the Leafs to start hitting the win column one of two things has to happen:
- If Toskala continues to put up a save percentage in the .500s, the Leaf shooters are going to have to shoot at 60% or better;
- If Toskala can get his save percentage up into the high .600s, the Leafs will only need to shoot at about 50%
The good news for the Leafs is they haven't been in many shoot out games lately...and as for any potential lost points, a top five pick at the 2009 draft would be a most welcome addition.