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Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 12/28/2011

How valuable is win percentage in one-goal games?


The Washington Capitals are 5-6-1 under new head coach Dale Hunter, having scored just a single goal five times since he took over behind the bench. However, according to first fourth-liner Mike Knuble, that's okay and to be expected.

“Bruce was an offensive guy and wanted to outscore teams, really cared about goals,” Knuble said. “I really feel like Dale can care less. We play a very stingy defensive game. He’s very happy with 1-0, 2-1. He’s comfortable playing in those games."

For one, I am not sure the goaltending is consistent enough to win while scoring just one or two goals a game.

As it stands right now, Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth have a combined .899 save percentage. The team is averaging 2.9 goals-for per game and 3.0 goals-against, meaning the chances they win by exactly one goal is 15 percent — hardly enough to make one's comfort level high.

Secondly, contrary to popular belief, a team's win percentage in one-goal games doesn't equate to playoff success.

Since the lockout, 23 teams have won more than 60 percent of their games by a margin of one goal. Here is how they fared in the playoffs:

■ Three (13 percent) missed the playoffs entirely.

■ Of the 20 that made the playoffs, 12 (60 percent) won less than three games, meaning they didn't make it out of the first round.

■ Just one team (Carolina, 2005-06) hoisted the Stanley Cup.

If a team's win percentage in one-goal games tells us one thing about a playoff team, it is they are most likely to be bounced in the first round.

Follow Neil on Twitter: @ngreenberg.

By Neil Greenberg  |  10:48 AM ET, 12/28/2011

 
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