Perimeter Shots

When a team is in the middle of a dry spell on goals, and losing, one of the most common theories thrown out there by fans trying to explain the inability to hit the twine is the infamous “Shooting low percentage shots from the perimeter” reason. Recently the Avs have been snake bit for goals, despite heavy numbers of shots. More than one person has suggested that the Avs aren’t getting good shots and are settling for shots from the perimeter.
I didn’t think this was the case, especially in games like against Phoenix and Edmonton where the Avs had a huge shot (and possession) advantage, yet there were fans who felt the Avs weren’t getting real chances.

Frankly, I thought that was poppycock, and I broke down the highlights:

Edmonton 3 - Colorado 1
Here’s my count of decent to good Colorado chances that didn’t result in a goal. I’m counting anything I believe had a reasonable chance at success, which includes perimeter shots in traffic. One’s I thought were low % shots I excluded

1 - 9:16   J. Lindstrom
1 - 10:16 J. Lindstrom
1 - 18:45 G. Landeskog
2-  5:16 J. Lindstrom (2-3 chances here)
2 - 6:32 D. Winnik
2 - 10:12 E. Johnson
2 - 13:23 G Landeskog
2 - 17:53 P.Stastny
3 - 2:12 D. Winnik
3 - 10:22 M. Duchene
3 - 19:23 M. Duchene

COL - 12 Chances 1-G

Phoenix 4 - Colorado 1

1 - 6:59 S O’Brien
1 - 9:32 J. Lindstrom
1 - 12:41 P. Stastny & Milan Hejduk
1 - 14:07 D. Winnik
2 - 00:30 TJ Galiardi
2 - 00:55 G. Landeskog
2 - 4:17  J.Lindstrom
2 - 4:47 M. Hejduk
2 - 5:44 J. Hejda
2 - 7:01 D. Winnik
2 - 14:09 M Duchene
2 - 15:13 M Hejduk
2 - 19:33 R O’Reilly
3 - 00:57 P Stastny & Milan Hejduk
3 - 3:01 R O’Byrne

Colorado - 16 Chances - 1G

Calgary 2 - Colorado 1

1 - 10:30 S O’Brien
2 - 7:03 G. Landeskog & D. Winnik
2 - 9:54 D. Winnik
2 - 11:01 M. Duchene
3 - 11:29 K Quincey

Colorado - 6 chances, 1G

Calgary 4 - Colorado 2

2 - 7:58 S O’Brien
2 - 12:57 P. Stastny
3 - 7:47 S O’Brien
3 - 8:39 G Landeskog
3 - 9:55 M. Duchene
3 - 12:54 R O’Reilly
3 - 18:46 P. Stastny

Colorado - 9 chances, 2G

If the Avs hit any posts in any of these (as I know they did at least once in the 2-1 CGY loss) they aren’t counted because they aren’t “saves” and therefore no highlights.

So in all of these high shot games, save probably the CGY 2-1 loss, the Avs had a reasonable amount of goal scoring chances, and yet came up relatively empty.

So what happened?

In the recent dry run the Avs had 40+ shots in 4 of those games (0-3-1) and 30+ shots in 5/7 games. Over that same span the Avs Corsi (puck possession) was sitting somewhere in the .570 range, which is very very good. I’m sure scoring effects* played a factor in those good numbers, but the Avs were still in the offensive zone far more than in the defensive zone. But they couldn’t get goals. In fact the Avs, outside the anomalous 6-7 (OT) Dallas game, the opposing goalies save % against the Avs was .948, which is only about 30-35 points above the average NHL goaltender. This is unsustainable.

*scoring effects say that when a team is down, they tend to get more shots as they press and teams that are ahead sit back.

See, because opposing goalies make mistakes and give up bad goals too. They also give up mediocre ones that aren’t quite bad, but not quite good. Over that seven game stretch the opposing goalies didn’t give up many (unless they were named Kari Lehtonen), and in fact made a lot of saves on better than average chances.

The good news is that this will, more than likely, even out. In fact, despite playing well, Al Montoya gave up a few goals he’d probably like back Thursday night. The one on Hejda was exactly one of those perimeter low percentage shots that were supposedly one of the Avs problems.

This is the problem with analyzing games based on feelings. Dangerous chances that get saved don’t feel all that dangerous after the fact. And in a loss they nearly forgotten. After a string of losses they are completely forgotten. It’s hindsight bias. The goals you didn’t score just don’t feel all that dangerous. It’s also the same way with winning. It’s hard to remember how fortunate some goals were. Whether it was a fortunate bounce, or you just caught a goalie at a bad moment. Those feel like scoring opportunities, even though they may not be close to as dangerous as one that didn’t result in a goal.