Update: I had accidentally included some empty net goals in the 3rd period numbers, which are now corrected.
Yesterday on twitter, Merrin was discussing our goaltending woes (and the “more shots = less goals” phenomenon), and this excellent observation was brought up:
I’m not a big fan of the “eye test”, as it can lead to incorrect conclusions (see: panicking about the number of turnovers a player has), so I felt compelled to actually check and see if this was true, since we have stats that track this.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to compile as much data as I would like since it’s difficult to get period by period stats. What I’ve got here is the last 14 games Kari played this season and the last 14 games Kari played last season*. We’ve only gone into OT scenarios 9 times this season (including games that went to shootouts), so I’ve matched that with the last 9 OT games from last season. I did not include games where Kari didn’t play the entirety.
There are two main stats used to evaluate goalies: Save Percentage (SV%) and Goals Against Average (GAA). SV% is the more useful of the two, in most opinions. It’s calculated SV% = 1-(Goals Against/Shots Against). Kari’s season long SV% is currently 0.904. Last year, he ended with a 0.919.
GAA is named a bit oddly, because it basically boils down to GA/60 for the goaltender. (GAA=(Goals Against/Time On Ice)*60). This season he’s running 2.96 compared to last season’s 2.41.
Interestingly enough, Kari does appear to be getting better as games go on. His SV% goes from a 0.902 in the 1st to a 0.918 in the 3rd. It’s still nowhere near last season, or even his career average, but it lends some credence to the idea that he’s having issues “getting warmed up” for games. Another piece of damning evidence for this is the sharp drop in SV% year over year and massive uptick in GAA (it’s a 50% change!) in the 1st period, and much closer numbers in the 2nd and 3rd.
It’s not surprising to see his OT numbers as low as they are, and in raw numbers, there’s only a one goal difference. The concerning part is how much quicker we’re losing in OT, as evidenced by the sky high GAA this year. It’s taking under 2 minutes to beat the Stars in OT when Kari plays, which can only be considered a good thing if you just want to be put out of your misery (it’s a known fact that I cannot with OT).
The reality of the situation is that Dallas is the only team in the top 15 Goals For/Games Played with such consistently bad GA/60 per period. We’re the only team in the top 13 that’s not in the playoffs. We’re the only team with a 3.0+ GA/GP that isn’t in the running for Connor McDavid.
Kari has played 44 games this season. So when I pull a season long chart (like the one above) his play has been a massive contributor to these numbers. Yes, we can blame our defense on a lot of the issues from earlier this year, but it has gotten tighter over the last few games. The Stars are winning possession battles, they’re re-energizing special teams.
But the goaltending has remained stagnant. Remember, the numbers from the top graphs are over the last 14 games. If Kari’s average SV% stays at its current pace of 0.909, the playoffs are out of reach. Something has to give.
*But Carolyn! Those last 14 games of Kari’s from 13/14 are what got us into the playoffs, his numbers are definitely going to be inflated! Well, probably, but frankly I don’t care because that’s the Kari we need to get into the playoffs this year.