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NHL Week 4 Saturday (26 October): What Have We Learned?


The NHL has finished Week 4. We are now in near-daily updates as 28 teams have completed their G10 furlong and the final two teams will be complete by Tuesday, 29 October.

Here we go with our notes…

The NHL As A Whole

1. West Versus East. For the week ending Saturday, 26 October, the East improved on their previous performance against the West. Producing a record of 27 – 39 – 9 / .420 Hockey, they improved from last week’s 20 – 32 – 5 / .395 Hockey performance. It is still the Metropolitan Division which is the overall losing culprit here with a combined 10 – 19 – 6 / .371 Hockey record for intra-Conference competition.

2. The current OT/SO percentage of 20.49% at the end of Week 3 increased a bit to 21.21% of all games played. The best team in extra frames so far is Vancouver at 5 – 1 followed by Los Angeles at 4 – 0. The basement team is New Jersey at 0 – 4.

3. The PP / PK numbers through Saturday, 26 October show St. Louis as the No. 1 PP team with a 30.3% rate. That stands as the only team at or above 30%. At No. 30 is still Anaheim with a 6.8% rate, one of two teams (with Buffalo) below 10% with the man advantage. Colorado leads on the PK at 91.2% and is the only team in the 90th percentile. All teams are above 70% when shorthanded, with Chicago (72.2%) and Edmonton (72.7%) the only teams below 75%. If you averaged the two special teams rankings, you might be surprised to note the best team is Washington at an average ranking of 2.5, followed by the Islanders, Toronto, Colorado and San Jose. Standings and intuition might indicate Toronto is propped up by their special teams play while Colorado and San Jose’s efforts show a more all-around team health. The worst combined ranking is Anaheim at a relative 29. The Ducks are preceded by Edmonton, Florida, Carolina and Boston in ascending order. The lower end shows if your 5-on-5 play is good enough (Boston and Anaheim) your special teams can be mediocre. And the lower end of the spectrum also both explains part of Edmonton and Florida’s woes and makes you wonder how the Hurricanes would stand with better special team performance.

Now for the crux of our daily report: How do the Conferences look in light of the Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) and what remains on the G10 PQC Call schedule for this season?

The Eastern Conference

Our chart below indicates how the Eastern Conference projects against the PQC through Saturday, 26 October’s games:

NHLeast26Oct

Some notes here:

1. No Eastern Conference teams are Chasing Stanley (CS) at Game 10 (G10).

2. No Eastern Conference team will rate a Sharpening Skates (SS) call, or just short of IN the post-season.

3. Twelve teams – see below – are already an ITC call. One more Eastern Conference teams will not land better than an ITC call.

4. Three teams cannot surpass a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call or just short of OUT of the Playoffs.

5. And one team has already been called at Tee Time (T2) or OUT of 2014 Playoff contention – see below.

6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. Changes from Wednesday’s pairings are:

  • Seeds 1 – 3 have not changed, and the opponent for the No. 3 seed also remains unchanged from yesterday.
  • Detroit’s loss on Saturday night moves them down to the 8th seed and Montreal up to the 7th spot.
  • And Columbus has moved up to the relative 4th seed and Carolina is their visitor based on the Islanders’ loss to Philadelphia.

7. G10 PQC breakdown:

19 October 2013, First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Sabres have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the first team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

21 October 2013, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI – The Detroit Red Wings have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

22 October 2013, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON – The Toronto Maple Leafs have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

22 October 2013, BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL – The Florida Panthers have been called at Dusting Off Clubs (DoC), or just short of eliminated from the 2014 NHL Playoffs.

24 October 2013, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils have been called Dusting Off Clubs (DoC), or just short of eliminated from the 2014 NHL Playoffs.

24 October 2013, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC – The Montreal Canadiens have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

24 October 2013, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – The Carolina Hurricanes have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

24 October 2013, Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB – The Washington Capitals have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

25 October 2013, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and NY Islanders have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

25 October 2013, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH The Columbus Blue Jackets have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

25 October 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC The Ottawa Senators have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

  • 26 October 2013, TD Garden, Boston, MA The Boston Bruins have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play. The Bruins’ strong, .700 opening record ties it with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay for tops in the Eastern Conference. It also ties their Cup-winning 2010/11 season for best G10 start since the last Lockout. They are also in 7th place or better for all three of the major, advanced stats categories. If they could improve their bottom five PK, well, then, you might have the whole package. Either way, they are a strong contender to make the post-season.
  • 26 October 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC The Tampa Bay Lightning have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play. The Bolts are off to their second-best G10 start since the 2005/06 season. Their first best? The 2010/11, Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals season where the Bruins put them down by one, final goal before going on to win the Stanley Cup. Their PP is top 10 and PK is middle of the NHL pack. Their Corsi– and Fenwick For Percentages rank in the upper-20’s with a PDO at No. 7. So the question becomes whether or not they were the beneficiary of an average schedule in terms of difficulty level. We will see in the next 10 games as they play four Divisional contests, two back-to-back pairs and end the furlong with five games in eight days, four of which are on the road.
  • 26 October 2013, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY The Philadelphia Flyers have been called at Dusting Off Clubs (DoC), or just short of eliminated from the 2014 NHL Playoffs. The Flyers have now suffered two straight, difficult starts to seasonal play. Their dismal 1 – 6 start was hopefully just that, a dismal start. Captain Claude Giroux’s Messier-esque claim that the team would make the playoffs this year was followed up with two of their three wins. It will take a lot of desperation for that to happen as they battle through injuries, slumps and telling, advanced stats that have them no better than 15th in any of the three major categories.

8. The final Eastern Conference PQC call comes Monday night for the Rangers in their home opener at the completely remodeled MSG. The schedule looks and looked like this:

SAT., 19 OCT – BUF (the first G10 call of the season)

MON., 21 OCT – DET

TUE., 22 OCT – FLA, TOR

THUR., 24 OCT – CAR, MTL, NJD, WSH

FRI., 25 OCT – CBJ, NYI, OTT, PIT

SAT., 26 OCT – BOS, PHI, TBL

MON., 28 OCT – NYR

The Western Conference

Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Saturday, 26 October’s games:

NHLwest26Oct

Western notes:

1. One team from both divisions is a CS call.

2. One Central Division team can still pull off a SS call.

3. All 10 ITC calls are in.

4. One team sits as a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call at this time.

5. No teams currently project as a T2 maximum call.

6. There were no changes to ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ pairings since Friday’s report.

7. G10 PQC breakdown:

20 October 2013, Nationwide Arena, Columbus OH – The Vancouver Canucks have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

21 October 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Kings have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

22 October 2013, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC – The Edmonton Oilers have been called at Dusting Off Clubs (DoC), or just short of eliminated from the 2014 NHL Playoffs.

22 October 2013, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – Both the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

22 October 2013, MTS Center, Winnipeg, MB – The Winnipeg Jets have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

22 October 2013, Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, AZ – The Phoenix Coyotes have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

24 October 2013, TD Garden, Boston, MA The San Jose Sharks have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the first team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

24 October 2013, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC – The Anaheim Ducks have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

24 October 2013, St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL – The Chicago Blackhawks have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

24 October 2013, American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX – The Phoenix Coyotes have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play.

25 October 2013, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO The Colorado Avalanche have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the first team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

  • 26 October 2013, American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX – The Dallas Stars have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for NHL play. The Stars suffered from an inconsistent middle of their G10 schedule. After a 2 – 1 start to their first three games, they followed with a 1 – 4 center before gaining 3–of–4 points in their final two games at home. That 1 – 4 stretch’s losses were all road games. On the road, they were outplayed by Minnesota, barely outplayed by Colorado in the 1st Period, and lost to Los Angeles and Anaheim in the closing half of the contest. Oversimplified, they either don’t like the road yet, lack energy for the whole 60-minute game, or are relatively easy to adjust to as the game progresses. Their total output needs to raise advanced stat numbers from middle-of-the-pack or lower. This will indicate they are continuing to improve to a level of play that could see them into the post-season for the first time since 2007/08. Call it a “Take Two” for the G20-furlong as Dallas has a similar schedule in terms of level of difficulty as they had in their G10 stretch. After that, we will see where we are going.

8. The Western Conference PQC call schedule is almost complete as St. Louis will close out the G10 furlong on Tuesday night, 29 October. Below is how the schedule ran and is running so far:

SUN., 20 OCT – VAN

MON., 21 OCT – LAK

TUE., 22 OCT – EDM, MIN, NSH, PHX, WPG

THUR., 24 OCT – ANA, CGY, CHI, SJS

FRI., 25 OCT – COL

SAT., 26 OCT – DAL

TUE., 29 OCT – STL (the last G10 call of the season)

Tuesday’s PQC analysis includes one more G10 call, followed by Wednesday’s last G10’er…

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