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Ups and Downs of Dallas Stars Special Teams Have Shaped Their Season

After the Phoenix Coyotes scored a late power play goal Wednesday to tie the game I discussed the situation with my father at intermission. I told him the Stars were going to need to score a power play goal of their own because they don't seem to win when they lose the special teams battle.

They didn't. And they lost.

So I decided to look and see if that suspicion pans out statistically or if it's just a perception. As I suspected it's not a pretty figure. Obviously saying that winning the special teams battle is conducive to winning hockey games is a pretty moronic simple conclusion right up there with "hey I bet if they score more goals they'll win more often," but just roll with it for a minute.

For the sake of proper exposition let's define "winning the special teams battle" as such: TOTAL (PPGF+SHGF) > TOTAL (PPGA+SHGA). So if the Stars allow a short handed goal and score a power play goal it's a wash. If they score one PP goal and allow a shorty and a PP goal then they lost the special teams battle.

Thus far this season...

When they... W L OT/SOL
Lose Special Teams Battle 4 13 4
Win Special Teams Battle 12 1 1
Draw Special Teams Battle 14 4 1

Coincidences abound? Perhaps, but the numbers are compelling enough to say this: They don't necessarily need to win the special teams battle but they sure as heck better not lose it because that 4-13-4 points percentage isn't going to get you anywhere. The numbers have held particularly true in 2011 aside from the anomaly of the Boston game where Brenden Morrow scored short handed, they were perfect on the PK but they lost the game, of course.

Also pursuant to this conversation is the subject of short handed goals, which the Stars have given up with alarming regularity this year at 9. I think of them as getting a punt blocked in football. There are some pretty compelling statistics out there (ask Sports Sturm, I don't know them off hand) that say that if you get a punt blocked in an NFL game you lose an overwhelming majority of the time.

That seems to hold true for the Stars this year. They've allowed 9 but in two of those games they scored one of their own as well, so that's a wash. In the remaining seven games they've allowed one they are... You guessed it. 0-7.

Let's make special teams special again please, Dallas.