Dry March and SV% Expectations

Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
March 24 2014 12:24PM

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Goaltenders, by nature, are easy targets. They're the last ones to make a mistake before the puck goes in, and when they're doing their job at their absolute best, the results are boring and forgettable until you look at the scoresheet at the final buzzer.

I'm going to keep this short, but sweet. Nobody is going to deny that James Reimer is struggling a bit. His numbers since the Los Angeles game look like his post-concussion numbers in 2011/12, and he's let in a couple of weak goals over the past few days. But to act like the's the only fault, the reason the Leafs are losing. Is close minded. Quite simply; the Leafs are under performing so badly, that they'd need hall of fame quality goaltending to weather this tide.

No crazy statistics. Just a two tables. The Toronto Maple Leafs have not scored more than three regulation goals in any game this month. This is important, because it requires the goalie to let in no more than two to win the game in sixty minutes, At 25 shots against per game (NJ is best at 25.5), stopping all but two requires a 0.920 save percentage, well above league average. A team needs to be able to occasionally score enough that their goaltender doesn't have to have an amazing night. Here's the rest of the league and their 4+ goal games in March.

Team GP 4+   Team GP 4+   Team GP 4+
1 Philadelphia 10 7 11 St. Louis 12 4 21 Vancouver 11 2
2 Boston 13 7 12 Anaheim 10 3 22 Winnipeg 11 2
3 Ottawa 10 5 13 Montreal 11 3 23 Carolina 12 2
4 San Jose 11 5 14 Columbus 12 3 24 Dallas 12 2
5 Calgary 12 5 15 NY Rangers 12 3 25 Nashville 12 2
6 Tampa Bay 12 5 16 Florida 13 3 26 Pittsburgh 12 2
7 Washington 12 5 17 Los Angeles 10 2 27 Edmoton 11 1
8 Chicago 11 4 18 NY Islanders 10 2 28 Minnesota 12 1
9 Colorado 11 4 19 Detroit 11 2 29 Buffalo 11 0
10 New Jersey 12 4 20 Phoenix 11 2 30 Toronto 12 0

The only team that doesn't have a 4+ goal game in March is the Buffalo Sabres, who are dead last in the NHL by a mile, and are on pace for the lowest goals per game average the league has seen since 1936. Coincidentally, the Leafs are on pace to be in the top 5 for most shots allowed in a season, leaving this deadly combination.

Save % required for Regulation Win, March 2014

Game Goals For Shots Against  Required SV%
1-Mar (Montreal) 3 30 933
3-Mar (Columbus) 1 33 1000
5-Mar (NY Rangers) 3 37 946
8-Mar (Philadelphia) 3 31 935
10-Mar (Anaheim) 3 44 955
11-Mar (San Jose) 2 48 979
13-Mar (Los Angeles) 3 41 951
16-Mar (Washington) 2 32 969
18-Mar (Detroit) 2 31 968
19-Mar (Tampa Bay) 3 30 933
22-Mar (Montreal) 3 36 944
23-Mar (New Jersey) 2 24 958

Cool, so the Leafs need at least a 0.933 SV% to win a game on a given night this month, as they continue to bleed shots against. The highest save percentage by a goalie who has played 30+ games this year? A tie between former Leafs prospects Tuukka Rask and Ben Scrivens, at 0.929. A consistent 0.933 goaltender would have the 4th highest save percentage by a Vezina Trophy winner ever, and smash the Leafs record.

No matter how shaky Reimer has been, no matter what goals "should" or "shouldn't" have been in, the last line of defence needs more support. Whether it's more goals for, or limiting of shots against, one can't underestimate the height of the mountain they expected to climb right now. No goalie should be placed under this much of a challenge with an expectation of success.

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I bring news about the Toronto Marlies, opinions about the Toronto Maple Leafs, and a bunch of ridiculous thoughts about everything else.
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#1 Cam Charron
March 24 2014, 12:45PM
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"The highest save percentage by a goalie who has played 30+ games this year? A tie between former Leafs prospects Tuukka Rask and Ben Scrivens, at 0.929"

Right in the feels.

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#2 WesternDP
March 24 2014, 01:14PM
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Good point, Kessel is down about half a point a game recently...3 points in the last seven.

I'm glad we saw a bit of jam when he went to the net and scored late.

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#3 leafdreamer
March 24 2014, 03:45PM
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Point taken. I hope the GMs that are looking at bringing in a goalie this summer are reading and we can still get something for Reimer. Still, Bernier would have given us a few extra saves and a few extra points over the last 5 games. That's what we brought him in for.

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#4 Gardiner-Reilly
March 24 2014, 04:16PM
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I'm not trying to say that the save percentage required for a win in the month of march shows that the leafs are a good team, but I don't think it shows that they are necessarily bad. Nobody expects the maple leafs to win every game. That would be totally unreasonable considering how unsound their defensive "system" (if they even have one) is. The leafs have been more or less average (a 500 team normally) in the month of march but have not gotten the greatest goal tending from Reimer which is indicative of their losing streak. Not blaming the whole thing on him but he certainly hasn't been starter quality recently. On the whole the leafs have been average as of late which might be better than the way they were playing on their winning streak ironically and would not be on this losing streak with the way Bernier was playing before he was injured. Unfortunately, Reimer has lost all confidence in himself and lets in some soft which means the Leafs need to really step up their play overall, something which they should have addressed a long time ago even with the great goal tending that Bernier had given them.

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#5 firecarlyle
March 24 2014, 07:13PM
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Why does Carlyle not tell his team to take more shots for and allow fewer shots against?

Fire Carlyle he just does not understand hockey beyond face punching and how tight a player should wear their helmet.

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#6 leafer2013
March 24 2014, 08:49PM
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This tells me that in the past games the leafs needed .933 on average in March. But there were a few games that one save would have led to at least a point (and possibly more). Alternatively just one more goal would have made a difference.

And I'm not sure why we look just at march rather then the whole season to see what avg SV% is needed. And of course anything can happen in the next 9 games from needing .955 goaltending or .910 to win enough games.

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#7 mac
March 24 2014, 08:52PM
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Maybe if the coach wouldn't make it seem like he wished Reimer weren't playing, he'd play a little better.

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#8 Reimerfan
March 25 2014, 06:23AM
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Cam Charron wrote:

"The highest save percentage by a goalie who has played 30+ games this year? A tie between former Leafs prospects Tuukka Rask and Ben Scrivens, at 0.929"

Right in the feels.

No surprise there!!!!

Whats sad is not so long ago REIMS was tied with Tuuka Rask for third place... I'm confused, I could see is Reims was letting in all these goals from all the shots he's takes and at this point it 3....he stops over 30 shots plus.how does this make him a crappy goalie????/ Look other top Goalies and they have been loosing at the same rate some more than other with 3 plus goals...don't see them getting ripped a part and they have a good gelling team in front of them...

GROW UP AND GET A LIFE!!! ITS JUST A GAME DOESN"T BETTER YOUR PAY CHEQUE OR YOUR DOES IT????? well I guess if your a betting person...thgis team is far below par from alot of teams and you should learn that this team will go no where at fast.....

LEAVE REIMS ALONE...enough already iits becoming a spectical and not in a good way...LEAFS AGAIN LAUGHING STOCK OF THE NHL.....destroying their team players the players wifes etc etc...

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#9 Jeremy Ian
March 25 2014, 06:45AM
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Equations have more than one side to them.

If the goaltending goes south, compensate with offense or tighten the defense.

Look at how Babcock and Cooper handled their woes.

Defense? The Leafs have over-relied on 4 defensemen, two of them young and mistake-prone; the captain shows all the traits of being injured. I watched him closely through the NJD game and there was a grimace on his face every time he had to skate hard.

Offense? The first line is gold standard. But the rest? Clarkson is a dragging anchor on the second line and the third line has been a work in progress for most of the season. The 4th line is non-existent. No wonder the top line looks gassed.

Hate to dredge this one up: but how would the Leafs be playing with Grabbo pivoting a third line with Ashton and Raymond? (Kulemin belongs with Kadri and Lupul).

Really, what Reimer's slide has done is pulled back the veil on the weaknesses of the team. Jeffler's right.

At the start of the season, I was willing to give Nonis the benefit of the doubt on his roster moves.

But what shocks me now is Carlyle's rigidity. He relied on a handful of players to do the work of a whole team. Sure enough, they are worn down -- and in the face of that, he leans on them more! Check out this Howard Berger story about how Carlyle knew Bernier was ailing before the LA game on March 13, but still put him on the ice.

http://www.bergerbytes.ca/leafs-cant-or-wont-bail-out-carlyle/

That's just bad coaching, plain and simple.

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#10 Rob
March 25 2014, 09:12AM
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"[Reimer's] numbers since the Los Angeles game look like his post-concussion numbers in 2011/12..."

Do we all recall what happened in the 2nd period of said game?

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#11 leafer2013
March 25 2014, 09:31AM
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@Cam Charron

You are mixing up things here and there are too many small sample errors here.

You should compare the list of goalies whose one month SV% (or march only sv%) was above that level needed to win. Or the leaf shots over the year to a list of goalies SV% with a specified level.

This is an lemons and oranges comparison

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#12 MaxPower417
March 25 2014, 10:26AM
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leafer2013 wrote:

You are mixing up things here and there are too many small sample errors here.

You should compare the list of goalies whose one month SV% (or march only sv%) was above that level needed to win. Or the leaf shots over the year to a list of goalies SV% with a specified level.

This is an lemons and oranges comparison

This is the strangest response to "right in the feels" that I've ever seen.

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#13 TGT23
March 25 2014, 12:20PM
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@leafer2013

Exactly. We're not talking about 30+ games. We're talking about in one month, and goalies can get a .933 in one month.

I mean, Reimerfan, "LEAVE REIM ALONE"... Why? Because he's a great guy we can't comment that he's been a sub-par goalie? Seriously?

Tuuka Rask: .938 in March

Semyon Varlomov: .928 in March

Jonathan Quick: .932 in March

Carey Price: .939 in October, .934 in November

Ryan Miller: .949 in December

Sergei Bobrovski: .929 in March, .931 in February

Jimmy Howard: .938 in January

Mike Smith: .955 in February (5 games)

So, don't try to tell me that .896 or .865 are good enough from Reimer the last two months or that because goalies can't put up .933 over 30+ games it means Reimer shouldn't over 10.

Goalies are capable of playing well enough to win, even behind this team.

That goalies name is Jonathan Bernier.

Jonathan Bernier: .933 in October, .932 in December, .926 in February (5 games)

And here's another thing... If Reimer stops ONE of the weak goals he's allowed in any give game (of which there are sometimes multiple), if he could stop one of the stoppable pucks he's let it the everything that happened after changes.

That's how that works. If he stops, for example, the 4th goal vs. Montreal, the Leafs might actually get a point or a win. If he CATCHES the 2nd goal vs. Washington, maybe the ensuing faceoff leads to a Leafs goal.

Stops any of the 3 vs. Detroit, the team stands a chance.

Point being that he doesn't have to be A LOT better, but if he stops one of the weak goals from going in it changes the way the rest of the game goes and we can't know what would have happened.

He needs to be better. If anyone can't see that then you aren't being honest (or are terribly bias).

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#14 MaxPower417
March 25 2014, 02:40PM
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@TGT23

A) Leafer2013 is just trolling ( as always). So the fact that you just agreed with him is...funny.

B) .933 wasn't the average he would need for the month to win all those games, it was the LOWEST he needed in any of those games to win. The average of all those games was .956.

C) You missed the point of the article.

D) You must have a really short memory, if you don't recall Reimer dragging the Leafs kicking and screaming into the playoffs last year while posting an identical sv% to the one Bernier has this year.

E)You also must not recall Quick's .903 season or Prices .905 or Millers .906 or Varlamov's .903 or Luongo's .907 or Rinne's .910 or Lundquist's .912 or Bobrovskies .899 or Crawfords .903. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Goaltending is crazy variable. Does something seem to be off with Reimer right now? Of course. Is that any indication that he can't return to form? HELL NO!

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#15 Pat F
March 25 2014, 03:51PM
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IF Reimer had made one more save...ha!

HOW ABOUT THIS: - IF Phaneuf had made one less giveaway - IF Phaneuf had made one more real hit on a player other than his own - IF Phaneuf had hit the net on just one more shot instead of his teammates - IF Phaneuf had actually blocked a shot instead of wincing to avoid it - IF Phaneuf had made one less sweep check attempt when failing to take out a player cutting for the net - IF Phaneuf had actually moved a man FROM in front of the net instead of IN front of it - IF people stopped congratulating Phaneuf on his plus/minus and actually counted his goals against when shorthanded and LACK of production on the PP - IF people remembered Phaneuf's dismal effort giving up goals when ON the PP - IF Phaneuf would stop skating as if he is on roller skates - IF Carlyle would keep Phaneuf OFF the ice and restrict his minutes to under 18 a game _ IF Phaneuf would forget the stupid drop pass on the PP that is fooling NO ONE - IF Phaneuf would stop the fake shot then pass while on the point that is fooling NO ONE - IF Phaneuf acted like the captain of the world's greatest franchise

THEN things would be vastly different If FEWER pucks get to the net and FEWER opponents are left standing in front of it as a screen...then REIMER has a better hope of pulling off the miracles we need him to

LASTLY - Randy, way to build up the kid under fire. You should have TRADED Phaneuf when you could...that one mistake has crippled this D for years.

RIGHT ON APRIL! GO REIMER GO...people who know this sport recognize you need to be better but also that YOU DO NOT BEAR THE FULL BLAME for this slide.

Can't wait for Bernier to return and lose HIS first game back. Then what will Leafs Nation say?

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#16 Pat F
March 25 2014, 07:03PM
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-3 end of 2. Way to go Cap'n!

EMBARRASSED by Steen.

EMBARRASSED on PK fail to clear

EMBARRASSED at pinch gone wrong

$7mil a year baby. Good contract Leafs, good contract. oh ya...no trade.

Bye bye playoffs, bye bye Cup for the foreseeable future.

SIT PHANEUF, insert REIMER here...

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