Can you guess which teams these are?
- Team A has a winning percentage of 0.188. They score 1.75 goals/game and allow 3.00 goals/game on average.
- Team B has a winning percentage of 0.667. They score 3.44 goals/game and allow 2.67 goals/game on average.
Stumped? Team A is the Mallards’ on Friday night home games. Team B is the Mallards in all other home games. They are 1-6-1 in Friday home games, and 11-5-2 in all other home games.
It’s fairly well known that this team has been very inconsistent from one game to the next. That is a whole discussion topic itself. The Mallards seem to have found consistency in these Friday games, though. Unfortunately, they have been consistently bad.
What is it about Friday night games that causes the Mallards to struggle? Their opponents in these games have been the Rush (3 times), Thunder (2), Cyclones (1), Mavs (1), and Oilers (1). The lone win was against the Rush way back in November. None of these games have been vs the very top teams, but also none have been versus the very bottom teams. You’d expect their record in these games to be similar to their overall record.
Is the problem playing in front of a big crowd? They have had big crowds almost every Friday. These are likely some of the biggest crowds the rookies have played in front of in their careers. The Mallards have a lot of rookie forwards. It is the offense that is the biggest problem in these games, scoring half as many goals. Are the rookies gripping the stick too tight? I don’t know. They have won games in front of big crowds, too, both at home and on the road. They’ve had 4 Saturday home games with crowds bigger than 4,000, and they are 2-1-1 in those games. They’ve played 19 road games in front of crowds greater than 4,000, and they are 11-7-1 in those.
Does it have something to do with preparation? The team is at home and often has had a few days of a break from their last game (either on Wednesday, or even the previous weekend) leading up to these. Are they too relaxed or distracted? It’s not like Saturdays where they pretty much always have had a game the night before. Does it take them a game to regain their focus? I don’t claim to know the answer. I’m searching for any answer I can find. This seems as likely as anything, and if true could be the mark of a young team.
The Mallards have two Friday home games left to try to salvage something in these games. It will be tough though with Allen in town Tuesday night. If the Mallards had simply played .500 on Fridays at home they’d have at least an extra five standings points. If they played .667 hockey like they have in their other home games, they’d have seven or eight more standings points. Those points would be really handy right about now.