Predicted Standings – 3/28/2007

With most teams having just 5 or 6 games left to play it is really getting down to crunch time in the playoff races and there is still a lot left to be decided. Here are the predicted standings as of March 28th.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
1 Buffalo 75 103 0.483 7 0.431 10 113
2 New Jersey 76 98 0.462 6 0.452 7 105
3 Ottawa 77 98 0.481 5 0.469 6 104
4 Pittsburgh 77 98 0.463 5 0.499 5 103
5 Atlanta 76 88 0.475 6 0.452 7 95
6 NY Rangers 77 87 0.472 5 0.432 6 93
7 Carolina 76 84 0.474 6 0.426 7 91
8 Montreal 77 86 0.486 5 0.499 5 91
9 Tampa Bay 77 86 0.477 5 0.476 5 91
10 Toronto 76 84 0.492 6 0.440 7 91
11 NY Islanders 76 84 0.469 6 0.487 6 90
12 Florida 76 78 0.478 6 0.449 6 84
13 Boston 76 76 0.491 6 0.528 5 81
14 Washington 77 65 0.484 5 0.475 4 69
15 Philadelphia 75 51 0.480 7 0.526 4 55

I think we can pretty much give Buffalo top spot in the eastern conference and I am fairly confident that Atlanta will be able to hold on to top spot in the Southeast division and the 3rd seed. After that pretty much everything is still up in the air. New Jersey and Pittsburgh are going to battle it out for top spot in the Atlantic division and the second seed and the loser there will battle it out with Ottawa for 4th spot and home ice advantage when they meet in the first round.

The Rangers, Carolina, Montreal, Tampa, Toronto and the Islanders are going to battle it out for the final 3 spots. Despite Lundqvist looking very ordinary last night against the Canadiens I still believe that the Rangers will make the playoffs and most likely will grab the final playoff spot. After that, anything can happen but with that said, I don’t like the Islanders chances with DiPietro injured. Tampa is having goaltending problems again and have lost 5 of their last 7 games and given up 12 goals in their last 2 games. Carolina looked downright horrible last night against the Leafs but have a chance to redeem themselves tonight against the lowly, but well rested, Flyers. That leaves the two Canadian teams, Toronto and Montreal, who are both playing very good hockey right now. Montreal has won 5 in a row and the Leafs, aside from 15 minutes in the third period against Buffalo on Friday have been outstanding. The Leafs have outscored their opposition 16-4 in the past 4 games not counting that 15 minute disaster. Maybe that gives the Leafs and Habs the inside track on the final couple of playoff spots but with the inconsistency shown by most of the teams in the playoff race throughout the season anything can still happen.

Here are the six teams remaining schedules.

Rangers(5): at Phi, vs Tor, at NYI, vs Mtl, at Pit
Toronto(6): at Atl, vs Pit, at NYR, vs Phi, at NYI, vs Mtl
Montreal(5): at Ott, vs Buf, vs Bos, at NYR, vs Tor
Islanders(6): at Buf, vs Ott, vs NYR, vs Tor, at Phi, at NJ
Carolina(6): at Phi, vs TB, at Fla, at TB, vs Atl, vs Fla
Tampa(5): at Car, vs Was, vs Car, vs Fla, at Atl

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
1 Detroit 76 103 0.510 6 0.487 8 111
2 Nashville 77 105 0.508 5 0.555 6 111
3 Anaheim 76 100 0.512 6 0.456 8 108
4 Vancouver 76 99 0.528 6 0.484 8 107
5 Dallas 76 98 0.509 6 0.528 7 105
6 Minnesota 77 98 0.526 5 0.528 6 104
7 San Jose 77 98 0.507 5 0.554 5 103
8 Calgary 76 92 0.526 6 0.543 7 99
9 Colorado 76 85 0.529 6 0.568 6 91
10 St. Louis 76 74 0.528 6 0.529 5 79
11 Columbus 76 71 0.520 6 0.607 4 75
12 Edmonton 77 69 0.544 5 0.475 5 74
13 Los Angeles 77 66 0.532 5 0.514 4 70
14 Chicago 75 63 0.525 7 0.581 5 68
15 Phoenix 76 63 0.532 6 0.511 5 68

It was a nice late season surge but I am now prepared to call the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff hopes as good as done. Yes, I realize that the Avalanche and Flames still play each other twice but even if the Avalanche win both of those games they will still have to make up 3 points in 4 games. Certainly not impossible but 3 of those 4 games are against Minnesota, Vancouver and Nashville. Even getting 2 wins against those teams is going to be tough.

Despite the playoff race being all but done, the race for playoff positioning is still going down to the wire on several fronts. Detroit and Nashville are in a dog fight for top spot in the central division and in the conference with the Ducks. Vancouver and Minnesota are in a battle for top spot in the Northeast division and it isn’t out of the question that Vancouver could even get into the fight for top spot in the conference or at least over take the Ducks for second seed.

This article has 11 Comments

  1. Can someone give us a reality check for what is going to happen in the EAST. I would like to see the WINS columns broken out with Wins in REGULATION compared to total wins with O/T Shootout. This will ultimately decide who make the playoffs.

    Do the teams know where they are in this conundrum, cos I am sure John Q public doesn’t and if these games are all important it should be noted that the public understands just how important it is to win in regulation and that might just effect their enthusiasm at the game and allow their team to win as opposed to just a crap shoot…

    Enjoy the parody of less (is it really more)or are we just getting used to mediocrity

    Still bleed blue and white

  2. Well, what will ultimately determine who makes the playoffs will be points, not regulation wins or OT/SO wins or OT losses. In the event of a tie the teams with the most wins will make the playoffs followed by head to head matchups.

  3. I think it’s interesting to note that while Buffalo, New Jersey, and Pittsburgh have a LOT of points, they also have a large tendency to go into OT. And THAT is a large part of the log jam. The large NUMBER of OT/SO games has added to the number of points to go around to all the losers… not the winners. It’s the teams with lots of OT losses and SO losses that are benefitting, not the teams winning those games.

  4. It’s the teams with lots of OT losses and SO losses that are benefitting, not the teams winning those games.

    Not really. Thet teams that benefit are the teams that win in OT and especially the shootout because it is them that get the ‘extra’ point playing a game different than the normal hockey rules and the playoff hockey rules. For example, Tampa has gained big time by having an outstanding shootout record, but being good in the shootout does not make you a good hockey team. If you want the best hockey team to make the playoffs you want the team who wins the most games playing actual hockey, particularly the form of hockey played in the playoffs (i.e. 5 on 5, not 4 on 4). The better hockey teams are the ones that can win in regulation.

    Tampa only has 4 OT losses but they also only have 26 regulation wins vs 32 regulation losses. So, when it comes to playing hockey under the playoff rules, Tampa has a weak 26-32 record. Conversely, Toronto has a significantly better 31-29 regulation time record. Is Tampa really a better team than Toronto? Definitely not.

    Here are the eastern conference teams ranked by regulation win percentage (i.e. win percentage in games that ended in regulation).

    1-Ottawa 41-24 .631
    2-Buffalo 33-20 .622
    3-New Jersey 33-23 .589
    4-Pittsburgh 28-23 .549
    5-Carolina 34-30 .531
    6-Toronto 31-29 .517
    7-Montreal 32-31 .508
    8-Atlanta 27-27 .500
    9-NY Islanders 28-28 .500
    10-Florida 29-30 .492
    11-NY Rangers 27-29 .482
    12-Tampa Bay 26-32 .448
    13-Boston 22-35 .385
    14-Washington 21-38 .356
    15-Philadelphia 16-44 .267

    The only reason why Tampa is even in a playoff race is because they have all those shootout wins. If they make the playoffs they will likely be slaughtered in the first round of the playoffs, just like last year.

    Here is the western conference standings in games that ended in regulation.

    1-Detroit 41-19 .683
    2-Nashville 40-21 .657
    3-Anaheim 36-20 .643
    4-San Jose 45-26 .634
    5-Calgary 36-25 .590
    6-Dallas 33-24 .579
    7-Vancouver 31-23 .574
    8-Minnesota 28-24 .538
    9-Colorado 31-30 .508
    10-Edmonton 27-39 .409
    11-Columbus 24-37 .393
    12-St. Louis 21-33 .389
    13-Los Angeles 20-37 .351
    14-Chicago 20-39 .339
    15-Phoenix 22-42 .333

    Like Tampa, Minnesota has benefitted greatly by winning a lot of overtime (7) and shootout (10) games.

  5. Would you be able to produce a regulation win percentage list for us from last year? I’d be curious to see how they compare to the actual playoff results.

  6. Here are last years regulation records.

    Eastern Conference
    1-Ottawa 48 21 0.696
    2-Carolina 40 22 0.645
    3-Buffalo 41 24 0.631
    4-Philadelphia 34 26 0.567
    5-NY Rangers 33 26 0.559
    6-New Jersey 33 27 0.550
    7-Montreal 33 31 0.516
    8-Atlanta 31 33 0.484
    9-Tampa Bay 31 33 0.484
    10-Toronto 31 33 0.484
    11-Florida 25 34 0.424
    12-Boston 23 37 0.383
    13-NY Islanders 24 40 0.375
    14-Washington 20 41 0.328
    15-Pittsburgh 17 46 0.270

    Western Conference
    1-Detroit 51 16 0.761
    2-Calgary 42 25 0.627
    3-Dallas 38 23 0.623
    4-Nashville 40 25 0.615
    5-Anaheim 37 27 0.578
    6-San Jose 34 27 0.557
    7-Colorado 37 30 0.552
    8-Vancouver 34 32 0.515
    9-Edmonton 28 28 0.500
    10-Los Angeles 32 35 0.478
    11-Minnesota 32 36 0.471
    12-Phoenix 28 39 0.418
    13-Columbus 21 43 0.328
    14-Chicago 17 43 0.283
    15-St. Louis 14 46 0.233

    Not too much different really. Dallas definitely benefitted by an extraordinaty shootout record last year.

  7. Dave thanx for the info. If wew ere to run a scenario that teams in the East all ended up with the same points. It seems Montreal would end up with the most potential wins followed by Toronto. If Carolina ties in points, they would make the playoffs. It seams NYI NYR TAMPA and even ATLANTA would all be looking from the outside in. (if that was possible because someone has to win the South)

    Do we have an indication as to the head to head match ups of these eastern conference teams. I really must discern that the players and fans really don’t know how critical these match ups are. Surely they are all must win games, but when you do the analysis after the dust settles next week, there will be one pivotial game that really decided everything.


  8. There’s one other thing worth considering: Ottawa has a great regulation record but isn’t good in close games.

    The Sens have won 45 games this season but only 10 by 1 goal. Conversely, 12 of their 24 losses have been in 1 goal games.

    More than half of their victories (28 out of 45) have been won by 3 goals.

    In the playoffs, that’s bad news, and quite possibly the reason they have so much trouble after the regular season ends. You’ve blogged about their poor record in close games before; once they get to the playoffs, especially deeper in the playoffs, they can’t count on blowing out their opponents. And when the games get close and tough, Ottawa’s regulation winning percentage isn’t worth squat.

    Not that I think shootout records mean anything about team strength. But teams that do well in close games – and nothing’s closer than a game that goes through OT – do deserve recognition.

  9. Ottawa is better in one goal games this season than last year but yes, they still aren’t great. And that is Ottawa’s problem. They really struggle against the top goalies and defensive teams in the NHL. Their offense can be shut down and has been from time to time throughout the season and if their offense isn’t going they aren’t a great team. The positive for the Senators is that there are fewer high quality goalies in the east as the west. The bad thing is they might meet one of them in the first round (Brodeur). But I am also not sure they can beat Pittsburgh either if guys like Recchi and Roberts can keep the young guys focused and confident. A lot would depend on Fleury who has had an up and down season. I could certainly see another early playoff exit by the Senators.

  10. When talking about 1 goal games people tend to eliminate empty net goals. If you include games that ended as 2 goal wins or 2 goal losses due to an empty net goal, Ottawa’s record is better.

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