Mar 312006
 

For the first time in quite a while we have more meaningless games than meaningful games. The Islanders-Pittsburgh, Detroit-Chicago and St. Louis-Columbus games are completely meaningless with espect to playoff positioning. The Carolina-Florida game is only marginally meaningful with Florida still having an outside shot of making the playoffs (just because they have 3 games against Tampa and winning all three would allow them an opportunity to catch them) and Carolina still in the race for top spot in the East (though hopes of that are dwindling as well). The more meaningful games come from the western Conference as Calgary takes on Colorado, Vancouver takes on Minnesota and Anaheim takes on Dallas.

Of all the games, the only algorithm prediction that I think has a good chance of going the other way is Florida upsetting Carolina. Florida might be the hottest team in the league right now and Carolina has been in the win one-lose one mode for the past couple weeks. But they lost on Wednesday so maybe that means a win tonight. Who knows.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders -176 Pittsburgh 143 NY Islanders Good
Carolina -158 Florida 136 Carolina Good
Detroit -160 Chicago 137 Detroit Good
St. Louis -103 Columbus 102 Columbus Some
Calgary -119 Colorado 116 Calgary Some
Vancouver -135 Minnesota 125 Vancouver Some
Anaheim -109 Dallas 108 Dallas Some
Mar 302006
 

There are seven games on the schedule tonight with a couple of them being extremely important with respect to the playoffs. The big game in the East is Atlanta at Tampa. Atlanta currently trails Tampa, New Jersey and Montreal by 5 points as those 3 teams are tied for 6th, 7th and 8th spot in the east. Atlanta does hold a game in hand but a loss would make it difficult to catch the Lightning in their final 10 games. New Jersey who is coming off a big shootout victory over the Oilers take on the struggling Sabres who broke a 6 game winning streak with a win over Boston yesterday. We’ll have to see if that was enough to break their slump but we know that the Devils have much more motivation to win and being rested might be able to surprise the Sabres. Montreal is also in action tonight against the lowly Capitals and should win this game barring an outburst by Ovechkin and stellar goaltending by Kolzig.

In the west the big game is Los Angeles at Edmonton with Los Angeles being in a similar position to Atlanta. Los Angeles which has been free falling in the standings for the last couple months would fall 5 points out of a playoff spot if they lose to the 8th place Oilers. With just 8 games left after tonight and with San Jose also in the mix (and with games in hand) a Los Angeles loss would almost end their playoff hopes. San Jose who sits 2 points back of the Oilers but have 2 games in hand play Phoenix tonight.

Another game that could result in an upset is the Rangers-Senators game. Since the Senators are at home and the Rangers played last night the Senators should have a significant advantage in this game. But the Senators are an injury riddled team at the moment, particularly on defense where Chara and Phillips, who they use to shut down the opposing teams best players, will both be out of action. This is not good news as Jagr has been tearing up the league lately (8g, 11a, 19 points in last 8 games). The Senators better hope Jagr is a bit tired playing his 3rd game in 4 nights and/or Ray Emery has an outstanding night in goal or else this could get messy for Ottawa. An upset is a definite possibility. Update: Apparently Wade Redden will be out of the lineup as well as he has returned home to Alberta to attend to some family matters. An upset is even more likely now.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Montreal -160 Washington 137 Montreal Good
Ottawa -138 NY Rangers 127 Ottawa Good
New Jersey 129 Buffalo -142 Buffalo Good
Tampa Bay -105 Atlanta 105 Tampa Bay Some
Nashville 112 Detroit -114 Detroit Some
Edmonton -102 Los Angeles 102 Edmonton Some
San Jose -115 Phoenix 113 San Jose Some
Mar 292006
 

Here are the NHL Power Rankings as of March 29, 2006.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 0.704 0.488 0.679
2 2 Detroit 0.697 0.483 0.636
3 4 Dallas 0.599 0.516 0.622
4 3 Buffalo 0.627 0.492 0.617
5 6 Colorado 0.568 0.516 0.592
6 8 Carolina 0.634 0.477 0.586
7 7 San Jose 0.549 0.515 0.573
8 5 Calgary 0.570 0.508 0.572
9 10 Anaheim 0.556 0.514 0.571
10 9 Nashville 0.569 0.492 0.545
11 11 Vancouver 0.527 0.512 0.543
12 12 Edmonton 0.500 0.521 0.532
13 13 Los Angeles 0.500 0.520 0.528
14 16 Montreal 0.507 0.502 0.523
15 17 Philadelphia 0.562 0.472 0.515
16 14 Toronto 0.486 0.507 0.508
17 15 Minnesota 0.465 0.524 0.502
18 19 Phoenix 0.458 0.528 0.502
19 18 NY Rangers 0.542 0.471 0.494
20 20 Tampa Bay 0.514 0.481 0.489
21 21 Atlanta 0.486 0.484 0.470
22 22 Boston 0.432 0.512 0.465
23 23 Florida 0.451 0.487 0.443
24 24 New Jersey 0.465 0.475 0.435
25 25 NY Islanders 0.430 0.484 0.417
26 26 Columbus 0.361 0.508 0.371
27 27 Chicago 0.321 0.512 0.334
28 29 Washington 0.321 0.495 0.324
29 28 St. Louis 0.307 0.513 0.321
30 30 Pittsburgh 0.282 0.498 0.290

AdjWinP is a teams winning percentage when shootouts are considered ties and there are no points awarded for overtime losses
SchedStr is an indication of a teams relative difficulty of schedule
Power Rank is the teams expected winning percentage if team played all .500 teams

Mar 292006
 

Kind of short on time this morning so no analysis but here are the predictiosn for tonights games. Games that could go differently than the algorithms predictions are Boston-Buffalo (Buffalo hasn’t played well the past 2 weeks) and Islanders-Rangers (rivalry games often result in upsets).

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Buffalo -161 Boston 138 Buffalo Good
NY Islanders 127 NY Rangers -138 NY Rangers Good
Carolina -220 Washington 154 Carolina Strong
Pittsburgh 120 Florida -125 Florida Some
Chicago -126 St. Louis 120 Chicago Some
Dallas -189 Anaheim 147 Dallas Strong
Calgary -131 Los Angeles 124 Calgary Some
Vancouver -187 Minnesota 146 Vancouver Strong
Mar 282006
 

There are seven games on the schedule today most of which have some level of playoff significance. Of interest to me is the Ottawa/New Jersey game since I will be going to the game. It is also a fairly important game for both teams as New Jersey sits just 3 points ahead of 9th place Atlanta so their playoff spot is anything but a certainty. The game is also important for Ottawa as they try to maintain their lead over Carolina for top spot in the eastern conference. I should also note that this will be my third Senators game this year. At home the Senators have a 26-6-1 record and have average 4.2 goals per game at home. In the 2 games previous games that I have been to they have lost both and scored just 2 goals losing both by 2-1 scores (to Carolina and Atlanta). If they lose again tonight I guess I am just bad luck for the Senators (which is fine since I am a Leaf fan).

In the other games I agree with most of the algorithms predictions but I wouldn’t be surprised if Anaheim upsets Colorado. In fact I might even expect it as Anaheim has been playing some really good hockey recently having won 6 in a row and 9 of 10.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Philadelphia -126 Toronto 120 Philadelphia Some
Columbus 125 San Jose -133 San Jose Good
Montreal -148 NY Islanders 132 Montreal Good
Ottawa -191 New Jersey 147 Ottawa Strong
Colorado -122 Anaheim 118 Colorado Some
Edmonton -131 Minnesota 124 Edmonton Some
Phoenix -108 Nashville 107 Nashville Some
Mar 272006
 

Just 5 NHL games on the schedule tonight and the only game with real significant playoff implications is the Los Angeles-Vancouver game. Currently Vancouver sits tied for 8th spot with San Jose (though San Jose holds 2 games in hand) and Los Angeles trails them by just 1 point (with a game in hand over Vancouver). I like Vancouver to win this game. The other western conference game is a dud with the best team in the west (Detroit) playing the worst (St. Louis). In the east Florida tries to keep its very slim playoff hopes alive against the all but mathematically eliminated Boston Bruins. I’ll disagree with the algorithm prediction and say Florida wins this game. Carolina plays Tampa in a somewhat unimportant game though Carolina still has an opportunity to overtake Ottawa for top seed in the east and Tampa’s playoff spot is still not secure. In the only other game we see the NY Rangers and Buffalo meet up in an important playoff position game. The Rangers are in a tough battle with Philaldelphia for the division title and 3rd playoff seed while the loser of that battle will compete with Buffalo for the 4th seed and home ice advantage when they meet in the playoffs. So although the game means little in who makes the playoffs it is significant in playoff standings. Buffalo is struggling big time the past week so I once again will go agains the algorithms prediction and take the Rangers to win.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston -126 Florida 121 Boston Some
NY Rangers 103 Buffalo -103 Buffalo Some
Carolina -143 Tampa Bay 130 Carolina Good
St. Louis 138 Detroit -163 Detroit Strong
Vancouver -120 Los Angeles 117 Vancouver Some
Mar 262006
 

I am short on time this morning so not much time for analysis. But then, there aren’t any games with huge playoff implications anyway. At least not like last nights Montreal-Toronto or Edmont0n-Vancouver. But there are some predicted close games. Take a look at the fair odds for Chicago-San Jose and Pittsburgh-Montreal. I could see Pittsburgh upsetting Montreal but I have my doubts that Chicago will upset San Jose.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Dallas -129 Calgary 122 Dallas Some
Chicago 100 San Jose -100 Chicago Some
New Jersey -153 Toronto 134 New Jersey Good
Pittsburgh 101 Montreal -101 Pittsburgh Some
Colorado -131 Edmonton 124 Colorado Some
Mar 252006
 

Here are the updated predicted final standings heading into tonights games. Unless Toronto, Florida and the Islanders can gain some ground quickly it looks like the east is going to turn into a 2 team race between Atlanta and Montreal though Tampa and New Jersey can’t feel too secure about their positions either. Buffalo has fallen out of the race for the division and conference title but Carolina could still put some pressure on Ottawa for the top seed in the east as they still have 5 games remaining against the lowly Capitals.

In the west, Anaheim looks to be solidly in a playoff spot now with Colorado looking fairly good too. That leaves San Jose, Edmonton, Vancouver and Los Angeles battling for the final 2 playoff spots. The edge has to go to San Jose and Edmonton who have slightly easier schedules and have more games remaining than Vancouver. The Vancouver-Edmonton game tonight is a more important game for the Canucks than the Oilers because of this.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts Total Pts
1 Ottawa 69 102 0.487 13 0.503 18 120
2 Carolina 69 98 0.477 13 0.433 20 118
3 Buffalo 69 93 0.491 13 0.513 16 109
4 NY Rangers 70 89 0.467 12 0.486 14 103
5 Philadelphia 70 88 0.467 12 0.477 14 102
6 Tampa Bay 70 79 0.479 12 0.486 13 92
7 New Jersey 70 79 0.471 12 0.502 12 91
8 Atlanta 70 76 0.484 12 0.461 13 89
9 Montreal 69 75 0.506 13 0.509 14 89
10 Florida 70 71 0.488 12 0.463 12 83
11 NY Islanders 69 69 0.483 13 0.446 14 83
12 Toronto 69 70 0.508 13 0.500 13 83
13 Boston 71 66 0.510 11 0.523 9 75
14 Washington 69 53 0.495 13 0.504 9 62
15 Pittsburgh 70 48 0.496 12 0.451 9 57

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts TotalPts
1 Detroit 69 102 0.488 13 0.433 21 123
2 Dallas 70 97 0.517 12 0.521 16 113
3 Nashville 70 92 0.493 12 0.451 17 109
4 Calgary 70 86 0.507 12 0.567 13 99
5 Anaheim 69 84 0.515 13 0.551 14 98
6 Colorado 70 83 0.517 12 0.500 14 97
7 San Jose 68 78 0.523 14 0.507 16 94
8 Edmonton 70 80 0.521 12 0.516 13 93
9 Vancouver 71 82 0.511 11 0.576 11 93
10 Los Angeles 70 79 0.520 12 0.563 12 91
11 Minnesota 70 71 0.523 12 0.523 12 83
12 Phoenix 70 70 0.526 12 0.542 11 81
13 Columbus 70 57 0.508 12 0.499 9 66
14 Chicago 69 52 0.512 13 0.492 10 62
15 St. Louis 68 51 0.510 14 0.512 10 61
Mar 252006
 

There are 12 games on the NHL schedule today with several being extremely important for playoff positioning.

Toronto-Montreal – This is close to a must win for Toronto. It will be extremely difficult for the Leafs to make the playoffs if they let the teams they need to catch, including Montreal, get much further ahead. I think Toronto will come out strong in this game and have a good chance of getting the win.

NY Islanders-Atlanta – The Islanders are in almost the same position as the Leafs. They really can’t let the gap between themselves and Atlanta and Montreal get any larger if they intend to challenge for a playoff spot. I like Atlanta to win this game.

Carolina-Washington – This means very little to the playoffs but I wanted to point out the stupidity of the NHL schedule this year. Tonights Carolina-Washington game will be the first of *five* times these two teams play each other in the next 2 weeks. Five of Washingtons next 7 games are against Carolina and 5 of Carolina’s next 8 are against Washington. How absurd is this?

Vancouver-Edmonton – The third of 3 straight games these two teams have played each other. Vancouver has won the first 2 games, the second in a shootout. I like Edmonton to win this one.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston 112 Buffalo -113 Buffalo Good
Montreal -123 Toronto 118 Montreal Some
NY Islanders 125 Atlanta -135 Atlanta Good
Philadelphia -128 Ottawa 122 Philadelphia Some
Carolina -228 Washington 156 Carolina Strong
Tampa Bay -173 NY Rangers 142 Tampa Bay Strong
Detroit -313 Columbus 168 Detroit Strong
St. Louis 132 Colorado -147 Colorado Good
Minnesota -104 San Jose 103 San Jose Some
Phoenix -149 Anaheim 133 Phoenix Good
Vancouver -123 Edmonton 119 Vancouver Some
Los Angeles -162 Nashville 138 Los Angeles Good
Mar 242006
 

Last night is a perfect example why I should never doubt my algorithms predictions. My algorithms predictions went 7 for 7 last night but me thinking I know more than my algorithm bet on 4 games, 3 of which (Toronto, Washington and San Jose) were counter to my algorithms predictions and as a result I lost money on the night. No more. I am going to be more conservative with my bets once again.

We have another 7 games on the schedule tonight and while there don’t have the same impact on the playoff races as last nights games I think we have several games that could go either way. New Jersey-Boston, Florida-NY Rangers, Buffalo-Ottawa, and Anaheim-Nashville are all games which I think could go either way. An interesting prediction by the algorithm is Columbus over Calgary. It seems like a bold prediction but who am I to doubt my algorithm the day after it went 7 for 7.

My bets:

Boston +170
Anaheim (-135)
NY Islanders (-145)

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Columbus -101 Calgary 101 Columbus Some
New Jersey 120 Boston -126 Boston Some
Pittsburgh 119 NY Islanders -123 NY Islanders Some
Florida -109 NY Rangers 108 Florida Some
Buffalo -112 Ottawa 110 Ottawa Some
Dallas -321 Chicago 168 Dallas Strong
Anaheim -121 Nashville 117 Anaheim Some