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NHL Week 16 (Friday, 17 January): What Have We Learned?

With 21 of 30 Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) calls made and every team beyond Game 45 (G45), our attentions are well focused on G50 calls…

The NHL As A Whole

1. Seven teams reach G50 today. Of those seven, four (NJD, NYI, NSH and WPG) already received Tee Time (T2) calls for this season.  Today’s calls for NYR, TOR and VAN are new for the G50 PQC. To help sort the old from the new below, we put previous PQC calls of Chasing Stanley (CS) or T2 in parentheses in the G50 PQC schedules below. These calls remain an IN or OUT call unless we reach Shot Off The Post criteria.

2. The Eastern Conference projects between 89 and 91 points for a Top 8 (Playoff) slot right now. That is difficult to believe when you do the math and see only five Eastern teams project above 91 points at this time. Keep in mind, however, that Winning % (W%) in the East has been on a slow and steady curve of improvement over the last several weeks which will contribute to a few extra W’s fro top Eastern teams. The West’s No. 8 slot projects between 94 and 96 points.

3. Which teams are performing better than they ever have since the 2004/05 Lockout? In the East, TBL (+.5 games) and PIT (+3.5), both at G45, are playing better than they ever have over that timeframe. In the Western Conference, CHI (+.5 games) and ANA (+3.5) at G50, and COL (+3.5 games), LAK (+1.5 games) and STL (+4.5 games) at G45 are all above any previous high, which partially explains the high projection for standings points that should come down just a bit as the season progresses.

4. On the flip side, which teams are performing worse than they ever have since the 2004/05 Lockout? In the East, that is BUF (–6) and DET (–1) at G45. In the Western Conference, it is CGY (–4.5) at G45 and EDM (–1.5) at G50. Several teams are on the bubble at a differential of 0 (zero).

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, 17 January’s games:

NHLeast17JAN

Notes reference G50 maximum calls:

1. At G50, four (down from five) Eastern Conference teams have a chance at a CS call. This is the same four who have already met this mark and remain so unless conditions to make a Shot Off The Post (SotP) call are reached.

2. No (down from two) teams can earn a Sharpening Skates (SS) call as we look toward G50.

3. Five (up from two) teams cannot be better than In The Curve (ITC) by G50. We already know who four of them are and will announce them as they hit their G50 mark.

4. No teams are a possible Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) at G50.

5. And the same, named, seven Eastern teams remain at a Tee Time (T2) heading toward G50.

6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. There were two changes from our last blog update on last Sunday morning:

  • NYR has moved up to the No. 7 Wild Card seed.
  • And based on TOR’s wins and DET’s losses, the Maple Leafs are in the No. 8 Wild Card seed and the Red Wings project as 9th in the Conference

7. PQC breakdown (with new, CS or T2 calls in bold text):

19 October 2013, First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Sabres have been called at 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 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 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 CS, 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 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 CS, or the seventh team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

6 December 2013, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils have been called at T2, or the seventh team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Ottawa Senators have been called at T2, or the ninth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

8 December 2013, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON – The Boston Bruins have been called CS, or the tenth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

31 December 2013, PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes have been called at T2, or the twelfth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

8. The G50 Projection Schedule is (with Atlantic Division teams in bold font; teams in parentheses have already secured either a CS or T2 call):

SAT., 18 JAN – (NJD, NYI,) NYR, TOR

SUN., 19 JAN(TBL)

MON., 20 JAN – PHI

TUE., 21 JAN – (CAR, FLA, OTT,) WSH

WED., 22 JANDET, (MTL, PIT)

THUR., 23 JAN – (BUF, CBJ)

SAT., 25 JAN – (BOS) (the last G50 PQC call)

The Western Conference

Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Friday, 17 January’s games:

NHLwest17JAN

Western notes:

1. At G50, six (down from eight) Western Conference teams have a chance at a CS call. Those six calls were already made and remain unchanged unless we reach conditions to make a Shot Off The Post (SotP) call.

2. No teams can earn a Sharpening Skates (SS) call as we look toward G50.

3. Four (up from two) teams are an In The Curve (ITC) by G50. One call has already been made as stated at the bottom of the list below.

4. No teams project as a DoC call for G50.

5. And four Western teams currently remain at a Tee Time (T2) heading toward G50.

6. There was only one adjustment to the ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ Top 8 teams in the Western Conference since our last blog posting. Based on their recent losing spat, PHX has dropped out of the Top 8 and MIN slides into the projected No. 8 Wild Card seed.

7. PQC breakdown:

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

25 October 2013, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO – The Colorado Avalanche have been called CS, or the second team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

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

16 November 2013, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames have been called at 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 CS, or the fifth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Nashville Predators have been called at T2, or the eighth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

7 December 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Kings have been called CS, or the ninth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

27 December 2013, MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB – The Winnipeg Jets have been called at T2, or the eleventh team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

16 January 2014, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota Wild have been called at ITC, or about average for 2013-14 NHL play.

8. The G50 Projection Schedule is (Central Division teams are in bold text; teams in parentheses have already secured either a CS or T2 call):

THUR., 16 JAN – MIN, (EDM) (the first G50 PQC calls)

FRI., 17 JAN – (ANA, CHI)

SAT., 18 JAN – (NSH,) VAN, (WPG)

MON., 20 JAN – (CGY, LAK, SJS)

TUE., 21 JAN – DAL

WED., 22 JAN – PHX

THUR., 23 JAN – (STL)

FRI., 24 JAN – (COL)

Our next blog will be posted on Sunday, 19 January after Saturday, 17 January’s games are complete…

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Plus/Minus: The NHL at Midseason

Now that we’re just past the halfway point of the 2013-14 NHL season, I think it’s a good time to give the league an unofficial report card.  Because this is hockey, after all, I’ll grade on a plus/minus basis (which is apropos, as plus/minus is a near-worthless stat, and mine is a near-worthless opinion).  Aaaand away we go:

PLUS:

  • +1:  Conference Realignment.  Some have groused about the names of the new divisions, despising “Metropolitan” and the fact that only two clubs in the Atlantic actually border that ocean, and the uneven distribution of teams by conference (16 in the East vs. 14 in the West) has resulted in much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  To the grousers, wailers and gnashers, I say:  If “Metropolitan” is too hard for you to say or spell, just go with “Metro.”  As for the geographical oddity that is the Atlantic Division, get over it – Pittsburgh was in the Atlantic until this season and you were fine with that.  And the uneven conferences?  Well, the supposed greater difficulty of making the playoffs in the East (due to the two additional teams) has been overshadowed by the superiority of the Western Conference.  If the playoffs began today and were held on a league-wide basis, i.e., the top sixteen teams overall, nine would come from the West.  Realignment has, at long last, fixed the “glitches” of Winnipeg in the East, Columbus and Detroit in the West and Dallas in the Pacific Division.  In addition, the road has been paved for the seamless addition of an expansion franchise in Seattle, and another elsewhere in the West (hello, Houston – how are y’all?).
  • +2:  The Winter Classic.  The 2014 iteration of the league’s showcase New Year’s Day event was a HUGE success, breaking NHL records for attendance and TV ratings, as well as generating a net profit in excess of $20 million.  All numbers aside, I think the best way to describe the Winter Classic is with a personal anecdote:  Though I am a die-hard hockey fan, I’m fairly selective in the games I watch.  Though I have the utmost respect for the Red Wings, as a Stars fan, I despise them with every fiber of my being.  What do I think of Toronto?  Well, generally, I don’t.  Despite my antipathy and apathy for the teams involved, I watched the Winter Classic this year, just as I do every year.  Because it’s the Winter Classic.  I would like to see more variation in teams/venues, though, with Stars vs. Wild in Minnesota at the top of my wish list, followed by Blue Jackets vs. Rangers in Columbus and a game hosted by the Avs in Denver.  Make it so, Mr. Bettman!
  • +3:  Parity.  Less than half the regular season remains, and if we use “>7 points out of 8th place” as the dividing line between teams in or out of the playoff hunt, then 23 teams are still in the fight for 16 playoff spots.  Though the top three in both the Pacific and Central divisions have separated themselves from the pack out west, the combination of a weak Metro Division (Pittsburgh excepted) and the Eastern Conference wild card race has resulted in nine teams currently battling for four playoff spots.  Everyone – players and coaches alike – knows that every point counts.  The net effect is an intensity approaching playoff levels, and it’s been building for a few weeks now.  Every night is a battle, and it’s exciting to watch.

MINUS:

  • -1:  NHL Officiating.  Last month, Michael Russo of the Star Tribune interviewed NHL Director of Officiating Stephen Walkom about “…how officials fine-tune throughout a season, how they’re evaluated and how it’s decided which officials work the longest in the playoffs.”  Unfortunately, one key question wasn’t addressed:  If on-ice officials “fine-tune” throughout the season, why don’t we see any significant improvement?  The NHL is the fastest sport not involving an internal combustion engine and referees are human, so mistakes are inevitable.  The problem is that we see the same mistakes repeated throughout the season, and some are so glaring as to call into question the integrity of the game.  It should be obvious by now that four on-ice officials can’t be counted on to make the right call on a consistent basis.  Greatly expanded video review and coach’s challenges should be implemented next season, including for referee’s judgment calls, as far too many calls seem to indicate impaired judgment on the part of the ref (case in point:  two teammates collide and an uninvolved-but-nearby player on the opposing team is called for interference *coughChrisKreidercough*).  Will it slow the game down a bit?  Sure it will.  More importantly, would you rather spend two hours and forty-five minutes watching your team lose because of a bad call, or two hours and fifty minutes watching your team win?
  • -2:  The Stadium Series.  Many have opined on the glut of outdoor games, and I agree:  it’s simply too much of a good thing, and slow ticket sales in Los Angeles and for the weeknight Rangers-Islanders tilt bear that out.  New York Rangers founder Tex Rickard once said he thought the market would bear “one or two big events a year,” but no more.  Rickard was talking about championship boxing matches, but the principle holds true for outdoor hockey games.  Though the Stadium Series clearly did not impact the 2014 Winter Classic, ticket sales and TV ratings for the 2015 Classic will be interesting to watch.
  • -3:  The Playoff Format.  The first Stanley Cup Playoffs under the new format are still three months away.  As they approach, expect the controversy to grow.  What controversy, you ask?  How about the one involving the potential disadvantage of finishing first in your division?  If the playoffs began today, Anaheim would finish first in the Pacific, while Chicago would take the top spot in the Central.  For finishing first, Anaheim would play Minnesota while Chicago would meet Vancouver.  In other words, the top two teams in the West would have to travel across two time zones in the first round of the playoffs while the second- and third-place finishers in each division benefit from easier travel, if not opponents (Colorado @ St. Louis and Los Angeles @ San Jose).  How can this be fixed?  It just so happens I have an idea

Another big minus is the shootout, but that’s a topic for another time.  For now, we’ll just add up the plus/minus above and call it even, which ain’t bad…and which is a further example of why plus/minus is a near-useless stat.

Follow Matt Pryor on Twitter:  @BigTex1926.            

   

NHL Week 16 (Saturday, 12 January): What Have We Learned?

With 21 of 30 Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) calls made and 25 of 30 teams at or beyond Game 45 (G45), our attentions are well focused on G50 calls.

The NHL As A Whole

1. Due to several distractions, our rundown of West Versus East dominance through Saturday, 12 January is below after three weeks’ layoff. Compared to our last analysis, the Eastern Conference has improved from 84 –100 – 29 / 46.2% to 118 – 114 – 31 / 50.8%. The Atlantic (46 – 51 – 16 / 47.8% to this week’s 61 – 58 – 17 / 51.1%) and Metro (38 – 49 – 13 / 44.5% to this week’s 57 – 56 – 14 / 50.4%) Divisions both improved over that time to Winning Percentages (W%) above .500. The only Western Division any Eastern Conference Division still wins less than 50% of the time against is the Metro Division against the Central Division at 27 – 30 – 4 / 47.5%, a greater than 6% gain over the three-week span.

2. The current OT/SO percentage was at 25.5% of all games on 21 December and now rests at 26.1%. Games decided in OT versus a SO continue to climb from 39.3% to 41%.

3. Washington replaces Pittsburgh as the PP leader at a 25.5% effectiveness rate. The team holding down the cellar continues to be Florida with only a 10.1% rate, down from 10.7% three weeks ago. Vancouver is the top PK team at 89.1% and the Islanders remain at the bottom of the league with a slightly improving 74.1%.

4. And also, the average W% continues to improve in the Eastern Conference’s favor as both Conferences converge on the mean statistic. Three weeks ago, the East was at a 52.3% mark. Their W% after games played this Saturday is 54.3% with seven teams at or above that mark. The slipping West is down from 60.8% to 58.8% this week and a similar, seven teams at or above that W%.

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, 12 January’s games:

NHLeast11JAN

Notes reference G50 maximum calls:

1. At G50, Five (up from four) Eastern Conference teams have a chance at a CS call. Four have already been made and remain so unless conditions are reached to make a Shot Off The Post (SotP) call.

2. Two (up from no) teams can earn a Sharpening Skates (SS) call as we look toward G50.

3. Two (down from four) teams cannot be better than In The Curve (ITC) by G50.

4. No (down from one) teams are a possible Dusting Off Clubs (DoC) at G50.

5. And the same, named, seven Eastern teams remain at a Tee Time (T2) heading toward G50.

6. ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ shows the Top 8 teams and who their opponents project to be. There were three changes from our last blog update three weeks ago:

  • PHI has switched places with WSH, rising to the No. 4 seed while dropping the Caps to No.5.
  • Based on TOR’s cumulative losses, DET rose to the No. 7 Wild Card seed from No. 8.
  • And also based on TOR’s record and their own winning ways, the NYR have climbed up to the No. 8 Wild Card slot

This marks the first time since October that there have been four projected 2014 Playoff teams from each Eastern Conference.

7. PQC breakdown (with new, CS or T2 calls in bold text):

19 October 2013, First Niagara Center, Buffalo, NY – The Buffalo Sabres have been called at 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 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 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 CS, 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 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 CS, or the seventh team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

6 December 2013, Prudential Center, Newark, NJ – The New Jersey Devils have been called at T2, or the seventh team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Ottawa Senators have been called at T2, or the ninth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

8 December 2013, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON – The Boston Bruins have been called CS, or the tenth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

31 December 2013, PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC – The Carolina Hurricanes have been called at T2, or the twelfth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

8. The G50 Projection Schedule is (with Atlantic Division teams in bold font):

SAT., 18 JAN – NJD, NYI, NYR, TOR

SUN., 19 JANTBL

MON., 20 JAN – PHI

TUE., 21 JAN – CAR, FLA, OTT, WSH

WED., 22 JANDET, MTL, PIT

THUR., 23 JAN – BUF, CBJ

SAT., 25 JAN – BOS (the last G50 PQC call)

The Western Conference

Our Western Conference chart below indicates their PQC projections through Saturday, 12 January’s games:

NHLwest11JAN

Western notes:

1. At G50, eight (up from four) Western Conference teams have a chance at a CS call. Six calls have already been made and remain as stated unless we reach conditions to make a Shot Off The Post (SotP) call.

2. No teams can earn a Sharpening Skates (SS) call as we look toward G50.

3. Two (down from four) teams are an In The Curve (ITC) by G50.

4. No (down from one) team projects as a DoC call for G50.

5. And four Western teams remain at a Tee Time (T2) heading toward G50.

6. There was only one adjustment to the ‘If The Playoffs Started Today’ Top 8 teams in the Western Conference since our last blog posting. Anaheim, after winning an amazing 16 of their last 17 games, has moved up to the No. 1 slot while St. Louis slipped to No. 2.

7. PQC breakdown:

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

25 October 2013, Pepsi Center, Denver, CO – The Colorado Avalanche have been called CS, or the second team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

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

16 November 2013, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB – The Calgary Flames have been called at 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 CS, or the fifth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

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

7 December 2013, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, QC – The Nashville Predators have been called at T2, or the eighth team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

7 December 2013, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA – The Los Angeles Kings have been called CS, or the ninth team called IN the 2014 Playoffs.

27 December 2013, MTS Centre, Winnipeg, MB – The Winnipeg Jets have been called at T2, or the eleventh team called OUT of the 2014 Playoffs.

8. The G50 Projection Schedule is (Central Division teams are in bold text):

THUR., 16 JAN – MIN (the first G50 PQC call)

FRI., 17 JAN – ANA, CHI

SAT., 18 JAN – NSH, VAN, WPG

MON., 20 JAN – CGY, LAK, SJS

TUE., 21 JAN – DAL

WED., 22 JAN – PHX

THUR., 23 JAN – EDM, STL

FRI., 24 JAN – COL

Our next blog will be posted on Friday, 17 January after Thursday, 16 January’s first G50 game is complete…

Team Streaking – Yesterday (10 January) And Today (11 January)

Yesterday, we posted our blog “…We’re Going (NHL) Streaking….” Below is an update of results from our team W/L streaks analysis and a look at today’s game day streaks by team…

Yesterday

Eastern Conference

TOR is on a +2 streak, is an overall 2 – 5 and looking to break their current three-game losing streak (“-3″). TOR failed to break their -3 L streak last night in 3-2 loss to WSH. That makes them -1 and 2 – 4 overall since the 2004/05 Lockout, plus a current -4 streaker.

CAR is -1, 2 – 3 overall and likely to break their current, +5 winning-streak. As we predicted, CAR broke their Eastern Conference leading +5 streak in a 3-0 loss to CBJ. That makes them a -2 and 2 – 4 for 10 January and a new -1 streaker.

CBJ (playing CAR) is -1, a combined 2 – 1 and looking to improve upon their current +1 streak before traveling to WPG on Saturday. CBJ did, indeed, improve upon their current +1 streak with that win over CAR. They are now a +1 and 3 – 1 overall on 10 January and a +2 streaker.

NYI is +1, 1 – 1 overall and wanting to continue to improve upon their +2 streak. It took OT, by NYI did improve upon their current +2 streak in a 2 – 1 win over COL. They are now a +2 and 2 – 1 overall on 10 January and currently a +3 streaker.

NYR is +2, 3 – 1 since 2004/5 and hoping DAL continues to lose so they can increase their +1 (4 – 2 – 1 overall) string since Christmas. Sure enough, NYR continues to improve with a 3-2 W over DAL. That’s good for a +3 and 4 – 1 overall n 10 January and a current +2 (5 – 2 – 1 since Christmas) streak.

PIT does not like 10 JAN at a -3, 1 – 5 overall (not having a game on this date only in the 2009/10 season) but looking to increase their current +3 string. PIT continued to loathe 10 January last night with an OT loss in EDM. That makes them a -4 and 1 – 6 on 10 January and a new -1 streaker.

WSH is a – 2, 0 – 1 – 1 overall since the previous Lockout and needing to add to their current +1 streak to keep up with PHI. WSH did win to improve 10 January to a +1 and 1 – 1 – 1 overall with their victory over TOR. They now also sit as a +2 streaker.

The above results in the Eastern Conference were 4 – 3 for 10 January streaks and 5 – 2 for this season’s streaks.

Western Conference

COL is at -1, 2 – 1 overall and looking to extend their +1 current / 4 – 2 – 1 since Christmas streaks. COL increased their negative trend for 10 January in that OT loss to NYI. This makes them an historical -2 and 2 – 2 on 10 January and a new -1 streaker.

DAL, as if desiring to cooperate with the NYR’s wishes above, is a -4 and 0 – 3 – 1 historically and in desperate need of breaking their current -4 streak. DAL continued both their historical and current trends with that 3-2 loss to NYR. They are now -5 and 0 – 4 – 1 on 10 January and a -5 streaker, a trend they MUST break to remain in the race for a playoff spot.

STL is -1, 2 – 1 overall and more and more likely to break their currently running streak of +7 with each upcoming game. As we predicted, the +7 is over in the Blues’ 2-1 loss to VAN. That makes them a -2 and 2 – 2 on 10 January and a current -1 streaker.

EDM is a historical +3 (although they have not played on this date since the 2007/8 season), 3 – 0, and needing any W they can muster. EDM continued their historical trend with the OT victory over PIT. They are now +4 and 4 – 0 on 10 January and a new +1 streaker.

And finally, VAN is +1, 2 – 2 since 2004/5 and, if STL’s W streak is to end, a team that has the capacity to potentially make that happen. As we stated, VAN has the capacity to end that STL +7 streak and did. The Canucks are now +2 and 3 – 2 on 1 January and a new +1 streaker.

The above results made the Western Conference 5 – 0 to continue 10 January streaks and 2 – 3 for this season’s streak.

That makes the NHL overall 9 – 3 / 75% against 10 January’s streak trend and 7 – 5 / 58.3% against current streaks remaining on track. Where OGA specifically said a team would or would not break their streak above, we went 2 – 0 (CAR and STL).

And Today, How Do They Look?

Eastern Conference

For 11 January, BOS is on a +1 streak and is an overall 1 – 1. A win versus SJS will be tough to come by, but that would break their current -2 streak.

DET has only played one game on 11 January since the 2004/05 Lockout (our “Current Era”) and is a +1 / 1 – 0. They are a current -1 streaker and, having been the most erratic this season out of all, Current Era seasons, need to break their short, negative string.

FLA hits Game 45 (G45) today in NJD as a +1 / 1 – 1 team for 11 January. All over the map of late, they are a current +1 streaker and 3 – 2 – 1 since Christmas. But three of their last four games have gone to the SO, so a regulation W and a bump to a +2 streaker would improve the team overall.

MTL is a +2 / 2 – 1 team on 11 January and currently a -1 streaker. They do have points in four of their last five games and five of their last seven, so if the negative streak continues, do not get down on them too heavily. They are playing CHI after all.

OTT is a -1 / 1 – 1 on this date and a -1 streaker at this point in the season. That -1 is an OTL, however, and was preceded by a +4 streak, so watch OTT to jump back on the W path tonight.

TBL, amazingly without Stamkos in the mix, is an historical +1 / 1 – 0 and a current -1 with three wins in their last five games. OGA still projects them as a Playoff team this season but they need to overcome PHI and their former team captain in Philly to drive on in a positive manner.

CBJ is a -1 / 2 – 1 on today’s date and a current +2 streaker. Although they left last night’s game and hit the road for a 7pm Eastern) start in the MTS Center, they may just continue to ride the high of last night’s 3 – 0 W over CAR.

NJD enters tonight’s contest with FLA at a +1 / 1 – 1 on this date and a current +1 streaker. Do they win tonight or not? We’ll go out on a limb and say NO based on a small W/L sample, the second game in three nights and third in five, and the fact that they may get caught looking ahead to travel and the game on Sunday in TOR.

PHI hits today’s G45 as a +1 / 2 – 1 on this date and a +3 streaker. Odds are in their favor to extend their current trends.

PIT is a -3 / 0 – 3 on 11 January and a current -1 streaker after the OT loss to EDM. They are most likely to W tonight against the scoring woes of CGY, however.

Western Conference

CHI leads off the West with a +1 streak and is an overall 1 – 2 for today. Their current -2 streak bodes well for MTL, but last year’s Stanley Cup Champion will not go quietly into the night.

COL is a +1 / 2 – 1  and a current -1 streaker as they get set to play in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN tonight. Which team are they tonight?

MIN is a -1 / 3 – 1 for 1 January, but on a +4 streak at the moment. We say MIN has the upper hand here as COL travels to their arena having played two overtime games in the last three days.

NSH hosts OTT as an historical +2 / 2 – 1 – 1, and a current -1 streak team. NSH has played five games in the last nine days and gets the Sens tonight and Division foe MIN tomorrow. Having won only once in the last five games with a relatively hot OTT team does not look good for the Preds this evening.

WPG has only played one game on this date in the Current Era and is a +1 / 1 – 0. With three days off, their current -4 streak could come to end although the Blue Jackets are riding a high from last night.

ANA stacks up as hard to beat.  They are an historical +2 / 2 – 0 and a current +5 streaker. If they were playing at home, this would just about be a done deal.

As we stated above, CGY gets PIT tonight as a -3 / 1 – 0 – 3 and -2 streaker team. PIT, despite the worse numbers, will get a tough contest, but CGY is more likely to be te losing team tonight.

LAK is a -2 / 0 – 2 team on 11 January and a +1 streaker of late s DET arrives in town. It may be more pertinent to say the Kings have points in their last three, straight games after a -5 streak around and just after the holidays when looking at this contest, however.

PHX hosts ANA as a +2 / 2 – 1 historical, and a -1 current, team. As with LAK’s current trends, PHX is 1 – 3 in their last four contests and ANA is red hot, so this will be a tough row to hoe for the ‘Yotes.

And finally, SJS hosts the Bruins as a -1 / 2 – 1 historical team and riding a short +1 streak. From 29 December, they ar an interesting W, L, W, L, SOW, L, W team, suggesting a L of some flavor tonight. Having dropped their last two in southern California, there will be pressure from Coach Julien to bring some points home off of this road swing. A good contest should ensue here.

We hope these tidbits of information help your glance at today’s NHL contests…

“…We’re Going (NHL) Streaking….”

Throughout the NHL season, there are positive and negative streaks that occur with abandon. Below, we talk about streaking from the macro (NHL-wide) to micro (team) level as of games played on Thursday, 9 January…

Last Saturday, 4 January, the Western Conference average Winning % (W%) dropped below .600 for the first time since Week 2 in this season.

Seven teams in each Conference have W%’s at or above their Conference average.

Overall in the NHL, 69 of 173 / 39.9% of all teams going into OT/SO end in Overtime. By comparison, the 2011/12 numbers were 149 of 297 / 50.2%.

At OGA, we run three models for projected, season-ending points:

1. In the Eastern Conference, PIT, BOS and TBL all project at  or above 100 points in all models. MTL, PHI and WSH all project between 93 and 99 points and in all three models. TOR, NYR, DET and CAR also project as potential playoff teams with projections between 87 and 90 points. The models’ margin of error is 1.4 points, meaning the total range of points for Eastern Playoff teams is between 85 and 121 points.

2. The Western Conference is a bit easier – eight teams project as the Top 8 in al three models. STL, ANA, CHI, SJS, COL and LAK are all in the 100 point club. VAN and PHX are the other two teams who project 95 and 98 points. The margin of error is larger at 3.8 points, so the range for these eight teams with error is between 94 and 129 points.

Here at OGA, we are fans of what we call the “10 Pound Bag Theory,” or the premise that there is just so much of an overall collective effort pool to divide up. While the sum of those who are winning and losing may not exactly equal zero as the theory may suggest, here are some facts by conference, division and team:

1. The sum of winning and losing streaks in the Eastern Conference is +8 / average of +0.5 games. The Atlantic Division is a combined -9 with only FLA on a one-game W streak. The combined Metro Division streak is +17 with CAR at an Eastern Conference high +5 and all eight teams currently on the plus side in the W column by at least one game.

2. The sum of winning and losing streaks in the Western Conference is -1 / average of -0.07 games. The Central Division is a combined +1 with STL on an NHL high seven-game W streak as the leader. The Pacific Division streak is a combined -2 with ANA at a division-best +5.  In all, six of 14 teams, evenly dispersed between these divisions, enjoy W streaks of at least one game.

And for teams playing tonight and on 10 January since the 2004/5 Lockout ushered in the current Hockey era:

Eastern Conference

TOR is on a +2 streak, is an overall 2 – 5 and looking to break their current three-game losing streak (“-3”).

CAR is -1, 2 – 3 overall and likely to break their current, +5 winning-streak.

CBJ (playing CAR) is -1, a combined 2 – 1 and looking to improve upon their current +1 streak before traveling to WPG on Saturday.

NYI is +1, 1 – 1 overall and wanting to continue to improve upon their +2 streak.

NYR is +2, 3 – 1 since 2004/5 and hoping DAL continues to los so they can string out their +1 (4 – 2 – 1 overall) string since Christmas.

PIT does not like 10 JAN at a -3, 1 – 5 overall (not having a game on this date only in the 2009/10 season) but looking to increase their current +3 string.

WSH is a – 2, 0 – 1 – 1 overall since the previous Lockout and needing to add to their current +1 streak to keep up with PHI.

Western Conference

COL is at -1, 2 – 1 overall and looking to extend their +1 current / 4 – 2 – 1 since Christmas streaks.

DAL, as if desiring to cooperate with the NYR’s wishes above, is a -4 and 0 – 3 – 1 historically and in desperate need to break their current -4 streak.

STL is -1, 2 – 1 overall and more and more likely to break their currently running streak of +7 with each upcoming game.

EDM is a historical +3, although they have not played on this date since the 2007/8 season, 3 – 0, and needing any W they can muster.

And finally, VAN is +1, 2 – 2 since 2004/5 and, if STL’s W streak is to end, a team that has the capacity to potentially make that happen.

We hope these tidbits are an informative look at today’s streaks in the NHL…

Twitter Updates

  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 3 years ago
  • Since 2005/6, when a Round 3 team wins Game 5, they lose Game 6 66.7% of the time; also, Western series are determined by Game 5.889... 3 years ago
  • ...So those stats point to the NYR claiming victory tonight and playing the winner from the Western Conference in the Finals 3 years ago
  • Since 2005/6, when a Round 3 team wins Game 5, they lose Game 6 60% of the time; also, Eastern series are determined by Game 5.778... 3 years ago
  • 4. Top 4 in each DIV play 2 rounds seeded within the DIV, 1 round versus other DIV champ and then the Finals between the Conference champs. 3 years ago

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