Playing the percentages usually means playing it safe in order to produce a desired outcome. You weigh the risks and you take the road with the least potential trouble. Just cruise through life, right?
Not in Hockey. Hockey is about getting in the paint and pushing the puck across the line. The Coolest Game On Earth does have its percentages as well, however. One key average since the Lockout is illustrative of where we are in the standings today…
- The average, post-Lockout winning percentage for teams qualifying for the playoffs is .570.
When measuring teams in 10-game furlongs, teams tend to surge over and dip below the average winning curve (about six wins in 10 games) three times in a season.
In The East, On Goal Analysis (OGA) believes the teams who are on the bubble are BUFFALO, CAROLINA, FLORIDA and PITTSBURGH. The four teams' winning percentages fall out like this prior to games on 2 February:
BUFFALO – .570
FLORIDA – .551
CAROLINA – .51
With (as OGA calls it) BOSTON, WASHINGTON, NEW JERSEY, MONTREAL, NY RANGERS, PHILADELPHIA and PITTSBURGH already Chasing Stanley (and acknowledging PITTSBURGH is having issues) – clinching a Playoff berth – BUFFALO and/or FLORIDA seem to be the last two teams that can emerge at the end of the regular season playing onward into April.
In the West, where the waters are much more muddy, the players seem to be ANAHEIM, DALLAS, EDMONTON, COLUMBUS and PHOENIX. Their winning percentages are:
EDMONTON – .561
DALLAS – .552
COLUMBUS – .53
PHOENIX – .52
ANAHEIM – .51
The percentages seem to suggest EDMONTON and DALLAS, followed closely by COLUMBUS, lean toward securing those final Playoff positions. PHOENIX, VANCOUVER and ANAHEIM sit on the verge of either falling away or catching fire and displacing those three should they falter.
With OGA already calling SAN JOSE, DETROIT, CALGARY, CHICAGO, MINNESOTA and VANCOUVER Chasing Stanley (and noting the CANUCKS are in trouble with their .52 winning percentage), there are either two or three seeds available. Most likely picks are EDMONTON or DALLAS fighting over the 6th seed and one of those two and COLUMBUS possibly fighting for the last two slots.
This is why Hockey plays 82 games in a year and it is exciting down to the last few games of the season!
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