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Tonight’s Math: 11/10/10 November 10, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

A quick look at the math tonight, and why Caps fans ought to root for the Penguins for once. No, really.

Numbers in parenthesis are where the team stands officially, followed by where they stand in terms of points available (see the Magic Numbers chart).

BUFFALO (14/14) AT NEW JERSEY (15/15). Interest: Medium. Normally, I wouldn’t be this interested in a 14-vs-15, who-could-care-less tilt. But New Jersey has already racked up ten regulation losses, the most in the NHL, and if they keep at it, I’m going to have magic numbers to track at a ridiculously early point in the season. The Devils are having, well, a season from hell so far, and this is the point where you almost have to root for New Jersey out of sheer sympathy. They’ll improve as the season grinds along–they can’t be this bad all year–but their playoff chances are already looking very, very bad. The Sabres aren’t really doing much better, so a lot of what I just wrote about New Jersey could also apply there. Still, gotta say it: CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: New Jersey.

BOSTON (7/1) AT PITTSBURGH (9/10). Interest: Must-watch. A win by the Penguins would leave the Capitals as the Eastern Conference leader both in terms of current points (which they have already) and maximum possible points (which Boston currently owns: note the /1.) So a Penguins win tonight would help the Capitals. And Pittsburgh wouldn’t be helped that much, mathematically, by a win: they’d move to the middle of the playoff chase in terms of current points, but they can only move up one spot as far as Points Available is concerned. So, hold you nose if you must, as CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: Pittsburgh. (Nope, that’s not a misprint.)

ST. LOUIS (1/1) AT COLUMBUS (8/6). Interest: High. St. Louis is currently the best in the West; the Jackets would love to win a measuring-stick game; and a regulation loss by the Blues would mean a lead change in the Western Conference. Lots of interesting possibilities here, so you have to think the hockey’s going to match. The best outcome for the Caps would be a Columbus win, in regulation, to knock a couple of points off the Blues’ top-end score. Therefore, CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: Columbus. (And a good game by erstwhile Caps captain Chris Clark would be a bonus.)

TORONTO (11/12) AT FLORIDA (12/8). Interest: Average. Blame the schedule for the Panthers’ standing at this point, as they have only played 12 games. Only Boston has played fewer (11), but the rest of the teams in the East have all played 14 and 15 games. So don’t rule the Panthers out of anything just yet. A Toronto win tonight would, however, send the Panthers tumbling. And I like to see teams in the Southeast tumble in the standings. 🙂 CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: Toronto.

PHOENIX (14/13) AT CHICAGO (6/15). Interest: Average. Chicago is over-ranked by a lot: playing a league-leading 17 games and losing almost half of them in regulation will do that. The wiggle room in the Windy City is starting to get a bit low. Phoenix was a surprise team last year, and is surprisingly bad so far this year. If this game is finished in sixty, the loser will be all alone in the Western cellar, at least as far as maximum points are concerned. A straight underdog rooting interest here, so CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: Chicago.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS (13/13) AT ANAHEIM (5/12). Interest: Low. Don’t let the Ducks’ high standing fool you: 16 games played is only one less than Chicago. The majority of Western teams have played 13 or 14 games, so the Ducks’ standing is artificially high. The best the Capitals can hope for is a Ducks regulation win, to take some starch out of an Eastern foe. CAPS FANS SHOULD ROOT FOR: Anaheim.




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