Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A quick revisit before the Stanley Cup playoffs start

Back on the Ides of March, I assessed the Washington Capitals chances of making the playoffs by making a couple of assumptions about how they and other teams would play.   I did this and concluded that their chances of making the playoffs at that time were low, due mostly to their horrible start.

But I did say this:
"So they either need to get real hot and get more than 60%, or one or more of  the teams ahead of them has to fade."

and this:
"If they get on a winning streak and win five or six games in a row, then I might be a little more hopeful about their postseason chances."

Well, surprisingly, both happened.   I 'projected' the following point totals at the end of the season:

Ottawa:   53
New Jersey:  52
Winnipeg:  51
Toronto:  51
Carolina:  53
Washington:  50

So what happened?   Here's the final point totals for those teams:

Ottawa:  56
New Jersey:  48
** Winnipeg:  51
Toronto:  57
Carolina:  42
Washington:  57

To put it bluntly, Carolina collapsed (partly due to losing their top goalie), New Jersey faded just enough (two games made the difference), and OBVIOUSLY the Caps did even better than the .600 pace I projected, due to their sometimes-maligned superstar Alex Ovechkin getting hot, and just about everybody else contributing.

What's interesting is also that Ottawa and Toronto played better than I projected (.500 play for the rest of the season), but not by a ton;  3 games for Toronto and a game and an OT loss for Ottawa.  And Winnipeg did exactly what I expected.  Of all the teams I feel bad about for not making the playoffs, I feel the worst for them, because they played pretty well the whole season.  But the biggest story is Toronto, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.   The Maple Leafs have been hockey's version of the Cubs, losing consistently but keeping their fans. 

It'll be interesting.

One last thing, only three teams in the whole NHL won 8 out of their last 10 games.

Columbus, which just barely missed the playoffs (another sad story);
Pittsburgh, the juggernaut, and

Yeah, it'll be very interesting.

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