The Leafs confirmed to Yahoo Sports reporter Justin Cuthbert that Frederik Andersen will get the second start in the second game in two nights tonight.
Let’s get a little selfish:
Freddie Andersen gets the start versus Colorado, Keefe confirms.
— Justin Cuthbert (@jccuthbert) December 4, 2019
Andersen was hung out to dry last night, holding the Flyers to just 1 goal for the first 50 minutes of the game, until the team fell apart in the 3rd period, with 5 goals against (including one empty-netter) in the final 10. He was given a 82.1% save percentage, but it’s hard to say he earned that.
In 2013, Eric Tulsky (who now is fairly high up in the Carolina Hurricanes organization) wrote a piece on why goalies should almost never start back to back games for Broad Street Hockey, a Flyers blog coincidentally enough.
To summarize, rested goalies on average earned a 91.2% save percentage on the second game of a back-to-back, while tired goalies that had played the night before had an average save percentage of 90.1%. If you add to this the consideration that common practice has been to start the backup goalie, who should perform worse, for the second game, this becomes a stark difference. League average save percentage game that isn’t the second game of a back-to-back is about 91.5%.
Now of course, “almost” is the key word in that statement. The Leafs’ hot start under Sheldon Keefe came to a crashing end last night with a turd of a game against Philadelphia. As such, having the comfort of knowing Frederik Andersen is starting in this tough matchup against a good Avalanche team feels like the right decision.
Despite the math being against this decision, the decision that should be the best by statistical analysis isn’t always the one that actually turns out the best. Let’s collectively put together positive energy as we face off against Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche tonight, at home, starting at 7 p.m. EST.