The place and when does momentum matter in playoff video games?

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It’s a phrase we hear rather a lot through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, way more usually than we do through the common season. For those who’ve watched all 16 video games in Spherical 1 up to now, you’ve in all probability heard “momentum” mentioned a number of and even dozens of occasions per recreation.

Typically in sports activities, nevertheless, proclamations are made with out being substantiated with information.

We’ve arguably already established that momentum does probably not exist game-to-game through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Six of eight collection are tied 1-1, in any case.

However does it exist inside every recreation? I imagine the reply is sure.

How will we outline it?

Momentum is up for grabs. The penalty kill can steal it by scoring shorthanded, stifling the ability play, forcing them to reload 200 toes from the offensive zone. Penalty-killing success can create frustration — and which may be an enormous swing, as a result of the gamers you’re irritating are sometimes the opposition’s stars. I feel there’s a clear hyperlink to frustration created on the penalty kill that bleeds over into ensuing 5-on-5 play.

We heard Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe point out after Sport 1 towards the Tampa Bay Lightning: “The five-minute main? No drawback. The truth is, turned it right into a optimistic with the probabilities we have been in a position to generate.”

There’s something referred to as “momentum likelihood,” and we’re not speaking physics right here — as a result of that’s out of my depth. I’ll reserve that for my spouse and her honors diploma in biochemistry.

However to simplify it for hockey, momentum likelihood could be the likelihood of using the momentum wave after a particular groups sequence — and it’s one thing that may steal a recreation or perhaps a collection.

The perfect instance of that is final yr’s run to the Stanley Cup Last by the Montreal Canadiens on the wave of their penalty kill. They killed penalties at a playoff-best 91.8%. However while you issue within the 4 shorthanded targets that they created over their 22-game run, that bumped their web penalty killing share all the way in which to 98.4%. That’s practically flawless.

However I feel we get slowed down by the particular groups numbers total. You see them flashed up on the display every time a workforce goes to the ability play for the primary time in a recreation — that one workforce’s unit was ranked seventeenth within the league and the opposite was ranked eighth, and so forth.

We additionally hear that, to be able to win within the playoffs, your power-play and penalty-kill models should be close to the highest of the league. I don’t know that’s essentially true. Common-season success on particular groups doesn’t at all times carry over to the playoffs. Some groups surpass regular-season outcomes, whereas others see their numbers fall off a cliff.

When taking part in the identical opponent in a seven-game collection, there aren’t any secrets and techniques.

I went again and regarded on the playoff percentages for the ultimate 4 playoff groups over every of the final 5 postseasons. I famous the place they ranked, then did the identical factor for the common season to see if these groups met expectations:

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