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Thursday March 18, 2010 11:49 pm

Redefining the game-winning goal

Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, NHL,

Brandon SegalOn Tuesday night, Dallas’ Brandon Segal scored his second game-winning goal of the season against the Sharks. He scored the goal at the 4:30 mark of the second period to put the Stars up 3-0. The score would move to 4-2 before Dallas netted four more in the third in an 8-2 rout of San Jose. But full credit goes to Segal for scoring the game-winner, as that was certainly the moment – less than halfway through the game – where San Jose knew they were finished and mailed in the rest of the night.

Of course that’s ridiculous. But the point is that sometimes GWGs are awarded under the most trivial of circumstances. If Player X scores a goal two minutes into the first period, then his team goes on to a 5-0 win, that first goal is the game-winner. Of course after that game everybody will be talking about the goalie’s shutout or Player Y’s hat trick, but you know somewhere down the road, some broadcaster will be talking about Player X’s number of GWGs on the season, including the irrelevant one earned in the shutout.

MLB has a set of situations under which a save may be awarded. Can’t the NHL find a similar set of scenarios? How about if the game is tied going into the third period? Or when the game-winner when the final scores are within two or three of each other? Overtime goals certainly would qualify as game-winners. The simple “goal number that the other team could not reach” is too simple. It doesn’t tell the story of the goal’s effectiveness in the long run.

Segal’s two game winners put him in the top quarter on the league list of GWG scorers. He’s played excellently in his short time since coming to Dallas from Los Angeles, but he’s a career minor leaguer at best. His six total goals and 10 career points in 34 NHL games are anything but clutch. In order for the GWG stat to hold any real significance, some changes will have to be made to it.



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