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How worried should the Sharks be about giving up the first goal?


How worried should the Sharks be about giving up the first goal?

In Sunday's loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Sharks continued a recent bad habit. 

They allowed the first goal for the third consecutive game, and the fifth time in their last six. San Jose is just 2-3 in those games after failing to score first, and 13-15-6 on the season when they're the first team to give up a goal. 

The team's struggles in this area seemingly prove one of the sport's longest-held truths, that of the all-important first goal. Teams that score first, after all, tend to win about two-thirds of the time.

So it would make sense to chalk up San Jose's recent run to that, right? Not exactly. 

In 2013, Eric Tulsky, now the Carolina Hurricanes' Manager of Analytics, wrote for SB Nation that teams who score the second goal also win about two-thirds of the time, as do teams that score the third goal. Why? Because, on the whole, winning teams score on about two-thirds of the goals. 

Tulsky explained: 

Suppose a team wins a game 4-2. They scored 67 percent of the goals. If no goal is any more important than any other, the odds that they scored the first goal will be 67 percent. The odds that they scored the second goal will be 67 percent. And the odds that they scored the third goal will be 67 percent.

Hockey-Graphs' Garret Hohl expanded on the conditional probability of scoring first in a Hockey-Graphs piece in 2016. He noted that the value of scoring the second goal is independent from scoring the first, and scoring the third is independent of scoring the second, and so on.

In other words, the problem against the Blue Jackets on Sunday was not necessarily that the Sharks gave up the first goal, although that's never ideal. Instead, it mattered far more that the Sharks gave up the first and the second (and the third, trailing 3-0 midway through the second period).  

We've seen that play out all season, as San Jose's only won two of the 15 games in which it's allowed the first two goals. That's a little worse than expected, as Hohl found that teams that did not score first and second only win 20 percent of the time. 

In three of the Sharks' last four losses, including on Sunday, they've given up the game's first two goals. Falling behind by two, as opposed to falling behind first, is the far more worrisome habit. 

Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw


Aaron Rodgers hits fan jumping off a boat in Tahoe in stride with perfect throw

Green Bay Packers quarterback (and former Cal Golden Bear) Aaron Rodgers is known for his downfield accuracy. 

Rodgers has three successful Hail Marys to his name. The first, on Dec. 3, 2015 against the Detroit Lions, kept his team's playoff hopes alive. Another, on Jan. 16, 2016 against the Arizona Cardinals, sent the Divisional game to overtime, and a third came en route to a Wild Card game win against the New York Giants on Jan. 8, 2007. 

At the American Century Championship Celebrity Golf Tournament in Lake Tahoe on Friday, Rodgers added another notch to his belt.

His latest effort won't be confused with the other three, but it's not like any of those receivers landed in a body of water, either. 

The real question? Whether or not that's a catch under the NFL's new rules. 

Bay Area native Joey Chestnut eats record 74 hot dogs for 11th title


Bay Area native Joey Chestnut eats record 74 hot dogs for 11th title

Defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut chomped down a record 74 franks and buns to take home his 11th title at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

The renowned competitive eater from San Jose, California, takes home the coveted Mustard Belt and surpassed the previous mark of 72 dogs and buns he downed last year.

The heat wasn’t a factor; the National Weather Service put the temperature at 83 degrees with a heat index of 91 degrees.

Miki Sudo said after eating 37 dogs and buns that the heat may have slowed her down in winning the women’s competition.

That didn’t stop the Las Vegas eater from easily beating out second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who chowed down 28 wieners and buns.