Going First in NHL Shootout: A Statistical Analysis

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicubunuphotos/5262645427/With the end of the NHL lockout and the impending return of hockey, we thought we would take another look at NHL shootouts.  (The last time around we looked at the ability of goalies and shooters and found that there was nothing but randomness.  That post is HERE.)  

Our focus this time around is to look at whether or not a team goes first matters.  As most readers of this post will know, the home team has the choice of going first or second in the shootout.  We looked at all 1138 NHL shootouts that have been recorded and added data on which team went first.  (Many thanks to my student Zach Nelson for doing some data entry on this.)  

More often than not, 67% of the time, the home team chooses to go second.    And as far as winning is concerned, it does not matter whether a team goes first or second.  Going second you win about 50.5% (575 /1138) of the time.  That is more but not statistically significantly more than half of the time.

We also found that away teams win slightly more faceoffs than home teams.  That difference was statistically significant but it can’t be helped, so that is nice to know but not very practical knowledge.

Here are more of the gory details: Going First 

 More Statistical Analysis of Hockey articles can be found here: Hockey Analyses

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