How did fights impact the Montreal Canadiens last season?

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

As part of a bigger project, I took a look at how often the Habs fought last year, and how it affected their games. Take a look.

Ten years down the line, fighting may not longer be a part of the game of hockey; that's probably for the best. As a result, there has been a wave of recent research with regards to how fighting impacts hockey games. Can it really change momentum? Can it lead to goals? Is momentum even a thing? Along with a few Georgetown University peers as a part of the Georgetown Sports Analysis Business Research organization, I contributed to this article which looks at every fight from the 2012-2013 season, and catalogues how winning or losing a fight might impact the score of a game. For anyone interested in the subject it is well worth a read.

I also looked in particular at the smaller sample of data that is the Canadiens 2012-2013 season. Here are some of the numbers I uncovered:

Total:

  • 48 games, 24 fights.
  • According to hockeyfights.com, 12 wins and 12 losses
In games in which the Canadiens won a fight, the change in the score from a Montreal perspective from the time of the fight to the end of that period was +4. That means that the Canadiens scored four more goals than their opponents in the aftermath of winning a fight.

In games in which the Canadiens lost a fight, that change was -3. Obviously this is an incredibly small sample size, and based on the overall rates (if you read the piece), it's almost surely just an outlier. But it is interesting to note that there was a correlation for this team between winning fights and doing well in the aftermath, even if it wasn't causation. We'll have to see whether that holds up in 2013-2014.

Here are the overall fight records, according to hockeyfights.com, per player:

More from Eyes On The Prize:


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