Nov 052005
 

Here are tonights game predictions. For the most part I think the game predictions are pretty good and I don’t see too many upsets happening. If there were to be an upset it could be Pittsburgh over Boston or Buffalo over Montreal. In the 2 pick-em games I’ll take Calgary at home and the rested Minnesota.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers New Jersey NY Rangers Good
Los Angeles Nashville Los Angeles Some
Boston Pittsburgh Boston Good
Toronto Tampa Bay Toronto Good
Montreal Buffalo Montreal Good
Ottawa NY Islanders Ottawa Strong
Philadelphia Atlanta Philadelphia Strong
Carolina Florida Carolina Strong
Detroit Phoenix Detroit Strong
Colorado Dallas Colorado Good
Calgary Vancouver Pick N/A
San Jose Minnesota Pick N/A
Nov 042005
 

A few days ago I was watching the Tampa-Atlanta game and noticed how little hitting there was in that game. That got me to thinking if this was normal for Tampa (and it was). Well over the past few days I went through every box score on NHL.com and extracted the hits each team had in every game and I came up with the following results.

-Detroit had the fewest hits in a single game with just 2 hits in a game against Columbus. Pittsburgh and Atlanta were next with just 3 hits in a game.

-The fewest hits in a game by both teams is 10 which happened 3 times. Pittsburgh(3) vs New Jersey(7), Phoenix(4) vs Anaheim(6) and Columbus(4) vs Edmonton(10)

-The most hits in a game by a single team is 37 done by the Islanders (vs Montreal) and Toronto (vs Philadelphia)

-The most hits in a game both teams combined is 65 done in 2 games. Florida(34) vs Toronto(31) and NY Islanders(37) vs Montreal(28).

-Toronto is the most physical team averaging 24.4 hits per game and surprisingly Montreal is the next most physical team with 21.5 hits per game. Toronto is a big team so that makes sense, but Montreal is a smaller team so it is surprising to see them average so many hits per game.

-The least physical teams are the Tampa Bay Lightning with just 8.4 hits per game and the New York Rangers with just 10.7 hits per game.

-The team least likely to be hit is the Pittsburgh Penguins. Opponents only hit a Penguin an average of 9.4 times per game. I guess no one wants to hit Lemieux or be the guy to give Crosby an injury. Or maybe teams just felt sorry for them with the bad start they had and didn’t want to kick them while they were down.

-The team most likely to get hit was the Montreal Canadiens. Opponents hit a Montreal player on average 21.2 times per game. Next was the Ottawa Senators who were hit 20.7 times per game. It seems having speed doesn’t mean you can avoid hits.

-There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between playing physical and scoring goals or winning. Some good teams throw a lot of hits (i.e. Ottawa – 20.6 hits/game) and some good teams don’t throw a lot of hits (i.e. Carolina – 11.5 hits/game) and some good teams are right in the middle (i.e. Detroit – 15.1 hits/game).

The table below shows each teams goals for, goals against, total goals, hits for, hits against and total hits on a per game basis. The data is sorted by hits per game.

Comparison of goals and hits per game by NHL teams.

Nov 042005
 

Here are the picks for tonights games. Unfortunately 4 of the 6 games have been identified as too close to call. We seem to be getting a lot of these so I am going to see if I can fix that. For the Pick-em gams, here are my predictions. Atlanta over Washington. Buffalo over Montreal. Edmonton over St. Louis. San Jose over Anaheim.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington Atlanta Pick N/A
Buffalo Montreal Pick N/A
St. Louis Edmonton Pick N/A
Dallas Chicago Dallas Good
Vancouver Columbus Vancouver Strong
Anaheim San Jose Pick N/A
Nov 032005
 

There are a few interesting games tonight. One to watch will be Edmonton at Detroit. Detroit is listed as the strong favourite but don’t count out Edmonton. They have been playing great hockey recently and while Detroit has a great record much of its wins have come against weak teams. It’s last 5 wins have come against Columbus (2) and Chicago (3). They haven’t played quality competition in quite a while an dmight be unprepared for it. Plus Legace and Schneider might not play. Tampa at Ottawa should also prove interesting. Will Ottawa faulter after a big win like they did on Sunday vs Philadelphia? It should be a fun game to watch. Toronto-Carolina should be a good game too as there is a bit of a history between these two teams and Carolina is sure to want to avenge a lost to Toronto a few couple weeks ago. Of the three pick’em games, I’ll predict Boston over Florida, Rangers over New Jersey and Los Angeles over Phoenix.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston Florida Pick N/A
NY Islanders Pittsburgh NY Islanders Strong
Philadelphia Washington Philadelphia Strong
Carolina Toronto Carolina Good
Ottawa Tampa Bay Ottawa Good
New Jersey NY Rangers Pick N/A
Detroit Edmonton Detroit Strong
Colorado Anaheim Colorado Good
Calgary Columbus Calgary Some
Phoenix Los Angeles Pick N/A
Nov 022005
 

Since last week Nashville suffered its first loss, as well as it’s second and third losses dropping it to 7th overall. Also since last week Pittsburgh got its first win, as well as its second win. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh it wasn’t enough to get it out of last spot in the Power Rankings.

I have also modified the forumla a tad so that the top team will always have a Power Rank score of 15.0. Nothing changes in terms of the order of teams, just their power rank scores. Also, a rank of 10 is still the average.

Rank Team Win-Loss Power Rank
1 Ottawa 8- 2 15.0
2 Detroit 12- 1 14.1
3 Los Angeles 8- 4 12.7
4 Montreal 9- 4 12.6
5 Carolina 8- 3 12.1
6 Vancouver 8- 4 11.9
7 Nashville 8- 3 11.9
8 Philadelphia 6- 4 11.7
9 Toronto 6- 6 11.6
10 Colorado 6- 5 11.5
11 Buffalo 7- 4 11.0
12 Dallas 6- 5 10.7
13 NY Islanders 6- 6 10.1
14 NY Rangers 6- 7 10.1
15 Anaheim 7- 6 10.0
16 Tampa Bay 7- 6 9.9
17 Edmonton 6- 7 9.5
18 New Jersey 6- 6 9.1
19 San Jose 6- 6 9.0
20 Florida 6- 7 8.9
21 Minnesota 6- 7 8.8
22 Phoenix 5- 9 8.5
23 Washington 4- 7 8.3
24 Boston 5- 9 8.2
25 Columbus 4- 9 8.0
26 Chicago 3- 9 7.9
27 Calgary 5- 9 7.8
28 Atlanta 4- 8 7.4
29 St. Louis 2- 9 7.1
30 Pittsburgh 2-10 5.6
Nov 022005
 

Five games on the schedule tonight but 3 of them are identified as too close to call. We can’t have that so I’ll make my own predictions on those games. In San Jose-Nashville, I’ll go with the team who has won 3 games in a row (San Jose) over the team who has lost 3 in a row (Nashville). Los Angeles is probably the slightly better team so I’ll go with them over Dallas. That leaves St. Louis vs Chicago, the battle for last in the Central division and the NHL overall. Chicago has lost 4 in a row and 6 of 7. St. Louis has lost 5 in a row and 6 of 7. Despite my better judgement to go with the home team who was resting last night, I think Chicago is the better team so I’ll pick them to win.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Buffalo Ottawa Ottawa Good
St. Louis Chicago Pick N/A
Dallas Los Angeles Pick N/A
Vancouver Minnesota Vancouver Strong
San Jose Nashville Pick N/A
Nov 012005
 

I was watching the Tampa-Atlanta game tonight and after the first period the showed a first period summary including goals, shots, PIMS, etc. They also showed hits. After 1 period Atlanta had 4 hits and Tampa had just 1. Yeah, that’s just 1 hit for Tampa in a whole 20 minute period. I thought that was a pretty low hit total and it got me thinking if this is normal for Tampa. It seems that Tampa doesn’t like to hit anyone.

November 1st vs Atlanta: 6 hits
October 29 vs Atlanta: 6 hits
October 28 vs Washington: 8 hits
October 26 vs New Jersey: 4 hits
October 21 vs Ottawa: 11 hits
October 20 vs Atlanta: 9 hits
October 16 vs Washington: 7 hits
October 15 vs Pittsburgh: 5 hits
October 13 vs Buffalo: 15 hits
October 10 vs Boston: 4 hits
October 8 vs Florida: 11 hits
October 7 vs Florida: 7 hits
October 5 vs Carolina: 11 hits

That’s a total of 104 hits in 13 games or an average of 8 per game. Two games that had just 4 hits. That is hard to believe. You play a whole 60 minute game and get just 4 hits. You’d think you could get 4 hits accidentally in a 60 minute game. Here are the hit totals for other teams in games tonight.

Atlanta: 11
New Jersey: 17
Pittsburgh: 9
Florida: 19
Montreal: 25 (Begin had 6 hits, equal to the whole Tampa team)
Boston: 23
Islanders: 16
Chicago: 19
Detroit: 13

And last night:
Toronto: 31
Florida: 34
Montreal: 13
Rangers: 5

Looking at a selection of some past Rangers games, 5 is not a normal total for them and they frequently get 15 or so hits. I haven’t looked at every team but it seems that Tampa is well below the league average when it comes to hits per game. Maybe when I get more time I’ll look into more detail the number of hits per game but from looking at a bunch of games it appears the average is probably around 15-16 hits per team per game. I am not sure how this compares with previous years but my gut tells me that 15 hits in a game would be low for a game in 2003-04.

Nov 012005
 

Here are tonights NHL game predictions. New Jersey being a strong pick over Pittsburgh is interesting. With Brodeur likely still out this is a game that Pittsburgh could get a win from. Edmonton at Columbus is also an interesting game as both teams have started showing signs of blaying better. Edmonton has won 2 in a row and Columbus has won 2 of 3 and both teams recently beat previously undefeated Nashville. Speaking of Nashville, one has to wonder if their 2 game losing streak is a sign of things to come or whether they can get back on track in Anaheim who has been playing much better recently (won 4 of their last 5 games).

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders Boston NY Islanders Good
Montreal Florida Montreal Strong
New Jersey Pittsburgh New Jersey Strong
Tampa Bay Atlanta Tampa Bay Strong
Detroit Chicago Detroit Strong
Calgary Minnesota Pick N/A
Edmonton Columbus Edmonton Some
Anaheim Nashville Nashville Some