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Ilya Kovalchuk, His Goalless Drought and Bad Luck

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No Ryan McDonaugh, Being able to fly doesn't mean you're lucky.
No Ryan McDonaugh, Being able to fly doesn't mean you're lucky.

Ilya Kovalchuk has been having a great year- despite missing 5 games he leads the team in points and is scoring at a point-per game pace, which should have him on pace for 80 points. He's been on the scoresheet in 7 of the last 9 games- with 6 assists in those last 9 games. While assists aren't bad, a lot of people are complaining that he isn't scoring any goals. Since the game against Buffalo where he recorded a hat trick, he hasn't scored a single goal since then. Considering that his lack of scoring has coincided with the team's recent funk, it seems that a lot of people want to blame Kovalchuk for his lack of "effort". The problem is that luck isn't on his side right now. Of course, it seems a bit rhetorical to mention that he's been unlucky- when you've got a high level player and elite shooting talent like Kovalchuk not scoring a single goal over a period of time, luck has to be a factor. However, I want to know how unlucky he's been.

To look at this, I'm going to look at his possession numbers and his shot totals over the 9 game stretch. I've also included his on-ice shooting% there as well just so I can get a better picture of how much he's affected his teammates during this spell of bad luck




Shots on Goal

On ice sh%


-2 (13F, 15A)

-1 (12F, 13A)




-7 (9F, 16A)

-1 (8F, 9A)


12.5 (1/8)


11 (27F, 16A)

12 (25F, 13A)


5.26 (1/19)


11 (19F, 8A)

12 (16F, 4A)


0 (0/13)


6 (16F, 10A)

4 (10F, 6A)


0 (0/7)


8 (18F, 10A)

2 (11F, 9A)


0 (0/4)


-7 (13F, 20A)

-5 (8F, 13A)


14.2 (1/7)


-3 (12F, 15A)

1 (11F, 10A)


28.6 (2/7)


2 (19F, 17A)

-1 (11F, 12A)


0 (0/9)


2.11 (16.22F, 14.11A)

2.55 (12.44F, 9.88A)


8.1 (6/74)

In terms of getting pucks on net, it looks like he's not having a lot of trouble getting them on net. He hasn't been completely dominated in terms of possession most of the time- in fact the only games where you could say he's had a bad possession game are the games against the Canadiens (2/19/12) and the Bruins (3/1/12). In terms of getting shots on net, his 3.88 shots/game over that 9 game stretch is pretty close to his current average of just below 4 shots per game (239 SOG in 60 GP). As for how his team has performed when he's on the ice, his on ice shooting % of 8.1% is pretty similar to his current on ice shooting% of 8.35, as well as the team's current ES shooting% of 8.5. Which means that Kovalchuk's spell is really just a personal run of bad luck, as it hasn't severely affected whoever's been on the ice with him.

Of course, this dry spell of his will eventually have to end. The bad news is that we don't know exactly how long it will take for Kovalchuk to start scoring.