In hockey games, many things decide the outcome of a game: coaching, player quality, injuries, even luck. But for the Flames, one thing can outweigh all of these.
Tonight, with the Canadiens in the 'Dome, the Flames fans who want a playoff appearance should hope for one thing and it's none of the above listed things: that Curtis Glencross doesn't score first.
It was an observed phenomenon initially. Walkinvisible of Hit the Post mentioned it a few times, as did commenter Sarah (confession, I can't remember her SBN username). I was amused and took occasional note of it at first, but after the latest loss, I had to verify its veracity.
The facts are this: when Glencross scores first, the Flames lose 73% of the time. Here are the full statistics.
So what exactly are you looking at above? The first column is simply the total number of goals in each game he's scored in. Not really relevant, just happened to keep the data on hand. The second is the date of the game and the third is the opponent. The fourth column is a binary indicator of whether Glencross scored first or not. In other words, 1 means yes, 0 means no. The next column is a binary loss indicator. Same thing as the previous one, but here a 1 means the Flames lost (note that I don't differentiate between a regulation loss and an OT/SO loss). The last column is also a binary indicator of whether or not Glencross both scored first and the Flames lost.
The reason I used the 1 vs. 0 is I'm lazy and I wanted Google Docs to do the addition for me.
So what do we learn from this spreadsheet? Aside from a three game set right before Christmas (which will hereafter be referred to as the Glenchrist Miracle) where he scored first in three straight games that the Flames all won, when Glencross scores first in either the game as a whole or just for the Flames, the Flames lose.
And what about when he scores, but not the first goal? The Flames are 8-2.
Of course, I don't mean to say that Glencross scoring first leads to the Flames playing worse or more poorly. Clearly that's an abuse of statistics. What I'm actually saying is that it is a literal sign from God that the Flames will lose.
Tomorrow I'll analyze the correlation between cataloged appearances of stigmata and Olli Jokinen hitting the post.