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NHL Week 6 Friday (8 November): What Have We Learned?


We began NHL Week 6 last Sunday, and our attentions are turned toward Game 20 (G20) calls.

Here we go with our notes…

The NHL As A Whole

1. The West Versus East saga is due for updating after Saturday, 9 November games.

2. The current OT/SO percentage will be updated along with West Versus East above.

3. And PP / PK numbers will also be reexamined after this coming Saturday night.

4. A couple of random thoughts…

Is Toronto for real? Maple Leaf fans who have the ability to look back beyond last season remember a couple of years with good ‘Leaf starts that ended in early tee times. Certainly, our Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) model was fooled in 2005/6 and 2006/7. So what are they showing this year that may back up their play? Here’s a few: best G15 rank since the 2004/5 Lockout; no losing streak longer than two games so far this season; and the NHL’s No. 2 PDO (shooting + save percentage) at 105.1 (which is less than half of one percentage point behind No. 1 Colorado). Their Corsi and Fenwick numbers rank at No. 29 because they average the third lowest SOG’s per game coupled with allowing the second highest number of SOG against. The difference? Their goaltending ranks them as No. 7 in goals against per game. If you have strong goaltending, you can overcome a ton of SOG’s. Goaltending is their Center of Gravity that, if lost, would cause the Leafs to struggle. Until then, yes, we say Toronto is indeed for real.

Was Edmonton over–hyped at Dallas Eakins’ arrival? Yes, we think so. Because the new coach was adamant that the team would show a new gear of competitiveness, the media jumped all over that as a notification the Oilers would be a playoff contender. Unfair to an incoming coach to say the least, but it is a by-product of the game. This young team can score, averaging almost 2.5 goals per game from the No. 21 rank in that stats category. But they give up almost four goals against as the worst in the NHL. So keeping the puck out of the net from the goaltender, out to the defensemen who are a combined –36 in the +/– category, to forwards who play responsibly in their own zone is what is required. Unless you can bring back the Gretzky, Messier, Curry, Coffey team of the mid–1980’s, of course. And importantly, is Ilya Bryzgalov the answer to the team’s woes? We think the answer to that experiment will be a ‘No’ based on the team not having the requisite defense in front of him to support his efforts. Could he be though? ‘Yes’ IF he can stand on his head to prove he is a legitimately No. 1 NHL goaltender. But he will have to go it alone if the Oilers do not play better team defense in front of him. Our opinion? This team, were it south of the 45th parallel, would be the kind of team Canadians would point to and say non-traditional, southern United States markets don’t work – move him up here where Hockey was invented.

Now for the crux of our daily report: How do the Conferences look in light of the 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 Friday, 8 November’s games:

NHLeast8Nov

Some notes here reference G20 maximum calls:

1. Four Eastern Conference teams can earn a CS call for G20.

2. One (up from none) team can still attain a maximum of a Sharpening Skates (SS) call, or just short of IN the post-season. (This is a correction from our calculations on yesterday’s blog.)

3. Nine (down from 10) teams can surpass a maximum In The Curve (ITC) call. (The other side of the correction from yesterday.)

4. One team currently projects to a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call or just short of OUT of the Playoffs.

5. And one team remains at 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. There were no changes from the last blog’s final seedings projection.

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 Friday, 8 November’s games:

NHLwest8Nov

Western notes:

1. Nine (down from 10) teams out of the West can still earn a CS call by G20.

2. No teams are currently projected as an SS call.

3. Four (up from three) teams can earn an ITC call out of the West.

4. No (down from one) team currently projects as a maximum DoC call at this time.

5. And one team projects a G20, T2 call. This team will be revealed next week.

6. There were no changes from yesterday’s “If The Playoffs Started Today” seedings.

7. 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.

8. 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 Saturday, 9 November where we continue to track the G20 stretch…

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