a·cu·men [ak-yuh-muhn] noun: keen insight; shrewdness

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Thursday, 13 November 2014

11/14/14 Keith Aulie's Fists Turn The Tide!

It's strange that we could be having this conversation, but let's do it anyway: Keith Aulie's two fights against Ottawa did not change the game in favor of the Oilers - score effects did.

Teams that are leading in games tend to get outshot because they go into a defensive shell, and teams that are trailing tend to take more chances and get more shots. That's what we call score effects. So it makes sense that the Oilers would bounce back against the Senators after going down 3-0.

That's not the narrative, though.

Just so we're clear here, Aulie's fight is not what changed this game. By the time he lost the first fight, the Oilers were already down 2-0. After the fight, the Oilers didn't have another shot attempt for just over three minutes, and they gave up another goal in the interim.

After the first period, the Oilers won the Corsi battle 42-30 and the plain old shot battle by a margin of 30-13. That's in line with what we would expect from score effects. Something similar happened against Nashville on Tuesday. After going down 3-0 in a pitiful first period for the Oilers, they came back and had 30 shot attempts in the final two periods to Nashville's 31.

I won't say Aulie had a terrible game, or even that he shouldn't fight. It's just that he didn't turn the tide by fighting. Fights don't really do that; especially fights that the home side loses.

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