Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New Puck Prospectus post: Pulling the Goalie

"at the end of the game, there is no value to having played it safe and having lost by only one goal. In the last two minutes of regulation time, scoring rates increase dramatically as the team that's down a goal pulls its goaltender for an extra attacker. We can see that the boldest teams pull their goalie with about 90 seconds to go in the game, and at around 40 seconds to go, the goaltender is almost certainly on the bench."



Saturday, December 29, 2007

What happens when you pull your goalie?

Someone asked me the other day what teams expect to happen when they pull their goalies at the end of the game. My answer, qualitatively, was that it increases the likelihood of a goal - either for or against - and because a loss is the same whether by one goal or two goals, pulling your goalie gets you extra goals and extra ties and wins.

But what about the quantitative outcome? This chart shows the 5v5 goal-scoring rate this season in the last six minutes of games where the goalie was pulled by one team.

Goalie Pulled20.05.514.6
No Goalie Pulled3.05

The scoring rate without the goalie pulled is somewhat lower than the overall rate in all games, which we expect because these are close games (ie - you wouldn't pull the goalie if you were down 5 goals). But when teams pull their goalie, the outcome is usually negative: the opposing team is almost 10 times as likely to put the game away with an empty-net goal, but again, a loss is a loss whether it's by one goal or two.

On the positive side, teams score 5.5 goals per 60 minutes when they pull their goalies, which makes them almost four times as likely to score the tying goal than if they'd kept the goalie in. Overall, 40-60 games per year get tied up with the goalie pulled, compared to less than 10 if goalies stayed in. This represents a average gain of 2-2.5 points in the standings per team, clearly justifying the strategy.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]