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A Look At the Math, 1/31/10 January 31, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Lots and lots of big results on the magic numbers chart last night. Toronto lost, which helped every team in the East. Worse for the Leafs, Carolina managed to surprise the Blackhawks, so the boys in blue will continue to be sort of blue in the standings. As for the ‘Hawks, they fell behind the Caps for second overall in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Flames put a whuppin’ on Edmonton, which sent plus numbers clicking all over the West. As if that weren’t enough, there was a game going on between Minnesota and San Jose, which the Sharks led 3-2 at the second intermission. Minnesota couldn’t muster any more offense, and the Sharks cruised. And since San Jose is the President’s Trophy favorite at the moment, that sent minus numbers clicking all over the NHL. So it was a wild one at the rinks, if number-crunching is your speed.

Sounds like a tough act to follow. There are a half dozen games to be played this Sunday, so let’s see if any of the math is worth a look.

DETROIT RED WINGS AT PITTSBURGH PENGUINS. Game 1 of 2. New series. Well, here we go with The Rematch, Take 1. I can see the national appeal of a Cup Finals rematch, so I’m not going to criticize NBC (much) for picking this as Game of the Week. Should be good hockey, but dig the stultifying playoff math: PIT +30 against Toronto for 14 East is the smallest magic number. Oh, well–NBC isn’t programming these games for playoff math geeks.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING AT WASHINGTON CAPITALS. Game 3 of 6. Series tied. The Bolts were the last team to defeat the Caps before Washington’s nine-games-and-counting win streak got underway against Florida the very next game. It got chippy late, and you’re expecting a polite garden party at the Phone Booth this afternoon, you’re probably going to be disappointed. These two teams don’t much care for each other, and you have to think the Caps want to let Tampa Bay know that their last win was a fluke. That’s what this Caps fan hopes, at least, and we’ll see where it goes from there. Washington will be without Mike Green, who was given a three-game suspension for an elbowing call in the Florida game Friday night. (Do NOT get me started on that one, or I won’t shut up.) Some modestly intriguing playoff math here, as Washington is now +19 against Toronto for the 14 East spot.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS. Game 4 of 4. FLA leads by 2. The Panthers return home after getting their tails pulled by the Capitals Friday night, while New York is coming off a Saturday afternoon downer at the hands of the Flyers. The Panthers should have a slight edge–a little more rest and playing at home, so you have to think this one looks promising coming in. Smallest magic number is NYI -26 against San Jose, which does include the Sharks’ win over Minnesota Saturday night. Series possibility: NYI must win in regulation to tie, or FLA wins series.

LOS ANGELES KINGS AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS. Game 1 of 1. The Kings have been on the road for a while, and New Jersey is no easy building to win in (the Devils are 18-8-0 at home this year.) On the other hand, the Devils are 4-5-1 in their last ten, while the Kings have won five straight and 7 of their last ten. A Los Angeles win would help the Caps here, so if you need a dog in this fight, Caps fans, root for the Kings. Smallest magic number is NJD +25 against Toronto.

PHOENIX COYOTES AT DALLAS STARS. Game 6 of 6. PHX leads by 2. It’s divisional hockey between the two non-California Pacific teams, so anything’s possible here. Phoenix is the hotter team right now, but the Stars are at home and fighting to stay in the playoff chase. The math isn’t all that exciting–the smallest number here is PHX +27 against Edmonton for 14 West–but the hockey should be something to see. Series possibility: DAL must win in regulation to tie series, or Phoenix wins.

NEW YORK RANGERS AT COLORADO AVALANCHE. Game 1 of 1. What the heck happened to the Rangers?! They’ve lost five in a row, and a visit to the Mile High City a day after losing to Phoenix can’t be an easy task. Colorado is a respectable 15-7-2 at home, but look out: the Rangers actually have fewer losses on the road than they do at home–strange but true. Smallest magic number here is NYR -28 against San Jose for President’s Trophy elimination.

And that’s going to do it for me tonight. See you all at the rink this afternoon.



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