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NHL Week 11 (Friday/Saturday, 6/7 December): What Have We Learned?


Game 30 (G30) furlong calls continue below with more Chasing Stanley (CS) and Tee Time (T2) calls amongst others.

So here we go with our notes…

The NHL As A Whole

1. The West Versus East rundown still retains a favorable winning percentage for the West. After last week, the East produced another modest gain with a 69 – 84 – 23 / 45.7% record, up from 61 – 77 – 22 / 45% last week. The Metro Division still has more losses against the West than the Atlantic although the Metro continued a third straight upward rise from 28 – 36 – 9 / 44.5% last week to 33 – 42 – 9 / 44.6% this one. The Atlantic also improved from 33 – 41 – 13 / 45.4% to 35 – 42 – 14 / 46.2% over the last seven days. And while the East is still performing better against the Pacific Division (32 – 36 – 10 / 47.4% or a change of – .9%), they improved their record to 29 – 41 – 12 / 42.7% versus the Central Division (+ 1.7%) .

2. The current OT/SO percentage dropped slightly for the second straight week from last week’s 24.4% to a current 24.3%. And for the fourth straight week, the number of games being solved in OT versus a SO increased, this time from 37.8% to 39.4%.

3. As for PP and PK numbers, Pittsburgh remains the number one PP team for the second straight time with a 26.6% success rate, up from last week’s 25.3%. Winnipeg displaces Florida in the basement with a 10.8% PP rate. Vancouver retains the top slot on the PK for the fifth consecutive, end of the week report with a rise back up to an 89.2% success rate like two weeks ago. And the Islanders hold the 30th position for the fifth straight week, down to 71.6% from last week’s 72.2%.

4. And as far as winning percentages (W%) go, the East’s average improved just a bit from last week’s 51.3% to 51.5%. Nine teams are currently at or above that mark, with Boston the best at 69%. The Number 8 slot is a tie between the Rangers and Carolina at 51.7%. Out West, the W% is 61.2%, a mark eight teams can still meet or beat. Number 1 is San Jose at 74.1% while Minnesota is still Number 8 at 62.9%.

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 Saturday, 7 December’s games:

NHLeast7Dec

Some notes here reference G30 maximum calls:

1. Four Eastern Conference teams have a shot at earning a CS call for G30. One more team has already earned the CS call and will be announced once they reach G30.

2. No teams can earn a Sharpening Skates (SS) call by G30, or just short of IN the post-season.

3. Six (down from seven) teams cannot surpass an In The Curve (ITC) call by G30. Four (up from two) teams have already nestled into that mark and on more team will be announced at their G30.

4. No teams currently project a Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) call, or just short of OUT of the Playoffs.

5. And six (up from five) Eastern teams are a Tee Time (T2) projection, or OUT of 2014 Playoff contention with one more added to the total below.

6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. There was only once change from our last blog update. Based on their victory last night, Boston slides up past Pittsburgh into the No. 1 seed.

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, 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.

16 November 2013, Jobing.com Arena, Phoenix, AZ – The Tampa Bay Lightning have been called Chasing Stanley (CS) at G10, the fourth team in the NHL and first in the Eastern Conference called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

17 November 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON – The Columbus Blue Jackets have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the sixth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

5 December 2013, Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Penguins have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the seventh team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

5 December 2013, Centre Bell, Montreal, QC – The Montreal Canadiens have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the eighth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

6 December 2013, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – The Detroit Red Wings have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for the 2013/4 NHL season and the New Jersey Devils have been called at Tee Tim (T2), or the eighth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs. This is not one of the Red Wings’ typical seasons. At G30, they are at their second lowest point total since the 2004/5 Lockout. It does not help that they have injuries to Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Helm just as much as the play of Howard in net has been a bit debilitating. Take heart, ‘Wings’ fans, however. They are still above that worst G30 pace and have not failed to make the Playoffs in ages. The Devils, on the other hand, cannot buy a break. Scoring woes are not helped with dismal SOG totals by the team that fails to bail out their goaltenders mostly good to stellar performances. As evidence we point to their Shooting + Save Percentage as defined by their PDO rating, all of which are below 100 except for on the PP. From where we sit, they project to finish with less than 80 points which no Playoff team since the last Lockout has fell to. It is a shame Martin Brodeur’s swan song is this season and not 2011/12.

6 December 2013, RSBC Center, Raleigh, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for 2013-14 NHL play. The ‘Canes hung in without Cam Ward long enough to bring him back for an ITC call. They are on par with the Rangers (see below) and benefit from placement in the Metro Division this season. Were it not for the latter, they would not possibly still be in the Playoff seed hunt. If they can produce more 5 – 2 – 1 runs like in their last eight games, they may push the Rangers or Washington for one of the top seeds in the Metro. But let us be clear here – they will have to land in the top three in their division or the Playoffs will not happen this season.

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Toronto Maple Leafs have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for 2013-14 NHL play and the Ottawa Senators have been called at Tee Tim (T2), or the ninth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs. Toronto’s lack of defense is catching up with them. As we stated a while back in our blogs, consistent Corsi For % (CF%) and/or Fenwick For % (FF%) below 50% coupled with a PDO at or above 100 on a winning team usually comes back down to earth at some point. In this case, Toronto is still an ITC team in, however, due to the less-than-stellar play of Ottawa, Florida and Buffalo below them and play in the Southeast, er, Metro Division not warranting a Wild Card slot. Still, the ‘Leafs must improve in order to remain above the 8th seed mark come April. And then there is this Ottawa, the polar opposite of last year’s team.  Sinking to .450 Hockey, 17th place or lower in almost all advanced stats categories and nestled right in that G30 performance area of the 2008/9 and 2010/11 seasons all stand as indicators of their demise for this season. While the Power Play is a brighter spot for this team, don’t expect a rebound large enough to overcome current play.

7 December 2013, Madison Square Garden, New York, NY – The New York Rangers have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for 2013-14 NHL play. The Rangers are still trying to climb out of the hole they dug into on the road in October. After their brutal 3 – 6 – 0 / .333 start, they ran up a 12 – 8 – 1 / .595 record. Their ITC call is also bolstered by the fact that, other than Carolina tying their overall .517 W%, no other Eastern team below them is winning at a .500 clip or better. The Rangers simply have to continue to improve and out duel Carolina and Washington for one of the No. 2 or No. 3 Metro Division slots.

8. The G30 Projection Schedule is (Atlantic Division teams are in BOLD Text):

THUR., 5 DECMTL, PIT

FRI., 6 DEC – CAR, DET, NJD

SAT., 7 DECBUF, FLA, NYI, NYR, OTT, TOR

SUN., 8 DEC – BOS, WSH

MON., 9 DEC – CBJ, PHI

TUE., 10 DECTBL

The Western Conference

Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Saturday, 7 December’s games:

NHLwest7Dec

Western notes:

1. Six (down from seven) teams out of the West can earn a CS call by G30. There is one new team added to the CS rolls below.

2. Two (down from one) team below is an SS call at their G30 mark.

3. Two (down from three) teams cannot surpass an ITC call out of the West. One team has already secured that mark and another will be announced at their G30 this week.

4. One team below is a DoC call at their G30 mark.

5. And three (up from two) teams are T2 calls for G30 as one new team joins this group.

6. There were only three adjustments to the last blog’s ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ seedings projection based on games through Thursday night:

  • Based on other Central Division teams’ losses, Colorado moves up to the Number 2 seed.
  • St. Louis’ 1 – 3 record over their last four games drops them to the Number 3 seed.
  • And after their 0 – 2 – 1 run, Chicago drops to the Number 4 seed as the visitor in a paring with the Blues.

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.

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.

16 November 2013, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN – The Chicago Blackhawks have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the third team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

16 November 2013, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the fifth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

19 November 2013, First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY – The St. Louis Blues have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the fifth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

3 December 2013, Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN – The Vancouver Canucks have been called In The Curve (ITC), or about average for 2013-14 NHL play.

3 December 2013, Honda Center, Anaheim, CA – The Anaheim Ducks have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the sixth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

5 December 2013, BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL – The Winnipeg Jets have been called Dusting Off Clubs (DoC), or just short of OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

5 December 2013, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Wild have been called Sharpening Skates (SS), or just short of IN the 2014 Playoffs.

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Nashville Predators have been called at Tee Time (T2), or the tenth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs. Ouch. Little to no scoring. Sub-par, stand in goaltending. And an 0 – 5 streak to close out G30. These all add up to the unmistakable fact that the Predators will not see the Playoffs this year. The stories are already beginning to circulate that Barry Trotz should be relieved, something that should be considered if he was actually in net or skating on one of the lines. Until Pekka Renne returns to the net to bail out the meager offense, do not expect a lot from this club, and certainly don’t expect a different coach to produce more.

7 December 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Kings have been called Chasing Stanley (CS), or the ninth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs. At G20, the Kings rested at Sharpening Skates. Since then, they ran up a solid .750 record and have, despite the injury to Number 1 netminder Quick, earned a CS call. If you look at their FF% ranking, they rest no lower than 10th in any situation. In their last 16 games (since 2 November), they have only given up more than two goals three times while dishing out four shutouts. And they are 10 – 5 – 2 within their Conference which may very well see them shoot higher in the standings before the season ends. The rest of this season is about perseverance until April.

8. The G30 Projection Schedule is (Central Division teams are in BOLD Text):

TUE., 3 DEC – ANA, VAN (the first G30 PQC calls)

THUR., 5 DEC – CHI, EDM, MIN, WPG

SAT., 7 DEC – LAK, NSH

SUN., 8 DEC – SJS

TUE., 10 DEC – CGY, PHX

THUR., 12 DEC – COL, DAL, STL (the last G30 PQC calls)

Our next blog will be posted on Monday, 9 December for games played on 8 December with three more G30 furlong calls…

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