Tuesday, 9 October 2018

That Can't Be Right, Can It?

Occasionally, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at what is found on social media. I appreciate those who try to bring news and information to the masses, but there are times when things are lost in translation or information is disseminated incorrectly. It's always a good idea to go to the source for said information when possible, and there were statistics posted on social media today that needed a little sourcing due to the unfathomable numbers posted. Let me be clear: this is in no way an attack on the person who posted the stats. It's simply a "check your sources" article because I had to double-take the information presented. And the tweeter? He was right.

Here is the tweet I am referencing, and I hold Patrick in the highest esteem for the work he does in bringing Russian hockey news to light via social media.
64-11? 28-0? That seems rather impossible, so I immediately needed to verify those numbers. After all, it's not like Salavat Yulaev is a terrible team, and Avangard Omsk hasn't really put together an SKA-esque team of all-stars.

Like I said, I hold Patrick in the highest esteem, and it seems his reporting is accurate if the KHL boxscore is to be believed.
According the linked boxscore, Avangard spent just 8:10 in the attacking zone in the second period where they put 28 shots on Salavat Yulaev's netminder Juha Metsola while Salavat had just 1:43 of time in the offensive zone, registering zero shots. They attempted five shots as there were five blocked shots recorded, but to be outshot 28-0 in a period is the very definition of embarrassing as a team.

The crazy part? Salavat Yulaev, as Patrick reported, won this game 3-2 despite being outshot 64-11! Dmitry Kugryshev scored at 11:45 and 14:45 while teammate Vyacheslav Solodukhin chipped in a goal at 15:38 to stake Salavat to a 3-0 lead on four shots as Avangard head coach Bob Hartley saw enough of Igor Bobkov and his .250 save percentage at that point, replacing him with Alexei Murygin. That 11.51 GAA in this game looks nothing like his season goals-against average of 1.74 along with a .924 save percentage, so it seems Bobkov was having an off-night in a rather spectacular way. Despite being outshot 15-5, Salavat held a 3-0 lead over Avangard after 20 minutes.

During that insanity known as the second period, David Desharnais scored and Maxim Chudinov added another goal on the power-play, so Avangard went 2-for-28 in this period. They posted a shooting percentage of 7.14% on a total number of shots that most teams average in a game, but Avangard trailed 3-2 after holding a 43-5 advantage in shots!

Yes, forty-three to five. You're reading that correctly. They scored twice on 43 shots - a 4.65% shooting percentage - while Salavat had three goals on five shots - a 60.0% shooting percentage - through two periods of play.

There were no goals scored in the third period as Avangard pummeled Salavat with shots again, winning the shot count by a 21-6 margin. Karill Semyonov led Avangard in shots with nine, but defenceman Cody Franson was right behind him with eight! Yes, former NHLer Cody Franson had eight shots in 22:13 of work while Sergei Shirokov, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks, led the forwards in time-on-ice at 21:34, but recorded a total of zero shots in the game.

Let me rephrase that: Cody Franson had 1/8th of Avangard's total shots in this game and scored zero times while Sergei Shirokov - eight goals already this season - didn't even put a puck on net to tie Franson in offensive output. If one removes David Desharnais' goal and assist on five shots, the former NHL players suiting up for Avangard would have recorded one assist on 19 shots. That's simply awful.

Kudos to Juha Metsola, goaltender for Salavat Yulaev, who stopped 96.9% of the shots he faced in this game. While there's no doubt that Salavat needs to tighten up their defensive game slightly - UNDERSTATEMENT MUCH? - the Finnish goaltender might be someone that Team Finland considers for future international tournaments. He's currently 9-2-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .943 save percentage, and that's slightly better than his KHL career totals of a 2.07 GAA and a .929 save percentage. Imagine how good Metsola could be with a little defensive help!

A big stick-tap to Patrick for pointing out these rather staggering numbers from today's KHL games! Keep up the great work in keeping us informed about Russian hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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