We began NHL Week 6 last night. Our Game 10 (G10) furlong calls are now complete and our attentions turn toward the G20 stretch.
Here we go with our notes…
The NHL As A Whole
1. West Versus East. For the week ending Saturday, 2 November, the East maintained the same winning percentage against the West they held last week. Their record of 35 – 50 – 9 / .420 Hockey still indicates a performance issue across Conference boundaries this season. The Metropolitan Division continued its decline with a combined 10 – 22 – 6 / .342 Hockey record for intra-Conference competition. Not all is lost in the East, however, as Tampa Bay holds a 5 – 0 record against the West and Toronto and Detroit are both over .640.
2. The current OT/SO percentage of 20.85% is up just a bit against last week’s 20.49% of all games played. It might be interesting to note 65.9% of these games end in a Shootout. The best team in extra frames so far is Los Angeles at 6 – 0 followed by Tampa Bay at 4 – 0 and Washington at 3 – 0. And New Jersey remains the basement team at 0 – 4.
3. The PP / PK numbers through Saturday, 2 November still show St. Louis as the No. 1 PP team with a 26.1% rate that is down from last week’s 30.3%. That was the last team at or above 30%. At No. 30 remains Anaheim with a 6.9% rate, one of three teams (with Philadelphia and Vancouver) below 10% with the man advantage. Colorado still leads on the PK at 90.9% and is one of two teams with Washington in the 90th percentile. All teams are above 70% when shorthanded, with Chicago (73.2%) and Anaheim (73.5%) 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 3rd, followed by Toronto (4.5th), Montreal (5th), San Jose (6th) and Tampa Bay (7th). Standings and intuition might indicate Tampa Bay and Toronto are somewhat propped up by their special teams play. But the worst combined ranking is Anaheim at a relative 29 who stands as the projected No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. It takes balance, ladies and gentlemen, to win in the NHL. If you do NOT have special teams that rock, you must do so 5 – on – 5 which is clearly where the Ducks are making their mark this season.
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, 2 November’s games:
Some notes here reference G20 maximum calls:
1. Five (down from six) Eastern Conference teams can earn a Chasing Stanley (CS) call for G20.
2. One team can still attain a maximum of a Sharpening Skates (SS) call, or just short of IN the post-season.
3. Nine (up from eight) teams cannot surpass an In The Curve (ITC) call.
4. No teams currently project to a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call or just short of OUT of the Playoffs.
5. And one team remains 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 Thursday night’s final seedings is a musical chairs switch of Toronto down to the No. 3 slot and Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay sliding up one position.
7. 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.
8. The G20 Projection Schedule is (Atlantic Division teams are in BOLD Text):
TUE., 12 NOV – BUF
THUR., 14 NOV – NYI
FRI., 15 NOV – DET, FLA, MTL, WSH
SAT., 16 NOV – CAR, NJD, PIT, TBL, TOR
SUN., 17 NOV – CBJ, NYR, OTT
MON., 18 NOV – BOS
TUE., 19 NOV – PHI (the last G20 PQC call with COL and STL)
The Western Conference
Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Saturday, 2 November’s games:
1. For the first time in several days, the projected number of Playoff teams is even at four each from the two Divisions.
2. Ten teams out of the West can earn a CS call.
3. No teams are currently projected as an SS call.
4. Three (down from four) teams can earn an ITC call out of the West.
5. One team currently projects as a maximum DoC call at this time.
6. And no teams project a G20, T2 call.
7. There was a couple of changes from Saturday night’s “If The Playoffs Started Today” seedings:
- Anaheim moved up to the 3rd Seed, bringing Phoenix up with them.
- St. Louis dropped to the 4th Seed taking Chicago with them as their visiting opponent.
- As a Wild Card team, Vancouver dropped from the 8th seed to 7th.
- And based on Los Angeles’ loss, they dropped out of the Wild Card picture and Minnesota jumped in to the 8th seed position.
8. PQC breakdown:
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.
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.
9. The G20 Projection Schedule is (Central Division teams are in BOLD Text):
SUN., 10 NOV – VAN (the first G20 PAC call)
TUE., 12 NOV – ANA, WPG,
WED., 13 NOV – EDM
THUR., 14 NOV – PHX
FRI., 15 NOV – LAK, MIN, SJS
SAT., 16 NOV – CGY, CHI, NSH,
SUN., 17 NOV – DAL,
TUE., 19 NOV – COL, STL (the last G20 PQC call with PHI)
Our next blog will be posted on Monday, 3 November where we continue to track the G20 stretch…