One Goal Is Apparently The Mantra On The Ice As Well

Last night, the Hawks ratcheted up yet another one-goal victory, their league-leading 17th. That is by some distance, as the next best team has 13 one-goal wins. That doesn’t mean the Hawks have the best win % in one-goal games, which belongs to the Flames (Hawks are 6th in that category). No one is playing more and winning more one-goal games.

But of course that started what few functioning neurons I had left to stir. Are one-goal wins really a matter of skill or know-how, or are they luck? Obviously, the answer is probably a blending of the two but I still wanted to know. In baseball, the only other sport where the scoring is somewhat similar to hockey–but only somewhat–it’s been a given that one-run wins are mostly luck. Or at least they don’t speak to what kind of team you have. After all, your 103-win and World Series Champion Cubs were merely 22-23 in one-run games, and no one is going to say they weren’t the best team in baseball.

Does it work the same in hockey? In order to find out we’re going to have to get in up the elbow in numbers, so put on your rubber gloves. And for just another bullet point in how dumb the NHL site is, they include OT and SO wins in their one-goal wins category but not in the one-goal loss category. The conspiracy to inflate the standings goes deeper than you think, sheeple!!!

For this exercise, we’re going to throw out OT and SO wins, because overtime and shootouts are dumb and don’t have anything to do with what helps make hockey hockey in a major way, i.e. that everyone (or at least most) has to take a shift. Because the NHL thinks you, a populace that watches the Premier League more than the NHL, can’t handle ties. Chew on that for a minute if you need to.

So when you toss out OT and shootouts, the Hawks actually only have eight one-goal wins versus six one-goal losses. Above .500 of course, but not exactly blowing the competition away. Bet you want to see the whole list, don’t you? I can do that. The middle category here is regulation, one-goal wins and the category on the right is win% in one-goal, regulation games.

1 Pittsburgh Penguins 7 1.000
2 Calgary Flames 5 0.833
3 St. Louis Blues 6 0.750
4 Columbus Blue Jackets 5 0.714
5 Buffalo Sabres 6 0.667
6 Washington Capitals 6 0.667
7 Dallas Stars 6 0.600
8 Anaheim Ducks 7 0.583
9 Chicago Blackhawks 8 0.571
10 Vancouver Canucks 4 0.571
11 Edmonton Oilers 5 0.556
12 New York Rangers 6 0.545
13 Montréal Canadiens 7 0.538
14 Boston Bruins 6 0.500
15 Ottawa Senators 5 0.500
16 Tampa Bay Lightning 2 0.500
17 Minnesota Wild 6 0.462
18 Philadelphia Flyers 4 0.444
19 San Jose Sharks 7 0.438
20 Carolina Hurricanes 6 0.429
21 Colorado Avalanche 4 0.400
22 Nashville Predators 2 0.400
23 Winnipeg Jets 4 0.400
24 Los Angeles Kings 3 0.375
25 New York Islanders 3 0.375
26 New Jersey Devils 2 0.333
27 Arizona Coyotes 3 0.273
28 Toronto Maple Leafs 2 0.250
29 Florida Panthers 1 0.200
30 Detroit Red Wings 1 0.143

So, what’s to learn from that. Seven of the top 10 are solidly playoff teams, but we also see Buffalo, Dallas, Anaheim, and Vancouver who range from on the bubble to simply awful. And the Penguins not having lost by a goal yet in 60 minutes is… well it’s impressive but simply has to be an outlier, no? Oh hey look, it’s another thing the Reds Wings suck at. In the bottom 10 you’ll find the Kings, a bubble playoff team as well as the Leafs, and the Preds and Canes.

Ok, but one year is hardly the sample size at which we should look. So let’s do last year while we’re here.

  TEAM REG 1 WIN REAL 1 WIN %
1 St. Louis Blues 12 0.750
2 Washington Capitals 16 0.727
3 Florida Panthers 13 0.722
4 Dallas Stars 11 0.688
5 New York Rangers 13 0.650
6 Detroit Red Wings 16 0.640
7 New York Islanders 10 0.625
8 Pittsburgh Penguins 11 0.579
9 Colorado Avalanche 15 0.577
10 Nashville Predators 12 0.571
11 Los Angeles Kings 13 0.542
12 Philadelphia Flyers 8 0.533
13 Carolina Hurricanes 10 0.526
14 Anaheim Ducks 11 0.524
15 Arizona Coyotes 11 0.524
16 Tampa Bay Lightning 11 0.524
17 San Jose Sharks 8 0.500
18 New Jersey Devils 11 0.478
19 Chicago Blackhawks 6 0.462
20 Winnipeg Jets 7 0.438
21 Minnesota Wild 13 0.433
22 Buffalo Sabres 10 0.417
23 Vancouver Canucks 8 0.400
24 Boston Bruins 6 0.375
25 Montréal Canadiens 7 0.368
26 Columbus Blue Jackets 6 0.353
27 Ottawa Senators 4 0.333
28 Calgary Flames 5 0.313
29 Edmonton Oilers 3 0.158
30 Toronto Maple Leafs 3 0.158

Top 10 all playoff teams save Colorado. But then the Wild, Hawks, and Finalist Sharks are in the bottom half as well. So are the Lightning. Ok.. I can keep going… ’14-’15

Anaheim Ducks 17 0.944
Vancouver Canucks 10 0.714
Nashville Predators 16 0.696
New York Rangers 14 0.667
Dallas Stars 13 0.650
Pittsburgh Penguins 7 0.636
St. Louis Blues 11 0.611
Tampa Bay Lightning 12 0.571
New York Islanders 13 0.565
Detroit Red Wings 9 0.563
Florida Panthers 13 0.542
Montréal Canadiens 7 0.538
Winnipeg Jets 8 0.533
Columbus Blue Jackets 9 0.529
Los Angeles Kings 10 0.526
Minnesota Wild 13 0.520
Colorado Avalanche 9 0.450
Washington Capitals 11 0.440
San Jose Sharks 7 0.438
Chicago Blackhawks 10 0.435
Philadelphia Flyers 7 0.412
Buffalo Sabres 9 0.409
Boston Bruins 6 0.400
Edmonton Oilers 8 0.400
Ottawa Senators 8 0.400
New Jersey Devils 5 0.357
Carolina Hurricanes 7 0.304
Calgary Flames 6 0.300
Arizona Coyotes 4 0.250
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 0.235

God, the paper tiger Ducks being atop this list makes me just so happy. Anyway, here again nine of the top 10 were playoff teams, the outlier being the Stars. But you Cup champion Hawks were 20th, the Flames were a playoff team in 28th, the Sens were a playoff team in 25th, as were the Caps in 18th, and the Wild in 17th.

Let’s go back one more season, ’13-’14:

TEAM REG 1 WIN REAL 1 WIN %
Anaheim Ducks 17 0.810
Colorado Avalanche 13 0.765
Nashville Predators 13 0.722
St. Louis Blues 12 0.706
Detroit Red Wings 12 0.667
Minnesota Wild 13 0.650
Phoenix Coyotes 11 0.611
Carolina Hurricanes 14 0.609
San Jose Sharks 12 0.571
New Jersey Devils 13 0.565
Ottawa Senators 9 0.563
Chicago Blackhawks 10 0.556
Dallas Stars 10 0.556
Philadelphia Flyers 10 0.556
Boston Bruins 9 0.529
Pittsburgh Penguins 12 0.522
Vancouver Canucks 9 0.474
Montréal Canadiens 9 0.450
New York Rangers 11 0.440
Washington Capitals 7 0.412
Columbus Blue Jackets 8 0.400
Calgary Flames 11 0.393
Los Angeles Kings 9 0.391
Toronto Maple Leafs 5 0.385
Tampa Bay Lightning 6 0.353
Winnipeg Jets 8 0.348
Edmonton Oilers 5 0.333
New York Islanders 6 0.316
Florida Panthers 6 0.286
Buffalo Sabres 3 0.150

Getting the sense Bruce Boudreau has a theme? Anyway, in your top 10 here you have the known-fluke Avs, the non-playoff Preds, Canes, Devils, Yotes, and Sharks. The Hawks were middle of the pack, the champion Kings 22nd, playoff Rangers 18th.

So what does this mean, Hubie Brown? What you must do…

…is really not draw a lot from it. Four years is again, probably not enough but from that we can see that having a good regulation, one-goal record probably means you’re a good team, but not definitely. And it can mean you’ve just had a really fluky season. Considering where some of these Hawk teams finished with essentially the top of the roster remaining the same, it certainly doesn’t portend to some special skill they have now.

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