Monday, March 28, 2011

Races intensify: Closer Look at New Tiebreak

As the season races down the stretch with desperate teams scrambling for the postseason, it's been hard to keep track of. What, with the chaotic West that at one time included the Wild and Blue Jackets before fading out. In the Wild Wild West, they're down to just 9 fighting for the remaining seven spots. The NHL leading Canucks already clinched a playoff berth. Nine points better than East leader Philly, it looks like Vancouver will win the President's Trophy- putting even more pressure on a franchise that's never won Lord Stanley.

While that's a great story for another day, 11 points separate second Detroit from 10th Dallas with less than two weeks left. It's probably far fetched that the Stars and Flames can leap frog the Red Wings and Sharks, who both have 97 points. However, there's still enough time for each to throw a wrench into the middle of the pack led by Phoenix (93) that features the Kings (92) minus Anze Kopitar (broken ankle-out 6 weeks), Nashville (92), the Ducks (89) led by emerging Hart candidate Corey Perry (leads league with 44 goals) and the defending champion Blackhawks (88), who are hanging on by a thread.

Here's a closer look at the Western race:

                  GP   Pts   GR
+*1.Canucks 76   109   6
+2.Wings      75     97    7
+3.Sharks     76     97    6
4.Yotes       77     93    5
5.Kings       75     92    7
6.Preds       76     92    6
7.Ducks      75     89    7
8.Hawks      74     88    8
9.Flames      77     87    5
10.Stars       74     86    8

+division leader
*clinched playoffs

One of the new underlying factors in case of tiebreakers is how many regulation/overtime wins a team has excluding shootouts. A perfect example of this new format is the Rangers, who despite having one more win (41) than Montreal (40) still are ranked seventh due to four less games won in reg/OT. The Blueshirts have eight shootout wins, which means you subtract eight and come up with 33. The Canadiens have only won three via the skill competition, which explains why they still boast four more victories (37) under the new rules. If the two Original Six clubs finished tied in points, the Habs would get the edge for sixth. Right now, each has 87 with six games remaining. Unless Montreal continues to struggle, the only way the Rangers can finish ahead of them is by having more points. Eighth Buffalo has also benefited from the shootout, winning five to Carolina's four. If the Hurricanes can make up the five point deficit which features a pivotal 4/5 game against the Sabres, that extra shootout win could work against Buffalo.

Here are teams who could be affected by the new tiebreaker:

TRACKING SHOOTOUTS
                      GP   Record   Wins      Reg/OT   Pts
1.Los Angeles  11    9-2        43          34           92
2.Pittsburgh     12    9-3        45          36           98
3.Calgary         16    9-7        38         29            87
4.Rangers        11    8-3        41          33           87
5.Nashville       10    6-4        41          35           92
6.Tampa Bay    12    6-6        40          34           91
7.Buffalo          6      5-1        38         33            85
8.Chicago         10    5-5        40         35            88
9.San Jose        10    5-5        44         39            97
10.Dallas           11   5-6        38         33            86
11.Anaheim       6     4-2        42         38            89
12.Detroit          8    4-4         44         40            97
13.Phoenix        8     4-4         41         37           93
14.Carolina        9     4-5         35         31           80
15.Toronto        9     4-5         34         30           78

Note: Of teams in playoff position, only the Flyers, Bruins and Canadiens have less than four shootout wins.

It's very possible that the Sabres could finish ahead of the Rangers due to the format. The two Battle Of New York clubs meet Wednesday in Western New York. Here's a closer look at the Eastern Race:

                    GP   Pts   GR
+*1.Flyers     75   100   7
+*2.Capitals   76    98    6
+*3.Bruins     75    94    7
*4.Penguins   76    98    6
5.Lightning    75    91    7
6.Canadiens   76    87    6
7.Rangers      76    87    6
8.Sabres        75    85    7
9.Hurricanes   75   80    7      
10.Maple Leafs 76 78    6

+division leader
*clinched playoffs

Playoff Note: The most points the Canes can get are 94. Leafs-90 Thrashers-90 Devils-87

In any year, winning down the stretch is crucial. If the Rangers and Sabres take care of business along with the Canadiens, then there's little hope for the Canes or long bets like the Leafs, Thrashers and Devils sneaking in. The remaining schedules for the bottom part of the race:

6.Montreal 87 Pts 6 GR-3/29 Atl 3/30 @ Car 4/2 @ NJD 4/5 Chi 4/7 @ Ott 4/9 @ Tor

7.Rangers  87 6 GR-3/30 @ Buf 3/31 @ NYI 4/3 @ Phi 4/4 Bos 4/7 Atl 4/9 NJD

8.Sabres    85 7 GR-3/29 @ Tor 3/30 NYR 4/2 @ Wsh 4/3 @ Car 4/5 TB 4/8 Phi 4/9 @ CBJ

9.Canes     80 7 GR-3/29 @ Wsh 3/30 Mtl 4/2 @ NYI 4/3 Buf 4/6 Det 4/8 @ Atl 4/9 TB

10.Leafs    78 6 GR-3/29 Buf 3/31 @ Bos 4/2 @ Ott 4/5 Wsh 4/6 @ NJD 4/9 Mtl

11.Thrashers 76 7 GR-3/29 @ Mtl 3/31 @ Phi 4/2 @ Bos 4/5 @ Nsh 4/7 @ NYR 4/8 Car 4/10 Pit

12.Devils    73 7 GR-3/30 NYI 4/1 Phi 4/2 Mtl 4/5 @ Pit 4/6 Tor 4/9 @ NYR 4/10 Bos 

No comments:

The Puck Stops Here

Loading...

Search This Blog

Stats