If you are betting hockey totals, you probably would not have noticed, but if you like to wager on your team and your goaltender(s) have gone through uncharacteristic slumps, you have paid for it.
At the All-Star break, we find the UNDER 329-311, discounting all ties, which is a lean of only 51.4 percent towards one side when following the NHL odds. Nonetheless, goalies save percentage are at their lowest point in four years at .913 and that came in the shortened season of 2012-13.
When trying to identify a particular reason, there is never just one, but several.
It starts with the World Cup championships last September, which pushed back the season approximately a week. While that doesn’t sound like much, with the NHL having gone back to a balanced schedule a few years back, that have meant more travel and fewer days off and an increase of three games in four nights.
For those netminders who participated in the World Cup, they had to ramp up quickly and some have struggled at various points having been going hard since August. Goaltending is not just about stopping pucks, it is sticking with fundamentals and with fatigue and less practice time, goalies are doing fundamental work on morning skates and trying to find time for rest.
Top shelf goalies like Carey Price of Montreal and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers have had slumps like we have not seen before and allowed goals we are not used to seeing from them and it has cost those making NHL picks. There have been several more players been the pipes who have afflicted.
The game is also changing and younger, faster players have bigger shots and more offensive skills than ever before, contributing to these numbers.
Will goalie woes continue, only time will tell.
Doug Upstone wrote this for www.sportsbookreview.com.