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The Quit Factor

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In the last Five Game Report Card, I pointed out that the Thrashers' 5-on-5 GF/GA was looking okay, so I was still a bit hopeful about this season. Let me share with you a different stat that makes me much less hopeful. Let's do this one in a chart.

Quit_factor_medium

This chart shows the winning percentages for all 30 teams after 1 and 2 periods. "Better" would be toward the top-right of the chart. Those teams tend to hold onto a lead better than other teams. "Worse" would be closer to the bottom-left... like Atlanta. The Thrashers have the worst winning percentage when leading after the first period and the second-worst winning percentage when leading after the second period.

This is a team that has a hard time holding onto a lead. That's not the way to be successful in the regular season and it's certainly not the way to be successful in the playoffs.

It should be mentioned that doing well in these stats doesn't mean winning. The correlation between LD1% and P% is just 0.253, between LD2% and P% just 0.129. (For reference, the R-squared with SC1% is 0.512.)

What does this mean? Teams that can hold leads are not necessarily the best teams. (Scoring first is a much better indicator of a winning team than the ability to hold a lead, for example.) Bad teams might be able to hold a lead and just don't get them very often. Still, "we win about half the games in which we lead after the first" is not exactly the kind of message we'd like to deliver. Worse is this:

  • Winning percentage: 0.523
  • Winning percentage when leading after the first: 0.524

Winning the first period gets us nowhere, essentially. (Losing the first period does hurt: 0.409.) In fact, we'd be better off to be tied at the end of the first. That's not the kind of information I like to see pop up in the numbers.