GDB 60.0: TO BACK OR NOT TO BACK

Jason Gregor
February 07 2014 01:15PM

Ilya Bryzgalov will start tonight in New Jersey. The stats suggest it makes sense to start him instead of going back-to-back with Ben Scrivens, but considering the Oilers are winning by getting out shot, I wonder if combining that along with going back to Scrivens would guarantee a win.

We'll never know, but it is good to look at the possibilities.

I looked at the top-ten goalie leaders in wins to see how many times they played back-to-back and how they fared:

Goalie...           result           SV%                    saves
Fleury                 L                 .902             stopped 18 of 21
Niemi                 W               .903              stopped 28 of 31
Varlamov           W               .926              stopped 25 of 27
Bishop               W               .941             stopped 48 of 51 (played night before allowed 5 goals)
Bishop               W               .933             stopped 28 of 30
Rask                  L                 .750             stopped 9 of 12 and was pulled.
Rask                  W                .977             stopped 43 of 44
Rask                  W                .915             stopped 21 of 23
Price                  L                 .943             stopped 33 of 35 (had exact same stats night before)
Price                  L                 .846             stopped 22 of 26 (had identical SV% and GAA night before)
Hiller                 W                1.000           stopped 22 of 22
Hiller                 W                 .955            stopped 42 of 44
Mason              W                 .944            stopped 34 of 36
Crawford          W                .935             stopped 29 of 31
Crawford          W                .958             stopped 23 of 24 (allowed 5 goals the previous night)
Crawford          W                .826             stopped 19 of 23 (defeated the Oilers)
CrawFord        OTL             .900             stopped 27 of 30

Most coaches don't go back-to-back very often, but in these 17 instances with the top goalies their combined record was 12-4-1 with a .917 SV%.

It should be noted that Price's two back-to-back situations came on January 25th and February 2nd. He had been struggling so Michel Therrien went against the grain to try and get him out of a funk. It was odd to see Price have the exact same stats in the first and second games. In the January sets he was bad on both nights and lost both games, but on February 1st and 2nd he had .944 and .943 SV% on consecutive nights, and allowed only two goals both nights.

Jon Cooper went back to Bishop after he allowed five goals the night before. He wanted his starter to bounce back and he did with a huge 48 save performance. Joel Quenneville did the same thing with Crawford this year and he rewarded his coach with a strong effort the second night.

Eric T from NHLnumbers.com wrote a very indepth piece on the drop in SV% on the second night of back-to-backs, so I understand why Eakins is going with Bryzgalov, but the above numbers show that winning teams will go with their starter a few times a year on consecutive nights. This year they have had success doing it, and I'm sure it helps when you are on a good team, but it shows that coaches do go with gut feel sometimes and won't always play the odds.

Scrivens has the highest SV%, .937, amongst goalie who has started 20+ games, and the only time he played back-to-back this year he was perfect. He stopped all 26 shots in a 2-0 Kings victory, and two days later he shutout the Rangers as well.

After beating the Rangers again last night, I wouldn't have had an issue at all if Eakins went back to Scrivens.

Sometimes you have to go against the odds, just like I predicted in yesterday's GDP and OGDP. That might have been my best prediction ever.

GAME DAY PREDICTION: This is a low scoring affair, and the Oilers continue to buck the shooting trend with a 2-1 victory. Gagner scores just to add fuel to the trade speculation. 

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Rangers outshoot the Oilers. Scrivens has faced an average of 39 shots in his five starts with the Oilers, but tonight he gets an "easier" night facing only 36. 

LINEUP....

Hall-RNH-Yakupov
Perron-Gagner-Eberle
Hendricks-Gordon-Hemsky
Gazdic-Smyth-Jones

Marincin-Petry
N.Schultz-J.Schultz
Fraser-Ference

Bryzgalov

The Oilers didn't skate this morning, but Jack Michaels hinted there would be one forward change. Maybe it is simply Joensuu back in for Jones or possibly something else. Likely on the 4th line, unless someone in the top-nine got banged up last night.

QUICK HITS...

  • A rare twitter mistake by Gene Principe last night when he jumped the gun tweeting out that Ryan Smyth was now top-100 in goals. Smyth scored his 384th goal last night, but Patrick Elias has scored four in the last two weeks and he sits 100th with 386. 
  • Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th goal of the seaon last night, and he is on pace to get 50 for the 5th time in his career, and when he does he will join a very select group of players who have scored 50 goals five times.

    Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy did it 9 times.
    Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne and Mario Lemieux did it 6 times.
    Bobby Hull, Phil Esposito, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull and Pavel Bure did it 5 times.
     
  • Since 2005/2006 there has been 17 occasions where a player scored 50 goals.
    Ovechkin has done it 4 times.
    Steven Stamkos, Ilya Kovalchuk and Dany Heatley did it twice.
    Jonathan Cheechoo, Jaromir Jagr, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry and Evgeni Malkin did it once.
     
  • Despite playing in an era where goals are hard to come by Ovechkin has still produced, and at a rate better than everyone except Steven Stamkos. He has a realistic shot to become only the 3rd player in NHL history to have seven 50-goal seasons. I hope he gets there.
     
  • I've had many fans text the show and I've seen some people write how Nail Yakupov's one-timer is similar to Ovechkin. Yakupov shoots the puck hard, but he isn't close to the goal scorer Oveckhin is. That isn't a knock on Yakupov, because Ovie is one of the greatest goal scorers the NHL has ever seen , but stop comparing the two. They aren't close. Ovechkin is much better at finding an open spot, plus his shot is much harder. He regularly beats goalies from above the hash marks.
     
  • Here is a shot chart of Nail Yakupov (goals in red) courtesy of somekindofninja.com.  You will notice that Yakupov has one goal from outside the top of the circles. Now look at Ovechkin's shot and goal chart. He has 12 goals from outside the top of the circle. To beat today's goalies from that far out you need a heavy shot and accuracy.
     
  • That being said, I liked how Yakupov found the soft spot in the high slot last night, and buried the game winner. It was a great pass from Gagner, but one of the most important parts of being a good goal scorer is finding the open spots and Yakupov found it at the most important time of the game. He has a very good shot and he should use it more, but let's stop comparing him to Ovechkin. It is unfair to both of them.
     
  • Gagner's assist is why you can't trade him for spare parts. He has very good offensive abilities. I know he doesn't show them all the time -- consistency is what separates 50-point players from 80-point guys -- but he has great skill. If MacTavish trades him, he needs to get a decent return.

TONIGHT...

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers are in the midst of their best stretch of the season, and they'll head into the break on a high after a 3-2 win over the Devils.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers will continue on their successful get-out-shot-but-win streak, but tonight they allow fewer shots than usual getting out shot 29-26.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: The ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr scores a pair of goals giving him 19 on the season, but 700 in his career. He heads to the Olympics having scored 50 points. Unreal.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#101 Rod from Viking
February 07 2014, 08:07PM
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Well one good thing about 3 weeks no Oiler games, no Kevin, Louie or Gene. I see DSF has got off his grounding and got his Mac back, I hope your posts don't make up 50% of the total on every article like it did last year.

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#102 Johnnydapunk
February 07 2014, 08:07PM
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It's a weird feeling to feel chested by a bad call as opposed to bad play.

I can't really be that upset with the result, it was a clear holding the stick call but saying that, sh*t happens. At least the Oil came out to play and you're gonna get calls for and against you so yeah. Still pants though.

I had a quick look at the standings and it is pretty clear with the divide between the East and West conferences, as only 8 teams from the East have an above .500 record vs Western teams.

I have no issues with saying the Oil are bad and are having a shocker of a season, but in a way they aren't as bad as it looks.

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#103 Wäx Män Riley
February 07 2014, 08:13PM
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DSF wrote:

They're 21st in the league.

Last season they were 24th.

IMPROVEMENT!!

Obviously joking, lol.

Welcome back! I've been wondering why we haven't seen you in a while, I thought our DashingSilverFox finally gave up on this sad sack franchise.

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#104 **
February 07 2014, 08:17PM
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Wäx Män Riley wrote:

IMPROVEMENT!!

Obviously joking, lol.

Welcome back! I've been wondering why we haven't seen you in a while, I thought our DashingSilverFox finally gave up on this sad sack franchise.

I think he just found out the World didn't end in dec. 2012 and just came out of his bunker in the middle of the NWT.

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#105 geeker99
February 07 2014, 08:32PM
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At this point all I am looking for is effort. Ever since the Dubnyk trade I feel that it has been there for the most part. My opinion is that we need a #1 center. I love nuge but think he could use a Backes, Thorton or Getzlaf type. I think Nuge is at the top as an asset to this club but has never had a "yoda" to learn from.

Momentum is so large to this club and hope it continues after the break. Not drinking the koolaid , still know there holes but I believe Mac-t has made some nice moves and deserves time to continue. Just remember that 90 % of this team is going to be undervalued at trade deadline. I dont expect much to happen.

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#106 DSF
February 07 2014, 08:34PM
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** wrote:

I think he just found out the World didn't end in dec. 2012 and just came out of his bunker in the middle of the NWT.

Elba.

Very windy.

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#107 DSF
February 07 2014, 08:41PM
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Johnnydapunk wrote:

It's a weird feeling to feel chested by a bad call as opposed to bad play.

I can't really be that upset with the result, it was a clear holding the stick call but saying that, sh*t happens. At least the Oil came out to play and you're gonna get calls for and against you so yeah. Still pants though.

I had a quick look at the standings and it is pretty clear with the divide between the East and West conferences, as only 8 teams from the East have an above .500 record vs Western teams.

I have no issues with saying the Oil are bad and are having a shocker of a season, but in a way they aren't as bad as it looks.

The Oilers are 9-21-4 against WC teams.

Until they can get that record above .500, they won't be going anywhere.

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#108 **
February 07 2014, 08:44PM
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D-Unit wrote:

Some of the comment on this post are making my mind hurt tonight. I had hoped after a long week at work I wouldn't have to do much math for a couple days. Instead I come here and get a grade school math word problem.

If Zarny and G Bear go to the GDB to argue the statistics and math of how to properly calculate starting a goalie in back to back games, how far downhill has the Oilers season gone?

You sir, just won the internet for the night, here you go, just bring it back before 6 am.

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#109 Ivan Drago
February 07 2014, 08:49PM
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@DSF

OMG! Is that really you?

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#110 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
February 07 2014, 08:50PM
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Welcome back, DSF.

EDIT: unfortunately, it looks like you were right. About everything...

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#111 DSF
February 07 2014, 09:06PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Welcome back, DSF.

EDIT: unfortunately, it looks like you were right. About everything...

Thanks.

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#112 james_dean
February 07 2014, 09:14PM
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Missed ya DSF !

Yours truly,

Pamela Handerson

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#113 He Who Knows
February 07 2014, 09:14PM
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The Oil are playing a better overall game lately. I am also starting to see Yak gain steam, I hope he finishes really strong and that motivates him to work harder in the summer because I have high hopes on this sniper.

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#114 Johnnydapunk
February 07 2014, 09:20PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers are 9-21-4 against WC teams.

Until they can get that record above .500, they won't be going anywhere.

I'm aware of that, I was just pointing out that despite their horrible record, they aren't as bad of a team as they appear. It was also pointing out that the East is a weaker conference, and with the exception of the Boston game, the Oil seemed to hold their own at least in this road swing.

The season was over in November, there is not a doubt about that, but if I see that they are putting an effort in and they lose, fair enough. At least the problem is now isolated and hopefully that gets sorted.

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#115 Johnnydapunk
February 07 2014, 09:21PM
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Yeah and I should join the chorus and say welcome back DSF, back to bringing the sunshine back into Oilernation :-)

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#116 tabs
February 07 2014, 09:55PM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

Welcome back, DSF.

EDIT: unfortunately, it looks like you were right. About everything...

When it wasn't popular to agree or defend your posts, some of us did. I changed my handle to escape being banned again by a certain blogger.

Believe it or not but there's still guys here that would like Smyth re-signed over the summer and Gagner given more time to establish himself as a player.

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#117 dougtheslug
February 07 2014, 10:33PM
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DSF wrote:

They're 21st in the league.

Last season they were 24th.

Welcome back.

As usual, you have been economical with the truth.

2012-13 stats show Oilers dead last in the league in face-offs.

2013-14 they have improved to 20th, at 49.2%. In faceoff terms, a huge improvement. Tonight, they won 27 out of 39 faceoffs, 70%

I'm just saying faceoffs have improved, nothing more. No reason to misrepresent the facts.

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#118 Cameron
February 08 2014, 08:15AM
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Like Elvis's long awaited triumphant return to Las Vegas, like MacArther's return to the Phillipines, like MacT's return to the Oil.......welcome back DSF

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#119 Thumby
February 08 2014, 08:46AM
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#ThereGoesTheOilers wrote:

Hey Jason, you know Sochi has started right?

Here's a more appropriate GDB picture, courtesy of Jenna Blasman who is representing Canada in snowboarding:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=743665548995097&set=a.743665158995136.1073741827.743664325661886&type=1&theater

Meh, she's ok I guess...but nothing to get excited about.

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#120 Thumby
February 08 2014, 09:04AM
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He Who Knows wrote:

The Oil are playing a better overall game lately. I am also starting to see Yak gain steam, I hope he finishes really strong and that motivates him to work harder in the summer because I have high hopes on this sniper.

Its funny what happens when a kid gets to have a year or more to work on his pro level game. He starts too look more like pro...go figure!

Usually, good teams let their kids do this in the AHL so they can grow without being exposed like the rookies they are. Too bad the Oilers just figured this out (see Marcinin for example).

I hope hope HOPE they let Darnell age like a fine wine to the point of bursting before they bring him in. IMO If he's on the roster before he hits 200+ lbs and has at least 50 games in the AHL, they have screwed up.

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#121 hoss83
February 08 2014, 04:27PM
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@ Gregor

Jason do you think there is any chance we keep Hemsky? Have there been any rumblings of that option?

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