The 0-2 shootout comeback. The nerdy approach.

Like (probably) many of you, I was getting ready to turn the game off once the Pens went up 2-0 in the shootout last night. I stayed to witness the inevitable loss only to see the Caps pull off the huge comeback. This got me thinking, just how rare is it to come back from a 0-2 deficit in the shootout.

I don't really have time to go through the actual numbers, so I'll just put up some probability numbers to get some insight at how special last night's win was.

The only way to go down 2-0 and still have a chance to come back is if the opponents go first, score on their first 2 tries, and you miss your first one. You then have to score your last 2 attempts and for the opponents to miss theirs. That ties it. It's then a toss-up between the 2 teams.

Probability-wise, taking into account league average (I took 33%), that works out to:


So you only come back 3.6% of the times you get down 2-0.

We can then see the probability to actually go down 2-0


So in any given shootout, there's a 7.3% the team that goes first grabs a 2-0 lead.

Putting these 2 numbers together:


So for any given shootout, there's a 0.266% chance of witnessing the comeback we witnessed yesterday.


Now there were 159 shootouts last year. If we estimate this is pretty much the same number every year, this means there's been in all (4.8 seasons played roughly)

159*4.8=763 shhotouts played.

If the law of large numbers holds up, and there's no reason it shouldn't, that means that since the shootout, there's been about

763*0.00266=2 games where a team trailed 2-0 and came back to win. Which means the Caps game actually has a good chance of being the first time this has actually ever happened.

Now if someone has the time or an easy way to find out the real number, we can check if these numbers actually correpsond to the reality. Me I'll stick to irrelevant probabilities.


From nerdy-town, that's it.


Disclaimer: As a recent Caps fan, and rare hockey watcher outside of Caps games, there might have been another 0-2 comeback in recent weeks, in which case I'll hide and feel shame.

If this FanPost is written by someone other than one of the blog's editors, the opinions expressed in it do not necessarily reflect those of this blog or SB Nation.

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