Earlier this season, when Scott Gomez was nearing the end of a six-game pointless stretch in November, I took a look at his career and noted that he almost always hit a major slump in October or November.
Now that Gomez has started lighting it up for the Canadiens with eight points in his past four games, I was wondering whether or not the imminent onset of spring had a similar yet opposite effect on his play over the course of his career.
What I found was that Gomez did, for five straight years after his rookie season, step up his game when gearing up for the playoffs. In each of those seasons, his point-per-game average after March 1 was higher than his average for the whole season. But over the least three years, the opposite is true as Gomez slowed down considerably once the calendar turned to March.
Except Gomez has also reversed a tendency to slow down a little bit in the playoffs. In each of his first five playoff appearances, Gomez's scoring pace was lower than in was in the final month of the regular season. Then, in 2007 and 2008, his scoring pace doubled in the playoffs when compared to his pace for the final month, while it was slightly higher last year as well.
Maybe Gomez had learned to pace himself in the regular season to save himself for the playoffs, or maybe all of this is just pure coincidence. Either way, it appears Gomez is reverting back to his tendency to finish the regular season strong from earlier in his career, and Habs fans just have to hope he won't go back to slowing down once the playoffs start as well.
Here are the numbers:
Season: 82 GP, 19 G, 51 A, 70 pts, 0.85 points-per-game (ppg)
March and April: 18 GP, 3 G, 10 A, 13 pts, 0.72 ppg
Post-season: 23 GP, 4G, 6A, 10 pts, 0.43 ppg (Stanley Cup)
Season: 76 GP, 14 G, 49 A, 63 pts, 0.83 ppg
March and April: 18 GP, 5 G, 11A, 16 pts, 0.89 ppg
Post-season: 25 GP, 5G, 9A, 14 pts, 0.56 ppg
Season: 76 GP, 10G, 38A, 48 pts, 0.63 ppg
March and April: 16 GP, 3G, 10A, 13 pts, 0.81 ppg
Season: 80 GP, 13G, 42A, 55 pts, 0.69 ppg
March and April: 18 GP, 3G, 13A, 16 pts, 0.89 ppg
Post-season: 24 GP, 3G, 9A, 12 pts, 0.5 ppg (Stanley Cup)
Season: 80 GP, 14G, 56A, 70 pts, 0.88 ppg
March and April: 18 GP, 6G, 18A, 24pts, 1.33 ppg
Post-season: 5 GP, OG, 6A, 6 pts, 1.2 ppg
Season: 82 GP, 33G, 51A, 84 pts, 1.02 ppg
March and April: 24 GP, 13G, 17A, 30 pts, 1.25 ppg
Post-season: 9 GP, 5G, 4A, 9 pts, 1 ppg
Season: 72 GP, 13G, 47A, 60 pts, 0.83 ppg
March and April: 16 GP, 3G, 7A, 10 pts, 0.63 ppg
Post-season: 11GP, 4G, 10A, 14 pts, 1.27 ppg
Season: 81 GP, 16G, 54A, 70 pts, 0.86 ppg
March and April: 16 GP, 2G, 6A, 8pts, 0.5 ppg
Post-season: 10GP, 4G, 7A, 11 pts, 1.1 ppg
Season: 77 GP, 16G, 42A, 58 pts, 0.75 ppg
March and April: 18 GP, 3G, 9A, 12 pts, 0.66 ppg
Post-season: 7GP, 2G, 3A, 5 pts, 0.71 ppg