Shots generate goals. Seems obvious right? But nothing in this article will make sense unless we understand that teams that shoot the puck more tend to score more goals. Out of the top 16 teams in goals for at 5v5 over the past 4 seasons, 10 of those teams are also in the top 16 in shots for at 5v5. (In case you were wondering, the St. Louis Blues are tied at 13 for goals for and ranked 15 for shots for.)
The Blues's goal scoring rate (GF/60) this season is 2.6 compared to 2.4 for the previous season. Blues are scoring more but not by much. And as we saw in my previous post about goal differentials at the half-way point of the season, the Blues are one of the top teams in that stat as well. Between Tarasenko's scoring prowess and the resurgence of the first line of Steen-Backes-Oshie we have a lot to be excited about right now. This team is scoring goals!
Now this is when I play the part of wet blanket. This team might be scoring more goals, but they are not necessarily taking more shots on goal. In fact, as their goals for per 60 has increased during the season, their shots for per 60 has remained steady. This is not a recipe for sustainable goal scoring. In order for the Blues to continue this pace of goal scoring, they need to be taking more shots on goal. Unless this shots for trend changes, I fear we might see a scoring slump on the horizon for this team.
So that is the bad news. The good news is more players are getting in on the scoring as the season progresses. The middle two charts below are a moving average of the number of goal scorers per game (which is obviously trending up) and the number of goals scorers by number of goals scored. Last season it was Steen at the beginning of the season that carried the team in goal scoring. This season it was Tarasenko. But then more and more players started to contribute. Obviously, spreading out the goal scoring between the lines is optimal.
I want to be excited about this new found goal scoring ability by the St. Louis Blues. It is great to see scoring spread across the lines with more players contributing. But if they continue this flat trend of shots for per 60 for the remainder of the season, we might see a struggling team come playoff time.