Well friends, wasn’t that All Star break fun? I also took a few days off to remind my friends and family that I exist, but it’s time to come back to reality and camp out in front of the TV again – real hockey’s back.
We’ve heard a lot from the players (and coaches, and media) about how seriously the Stars are committed to making the playoffs, but unfortunately, it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Here’s a revamped version of my playoff chart. I’ve added in the Blackhawks because they’ve recently lost some positioning.
The Stars Win % has dropped significantly since I started tracking the 14 day trend, and honestly, the two “hot goaltending” losses we’ve had recently (WPG and BOS) would get us closer to a spot, but would still put us one point out of the money. We’re on pace right now for 87 points and that looks about right.
Again, I’m a huge believer in trends and momentum – St. Louis had a great run that’s pushed them over Chicago in the standings, but their overall number is only 57% wins, which is probably not enough for them to stay at number two. On the other hand, the Blackhawks have been failing to convert any of their recent losses into extra points which is why you’ve seen them slip.
The Kings are doing their usual “sneak into the Playoffs” thing, but a 43% OT win percent is unsustainable. Either they’re going to turn it into Wins (like Winnepeg has done) or losses (like Minnesota), and it’s going to be the Kings’ early points (and San Jose’s collapse) that get them into a safe spot.
Are the Flames for real? I can’t tell. They’re just as streaky as the Stars are this year, with similar goaltending issues. They have less recent experience in making this playoff run, so I’d place my money on the Stars over the Flames for that last wildcard spot, though if you put any weight in trending, neither will make it.
But for the Stars, Merrin probably put it best: We need a hero.
For those who care:
Most realistic = (% of Season played by 1/3*pace of 1/3)+(14 Game pace*Percent of season 14 games is)+(Rest of season % weighted at 75% Pace of 1/3, 25% at 14 game pace)
Why not use “current pace” instead of 1/3 pace? Because it would double count the last 14 games (which already do stretch into December for most teams). The math will obviously change the closer we get to the end of the season, and we have more of it set in stone. Currently, teams have only played an average 56% of the season, so there’s a lot of speculation that can be done.