San Jose scored the first goal in Saturday night's 7-0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That doesn't matter. Say it with me: there is nothing magical about the first goal scored in a game, no matter how many times Randy Hahn, Jamie Baker or anybody else says it. I promise.
Don't believe me? Take Eric Tulsky's word for it. Here's an excerpt.
Teams that score the first goal win 67 percent of the time. So that first goal really sets the tone, huh?
But here's the catch: teams that score the second goal win 68 percent of the time. And teams that score third win 68 percent of the time. So, uh, about that super-important first goal...
How is this possible? Well, it turns out that the team that wins usually scores more goals than the team that loses. (This is the kind of sophisticated analysis that you can only get at Outnumbered.)
Suppose a team wins a game 4-2. They scored 67 percent of the goals. If no goal is any more important than any other, the odds that they scored the first goal will be 67 percent. The odds that they scored the second goal will be 67 percent. And the odds that they scored the third goal will be 67 percent.
Right, so scoring the second and third goal is just as important as it is to score the first goal. All goals matter. Got it? So while it made for a nice lede in NHL.com's story, it just doesn't matter. The Sharks haven't won much at home but it's not because they're not scoring the first goal.