Monday, February 11, 2008

Getting Hot At The Right Time

Olie Kolzig's current three-game stretch of outings in which his save percentage has topped .900 (.917, .912 and .939) is his first such streak since the first three games of the season and, other than these last three games, the only time this season that he has gone three straight games with a goals against average at or below 3.00 was from December 22nd through the 27th.

For what it's worth (a lot, if you ask me), Brent Johnson is also hot, riding a four-game streak in which his save percentage has been at least .900, and his GAA has been at or below 3.00 in six of his last seven appearances.

On the season, the Caps are 20-6-4 in games in which their starting netminder's GAA is at or below 3.00 for that game (7-19-1 otherwise), 17-8-4 in games in which their starter's SV% is at or above .900 for that game (10-17-1 otherwise), 16-6-4 in games in which their starter hits both of those marks (5-2-0 in games in which he hits one or the other) and 6-17-1 in which he hits neither. This just in: good goaltending wins games.

To put it all in a bit of perspective, a goaltender with a 3.00 GAA would rank 42nd in the League (just ahead of Olie Kolzig, in fact), and a netminder with a .900 SV% would rank 36th. So we're not talking about the Caps needing great goaltending to win, we're talking about them needing mediocre goaltending. Put another way, with their offense, if the Caps can get even average goaltending the rest of the way (say, a 2.70 GAA and .910 SV%), they will most likely win the Southeast Division, and probably fairly easily - should the hot goaltending continue, so will the winning.

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