Not a Fan of Overtime Struggles
Wednesday, 12.9.2009 / 3:48 PM CT / News
By Seamus O'Callahan - Hockey Historian
This losing in overtime bit, that is. Dallas has dropped a league-high nine games in overtime this season while tying for the NHL high so far with 12 games going past regulation out of 30 played.
Somehow the Stars have to get back to their winning ways and getting that extra point when going into the extra time.
Now, most of these games have been decided via the shootout, with five being decided in overtime. Dallas is 2-3 in game that are decided in the five-minute overtime period of four-on-four hockey. But, the Stars are only 1-6 when the game goes to a shootout, a disturbing trend indeed.
What’s the reason? Is it nerves? No, if it were nerves the game alone would be too difficult.
Is it that their opponents’ talent is just simply better than the Stars in the tie-breaking skills competition? No, if anything, the National Hockey League has parody like it has never seen before; At least in the post-expansion era.
Perhaps it’s the simple “due theory.” That would explain a lot.
- The Stars entered the season with a 32-14 record in the shootout, winning 70% of those games. That pace is hard to keep up. Now the Stars are 33-20 all-time, still the fourth-best overall record in the league since the shootout was introduced in 2005-06. That’s a percentage of 62.3%; still not half-bad.
- What’s the reason for the 1-6 record in shootouts this season? I think you have to look no further than the shooters. Dallas has scored on only four of its 24 shots during the shootout this season (17%). The team entered ’09-10 scoring on 71 of its 176 attempts all-time (40.3%).
- James Neal, who leads the Stars in goals with 13, has not scored on any of his five shootout attempts, while Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro have both gone 1-for-6 in shootouts. Perhaps the “due theory” will work for the Stars the other way next time these guys are in a shootout.
- But it’s not all on the shooters. Stars goalies have combined to stop 12-of-22 opponent shots (55%) this season. Dallas goalies entered ‘09-10 with a stoppage percentage of 71.5% (saving 118-of-165).
Bottom line (and the players know this better than anyone) -- the team has to be better in overtimes and in the shootout.
Points Lost or Points Gained?
Now, with nine overtime/shootout losses this season, Dallas has earned one point in the standings for each of the contests. Some might say that these are lost points while others say they are gained.
I say they are both.
The way the league works, with three-point games impacting the standings quite often, teams need to find a way to get points out of each and every game. Regulation losses get you nothing, literally. At least an OT loss gets you one point.
“But what about that other point?” you might ask. “Isn’t that important?” Of course it is.
I believe that OT losses hurt most when a team is battling one or two others for say, a division title (for instance, the Stars would be right there with the Sharks if they had nine of those “lost points.”). When a team is battling for spots 4-8 (which the Stars are right now), gaining points in as many games as possible is a recipe that will get you in that top-eight. At least that works in the first 30 games of a season.
There is no question that the Stars need to get this cleaned up and win some of these games that go to overtime. The extra point is important enough but so are the wins, as they are the first tie-breaker in the standings come playoff time.
Thank goodness I am a big believer in the “due theory,” cbeause I believe the Stars are due for some wins in overtime for the remaining 52 games.