Apr 252006
 

Jame Mirtle has an interesting post regarding the increase in offense from 2003-04 to this season and where the goals came from. James concludes:

It’s also no wonder Gary Bettman wants to keep the number of penalties called per game high for the postseason — without the increased scoring generated on the power play, the notion of a radically transformed, higher-scoring (read: better) league goes up in smoke.

Now, as much as I love bashing Gary Bettman digging deeper into the numbers will bring out a different picture. According to James, power play goals have increased 48.2%, short handed goals increased 30.3% and even strength goals increased just 5.12%. He also calculates that of the 1125 additonal goals in the NHL this season, 80.2% are accounted for via the extra PP and SH goals. From these numbers it makes his conclusion seem obvious. But, this is one of those cases where the surface statistics don’t tell you the whole story. Let me dig further.

What James didn’t account for is that because there is more PP time, one should expect more PP and SH goals. Also, because there is more PP time there is naturally less even strength time. Grabbing some ice time statistics from mc97hockey.com we can draw more accurate conclusions.

(Note: mc97hockey.com only has ice time by situation stats through to the Olympic break so I have prorated them to the full year)

What we will find is that teams played 39% more time on the PP (or PK) this season than in 2003-04. Combined PP and SH increased 46%. When we factor out the ice time difference PP and SH goal scoring only increased a measly 5%.

We will also find that even strength ice time dropped to 88.3% of what it was in 2003-04 while even strength goals were up 5.12%. When we adjust for the ice time difference we find that even strength goals are in fact up 19%.

Why the difference? I suspect the reason why even strength goals are up more than PP/SH goals after adjusting for ice time is because power plays are usually just played inside the blue line and the benefits of no red line and the crack down on neutral zone obstruction has very little influence on the PP.

In conclusion, while the greatest net increase in goals this season has been because of the increase in penalties, the crack down on obstruction and the other rule changes have had a much more significant impact on the rate of goals being scored even strength.

Apr 212006
 

The last couple days I posted my predictions on the first round matchups. So, before the games begin, let me post my predicitons for the rest of the playoffs.

Conference Semi-finals

Buffalo defeats Ottawa
New Jersey defeats Carolina

San Jose defeats Detroit
Calgary defeats Dallas

Conference Finals
New Jersey defeats Buffalo
Calgary defeats San Jose

Stanley Cup
New Jersey defeats Calgary

Playoff MVP: Brian Gionta: 18 goals, 34 points

After round 1 the predictions get quite difficult. I think any of the four teams in east or west could make it to the finals. I am predicting that Dominik Hasek doesn’t come back healthy and in top form and that is the main reason Ottawa doesn’t make it past Buffalo as I think Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has an excellent playoff and that will cut Ottawa’s playoff hopes short. But in the conference finals Brodeur and Gionta have an awesome series pushing them past Buffalo. For Calgary, I think Iginla plays some great playoff hockey giving the Flames just enough offense to get by with the help of Kipprusoffs outstanding play. That and Calgary’s defense shutting down Thorton and Cheechoo allows them to get past the Sharks in the semi-finals. The Stanley Cup finals is a battle of the goaltenders but Gionta-Elias-Gomez provide the devils more offense than the Flames can get giving the Devils yet another Stanley Cup.

What do you all think?

Apr 202006
 

Here are my eastern conference predictions. I really hate taking all the favourites but aside from an outside chance of Montreal upsetting Carolina I just can’t see any of the other underdogs winning barring unexpected key injuries.

Just a note: The predictions are my predictions, not my algorithms. I am retiring the algorithm for the season as I don’t think it makes sense to use in the playoffs. I also likely won’t be making predictions on every game since it is really the series that matters. I may post some comments each day on the previous nights results and that nights games but it will depend on how busy I am with other stuff.

Ottawa vs Tampa

Season Series:
October 21: Ottawa 4 at Tampa 1
November 3: Tampa 2 at Ottawa 4
March 6: Ottawa 4 at Tampa 0
March 14: Tampa 3 at Ottawa 4

Ottawa swept the season series and that might be a good indication of what might happen in this playoff series. This is the dream match up for Ottawa as I think Montreal would have given them a much bigger challenge. For both teams the key to the series is goaltending. If Tampa wants any change of winning they need to have Grahame or Burke come up with a several excellent games. Unfortunately for Tampa that hasn’t happened with a whole lot of consistency this year. Grahame has 5 shut outs this year which shows he can be a good goalie but while he can shut out a team one night he can give up 6 goals the next. The key for Ottawa is getting good goaltending from Ray Emery. In March they got excellent goaltending from Emery but in April he was mostly horrible. He apparently has a bit of a hip injury that might be taking away some of this quickness so if I am Tampa I pepper him with as many shots as I can. That will be their only hope to win this series. Prediction: Ottawa in 5.

Carolina vs Montreal

Season Series:
December 31: Montreal 3 at Carolina 5
January 23: Montreal 3 at Carolina 7
January 31: Carolina 8 at Montreal 2
March 15: Carolina 5 at Montreal 1

This is one of those series which I think could definitely end up in an upset despite the fact that Carolina went completely nuts vs Montreal in the regular season out scoring the Canadiens by a 25-9 score in their 4 games. The first 3 of those games has the departed and struggling Jose Theodore in net and the last had David Aebischer. Huet has been the much better goalie and should be the Habs main goalie in the playoffs so that should help. Huet’s outstanding goaltending got the Canadiens into the playoffs and they will only go as far as Huet takes them in the playoffs. For the Hurricanes they key their success will be how Doug Weight and Mark Recchi play. These two guys were traded for to add some depth to the Hurricanes offense, particularly after Erik Cole went down, but they haven’t produced a whole lot up until now. These two veterans need to take some pressure off of Eric Staal to produce all the offense. If they can do that the Hurricanes could go deep into the playoffs. Prediction: Hurricanes in 7

New Jersey vs New York Rangers

Season Series:
October 8: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 3 (OT)
October 13: New Jersey 1 at NY Rangers 4
November 3: NY Rangers 4 at New Jersey 2
November 5: New Jersey 2 at NY Rangers 3 (OT)
December 20: New Jersey 3 at NY Rangers 1
January 22: New Jersey 1 at NY Rangers 3
March 4: NY Rangers 1 at New Jersey 2
April 9: NY Rangers 2 at New Jersey 3

This is the only battle amongst division rivals in the first round of the playoffs and it should be fun series to watch. Both teams have good goalies. Both teams have pretty good defences despite not having a bunch of big name players. And both teams have a top line that can score in bunches. In my mind the key to this series will be who can shut down the opposing teams top line the best. Can the Devils keep Jagr to no more than a point a game? Can the Rangers shut down the trio of Gionta, Gomez and Elias all of whom have been awesome in the push for the playoffs? Those are the keys to this series. Prediction: Devils in 6

Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers

Season Series:
December 19: Buffalo 2 at Philadelphia 1 (SO)
February 2: Philadelphia 2 at Buffalo 4
March 11: Buffalo 6 at Philadelphia 5
April 7: Philadelphia 4 at Buffalo 2

I really like Buffalo to win this series. I just think they are a better all round team and I think Buffalo’s speed will give the Flyers defence fits. The only concern one might have for the Sabres is goaltending. Generally Ryan Miller has had a very good rookie season but he struggled a bit in late March and early April. He picked his game up in his last 3 starts of the season so he should have his confidence back. If Miller can give they Sabres good goaltending Buffalo will be a very tough team to beat in the playoffs. There are two keys to the Flyers success. The first is Forsberg’s health. If Forsberg isn’t healthy and playing at his top level the Flyers will struggle to get the offence needed to win. The other key to the Flyers is goaltending. Of course this is nothing new as the Flyers haven’t had top quality goaltending for years and it has never been adequately addressed by GM Bobby Clarke. Goaltending is key in the NHL and if you don’t have it you won’t win and I just don’t think Esche and Niittymaki are good enough to take a team deep into the playoffs though anyone can get hot for a short period of time and win a series.. Prediciton: Buffalo in 6.

Apr 192006
 

Today and tomorrow I am going to post my first round playoff previews/predictions. Here are the western conference preview and tomorrow I’ll post my eastern conference preview.

Detroit vs Edmonton

Season Series
November 3: Edmonton 4 at Detroit 3 (OT)
November 17: Detroit 5 at Edmonton 6 (OT)
March 18: Detroit 4 at Edmonton 3 (SO)
April 11: Edmonton 0 at Detroit 2

These two teams matched up fairly well during the regular season with both teams wining 2 games and 3 of the games going to overtime. If that sort of thing happens in the playoffs we are in for a dandy of a series despite being 1st seed vs 8th seed. The key to the series for Edmonton is getting quality goaltending from deadline pickup Dwayne Roloson. Edmonton has very solid defence and enough offence to compete with most teams so it will be up to Roloson not to give any games away. Detroit is such a well balanced team it is hard to pinpoint any one aspect that we should focus on as a key to success but having Zetterberg continue his scoring ways in his first playoff as a first liner will be important for them. Prediction: Detroit in 6

Dallas at Colorado

Season Series
October 8: Colorado 3 at Dallas 2
November 5: Dallas 3 at Colorado 2 (SO)
January 26: Dallas 3 at Colorado 2 (SO)
March 4: Colorado 3 at Dallas 5

Although the regular season series was fairly close, Dallas has to be considered the favourite in this match up. Colorado is in a similar position to Edmonton. Pretty good defence and enough scoring to match up with almost anyone but a question mark in goal. Colorado management decided that Aebischer was not the guy to take them to the promise land and took a gamble on the injured Jose Theodore. Now is the time when we find out if that gamble pays off. In his 5 games (4 starts) for Colorado late in the season Theodore was 1-2-1 with a 3.04 goals against average and a .887 save percentage. That probably won’t be good enough so he will have to pick up his game some if the Avalanche are to move on to the second round. The key to the will also be goaltending which might surprise some consider Marty Turco is in goal. Somehow Marty Turco managed to win 41 games despite having a mediocre .898 save %. In the back of my mind I am thinking he might suffer the Patrick Lalime syndrome in that he somehow manages to win a bunch of games in the regular season despite having average or below average save percentage but in the playoffs when the games get close and more hard fought isn’t quite up to task. I think how Turco plays is something we should watch for as the series goes on. Prediction: Dallas in 7

Calgary vs Anaheim

Season Series:
October 26: Calgary 1 at Anaheim 4
February 8: Anaheim 1 at Calgary 3
April 11: Anaheim 0 at Calgary 3
April 17: Calgary 3 at Anaheim 4

The season series is was a dead heat with both teams winning their home games and it wouldn’t surprise me if this was one of those series where home ice advantage is of great importance. The key for Calgary is getting some goal scoring from someone. Kipprusoff might be the best goalie in the world and Calgary’s defence is second to none but can they get any consistant goal scoring. Jarome Iginla let the team in goals and points but with just 67 points was among the lowest team leading point total in the NHL. The Iginla-Langkow line has to provide consistent offence in the playoffs or Calgary will struggle to win. The keys for Anaheim will be how the youngsters play. Andy MacDonald, Joffrey Lupul, Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry will all be depended on to various levels and how they play could go a long way to how well the Ducks do in the playoffs. Prediction: Flames in 6

Nashville at San Jose

Season Series
October 5: San Jose 2 at Nashville 3
October 22: San Jose 1 at Nashville 2
November 2: Nashville 2 at San Jose 3 (OT)
March 11: Nashville 2 at San Jose 3 (OT)

The season series was another home team wins all the games series and all the games were close. But with 3 of the games occurring very early in the season and before Thornton joined the Sharks we can’t really conclude much from the season series. With Vokoun out until next season the key to the playoffs for the Predators will be goalie Chris Mason who has played surprisingly well since taking over the #1 role. But he never really had to play a pressure packed game as the Predators were pretty much a lock for the 4th seed in the playoffs neither being able to catch the Red Wings nor likely to be caught by the rest of the playoff teams. Whether Mason can play under the pressure of the playoffs is what will have to wait and see about. The key for San Jose is simply just being able to continue what they have been doing the last month or so. You want to go into the playoffs playing good hockey, and the Sharks are definitely doing that, but you don’t want to be mentally worn out after having to play 6 weeks of important hockey. Prediction: Sharks in 5.

Apr 192006
 

Here are the end of season NHL Power Rankings. Though Ottawa’s Power Rank has dropped a bit in recent weeks they managed to hold on to top spot which they have held on for the whole season. At the other end of the spectrum, the St. Louis Blues eeked out the Penguins for the bottom of the list which these two teams battled for for much of the season.

To get an idea of which teams are going into the playoffs on a hot streak, instead of the usual ‘last week’ column I am including each teams rank at the Olympic break. Big gainers since the Olympic break include Anaheim (16th to 7th), Toronto (15th to 10th), Montreal (17th to 12th), San Jose (10th to 6th), and New Jersey (22nd to 18th). Big droppers included Minnesota (12th to 20th), Vancouver (7th to 14th), Colorado (2nd to 8th),and Edmonton (9th to 13th).

Rank Olympic Break Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 0.659 0.495 0.652
2 5 Buffalo 0.634 0.497 0.634
3 3 Detroit 0.701 0.477 0.629
4 4 Calgary 0.598 0.511 0.606
5 6 Dallas 0.579 0.516 0.600
6 10 San Jose 0.573 0.516 0.597
7 16 Anaheim 0.549 0.518 0.574
8 2 Colorado 0.543 0.515 0.562
9 8 Carolina 0.598 0.476 0.550
10 15 Toronto 0.524 0.506 0.542
11 11 Nashville 0.579 0.486 0.542
12 17 Montreal 0.518 0.506 0.540
13 9 Edmonton 0.512 0.517 0.537
14 7 Vancouver 0.506 0.518 0.532
15 13 Los Angeles 0.482 0.524 0.517
16 14 Philadelphia 0.561 0.472 0.513
17 20 Phoenix 0.457 0.526 0.496
18 22 New Jersey 0.530 0.474 0.492
19 19 Tampa Bay 0.512 0.482 0.488
20 12 Minnesota 0.451 0.522 0.485
21 18 NY Rangers 0.518 0.475 0.482
22 24 Atlanta 0.500 0.482 0.481
23 25 Florida 0.457 0.486 0.446
24 21 Boston 0.390 0.517 0.426
25 26 Columbus 0.396 0.500 0.397
26 23 NY Islanders 0.402 0.484 0.390
27 28 Washington 0.348 0.495 0.351
28 27 Chicago 0.341 0.505 0.347
29 30 Pittsburgh 0.299 0.492 0.300
30 29 St. Louis 0.280 0.510 0.292

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

For interest sake here are each teams Power Ranking if we only consider games played after the Olympic break. This should give an indication of who is going into the playoffs playing good hockey. As one might expect, Detroit, Anaheim and San Jose are at the top of the list. Despite a slump in April, a superb March allowed Ottawa to finish 4th. The New York Rangers who dropped to 6th seed in the east last night are the worst ranked playoff team since the Olympic break coming in a lowly 26th. Colorado (24th) needs to end a post-Olympic slide if they want to go anywhere in the playoffs as well. The top non-playoff team is Toronto which is ranked 7th since the Olympics and who ended the season as one of the hottest teams in the league with a 9-1-2 record in their last 12 games. In the end the Leafs only needed to beat Montreal once in those back 2 back losses March 23rd and 25th. Both those games featured bad goaltending by Tellqvist.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 2 Detroit 0.740 0.496 0.705
2 1 Anaheim 0.640 0.530 0.702
3 3 San Jose 0.673 0.506 0.674
4 5 Ottawa 0.615 0.499 0.628
5 12 Buffalo 0.615 0.498 0.618
6 4 Dallas 0.562 0.528 0.604
7 9 Toronto 0.600 0.497 0.599
8 11 New Jersey 0.646 0.476 0.593
9 6 Phoenix 0.500 0.545 0.591
10 7 Montreal 0.635 0.476 0.568
11 15 Florida 0.580 0.484 0.552
12 8 Calgary 0.580 0.479 0.534
13 19 Nashville 0.583 0.484 0.527
14 14 Philadelphia 0.500 0.498 0.517
15 10 Atlanta 0.583 0.468 0.512
16 16 Columbus 0.479 0.520 0.502
17 22 Edmonton 0.521 0.480 0.481
18 18 Tampa Bay 0.417 0.519 0.473
19 17 Carolina 0.500 0.477 0.462
20 21 Los Angeles 0.409 0.525 0.446
21 23 Chicago 0.380 0.540 0.441
22 24 Washington 0.423 0.492 0.428
23 26 Pittsburgh 0.391 0.513 0.426
24 13 Colorado 0.478 0.472 0.421
25 27 Vancouver 0.348 0.524 0.388
26 20 NY Rangers 0.396 0.487 0.383
27 25 NY Islanders 0.346 0.499 0.358
28 28 Minnesota 0.326 0.486 0.317
29 29 Boston 0.229 0.545 0.288
30 30 St. Louis 0.250 0.506 0.262

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

Apr 182006
 

Last nights results cleared a few things up. The west first round playoff matches are now all determined. Detroit will play Edmonton, Dallas will play Colorado, Calgary will play Anaheim and Nashville will play San Jose. I’ll post my thoughts on these series most likely tomorrow.

In the east we still don’t know too much other than the 8 teams who will make the playoffs and that Buffalo will finish in the 4th seed. Things that need to be cleared up tonight are:

Ottawa/Carolina – Which of these teams will get the top seed. Ottawa needs to beat the Rangers and have Carolina lose to the Buffalo to make get top spot.

Montreal/Tampa – Montreal and Tampa have to determine who will get 7th and who will get 8th seed. Montreal currently holds a 1 point lead but Tampa would win any tie breaker so for Montreal to maintain their position they need to match or better whatever points Tampa gets tonight. If Tampa loses, Montreal gets 7th. If Tampa loses in OT, Montreal has to either win or lose in OT. If Tampa wins, then Montreal must win. Montreal is playing a real tough New Jersey team while Tampa is playing Washington ho did them a favour last night by defeating Atlanta. Though Montreal has the 1 point edge I have to give the edge to Tampa as I think they will defeat Washington and Montreal will lose to New Jersey.

NY Rangers/Philadelphia/New Jersey – These three teams are in a battle for the division title and the 3rd seed with the other two teams getting seeds 5 and 6. The Rangers currently hold a 1 point lead over New Jersey and Philadelphia which gives them an edge but they will be playing against Ottawa so it may not be an easy win for them. The Devils play Montreal and Philadelphia is playing the Islanders. I think there is a very good chance the Devils and Flyers will both win so the Rangers would need to win too to get top spot. In terms of tie breakers, the Devils would win a tie breaker against either the Rangers or Flyers. Who wins a tie breaker between the Rangers and Flyers is still up in the air as it would depend on how they got be tied. If the Rangers lose and the Flyers lose in OT the teams will be tied at 100 points and the Rangers will win the tie breaker based on goal differential (wins and record against each other will be the same). If the Rangers lose in OT and the Flyers win the teams will be tied with 101 but the Flyers will win the tie breaker with an extra win. Make sense?

Before getting to my algorithms predictions, here are my predictions on the games of interest in the east.

Tampa defeats Washington
New Jersey defeats Montreal
Carolina loses to Buffalo
Ottawa loses to the Rangers
Philadelphia defeats Islanders

I’ll assume that all games will end in regulation time making the final standings:

Carolina
Ottawa
NY Rangers
Buffalo
New Jersey
Philadelphia
Tampa
Montreal

Here are the algorithms predictions.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders 136 Philadelphia -156 Philadelphia Good
NY Rangers 109 Ottawa -111 Ottawa Good
Carolina -106 Buffalo 106 Buffalo Some
Florida -159 Atlanta 137 Florida Good
Columbus -109 Dallas 108 Columbus Some
Toronto -310 Pittsburgh 167 Toronto Strong
Montreal -136 New Jersey 126 Montreal Some
Tampa Bay -234 Washington 157 Tampa Bay Strong
Nashville -146 Detroit 131 Nashville Good
Chicago -139 St. Louis 128 Chicago Some
Apr 172006
 

Now that the Leafs have been officially eliminated from the playoffs it is once again time that those in the media, and to a somewhat lesser extent those in the blogosphere, try they hand coming up with reasons why they sucked so bad this year, why Pat Quinn and John Ferguson Jr. should be fired and why at least half the players should not return next year. As usual, I am going to take a different tact but starting with the claim that no, the Leafs didn’t suck this year. In fact, the Leafs were/are a pretty good team. And no, that isn’t just in the last 2 weeks when it didn’t matter and when the young guys were given more ice time.

The Leafs woes this year come down to just 18 games between January 10 and March 4. In those 18 games the Leafs were a dreadful 3-13-2. During the rest of the season (with one still to play) they were a very respectable 37-20-6. To put that into perspective, had they played at that pace for the whole 82 games they would have ended up the season with 104 points. That would be more than all but a half dozen or so teams. Not too shabby if you ask me. When you add in that the Leafs play one of the tougher schedules in the eastern conference it isn’t a stretch to say that for the most part they are a pretty solid team.

So, what happened during those 18 games.

Offense: They scored 2.7 goals per game during that stretch which is a bit below their season average of 3.03 but they did score 3 or more goals 11 of the 18 games and that should be good enough to win a few games.

Defense: The Leafs defense gets severely criticized in the media but during the 18 game stretch they gave up 529 shots or 29.4 shots per game which is actually lower than their season average of 30.6.

Goaltending: During that 18 game stretch the Leafs goaltending had a dreadful .858 save %, well below the .895 save percentage they have had over the course of the year and the almost respectable .905 save % during games other than the 18 games in question.

So why have the Leafs missed the playoffs? The answer is simple. Goaltending. If the Leafs had good goaltending they would certainly be a playoff team and most likely be a 100-105 point team. So as the media and the fans get so quick to lay blame just remember, it is the goaltending that is 90% of the Leafs problems. Otherwise, they are a pretty good team.

Update: The guys at Battle of Alberta have calculated how many points each team has gotten by 20 game (quarter season) segments. In the first quarter season Toronto had 24 points, good for 6th in the east. In the second quarter season Toronto had 25 points, good for fourth in the east. In the fourth quarter season Toronto has 29 points, good for 2nd in the east. It was the 3rd quarter that killed the Leafs as they got just 10 points which put them 14th in the east ahead of only Pittsburgh’s 8 points.

Apr 172006
 

The game to watch tonight is Atlanta at Washington. This is a must win for Atlanta as a loss means golf next weekend, not playoff hockey for the Thrashers. I can’t see the Thrashers losing this game. The only thing not decided in the west is whetherAnaheim finishes in 6th and Colorado in 7th or Colorado in 6th and Anaheim in 7th. That makes the Colorado-Edmonton and Calgary-Anaheim games somewhat meaningful though I am not sure the difference between playing Dallas and Calgary is that significant that it really matters whether you get 6th spot or 7th spot. What might be more interesting is that the Calgary-Anaheim is a potential first round preview (should Calgary win and Colorado get a point)

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington 110 Atlanta -111 Atlanta Some
Pittsburgh 107 NY Islanders -108 NY Islanders Some
Detroit -123 Dallas 119 Detroit Some
Edmonton -113 Colorado 111 Edmonton Some
Anaheim -112 Calgary 111 Anaheim Some
San Jose -143 Los Angeles 130 San Jose Good
Apr 162006
 

With Toronto being eliminated last night none of the games today mean a whole lot though the New Jersey-Philadelphia game is important for playoff positioning as the Rangers, Flyers and Devils all still have a shot at the division title and it also has the potential to be a first round matchup preview.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
New Jersey -161 Philadelphia 138 New Jersey Good
Buffalo -139 Toronto 128 Buffalo Good
Chicago -103 Columbus 103 Columbus Some
St. Louis 126 Phoenix -135 Phoenix Good
Apr 152006
 

Todays games will either tell us who will make the playoffs in the east or else we will be in for some interesting hockey over the next couple of days. Tampa has a 3 point edge over Atlanta and 4 points over Toronto. with Tampa likely winning any tie breakers against either team the magic number for Toronto is 2 and Atlanta is 3. Any combination of Tampa points or Toronto lost points totalling 2 or more and Tampa beats out Toronto. Any combination of Atlanta lost points and Tampa earned points totalling 3 or more and Tampa is in. Monteal has also not secured a playoff spot yet either but they only need a point or Atlanta to lose a game to make the playoffs.

In tonights action Tampa plays a rematch game against Carolina, Atlanta takes on Boston, Toronto looks for their first win of the year against struggling Ottawa and Montreal has a challenge against Buffalo. Should be some good hockey tonight.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Philadelphia -128 NY Rangers 121 Philadelphia Some
St. Louis 141 Detroit -171 Detroit Strong
Dallas -151 Minnesota 133 Dallas Good
San Jose -127 Anaheim 121 San Jose Some
Toronto 100 Ottawa -100 Ottawa Some
Montreal -107 Buffalo 106 Buffalo Some
NY Islanders -161 Pittsburgh 138 NY Islanders Good
Atlanta -139 Boston 128 Atlanta Some
Columbus -139 Chicago 128 Columbus Some
Tampa Bay -106 Carolina 106 Carolina Some
Florida -154 Washington 135 Florida Good
Nashville -127 Phoenix 121 Nashville Some
Vancouver -110 Colorado 109 Colorado Some
Los Angeles -100 Calgary 100 Calgary Some