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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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