Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Final Thoughts – Mostly Goaltending

April 14th, 2010, 3:02 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

Only hours away before puckdrop, and in visiting my usual blog suspects this morning, I got a little more interested in the goaltending matchup.  On the podcast (scroll down) David said that Anderson needs to have a near-perfect series in order to win, and I guess I might have mistakenly took this to mean that the Sharks have a goaltending advantage.  Gabe Desjardins disagrees, to put it mildly:

Is there any aspect of the game where Colorado’s better than San Jose?  Just one: goaltending.  Craig Anderson is a vastly better goaltender than Evgeni Nabokov, even if Nabokov has somehow managed to put up respectable numbers this season.

I asked him about it a bit in the comments saying I’d put them about even, and his reply was:

Since the lockout: Craig Anderson save percentage = .916; Nabokov = .910. Nabby sucked for four seasons; he didn’t become good this year.

Interesting.  I wouldn’t make the claim that Nabby is an elite goaltender, and reading the great Brodeur Is a Fraud blog where the argument is made that SV% isn’t the perfect stat, but it’s a hell of a lot better than all the others, seems to back this up.  However, Nabby does have a better SV% this year than Anderson – .921 to .916.  Also, after reading this and this from Jonathan Willis, we see that Nabby and Anderson are above average in consistency, with SV% standard deviations of 0.064 and 0.054, respectively.  Those are new numbers I calculated based on their stats from the entire regular season.  We did see Nabby regress a bit in save percentage, as Gabe pointed out, but stayed relatively consistent.

Also, since Nabby ‘sucked’ the last four years, I wanted to find out the difference between sucking and not.  So let’s look at last year, where Nabby’s SV% was 0.910, good for 27th in the league.  Certainly not great, not even good.  If Nabby faced the exact same number of shots, and ended up with a 0.921 SV%, a tick better than Bobby Lou and good for 4th in the league, I think we could call that a great (or even elite) performance.  So what was the difference between Nabby’s and Luongo’s performances?

That’s seventeen goals over the course of the season, equivalent to around 4 or 5 wins.  Another way to put it , since Nabby only played 62 games, that’s one goal every 3.6 outings.  To me, that doesn’t sound like a lot.  It really shows that the difference between an average or below-average goalie and an excellent goalie is very small- just one fewer shot facing a late lateral push, an open 5-hole or a sluggish glove.  If Nabokov didn’t do that once every 216 minutes of playing time he would have been a top-5 goalie in the NHL last year, versus a top-30.

Oh yeah, GO SHARKS.

9 Comments to “Final Thoughts – Mostly Goaltending”

  1. Ian says:

    I thought and please correct me if I’m wrong but Anderson has basically until this year been a backup. Comparing save % of a guy who plays less then 30 games a season to a guy who plays 60+ is almost apples to oranges in my opinion. Anderson has played close to double the games this year that he has in any previous season.

    So I got to give the advantage to Nabby, who although has played alot of hockey this year is also used to logging that kind of time over the goalie who has played double the games he is used to and has play has come back down to earth leading up to the playoffs.

  2. Ivan M says:

    And the nice thing is that in 3 hours, none of the stats from any regular seasons matter. It all goes out of the window once the puck drops.

    Killing some time right now listening to the latest podcast.

  3. Tom says:

    Totally agree Ian….

    You know it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks know, it’s all about the next 120 mins.

  4. Tom says:

    Per D. Pollack… Demers in, Staubitz out. 7 D. Demers playing forward on the fourth line and some D shifts too.

    Me like.

  5. Chris, from Boston says:

    Did you guys look at this Denver Post article. It’s quite funny.

    Seems they have the mind games going in full force.


  6. Tom says:

    That 2nd period was the poorest played period in Sharks PO history.

    Two words to descibe the Sharks right now: timid and afraid…

    • Nate says:

      Couldn’t agree more… timid and afraid. It may be only one game but SJ fans can’t be blamed if they think the sky is destined to fall once again. If they drop both at home… I think I might actually puke.

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