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NHL Week 7 Friday (15 November): What Have We Learned?


We are now in NHL Week 7, bringing us the beginnings of our Game 20 (G20) calls. Why haven’t we updated things since Tuesday? Turmoil. Turmoil and chaos in the PQC. But we think we are sorting things out.

So here we go with our notes…

The NHL As A Whole

1. The West Versus East saga continues and is having an impact on predicted outcomes – see No. 4 below. Another weekly update was posted on yesterday’s blog and will be updated again next Sunday until the ship right rights itself.

2. The current OT/SO percentage update will also come next Sunday.

3. And ditto for Week 7 PP / PK numbers.

4. Here it is, Ladies and Gentlemen – at present, we do not have parity in the NHL.

Firstly, we continue to detail in No. 1 above on Sundays the continuing saga of Western Conference dominance over the East. What this is doing is skewing the Playoff Qualifying Curve to the point we have to go beyond our models and compare numbers from many other factors in order to make a qualified call. If we didn’t, it is likely at Game 20 that 7/8 of the Western Conference would appear decided. The key here is that those seven teams have a combined 54 – 6 – 10 / .843 record against Eastern opponents. AND, those 70 GP are 51.5% off all games played for those teams when the two each, inter-Conference schedule is actually only 36.6% of their entire schedule. When does this ship right itself for a more accurate picture? When these seven teams begin to play the majority of their games against other Western teams, which is scheduled to occur like this before G30’s:

Anaheim: Games 26 – 30 / 50%

Chicago: Games 21 – 30 / 100%

Colorado: Games 20 – 30 / 110%

Los Angeles: Games 24 – 29 / 60%

Minnesota:  Games 22 – 26 and 28 – 29 / 70%

Phoenix: Games 22 – 30 / 90%

St. Louis: Games 21, 24 – 28 and 30 / 70%

So expect a correction less so for Anaheim and Los Angeles, but more so for the other five Conference leaders.

And second, the Metro Division is the old Southeast Division this year. They have absorbed an overall, combined record of 66 – 69 – 18 / .490, and just 17 – 28 – 9 / .398 against their Western Conference competition. (That’s 54 of 70 / 77.1% of the West’s games played against the East, too.) Their goal differential is a –42. No team’s current streak is over two wins. In Corsi For %, six of eight of them are below Top 10 rankings. In Fenwick For %? They are numbers 4, 10, 13, 16, 18 through 20 and 25. They just are lagging everywhere. AND they are the primary source of yin to the West’s yang. When does this get a correction? In their favor, they are slightly better than 50% against the Atlantic Division and particularly against Buffalo and Florida. So how does the Metro team versus Atlantic team schedule look between now and Game 30?

Carolina: Games 21 – 26 / 60%

Columbus: Games 24 and 27 – 28 / 27.3%

New Jersey: Games 2 7 – 30 / 36.4% (one game versus Buffalo)

NY Islanders: Games 21 – 22 and 26 / 30%

NY Rangers: Games 19, 21, 24 – 26 and 29 – 30 / 58.3% (and one game each against Buffalo and Florida)

Philadelphia: Games 20 – 21, 23 – 24, 28 and 30 / 54.6% (and one game each against Buffalo and Florida)

Pittsburgh: Games 24 – 28 / 45.5% (one game versus Florida)

Washington: Games 23 – 26 / 40%

Of possibly more help than the above is the fact that only 29 games, or about 3.6 per team, come against Western Conference foes between now and G30. So while the total percentage of games for these teams includes more Eastern Conference than Western contests, less than half will specifically be played against the Atlantic Conference where they are having slightly better success. Expect from the above for Carolina, the Rangers and Philadelphia to potentially pick up their winning percentage over the next 10 games, with less help coming for Columbus and the Islanders.

And now for our current analysis of the NHL…

The Eastern Conference

Our chart below indicates how the Eastern Conference projects against the PQC through Friday, 15 November’s games:

NHLeast15Nov

Some notes here reference G20 maximum calls:

1. One (down from two) Eastern Conference teams can still earn a CS call for G20. That team will be announced at their Game 20 mark.

2. One team can currently earn a maximum of a Sharpening Skates (SS) call, or just short of IN the post-season.

3. Ten (up from nine) teams can surpass a maximum In The Curve (ITC) call. Eight (up from four) of them are already a lock and three are announced (see below).

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

5. And four (up from three) teams are a T2 projection or OUT of 2014 Playoff contention. Three are already identified – see below – and the fourth T2 team will be announced on their Game 20 call date.

6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. There was one change from the last blog’s final seedings projection. On the strength of their SO win, Carolina projects as the No. 5 seed, displacing the idle Rangers.

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.

14 November 2013, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, NY – The New York Islanders have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the third team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

15 November 2013, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH – The Montreal Canadiens have been called In The Curve (ITC), or just about average for Eastern Conference play. The Canadiens were once again stuck by the injury (with media) bug(s), influencing a rough G20 stretch. After only two wins in Games 11 – 15, they came back to earn points in four of their last five to close out the furlong. The Habs require a watchful eye going forward as at this same point since the last Lockout they held better records than their current one five of seven times (with one of them occurring in a year in which they failed to make the Playoffs).

15 November 2013, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI – Both the Detroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals have been called In The Curve (ITC), or just about average for Eastern Conference play. The Red Wings are streaking, which is sort of good and sort of bad. You can say they have points in four of their last five and seven of their last eight games.  But you can equally note they earned only one point in each of their last four for extra frame losses plus a regulation loss five games ago.  They are in the lower end of the bell curve, so they must pick things up to contend. On the other hand, the Capitals have 13 points of a possible 16 in their last eight games. This tremendously corrects for their slow start. The Caps are on the uptick right now, so keep an eye out for more W’s here.

15 November 2013, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – The Florida Panthers have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the fourth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs. And replacing Coach Dineen and his staff are not going to change that fact. Dale Tallon is beginning the fire sale to stock up ‘for the future’ (again), a clear sign the season is over. Another high draft pick awaits this team in 2014.

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, 15 November’s games:

NHLwest15Nov

Western notes:

1. Four (down from five) teams out of the West can still earn a CS call by G20. Of note, two were called at G10 as listed. And we already know of one other who will get the call on their G20 call date.

2. Four (up from three) teams currently project as an SS call. All four are listed below.

3. Four teams can earn an ITC call out of the West. Two have already been identified and one more is already a lock to be announced on their Game 20 call date.

4. No team currently projects as a maximum DoC call at this time.

5. And two teams project as G20, T2 calls. One is announced below and one more will be at their G20 mark.

6. There was no change to the last blog’s ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ seedings projection based on Friday’s games.

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) at G10, the second team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

10 November 2013, Honda Center, Anaheim, CA – The Vancouver Canucks open G20 PQC calls with a second consecutive In The Curve call, or just about average for Western Conference play.

12 November 2013, Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI – The Winnipeg Jets are an In The Curve call, or just about average for Western Conference play.

12 November 2013, BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL – The Anaheim Ducks are a Sharpening Skates call, or just shy of IN the 2014 Playoffs.

13 November 2013, Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB – The Edmonton Oilers have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the second team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.  

14 November 2013, United Center, Chicago, IL – The Phoenix Coyotes are a Sharpening Skates call, or just shy of IN the 2014 Playoffs.

15 November 2013, Prudential Center, Chicago, IL – The Los Angeles Kings are a Sharpening Skates call, or just shy of IN the 2014 Playoffs.  The Kings fell just short of a Chasing Stanley call in this stretch despite their .750 play over the furlong. They needed just a bit more uumph to get over the hump. Their next 30 games’ schedule is relatively favorable in terms of travel and rest in between games, so look for them to keep things on an even keel, even without Jonathan Quick in net.

15 November 2013, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Wild are a Sharpening Skates call, or just shy of IN the 2014 Playoffs. Why only an SS call? The same reason as Anaheim and Phoenix with one extra kicker. Minnesota just completed a stretch of the most favorable Western, 10-game schedule this season. That adds to their vastly increased Western Conference schedule and the fact Coach Yeo is quite possibly overplaying some of his key players to earn the W’s. We simply need to see what they are made of and we haven’t yet.

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 Sunday, 17 November, with eight more G20 PQC–impacting calls that include both Chasing Stanley and Tee Timers…

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