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A Look at the Math: 1/26/10 January 26, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Earlier this season, I was trying to keep up with a weekly update about which series were doing what, and if there were any magic numbers of note going on. A couple of things complicated that effort: first, there was my computer croaking on me, which kept me offline for a while. And then, once I got back online, there was the question of how much time I could devote on my weekends to that project. Doing a full preview of the entire week for every team in the NHL was a lot more time-consuming than I thought it would ever be, despite my quick fingers at the keyboard. I liked the idea of keeping up with the math and highlighting the series standings and playoff chases, but am I really going to be able to do the whole shebang justice every weekend from here to April?

I’m going to compromise with myself and go for a daily update, highlighting interesting points about each matchup around the docket (assuming there are any). A few bite-sized updates nightly beats the heck out of one massive one weekly, so here goes nothing. Some of these write-ups will be done a day or two in advance, as I do intend to attend Caps home games.

So, wish me luck on this.

*takes a deep breath*

Here’s a look at the schedule for January 26th, 2010.

LOS ANGELES KINGS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. Game 1 of 1. The Kings have done well against the Northeast so far this year: they have yet to lose any singletons, and got past the Bruins in overtime. The Leafs have been mediocre against the Pacific: their only win there was against the Ducks, and they have yet to play the Sharks. On paper, you have to like the Kings’ chances coming in. If the Leafs lose in regulation, they would take over the cellar of the Magic Numbers chart. Carolina is 5-5-0 in their last 10, while the Leafs are 2-7-1. So if the Leafs lose here, they might have trouble getting back out of the cellar. They would also be a mere 22 points from being mathematically eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration. The Kings are in the 40’s for both the plus side and the minus side, although a win would get them down to +39 against Edmonton to clinch the 14 spot out West.

WASHINGTON CAPITALS AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS. Game 4 of 4. WSH leads series by 1. I have some fond memories of the Island earlier this season. The Caps Fan Club was up there on a road trip, we had lower bowl seats, and apparently, CSN had me all over the broadcast or something, because everyone was telling me they’d seen me on TV that night. The Caps won that one in OT, and the mood on the bus ride back was one of contentment. Here’s hoping the Caps can make it a lucky seven. The Islanders have other ideas, however, and since they’re 7-3-0 in their last ten, the Caps need to pay attention. These guys are in the 10 spot now, but they’re hungry enough to make it interesting. Season series possibilities: WSH W, WSH wins. NYI O, WSH wins. WSH O, Series tied. NYI W, NYI win. No magic numbers of immediate concern here: smallest number here is a WSH +29 against Carolina, which could come down to 27 if the Caps win it in 60. I’ll be riveted to it because it’s the Caps, not because of the math.

ANAHEIM DUCKS AT ATLANTA THRASHERS. Game 1 of 1. The Thrashers have had an up and down season so far, but lately, it’s been more down than up in Blueland. The Ducks, meanwhile, are 8-2-0 in their last ten, so the quack attack, for now, is back. Both teams have handled each opponent’s division reasonably well, and both are currently a ways away from having their postseason fates mathematically settled. I’d like to see the Ducks do the Caps a favor here by beating the Thrash, but the playoff math on this game is booooooooring (the smallest number between both teams is ATL -36 against the Sharks.)

NASHVILLE PREDATORS AT COLUMBUS BLUEJACKETS. Game 5 of 6. NSH has clinched series. This one’s the only divisional game on the slate tonight, and you have to think Columbus is going to come out onto its own ice with a bee in its collective bonnet. Both teams are 5-5-0 in their last ten games, but I’m going to give the edge to Columbus tonight. They made the playoffs last year, after all, and they don’t want to be planning their tee times before the Olympic break. Nevertheless, they might want to keep EagleSticks on speed dial if they can’t start winning right away: with a -27 against San Jose, they’ll likely be eliminated from the top spot in the West before too long. Both of Nashville’s numbers, plus and minus, are in the forties, so they have a lot of hockey left to play before anything is decided. Columbus, however, needs either a major turnaround, right away, or a fire sale.

PHOENIX COYOTES AT DETROIT RED WINGS. Game 4 of 4. DET has clinched series. Some potential playoff message-sending on tap tonight, as the ‘Yotes drop in on the Joe. Mathematically, this one’s a snoozer: the smallest number here is PHX +39 against Edmonton for the 14 spot. Meanwhile, Detroit is in the middle of the pack, with a lot of hockey left to play. Where did I hide my NoDoz? But the hockey may be as exciting as the math is boring. You have to think Phoenix wants to let the Wings know that they can win in Detroit, so they don’t go thinking it’s a bye round if both teams meet again in the spring.

NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT OTTAWA SENATORS. Game 4 of 4. NJD have clinched series. New Jersey is +32 against Carolina, and Ottawa is essentially right on 40 for both plus and minus numbers. That’s not why I’m keeping an eye on this score while the Caps and Isles do battle. An Ottawa regulation win here would give the Caps a point worth of wiggle room on their top-line score. With Ottawa on a six-game winning streak, and the Devils playing .500 hockey in their last ten, this is anyone’s game.

MONTREAL CANADIENS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS. Game 3 of 4. MTL leads by 4. Montreal has very quietly snuck past Boston for the 8 spot in the East; meanwhile, the Panthers are 5-3-2 in their last ten, and are doing reasonably well when playing in the Litter Box. This is another one of those games that could be surprisingly fun to watch, despite both teams being near the mathematical basement. Both teams are -35 against San Jose for President’s Trophy elimination, but both have won recently. While my heart says Habs–hoping for some help for the Caps, of course–my head says Panthers. Season series: FLA must win in regulation to avoid losing series.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS AT EDMONTON OILERS. Game 3 of 4. CHI leads by 4. Not to presume anything, of course, but Chicago has 74 points, Edmonton, 38. If Edmonton loses in regulation, they will be a scant 22 points away from being mathematically eliminated from the top spot in the West, with the 2 spot soon to follow thereafter if the Hawks and Sharks keep up their standings duel. An Edmonton loss would help every other team in the Western Conference, but do any other Western teams really want to see Chicago winning another game? Season series: EDM must win in regulation to avoid losing series.




1. june white - January 26, 2010

good to see you in print!

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