I started this blog post with the intention of pointing out how bizarre it is that the Thrashers have won so many games in which they’ve been outshot but when I went to NHL.com to find out how rare it is for a team to have a .500 record or better in games in which they take fewer shots than their opponent I discovered something- 22 of the 30 teams in the NHL have a .500 or better record in games in which they’re outshot.
Oddly enough only 17 of 30 teams have a .500 or better record when outshooting their opponents and the Thrashers aren’t one of them- they outshot an opponent for the first time on Tuesday in Ottawa but would up with a loss, making them one of five teams that is winless when outshooting the opposition. One of the others happens to be in town tonight. The Minnesota Wild are 0-0-1 when outshooting the other team, so something has to give tonight unless both teams take the same number of shots. The Thrashers are a perfect 1-0-0 in that situation having beaten Washington on opening night when both teams took 31 shots.
Conventional wisdom says shooting more than the other team improves your odds of winning, but so far this season teams being outshot are a combined 112-73-24 while teams who outshoot the opposition in a game are 97-94-18. Regardless, I’m sure Thrashers fan would like to see the home team outshoot the Wild tonight.
Another trend that we’d like to see change tonight- the Thrashers have given up three or more goals in 10 straight games. The Wild are fourth in the NHL in goals against per game at 2.15, so if the Thrashers give up three goals the odds of them putting four past Nicklas Backstrom are slim at best. In 11 appearances this season Backstrom has allowed two or fewer goals nine times. He gave up three once (in a loss) and four in his first game of the season (also a loss) against Carolina.
The good news is that the Wild are 24th in the NHL in goals per game with 2.46 and they only have 12 goals in their last seven games. If the Thrashers are going to be successful this season they desperately need to improve defensively, and tonight’s matchup against the low-scoring Wild would be the prefect time to put together a nice, solid, 3-1 or 2-1 win. Yes, a blowout would be a lot of fun and I won’t complain if that’s the way the game goes, but this team needs to learn how to win with a defensive effort instead of getting bailed out by offense.