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Archive for October 2011

Monday Morning OGA Notes – 24 October

A new hockey week is beginning, so here at OGA we want to look back at some things we have learned to date and what is coming up in the near future.

The Weekend Predictive Experiment

This past Friday through Sunday we attempted to bring you predictions of overall game winners, by period scoring advantages and in some cases, anticipated scorers. Here’s what our work – broadcast on Twitter from @Pelican4 – actually did:

Games: 11.5 Wins; 7 Loses; 62% accuracy. Why 11.5 Wins? We give ourselves a half-game credit for PHX at ANA as a Pick ‘em game that ended in a one goal deficit. You cannot get much closer than that short of a OT/SO decision.

Scoring inside games: 35 Correct within five-minute blocks, to include 1/2 credit for four picks within less than one minute of the predicted block; 103 incorrect; 25.4% accuracy. One of the big hits here was anticipating scorers for a team within a particular five-minute block. We were 6-for-48/12.5% in this regard. As far as players go for simply scoring in that game and not by the five-minute block, we were a more respectable 22-for-46/47.8%.

We believe overall the predictive nature of games should become more accurate as more data from the season becomes available.

Black and Blue Schedule

We are only four games in to the NHL Black and Blue Schedule which has left us a none-too-spectacular 25% accuracy for our four measurement categories. The 22 October COL @ CHI game just about defined our theory, however. In comparison with Game 1 of the pair, the opposite team won, in OT and by one goal. Our lone factor that did not bear out was an increase in PIMs from Game 1 to Game 2 where the overall number of minutes was the same in both contests.

Before the end of the week, Game 2 of TBL versus BUF plays out on 25 October. By theory, BUF should win in OT/SO and/or by one goal with 13 or more total PIMs. Also, the PIT versus NYI and MTL versus BOS series play out, and the first half of DET versus MIN kicks off on 29 October.

The Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC)

The PQC was engaged for this season on the 22 October as PIT completed their game 10 against NJD. At Game 10, we ranked them as In The Curve – about average, but neither IN (Chasing Stanley) nor OUT (Tee Time) of playoff contention yet. Pittsburgh’s opening schedule was the most difficult in terms of our Fatigue Factors (FF), forcing us to a prediction of 4.5 wins in their first 10 games. As the standings show, and without Malkin and Crosby for a significant or all (respectively) portion of this period, the Penguins overachieved and secured a relative seven wins. The Pens earned 4.5 wins out of six games they were either at a fatigue disadvantage for, or should have outright lost by the model. They are the best example of an overachiever, and are one of the reasons some teams won’t make their predicted number of wins at Game 10.

Another 22 teams will hit their Game 10 this week as the schedule shows below:

26 OCT – VAN

27 OCT – CBJ, DAL, MTL, OTT, PHI and TBL

28 OCT – CAR, COL, EDM and STL

29 OCT – ANA, BOS, BUF, CHI, FLA, LAK, MIN, NSH, PHX, TOR and WPG

How many do we already know a PQC call for? Four right now, but all others need a game or two to clear up the picture. Some need wins, but of the list above, 15 teams will not receive a Tee Time call and two may even receive the early Chasing Stanley moniker.

The final seven teams will hit Game 10 and their first PQC call of the season by 3 NOV.

The Fatigue Factors

We mentioned the FF above in reference to PIT. So you know we are still tracking it to complete our report card soon, nine Eastern and 11 Western teams have met their fatigue minimum range of games projected to win by Game 10. Three each Eastern (PIT, TOR and WSH) and Western (COL, DAL and LAK) have met their projection, and one East (PIT)/two West (DAL and LAK) have met their high range for wins. Three Eastern (BOS, MTL and OTT) and two Western teams (CGY and CBJ) will not make their projected number of wins as of games ending 23 October.

Scoring Dominance

Less than 10 games into the season, what is dominance, really? Maybe advantage is a better word. But here is where team goal for overmatch goals against by official goal-scoring time on the clock. (If there is no mention of your team, there is no clear-cut advantage of three or more goals.)

Eastern Conference

BOS: 0:00 – 4:49/3rd, 5-1.

BUF: 10:00 – 14:49/2nd, 3-0.

CAR: 5:00 – 9:49/1st, 4-1.

FLA: 15:00 – 20:00/1st, 3-0.

MTL: 10:00 – 14:49/3rd, 4-1.

OTT: 5:00 – 9:49/3rd, 5-1; 15:00 – 20:00/3rd, 9-5.

PHI: 15:00 – 20:00/3rd, 4-1.

PIT: 5:00 – 9:49/1st, 3-0; 0:00 – 4:49/2nd, 5-1.

TBL: 10:00 – 14:49/3rd, 4-0.

TOR: 0:00 – 4:49/2nd, 5-2.

WSH: 15:00 – 20:00/1st, 4-1; 0:00 – 4:49/3rd, 6-1.

Western Conference

CGY: 5:00 – 9:49/1st, 4-1.

CHI: 15:00 – 20:00/1st, 4-0; 15:00 – 20:00/3rd, 3-0.

COL: 10:00 – 14:49/2nd, 3-0.

DET: 10:00 – 14:49/2nd, 3-0.

LAK: 15:00 – 20:00/2nd, 3-0; 15:00 – 20:00/3rd, 3-0.

SJS: 5:00 – 9:49/2nd, 4-0; 15:00 – 20:00/2nd, 4-0.

VAN: 5:00 – 9:49/3rd, 4-1.

Summary

And that is our statistical cornucopia for the week. While we have more work to do on predictive, by-game models, we are already seeing some teams showing a variety of advantage over others. We instinctively know and assess the NHL with an eye toward the thought there are only so many Wins and points that can be earned. So when one team – like Pittsburgh – secures more than they rightly should have based on level of scheduling difficulty, other teams projections in the Win column dip. Remember throughout the season, it is all peaks and valleys. You just don’t want your team in a “…Valley so low….”

The Playoff Qualifying Curve Is Off And Running

On Goal Analysis has been predicting who will and will not make the NHL playoffs based on 10-game stretches of playing time for the past three years on the www with about 90% accuracy and approximately 90 days before the mathematical call. We have been doing so by tabulating team performance against our copyrighted Playoff Qualifying Curve, or PQC.

Tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the first team to reach the 10-game mark and their PQC call is posted at http://www.ongoalanalysis.com . While there are no more calls to be had for Sunday through Tuesday, the PQC will be alive and kicking: Wednesday for VAN; Thursday for CBJ, DAL, MTL, OTT, PHI and TBL; Friday for CAR, COL, EDM and STL; and Saturday for ANA, BOS, BUF, CHI, FLA, LAK, MIN, NSH, PHX, TOR and WPG to close out the week.

What do we know behind the scenes? That one team is already at Tee Time (eliminated from Playoff contention), three teams cannot beat In The Curve (right about average), and that only four teams still have a chance of earning the Chasing Stanley (in the 2012 Playoffs) call. That’s right – the 2012 NHL Playoff picture is already starting to develop.

And by Game 30, we will begin to have a good idea of final, projected points in the standings as well.

Visit our site at http://www.ongoalanalysis.com for these calls, as well as current standings, the upcoming schedule, the top three in forward, defenseman, and goalie stats, team win, loss and point streaks and more.

OGA’s Monday Hockey Notes For 17 October

You know how the W’s and L’s fell out over the last week. And by now, you know how your team in the Hockey pool has performed (or not).

On Goal Analysis is here to provide you notes about how teams have played against their Game 10 fatigue factors (see http://ongoalanalysis.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/oga-believes%e2%80%a6/ ). We also will discuss some teams in terms of their goal scoring profiles where they hold some notable pattern.

Fatigue Notes – Back East

Bruins fans likely do not comprehend the Cup Hangover and their 2-3 record right now. With all other things equal, fatigue factors said the five games they already played were Pick ‘ems against PHI, COL and CHI, a W advantage against TBL and a W disadvantage against CAR. In other words, they should be 2-2-1 instead of 2-3. Fear not, Boston fans. The next game against CAR is a Pick ‘em, and they are at the W advantage versus TOR, SJS and MTL.

Buffalo is 3-1 in the standings with two projected Pick ‘ems in Europe to open the season, a W advantage against CAR and a W disadvantage at PIT. When they should have been 1-2-1 by projection, they are about 1.5 games ahead of the fatigue factors prediction at this point.

Your Carolina Hurricanes first five games included a Pick ‘em versus TBL and a W advantage versus BOS. At WSH, NJD and BUF, the ‘Canes were at a projected disadvantage. So despite the fact I do not like Staal as a Center on my fantasy team with a –8, their 2-2-1 record puts them one W ahead of fatigue projections.

Florida was projected with one disadvantage against NYI and advantages against PIT and TBL. The win over NYI was offset by the loss at PIT,so they are a wash right now.

Montreal was projected at a W disadvantage in Games 1 and 2 and a W advantage in Games 3 and 4, or a 2-2 record. In a fit of unpredictability they: lost Game 1 as expected; won Game 2 against the prediction; dropped Game 3 when they were at the advantage; and lost Game 4 in a SO when they should have won. However, the Habs’ 1-2-1 record only has them about 1/2 game behind the overall prediction.

New Jersey was projected at a W advantage versus PHI, CAR and LAK and a disadvantage against NSH. They are 2-2 against the fatigue factors, but 3-1 in the standings just like they should be overall.

You know the New York Islanders are 3-1. Fatigue factors indicated before Game 1 that over these four games, they would have a Win advantage for two plus were at ‘Pick ‘em’ games for the two against TBL and the NYR. So the Islanders are right about where they should be.

All three of the Rangers’ opening games were Pick ‘ems, so they should be at a relative 1-1-1. Their 0-1-2 start is only 1/2 game behind. You cannot tell Torts that, and you shouldn’t. The Rangers need to be more spectacular to get in the W column for the Rangers’ fan base.

Fretting about Ottawa being 1-4? They were predicted to be at a fatigue W disadvantage and drop contests against DET, TOR and WSH which they did. They were, however, at a W advantage against MIN and COL and lost to the Avalanche. So right now, they are behind by one W.

The Flyers initial four games’ predictions were a Pick ‘em at BOS, a W disadvantage at NJD, and a W advantage versus VAN and LAK. They won the Pick’em by one goal in Boston, defeated New Jersey, and got 1.5 wins out of the VAN and LAK games. At 3-0-1, Philly is one full game ahead of schedule.

Pittsburgh was a concern going into the season with the most difficult fatigue factor predictions through Game 10 in their Conference. With their first four contests at a W disadvantage, Game 5 a Pick ‘em and Game 6 a W advantage, they should be 1-4-1. At 3-1-2, they are overachieving at 2.5 wins above prediction and are the first Eastern team to meet their minimum range  of forecast wins.

Tampa Bay at 1-2-2 had a pre-season projection of two W disadvantages and three Pick ‘ems, or the equivalent of a 1-3-1 record. So the Eastern Conference finalists are not stinking the place out – they are actually about 1/2 game ahead of fatigue projections.

Toronto at 3-0 is right on track with a projected W advantage against MTL, OTT and CGY. This calculated advantage runs through their next two contests against COL and WPG before they are at a disadvantage on their four-game road trip to BOS, MTL, PHI and NYR. Winning the next two and pulling down one or two from that road trip is your actual indication that the team is ahead of pace this season.

The Capitals at 4-0? But what about the three games they won in an OT/SO? In Washington’s first four games, they were projected at a W advantage against CAR and OTT and for a Pick ‘em matchup against both TBL and PIT. If you win Pick ‘ems about 50% of the time, the Caps are only 1/2 a game ahead right now, so manage your fan expectations here.

And finally back East, Winnipeg has yet to prevail in a game. Our fatigue factor predications included one W advantage (versus MTL), a W disadvantage (at CHI) and a Pick ‘em (at PHX). By the predictions, the 0-3 Jets should be 1-1-1, so are about 1.5 games behind. Can they prevail tonight versus a PIT team without Malkin and Crosby when they have the W advantage? Against a wounded Penguins team or not, they need the W to build that confidence that will pull down some W’s over their remaining seven games.

Goal Scoring Rhythms Back East

While it is indeed very early in the season, some goal scoring rhythms come to the forefront and may explain part of your favorite team’s issues.

Buffalo charges hard out of the gate, outscoring the opposition 6-1 in the first 15 minutes of the game. There is potential danger in their being out-scored 3-1 in the final five minutes of regulation, but Coach Ruff is no doubt on top of that subject. While Vanek has scored all of his goals in the 1st and 2nd periods, the only person credited with 3rd period markers is Stafford.

Carolina’s looming goal scoring rhythm issue comes in final 15 minutes of the game where opponents have had the upper hand 8-3.

Montreal’s only note is in the 10:00 – 14:59 stretch of the 3rd period where Moen, Pacioretty, Gionta and Desharnai have scored and opponents have not.

Like Buffalo, the New York Islanders outscore foes in the first 15 minutes of games. Their margin is 5-1, just one goal off from the Sabres’ pace.

When you have not let up many goals like the Rangers, your margins of error are small. For New York, it is being outscored 3-0 in the first 15 minutes of games and playing catch-up the rest of the contest.

For Ottawa, it’s all opponents through the first five minutes of the 3rd period (17-5). In the final 15 minutes, however, they outscore the opposition a more respectable 8-3.

Philadelphia has outscored or matched adversaries in all but the final five minutes of the 2nd period and in OT. But in both cases, they were only outdone 1-0.

Tampa Bay’s worries are in the first 25 minutes of each contest where they are overmatched 11-5.

Is Toronto a flash in the pan? While the opposition has outscored them 2-0 over the first 10 minutes of play, they are equal to or better than all comers from the final 10 minutes of the 1st through the leading 10 minutes of the 3rd. Kessel has four of his five goals stretched out over the final five minutes of each period of play.

And Winnipeg’s worries are almost all game long. They have only succeeded in not being outscored or matched in the final five minutes of the 2d period.

Fatigue Notes – Out West

The 3-1 Anaheim Ducks were predicted right on the mark with a split of the two Pick ‘em games in Europe. And after last night’s goal scoring prowess by the top line coming to life, Ducks fans are ready for more.

Calgary at 1-3 got you Flames’ fans down? The win against MTL and loss against PIT are reversed from our projections. But their fatigue factor has them at a matching 1-3 through the opening four games. We need to see how they will do over the next six games where they have the fatigue advantage in every contest to judge them against the competition.

Chicago was assessed to be at a W disadvantage in DAL, an advantage at home versus DAL and WPG, and in a Pick ‘em game versus BOS. Those predictions are on the mark with the BOS game going to the shootout for a one goal decision. The ‘Hawks are right on track.

Colorado. WOW! you say. A projected win, Pick ‘em and three consecutive losses is all wrong compared to a 4-1 record. We called the fatigue factors straight up for what they were, but this team is playing 2.5 games above itself. And still, there is that nagging little winning rhythm fact that they have alternated making, then not making, the playoffs each year since the Lockout. If the rhythm stays intact, you will see the Avs playing in late April and possibly beyond. (COL joins two other Western teams in meeting their projected wins range floor already this season.)

Columbus fans are not happy at 0-4-1 despite how close the games were. Our own prediction had them as a Pick ‘em, W disadvantage, Pick ‘em, W advantage and Pick ‘em to open the season, or about a 2-2-1 start, so count them as a two game deficit against the fatigue factors.

Dallas was projected with three W advantage games and the W disadvantage contest for Game 2 at CHI. ‘Nough said on those picks. Game 5 against CBJ was a Pick ‘em matchup that DAL won by more than one goal so stands as a No Call for OGA. So the Stars are right on track and fans will take that one, too as Dallas is one of the three Western teams to hit or surpass their wins range floor so far this season.

Detroit, as the ‘Wings often do, are playing above expectations. With a projected W advantage versus OTT and VAN and W disadvantage at COL and MIN, they have won all four contests and are two games above prediction. They are the last of the three Western teams who have met their projected minimum wins range already and could, playing as they are now, easily meet the range ceiling of seven wins by Game 10.

Edmonton’s first three games consisted of two W advantage and one Pick’em games for a projected 2-0-1 record. At 1-1-1, the loss to VAN is what puts them behind about one game at this time.

Los Angeles opened the season with two Pick ‘em games they split in Europe and two projected losses they split at NJD and PHI. For a 1-2-1 projection, their 2-1-1 in the standings has them one full game ahead.

Minnesota shot out the gate right on the predicted mark with a W advantage versus CBJ and W disadvantages at NYI and OTT. Versus EDM, the game was a Pick ‘em and SO win over EDM, and then they lost the W advantage game against DET in OT on a 4-on-3 PP. But at 2-1-2 in the standings, they are 1/2 game ahead of projections.

We snickered after Nashville opened the season with two wins against our predicted two W disadvantaged games, saying, “…They’ll probably drop the next two….” Sorry to jinx you, Predators. But compared to the fatigue factor assessments, Nashville sits 1/2 game ahead of schedule at 2-1-1 in the standings.

Are Coyotes fans howlin’ at their 2-1-1 record? They should be. Common fatigue factors pegged them at 0-3-1 right now. Two games above projection indicates Game 1 may have been more of an anomaly than a rule. With four of their next six games as a W advantage and the other two as Pick ‘ems, you could conceivably see the ‘Yotes with their best 10-game start since the Lockout.

The Sharks’ assessed as at a W advantage for Game 1 and 3 and a disadvantage for Game 2. Their loss to STL stands as the marker putting them one game behind prediction. Hopefully players can get the flu bug run through rather quickly and the team can get back to playing above expectations as they are at the disadvantage in five of their next seven contests.

St. Louis’ Game 1 and 2 were projected as wins, and Games 3 – 5 losses. Their actual 2-3 record is on target against pre-season fatigue factor analysis.

And finally in the West, it seems the Canucks are suffering just a bit from the Cup Hangover like BOS at 2-2-1 after Game 5. But our pre-season fatigue factors called for them to be at 1-3-1 right now. So count Vancouver among the teams playing above projected outcomes against their fatigue factors.

Goal Scoring Rhythms, Western Style

Here is the Western Conference and how is falls out on the goal scoring rhythm charts

Anaheim is outscored 3-0 in the middle of the 2nd period and 2-0 in the last 10 minutes of games.

Calgary’s woes start as the 2nd period opens where they are outscored 10-2 through the first five minutes in the 3rd. Glenncross has scored in every five-minute segment of the 1st period except for the 10:00 to 14:59 stretch.

Is Colorado dominating their opponents? Well, if outscoring them 4-1 in the 1st period and 11-4 from the 10 minute mark of the 2nd until the game is over is domination, the answer is yes.

Columbus fans should note that the ‘Jackets are battling hard. Their collective scoring by period is 2-4, 5-5 and 3-4 in order. They are just about a goal or two away from a win every time.

While Dallas has barely been outscored 5-4 in the 3rd period of play, they double up their opponents 8-4 from mid-way of the 1st through the 2nd period.

Detroit has played opponents evenly through the first five minutes of the 2nd period. But over the following 20 minutes, they have outscored foes 8-0 and hold their own to close out games.

Edmonton plays a relatively even, back and forth scoring rhythm against opponents throughout games save a 3-0 goal spike in the last half of the 1st period. And of note, possibly overmatching older players
with those young legs, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has scored in every period, but all within the last 10 minutes or less.

For Phoenix, the scoring note is Shane Doan who has confined his markers to the last 10 minutes of the 2nd and 3rd periods.

San Jose? Simply put, the 3rd period score is Sharks 0, Everybody Else 5.

For St. Louis, it seems Jason Arnott is the man to watch in the last half of the 3rd period. Except for one assist in the 1st period against CGY, all other points have closed out games.

Vancouver being outscored 8-4 in the 1st period of games is counter-weighted by its 8-3 scoring differential for 15 minutes beginning in the last five of the 2nd.

And A Final Note…

There are three Black and Blue (B&B) Schedule contests on the plate this week (see the OGA Blog post at http://ongoalanalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/the-2011-12-nhl-black-blue-schedule/ ).

Florida is at Tampa Bay for Game 2 of the pairing tonight at 7:30pm Eastern on the SUN Network in Florida. This should be broadcast with more emphasis on the word ‘broad(ly)’ as Game 2’s are quite entertaining. If the B&B theory holds up, Tampa Bay will win by one goal in OT/a SO with more penalty minutes than Saturday’s total of 54.

Dallas closes out their B&B pair at Columbus on Tuesday night at 7pm Eastern. Columbus needs this win, and will have to do it without an injured Jeff Carter. Theory says Columbus wins in OT/SO with more than 22 PIMs on the night.

Chicago and Colorado run a B&B pairing at COL on 20 October (9pm Eastern) and at Chicago on 22 October (8:30pm Eastern). Based on the Avalanche’s play lately and the fact it is against the Cup Champs from two years ago, this should be a dandy of a series.

And finally, the BUF at TBL B&B begins on 22 October at 7pm Eastern before continuing in Buffalo the next week.

Summary

Against the fatigue factors, here’s who is ahead of the model:

East: BUF, CAR, PHI, PIT, TBL and WSH

West: COL, DAL, LAK, MIN, NSH, PHX and VAN

Currently breaking even against projections are:

East: FLA, NJD, NYI and TOR

West: ANA, CGY, CHI, DAL and STL

And behind the curve against fatigue factors are:

East: BOS, MTL, NYR, OTT and WPG

West: CBJ, EDM and SJS.

And scoring rhythms of note are:

1st period leaders:

East: BUF, NYI, PHI and TOR

West: COL

1st period trailers:

East: NYR, OTT, TBL and WPG

West: VAN

2nd period leaders:

East: TOR

West: DAL and DET

2nd period trailers:

East: OTT

West: ANA and CGY

3rd period leaders:

East: MTL, OTT and PHI

West: COL and VAN

3rd period trailers:

East: BUF, CAR and WPG

West: ANA, CGY and SJS

The Long NHL Weekend

The first weekend of the NHL season is done. While there is rejoicing from we fans and from some teams, it is early in the year.

Yet we are looking at some things on the analysis side here at On Goal Analysis. OGA offered Our predictions of all 30 teams’ opening 10 games based on nine fatigue factors and how they stack up in this blog last Thursday: http://ongoalanalysis.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/oga-believes%e2%80%a6/
We promised to give you a report card when we get to the G10’s, but we thought a peek at how it’s going would be interesting.

OGA is also working an analysis behind the scenes on scoring and the EKG of sorts – the Scoring Rhythm – it is producing. Again, it is very early in the season with teams only having played between one and three games, but we wanted to offer up a peek at any trends that are developing now.

Without further ado…

Fatigue Factors Have Meaning

So far, that meaning is an overall 17 – for – 25 / .680 accuracy rate. Why ‘25’? Here is the simple math:

Games played: 31

Games called a “Pick ‘em” per fatigue factors: – 9 = 22

“Pick ‘em” games ending in a one goal differential we get 1/2 credit for: + 3 = 25 (We said a “Pick ‘em” game indicates a goal differential of 1.0 or less so was too close to call a winner; if it ended in a one goal difference, we are giving ourselves 1/2-game credit)

So 17 correct / 25 total = .680

Here are some further team fatigue notes for teams in the East and then West (if there is no mention of your team, they are right where they are supposed to be).

Eastern Fatigue

In Boston, the Cup Champions are learning the same ol’ effort to secure a win is a goal short two-out-of-three times. They are a talented group, but have to step up the pace and pull down some of the Pick ‘em games to stay on track.

Buffalo convincingly took advantage of their first two Pick ‘em games with strong wins in Europe. They have the fatigue advantage coming up against CAR. But the telling stretch in this first 10 games will be on the road at PIT, MTL, FLA and TBL where they need to pull some points and are at the disadvantage.

Carolina fans might be pulling out their hair right now. The loss to TBL was a Pick ‘em, they were supposed to lose to WSH and pulled down a point, and NJD held the fatigue advantage for the Devils in a spirited game that pulled down an empty netter against. The game Wednesday against BOS is at the ‘Canes advantage, and they need to secure a victory or they are going to fall closer to the lower end of the prediction spread near the 3-wins-in-10 number than they might like.

Florida stole Game 1 at the NYI on the back of Jose Theodore’s shutout. Tonight they are at PIT on national TV (Versus/NBC Sports Network) and have the fatigue advantage over a road weary PIT team (see below). Can they pull down the ‘W’? Doing so, coupled with that opening win on Long Island, is the kind of play that could see them back in the playoffs this year.

While Ottawa is 0-2, that is where the fatigue factors said they would be. Fatigue factors are in their favor over the next two games versus MIN and COL who are on road trips around the League. Watch for their strong finishes to turn into some W’s if they can exploit the other teams’ fatigue factors.

Pittsburgh pulled down 2.5 wins out of their first three games. This is significant because they were at a fatigue disadvantage for all three. A great sign for the club, yes? What if the effort they are putting out now for the W wears them out for later in the season? While nobody is advocating coasting through any games, if the effort they put forth for the W on the road is their standard effort with the choke on, no worries for later in the season. But this could equally expend more effort that they need down the stretch. Time will tell. For now here at OGA we say, ‘Good game, boys!’

Tampa Bay pulled down a win-and-a-half off of two Pick ‘em games. They have one more fatigue Pick ‘em versus NYI before their Black and Blue pair of games (see http://ongoalanalysis.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/the-2011-12-nhl-black-blue-schedule/) against FLA and another two advantageous home games against NYI again and BUF. In a purely talent comparison, they need to wins over NYI before they have to close this first 10 against BUF (in a Black and Blue pair) and NSH. Let’s see how they do.

Is Leafs Nation ecstatic about their wins and equally concerned about a lack of defense? Take heart in three things: they have scored in every five-minute block of time from mid-1st through mid-2nd Period; Reimer has looked good for all but the last half of the 3rd period in Game 2; and Kessel is on a hot streak. They also have the fatigue factor advantage versus CGY, COL and WPG coming up, so could easily start the season 5-0. But watch out on the back half…

Nervous in Washington with an OT and SO win to open the season? Don’t be. Fatigue factors indicate they had the advantage in Game 1 versus CAR and were a Pick ‘em for Game 2 against TBL. They are doing just a bit above what should be expected.

One game does not necessarily decide a season. But Winnipeg’s 5-1 loss to MTL in a game in which they had the fatigue advantage is not the kind of result that puts teams in the post-season. MTL stole that one. The Jets need to turn on the afterburners.

Western Fatigue

Calgary fans needed that win in Game 1 against PIT when the Flames had the fatigue advantage. You can just as easily see what happened in STL repeat in MTL and TOR and this team start the season 0-4. If that happens, take a little solace in the fact they have the fatigue advantage over opponents for the final six games of this stretch, a benefit no other team enjoys. Bottom line, however, they need to win when they have the advantage or we are looking at issue for CGY this season.

While the Avalanche dropped their advantage game to DET, they came back with a strong performance in the Pick ‘em game against BOS. Good effort to reclaim some standings points. Do you get the feeling this back and forth is going to occur all season long?

Columbus fans may be asking why hasn’t that blockbuster trade turned into instant gold? They had the fatigue advantage in Game 1 and a Pick ‘em for Game 3 and got no points for their efforts. True, this trend needs to go in the other direction for a successful season to ensue. If you are a ‘Jackets fan and looking for solace, keep in mind three losses by an average of 1.33 goals is an indicator of being this close to victory. You also have to like the top line of Prospal, Carter and Nash who look like they are beginning to jell nicely. Hang in there.

And Detroit’s victory against COL in the Wings’ Game 2 was against the fatigue call and good on the club. Seems they caught the Avs sleeping. They looked good for a bunch of old guys, eh? (Said the spider to the fly.)

In Edmonton, will everyone give Tom Renney the credit for saying RNH is ready to play the game at this level? We, too, know it is only one game. But if you saw the poise and skill of That Kid, you can see with Taylor Hall the makings of an Oilers line of old. Kind of like the United States militarily spending Russia out of the Cold War, those boys’ll keep coming with those young legs until the final whistle. WOW! Oh, and fatigue advantage was to Edmonton over PIT, which was on the money. But, again, WOW!

Nashville is clearly overachieving against the fatigue factors and on the strength of Centers David Legwand and Craig Smith. Hmmm… Predator goal scoring is carrying the team to victory. That’s unusual. And a good trend to overcome potential fatigue losses. Let’s see how they do at home versus PHX and NJD with the fatigue advantage.

And Phoenix fans should like that one point they pulled off of the DAL fatigue advantage last night. Remember, they are at a disadvantage as they continue eastward to NSH. But thereafter they close out the Game 10 stretch either at an advantage or as a fatigue Pick ‘em. We said they would most likely get 4.5 wins out of this first 10, and the half-notch is done.

Apparently, and if only one such game is a key indicator, Vancouver needed to get on the road. Points in the fatigue Pick ‘em game against CBJ were just what the doctor ordered for team confidence, especially when they are about to be at the disadvantage at PHI, DET and EDM to close out this road trip. Another win or two against the fatigue odds will be just what this club needs to exercise the Cup Cobwebs in their collective head.

Team Scoring Rhythm

And finally, we offer an early look behind the scenes at Team Scoring Rhythms of note. As with the teams not mentioned in Fatigue Factors above, if you do not see your favorite club here, there is nothing remarkable out their trending rhythms.

Eastern Rhythms

Buffalo has started the 1st and 2nd Periods strong with 2-of-8 goals before the midpoint in the 1st and 5-of-the-remaining-6 goals from the opening of the 2nd through that period’s first 15 minutes. After that, they have seemingly held on for victory. The defense between Ryan Miller and the blue line, has been very strong for the Sabres, a good trend for the season.

Carolina has seemingly been in good defensive mode through the first five minutes of the 2nd Period each game. And then BAM!  The other teams smack them like a brick wall with goals scored in every five-minute stretch except for the opening five in the 3rd until the game ends. To the tune of 12 scores over 40 game minutes. This trend will have to turn.

Rebuilding year and all we know, but Ottawa has scored at least one goal over every five-minute stretch of play from the last five minutes of the second period to the end of the game. And they have closed out games with four goals in the last five minutes, double any other team’s output in the NHL. The issue is letting in 1-to-2 goals every five minutes from mid way through the 1st Period to the end of the first five minutes in the 3rd. More D and earlier should be their clarion call.

For all but one goal, Pittsburgh has been done scoring before the final five minutes of the 2nd Period. Their games have been close for the 4-1 scoring disadvantage they have in the 3rd Period. This is an indicator of fatigue, and should be expected on a three-game road swing to the other side of the North American continent. Let’s see how that trend changes at home.

Toronto has outscored their opponents so far 7-1 through the first 10 minutes of the 3rd Period. The last 10 minutes of the game have been high adventure as they have been outscored 4-1. You can bet Ron Wilson and the team’s veterans are preaching ’60 minutes per game, boys’ in the dressing room. Not breaking this trend will bite them in the butt soon.

Western Rhythms

So far, Calgary seems to have come undone in the final five minutes of the 1st Period through the end of the game where they have given up 10 goals to four scored. Something is not firing right in their engine and they need to tune it up for victory.

Detroit has scored a goal in every five minute span beginning with the last five minutes of the 1st Period until games’ end with one exception in the 3rd period. In turn, the only goals they have given up have been in the 3rd Period. So a little more emphasis could come in for the final stanza and there would be an even more dominant showing from the Red Wings.

Nashville has not been dominant across all games at all times. (OK, nobody is as a general rule.) But they have scored over every five minute span from the final one in the 2nd Period until the game ends. Teams need to come see the Predators in good game shape to potentially break that trend.

Summary

The wins and losses and goals scored rhythms are going to change. Of that we have no doubt. But we hope in this short rundown you might understand a bit better where/why your team has or has not produced over the first few games this season. For those who say it is a waste of time to get wrapped up in what is and is not so early, we offer a friendly POPPYCOCK! Take a moment to soak it all in – the difference between in and out of the playoffs each year is a miniscule 1.5 games.

OGA Believes…

All over the airwaves and digital sphere right now you are hearing it. Everyone is providing their Kreskinesque predictions of who in the NHL will win it all. Cool. Fun.

Crap we say. Picking where NHL teams will finish the regular and post-seasons before the first puck is dropped and none of the Hockey world’s dynamics have come into play is no more accurate than saying you know the next set of Powerball numbers.

Here at On Goal Analysis, we break down the season into 10-game segments and analyze the ability of teams to make the playoffs based on our dynamic Playoff Qualifying Curve. But we do it during the season and need at least 10, and more like 30, games for a good portion of this season’s ‘tell’ to come through.

And yet, we are compelled to cave a bit and try something new to start this season. We have been looking at the fatigue factor in the NHL this off season in an attempt to see how it feeds into the overall ‘W.’ With that in mind, we want to lay our reputation on the line and predict how fatigue potentially defines each team’s first 10 games. After that, we stick with OGA’s PQC for end-of-season predictions.

What The Heck Are We Doing?

For our attempt at translation, we looked at nine fatigue factors we believe positively or negatively affect each team’s ability to win or lose. Dipping our big toe into the theory pond, we offer that the NHL season has a definable maximum. We believe it takes x, y and z effort to win, and each team’s output is subtracted from the overall maximum the teams and season can produce or provide. Think here that your car can only go so fast and far based on vehicle maintenance and amount of gas in the tank. One huge point here: None of us will not know what x, y and z actually are until the end of the season shows us, so everything until then runs the gambit of someone’s wild-ass guess to another’s best analysis model.

Why so wishy-washy? Because the NHL season as a whole is defined by its macro-level, dynamic and at-speed nature. A perfect example is defining fatigue and predicting how it equals a win or loss. We start before the season with our nine criteria points and measurements. But any way we slice it before the puck drops, we only know today’s dynamic of injuries and not the ones that will be present after Game 1 and beyond or their influence on team play. Does a Daniel Sedin receive a minor injury that sidelines him for five games and takes his 1.268 points per game off of the table (if he even averages 1.268 PPG)? If those points are gone, how many times in those five games is VAN going to need that one more goal to win the game? How could we possibly know that?

And add to the fatigue calculation that all teams ‘slide’ along the schedule until they come together for a night’s contest at different fatigue and capability levels before dynamically moving on to the next contest. That’s eighty-two times each over 185 days, and not a whole lot unlike the Cub Scouts’ Soap Box Derby.

How Do We Call It?

Everywhere teams match up on the schedule, we calculated our fatigue factors to give teams a defining plus or minus goal differential. We then performed simple addition and subtraction to determine a projected winner and loser for each contest. From that, we fearlessly give you our 10-game prediction of the wins each team produces.

The overall winner and losers’ plus or minus goals differential equals an average of approximately .54 goals separating opponents. This math means we apply a scale to our predictions. Any difference of +/- 1 goal or less equals a toss-up with each team having a 50-50 chance of a win. Both teams therefore get a .5 W credit for that game. A +/-1.5 differential presents one team an advantage over the other and makes them more likely to win (+1.5) or lose (-1.5). Above a +/-2 is what we consider a solid call for a win or loss. This scale is projected in the Game 10 Call Key below and to the right of the Eastern and Western Conference breakdown charts below each match up:

Also expressed on the left of our Conference charts is the historical range of Hi, Average and Lo Game 10 wins each team has produced since the Lockout. We also offer this season’s Hi, Projection and Lo win count based on our fatigue criteria. We will provide our report card of the range of wins and by-game predictions in early November when the 10-gamers are complete.

Note here that in the spirit of the x, y and z we know the maximum Conference wins that can be had for the 15 Eastern teams by Game 10 is 118 wins. What? But there are 15 teams x 10 wins for 150 wins, right?

No. Of the 150 possible contests in the Eastern Conference by Game 10, there are 106 games played within the Conference and another 44 against Western Conference teams. And we know all games will not end in a Win and OT/SO Loss for all contests. In fact, 24.15% off all games last year ended as 3-pointers. Somewhat painfully, maximum wins that can come in the Eastern Conference by Game 10 are therefore:

106 games x 1/2 (to remove the redundant game count) = 53 x 1.5 possible wins in-Conference, or 79.5 (relative) wins;

Plus 44 x .7585 wins cross-Conference that are not 3-pointers = 33 wins;

Plus 11 x 1/2 win for cross-Conference OT/SO losses = 5.5 additional wins;

Equals a total of 118 maximum wins/roughly 7.5 maximum wins per team for the Eastern Conference.

Keeping this in mind, below is the Eastern Conference in rank order based on (projected) Hi range, our prediction, and the Lo range in order where tie-breakers are needed:

Our maximum prediction in the East based on fatigue factors accounts for a total of 90 wins earned out of the possible 118, or 6.0 wins per team average. (Actual post-Lockout Eastern performance has been 5.504 wins per team by Game 10.)

Are you surprised the highest projected wins is 8-of-10 for the NYI? Or that the lowest is 4.5-of-10 for PIT? Neither of those teams may capture those numbers. Theoretically, we know no team may make their Hi, Projection or Low number of wins. But what we know of hockey says teams that overachieve have some combination of player chemistry, grit that supersedes personal fatigue, and some opponents who are more fatigued than the general rule when they meet up. Those that underachieve are experiencing the opposite. But we believe fatigue factors will put all of them somewhere between the Hi and Lo limits.

The Western Conference looks like this:

Of the 150 possible contests in the Western Conference by Game 10, 110 games are played within the Conference and another 40 against Eastern Conference teams. Taking into account the same calculations as above, the West produces 117.5 maximum wins / roughly the same 7.5 maximum wins per team as in the East. (Their actual average since the Lockout is 5.511 wins by Game 10.)

For the Western Conference, EDM has the highest projected wins with 8.5-in-10. The lowest is PHX with 5-of-10. While the Hi is higher than, and the Lo is not as Lo as back East, the interesting factoid here is that only six Eastern teams rank below a max win projection of 7 wins or higher while 10 teams do so in the West. What’s that equate to? It will be easier to project overall playoff contenders in the East than the West. Again this season. It is, as this slice of the season clearly shows, the fatigue factor which makes the West seemingly more competitive and simultaneously more unpredictable.

Summary

Predictions of who will be in the playoffs and how they will do before the first puck drop of the dynamic NHL season is nothing more than an analytical distraction. It’s airwave filler.

But from the common starting point of the season’s opening, it is possible to use fatigue factors to determine an initial estimate of wins into the first few games of the season. Team fatigue factors play a part in estimating how many wins NHL teams will secure by Game 10.

The total number of possible wins in the Eastern and Western Conferences is almost equal, as is the projected numbers of possible wins per team at Game 10. What is an interesting contrast is that the East has nine teams whose projected Hi in wins is at or above seven, while the West only has five. It means the East will be easier to predict than the West as the top teams will separate from the bottom quicker.

Keep an eye out for OGA’s report card on fatigue and how it affects predictions on the first 10 games of the season.

Twitter Updates

  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 6 months ago
  • Since 2005/6, when a Round 3 team wins Game 5, they lose Game 6 66.7% of the time; also, Western series are determined by Game 5.889... 6 months ago
  • ...So those stats point to the NYR claiming victory tonight and playing the winner from the Western Conference in the Finals 6 months ago
  • Since 2005/6, when a Round 3 team wins Game 5, they lose Game 6 60% of the time; also, Eastern series are determined by Game 5.778... 6 months ago
  • 4. Top 4 in each DIV play 2 rounds seeded within the DIV, 1 round versus other DIV champ and then the Finals between the Conference champs. 6 months ago

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