I was at the game in DC on Saturday. It was beautiful. If you had told me prior to puck drop that the St. Louis Blues would shut out the league leading Washington Capitals, I would have laughed in your face. Yet there I was at the top of Verizon Center staring down at a scoreboard showing 4 goals for the Blues and zero goals for the Caps. The Blues made their share of mistakes that game (and Allen bailed them out) but they also made some great plays that forced turnovers and generated good scoring chances.
Dan Buffa wrote about the Blues recent string of success and asked if it they can keep it up. So let's take a look at the Blues momentum for six key metrics to see if this is indeed something that is genuine or just a fluke. If you haven't already, you should go back to read my original post about these momentum charts in order to understand the theory behind them. I did make one change to these charts compared to the original. Based on a suggestion by Steve Burtch I am using an 8 game moving average instead of a 5 game moving average.
We are looking for a couple of indicators which will tell us whether or not the Blues are trending upwards or downwards and if it is something that is sustainable or just short term luck. If the 8 game average has crossed above the 20 game moving average, we can suggest that their is good momentum. Conversely if the 8 game average has crossed below the 20 game moving average, this is indicative of bad momentum or a downward trend.
The possession stats both show good momentum as this point. There is a slight dip in the 8 game moving average, but in the last 10 games or so there have been more games above 50% than below. The team worked themselves out of the possession woes they experienced during January and February.
Scoring chances for is starting to concern me if we are talking about sustainability. There was a huge jump in the 8 game moving average which pulled the 20 game moving average above the 50%. However, the last few games have seen the 8 game moving average drop to the point where it is nearly crossing the 20 game moving average. This is danger territory. If I am looking for the Blues to have sustainable scoring I want to see scoring chances trend along side shooting percentage. In the case of the Blues we are seeing scoring chance momentum starting to wane while their shooting percentage momentum increase. More goals on fewer chances is not sustainable. If the scoring chances 8 game crosses below the 20 game and the shooting percentage stays where it is, the Blues are riding on luck. However, if the scoring chance 8 game starts moving upwards away from the 20 game we can feel more confident about the team doing the things they need to do to score goals consistently. Right now the team's 20 game moving average for shooting percentage is at the league average. That's a good place to be with the goal tenders this team is icing. They just need to increase their scoring chances or at least be more consistent game to game in order for this to be sustainable.
I don't know if I really need to talk about the team's save percentage. The Blues have not allowed a goal since March 16th. I would love to believe that this team will be able to shut out every opponent between now and the Stanley Cup finals, but we both know that is just nonsense. This goal tending duo has been so potent, however, that even when the 8 game moving average dropped below both the 20 game moving average and the league average, the 20 game moving average still remained above league average. This is the goal tending duo we both need and deserve heading into the playoffs.
The other change I made to this chart is to provide the option to choose a team other than the St. Louis Blues. If you want to use this chart for your own article about a different team, you can choose the team you want to view, then click on the "share" button at the bottom. You can either embed the entire visualization into your article, or you can copy and paste the link that is generated. If you just want an image, you can click the download button to download an image file (.png format) and then use that for your article.