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A Look At the Math: 2/8/10 February 7, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

I’m still not done hating on this blizzard we got over the weekend. First hat trick the Caps get this year, Knuble gets the Gordie Howe, consecutive win number 14, consecutive home win #11, franchise goalie streak record tied, instant classic of a game in so many ways, last game at the Phone Booth until MARCH…and I’m forced to watch from my couch. *still steaming* I was missing, but not missed, I’m guessing. The Caps’ victory Sunday was a beaut, but it also made for some interesting playoff math, as well.

Take a look at the spreads between the top teams in the East and the top teams in the West. In the Western Conference, there are a handful of teams with plus numbers at or under 20. San Jose is out in front with a +7, but Chicago is right behind them with a +11, and three other teams are right on the Hawks’ heels. But look at the Eastern Conference, and look at where the Caps are. They are down to a +7 before they eliminate the Maple Leafs from the top spot in the East. The next team behind the Caps is New Jersey–a full FOURTEEN POINTS behind Washington, with a plus number of 21 before they eliminate Toronto from the 2 East spot.

And the teams that follow after Toronto are all very close together. In fact, the bottom seven top line scores in the East are -20 or less when compared to Washington. Not to jinx this run or anything, but that essentially means that the Caps’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth right now, is 20. It’s 23 to clinch the Southeast, and a Top 3 seeding. And if you want to be irrationally optimistic, it’s 36 to clinch the top spot in the East. If you want to get ultra-greedy, it’s 45 to lock up the President’s Trophy, assuming the Caps hang on to the lead.

Now, to the five games around the rinks this Monday evening.

SAN JOSE SHARKS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS. Game 1 of 1. Don’t overlook this one! Toronto’s last two games at the Air Canada Centre have been shutouts for the home team, and that against some respectable competition. In fact, it was the Leafs who recently put the lid on Ottawa’s double-digit win streak. Could the Caps get some breathing room courtesy of Leafs Nation? Keep an eye on this one, Caps fans. Toronto is -7 against Washington for President’s Trophy and 1 East; San Jose is +7 against Edmonton for 14 West. Go Leafs Go!

NEW JERSEY DEVILS AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS. Game 4 of 6. PHI leads by 2. Home and home series on both sides of this home and home. Both teams will meet again Wednesday night at The Rock. Meanwhile, New Jersey split a home and home with the Leafs last week, with both teams winning at home. The Devils then headed up to Broadway, and mustered only a single marker against the Blueshirts. Meanwhile, the Flyers went 1 for 3 on a Western Conference swing last week, and after New Jersey, will have a home and home with the Habs to head into the Olympic break. A Flyers win in regulation would lower the Caps’ magic number to 34 for the 1 East spot. I can hardly believe I have to root for help from the Flyers, but hey, it’s a bitter division rivalry, so why not. NJD is +21 against Toronto for 14 East.

ST LOUIS BLUES AT COLORADO AVALANCHE. Game 2 of 4. COL leads by 2. Not much going on with the math in this game. Series is still very much in play, and the smallest number for either team is STL -19 against Washington for the President’s Trophy. I suppose I could pull for the Blues should the Caps run into Colorado in the Finals, but I can’t see Colorado making it out of the West.

EDMONTON OILERS AT PHOENIX COYOTES. Game 3 of 4. EDM leads by 1. If you’re into the playoff math, this is the game you’ll be following tonight. Toronto and San Jose both have 7’s, but Edmonton is a scant -4 to be eliminated from President’s Trophy consideration. Phoenix is probably the biggest surprise in the West this year, but a bigger surprise is that they trail the Oilers on the season series. Series possibility: EDM can clinch series with a regulation win.

LOS ANGELES KINGS AT ANAHEIM DUCKS. Game 4 of 6. LAK lead by 6. It’s the battle of I-5, and the Kings have run away with it so far this year. The hockey is always intense, and the series is on the line tonight. Playoff math isn’t terribly interesting–LAK are +17 against Edmonton for 14 West. Series possibility: LAK can win series with any point.



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