Preface: The notion of "score effects" comes into the conversation when we see one team outshooting another by a significant margin, yet losing. Say a 2-0 loss where the losing team outshoots the other by 50% at even-strength (e.g. Game 1; apologies for bringing it up). This notion is important if we believe shots drive goals for (positively) and goals against (negatively). And by the way, I'm a believer, but this doesn't mean we should stop trying to falsify this (at least, at this stage). But this post isn't about that. Let's move on.
Man, that 3rd period. Thought something was going to happen. Really did. But it didn't. Burns. Man, thought he had one. But he didn't. So, question: should I be upset about this? And if so, at whom?
When the game ended, yeah, I was deflated, but hey, Game 1, right? I figured the shot statistics would favor the Sharks because of the 3rd period. Right away, I could hear someone's internet voice sternly saying: guys, guys... GUYS!... score effects. [Silence.]
I agree. But I wanted to measure up how well the Sharks performed in this score effects situation, i.e. Down 2. To do this, I did a simple test.
1) I looked at the Down 2 Fenwick data from BTN (and I believe this is even-strength).
2) I calculated several per minute average rates across the entire league for the 2012-2013 NHL regular season: Goals For, Shots For, Shots Against, and Save % (of the team Up 2). I did this by simply finding the means for these columns and dividing by 60. The reason I did this is to create a set of expected outcomes for the Sharks time on ice Down 2. Note: I'm leaving Missed shots, er, Fenwick, aside for the moment. Here are the rates:
GF/1 minute: 0.0498
3) The Sharks played 21.63 minutes of Down 2 time at even-strength. (Note: After Richards goal, there were two penalties (Torres, Richards) and Niemi was on the bench for 1.87 minutes. 27.50 minutes from goal 2 to the end of the game. Subtract 2, 2, and 1.87 and you get 21.63.)
4) Given 21.63 minutes of Down 2 time, and based on league-wide rates for Down 2 during the 48-game regular season, what are the expected outcomes? What are the actual outcomes. ... Feels like we're about to see a tabl--
Table 1. Expected and actual outcomes in the Down 2 time-on-ice. Expected derived from 2012-2013 league-wide Down 2 statistics at BTN. Actual derived from WCSF Game 1 SJS v LA. I cross-checked with NHL's play-by-play to be sure, correct me if I'm wrong.
Let's look at these and answer the original questions. First, if the Sharks had performed in step with the league during the regular season, they should have gotten one back. So, that sucks. Second, the Sharks were putting 50% more shots on goal and (concurrently, if not consequently) also reducing shots against on goal by almost 50%. So, that's good. Third, and I think this is the strongest statement I can make given the data pres--goddamnitjonathanquick.
Bottom line: First, while Sharks outperformed the league in making the opposition goalie make save after save, they were outperformed by dammitthatguy. This is another piece of evidence that Quick contributed significantly to the Game 1 win (since his SV% was so much greater than the league average Down 2). Second, this also suggests, that while we can say that score effects has some impact on the end-game shot differential, the Sharks team talent at possessing the puck and getting shots on goal had a significant impact on Game 1 as well (again, by virtue of outperforming the league average rates by about 50%). Therefore, I ain't so upset. ... Um, drop the puck already.