I always like to pay attention to games that go late into the third, knotted at zero. There’s something that nature dislikes about a scoreless tie, and so they don’t happen very often. If I had to make the guess, I’d say that the last five minutes of a previously scoreless game has the highest probability of a goal or more being scored.
Of course, what’s actually at work is that the anxiety of the moment gets ratcheted up very high at that exact time. And that makes those with doubts show them. More savvy competition, not only more experienced, though that is a factor, but more confident in their own superiority, knows that it’s the other team that will crack. The less savvy competition worries, because they don’t know who it will be.
Can you make any judgments of this group, based on this one result? I guess it depends on what you’re trying to judge. I believe it’s a good way to judge savvy. But then again, savvy grows as the player does. As the team grows. And I don’t believe you can judge their potential based on these results. It’s only a snapshot. But when you want to judge the depth of their self-confidence, it’s a far more telling snapshot than recent stats. Take James. He had a terrific game tonight against Boston. If I say anything else to judge his work, then it is at the peril of undermining this key point. And the guys around him, same thing. Great November. But they let in that goal late in the third. They let Chara walk in, and James could not stop it. Is it the team, or James, that lapsed? More the team than James, but it’s a hybrid. He could have made a heroic save at the key moment. And this one snapshot doesn’t give you a full picture of all the moving parts. But it is telling. Conclusion: The team may be improving rapidly, and James is undeniably playing excellent hockey. But they’re not yet savvy.