How Fast Do Hockey Players Hit The Puck? [Fact Checked!]

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In a regular season game, how many times do you see a player hit the puck before it goes in for a goal? Maybe one or two a game? Well, in the 2012/2013 NHL season, that number is closer to three or four times per game! But how does that happen? Let’s take a look using data from Sports Interactive and the PDOcast.

The PDO Effect

One of the greatest innovations that the 2013 NHL season brought was the addition of a “hot hand” element to the point difference between teams (PDO). Previously, the PDO had been hovering around 90%, meaning that teams were consistently scoring more than they were allowed by “random chance” with goals coming in bunches. But in the 2013/2014 season, this number shot up to 93.7%, meaning that even if someone had zero goals at the start of the season, they had a greater than 3% chance of getting one in their next shot!

This increase in scoring is reflected in team and individual statistics, which show an uptick in goals, assists, and hits per game. If you want to know how to score in the NHL, the PDO is the best measurement to use.

The Home Ice Advantage

It would be a missed opportunity not to mention the home ice advantage in NHL. A team’s performance is usually better at home than on the road, with an increased scoring rate and a decreased rate of letting games get away. This trend continues even in the playoffs, with a 7-3 home record vastly exceeding a 4-5 away record in 2013.

Based on these numbers, it’s evident that the home ice advantage is nothing new. But what is different this season is the increased role that it plays in determining who wins and loses. If you compare a team’s regular season record to the percent of home games they won, you can clearly see that this season the correlation goes beyond just “home ice” to form a clear link between team performance and home stadium. This makes the job of a hockey fan a little bit easier – if your team is performing well, you can rest assured that they will continue to do so at home!

Hitting The Puck

If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re either a hockey player yourself, or someone who cares about one. One of the most important skills in hockey is to be able to hit the puck – and it shows in the statistics too. Across the league, there has been a 17% increase in hits per game compared to the previous season, while there were also more 5-on-5 minutes per game and more power play opportunities. This increase in overall action obviously led to more goals being scored.

While many factors contribute to a successful game, hitting the puck is one of the most important because it influences the speed and direction in which the game develops. This is why it is crucial that the best hockey players are the ones who can strike the puck the most effectively. One could even say that a good hit on the puck is a goal in and of itself.

Are NHL Players Missing The Target More Often?

A quick glance at the National Hockey League’s shooting percentage reveals that the players are missing the target more often this season than in years past. Through the first three months of the season, only 59.3% of shots on goal have been on target, meaning that either the player who took the shot missed the puck or the goalie stopped it. But while this number is concerning, it’s important to keep in mind that this is partially due to the fact that there are more players taking shots now. Through the entire history of the NHL, there has never been a season where so many high-quality shots were taken.

In the past, goaltenders were mostly responsible for stopping the puck. But now, with the increase of pace and power in the game, defensemen are playing a big role in preventing goals. This has resulted in an increased number of odd-man rushes, resulting in scoring chances for the other team. While shots on goal may be down, more scoring chances means more goals scored!

So, while NHL’s shooting percentage is down, it’s still very much in the same direction and it’s something to be concerned about. But it’s also important to keep in mind that the goal is to score more goals than the opposition, and through increased chances, the players are leading the way.

As an analytics-minded hockey fan, which statistics are most important to you?

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