Shutouts With Five Goals Against Are Rare

David Steckel skates away after another Devils goal.

How bad is bad? (Photo credit: Andy Marlin)

Getting shut out twice in three games is bad, but when they both involve giving up five goals against it is definitely no laughing matter. All teams, even Cup contenders, eventually have to pick up their socks, but how often does it get this bad?

In the last two years there have been 2,460 regular season games played. In that time a 5-0 shut out by the home team has happened only 12 times. The visiting team has accomplished this feat only five times, making five-zip shutouts as a whole rare birds indeed.

But how often should it happen against a team as good as the Washington Capitals?
There are surely other more correct ways to do this, but my iPad is too austere for a full-fledged spreadsheet.

Here’s what we know: Over the past two years and this season so far, the Caps have averaged 33.0 shots on goal per game with a shooting percentage of 10.8%. They have given up 27.3 shots a game while their goalies have saved them at a .906 clip.

We pop these into our handy-dandy Monte Carlo simulator, run it for 10,000 times, and see how often a 0-5 shutout should occur just by random chance alone.

Goals Against
Goals For 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Total
0 0.22% 0.59% 0.94% 0.80% 0.50% 0.21% 0.10% 0.02% 0.00% 0.00% 3.38%
1 0.67% 2.19% 3.08% 2.78% 1.86% 0.89% 0.29% 0.06% 0.01% 0.00% 11.83%
2 1.47% 4.07% 4.97% 4.46% 3.13% 1.29% 0.55% 0.15% 0.02% 0.01% 20.12%
3 1.37% 4.91% 6.31% 5.74% 3.06% 1.63% 0.57% 0.24% 0.05% 0.02% 23.90%
4 1.44% 3.99% 5.30% 4.36% 2.63% 1.34% 0.47% 0.15% 0.05% 0.01% 19.74%
5 0.87% 2.37% 3.03% 2.59% 1.65% 0.62% 0.24% 0.07% 0.01% 0.01% 11.46%
6 0.38% 1.20% 1.66% 1.45% 0.67% 0.46% 0.11% 0.06% 0.01% 0.00% 6.00%
7 0.14% 0.55% 0.59% 0.60% 0.32% 0.18% 0.07% 0.03% 0.01% 0.00% 2.49%
8 0.04% 0.17% 0.23% 0.17% 0.09% 0.04% 0.02% 0.02% 0.00% 0.00% 0.78%
9 0.01% 0.05% 0.04% 0.09% 0.03% 0.04% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.26%
10 0.00% 0.01% 0.01% 0.01% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.03%
11 0.01% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.01%
Grand Total 6.62% 20.10% 26.16% 23.05% 13.94% 6.70% 2.42% 0.80% 0.16% 0.05% 100.00%

Over 10,000 games (both home and away) the Caps should be shut out and give up five goals 0.21% of the time – almost a third as likely as we have seen in the NHL these last two years. We can take this as an indication that this past week– while very rare– still happens and there is no reason to panic. Not yet at least.

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