Thursday, December 15, 2011

NHL Standings After 27 Games


During the season, team schedules can vary considerably with some teams having played several more games than their competition. This can make it difficult to accurately assess just how well one squad is doing relative to their peers, particularly in the NHL where points are the measuring stick rather than win percentage. With some teams having played four more games than others, the standings can be a bit misleading at first glance. To overcome that, I like to look at the standings with all teams having played the same number of games, usually at a benchmark point of the season. This time, I'm choosing 27 games, about 1/3 of a full NHL season. Here is each team's record at that point:

East         GP W  L OT PTS ROW
NY Rangers   27 17 6  4  38  16
Boston       27 17 9  1  35  14
Florida      27 15 8  4  34  13
Philadelphia 27 17 7  3  37  17
Pittsburgh   27 16 7  4  36  13
Toronto      27 15 10 2  32  12
Buffalo      27 14 11 2  30  12
Washington   27 14 12 1  29  13
--------------------------------
Ottawa       27 13 11 3  29  9
New Jersey   27 14 12 1  29  8
Winnipeg     27 12 11 4  28  11
Montreal     27 11 11 5  27  10
Tampa Bay    27 11 14 2  24  10
NY Islanders 27 9 12 6  24  9
Carolina     27  8 15 4  20  8
  
West         GP W  L OT PTS ROW
Minnesota    27 17 7  3  37  13
Detroit      27 17 9  1  35  16
Phoenix      27 15 9  3  33  13
Chicago      27 16 8  3  35  13
Vancouver    27 16 10 1  33  16
St. Louis    27 15 9  3  33  15
San Jose     27 15 10 2  32  12
Dallas       27 15 11 1  31  13
---------------------------------
Los Angeles  27 13 10 4  30  12
Edmonton     27 13 11 3  29  12
Nashville    27 12 11 4  28  12
Colorado     27 13 13 1  27  9
Calgary      27 12 13 2  26  12
Anaheim      27  8 14 5  21  7
Columbus     27  8 16 3  19  6
ROW is regulation/OT wins, the next tiebreaker after total wins.

Surprisingly, the Rangers are the best team in hockey through this point, but it isn't noticed as they have played fewer games. The Leafs are in 6th spot and would face southeast champion Florida in the playoffs.

In the west, Phoenix are the top seed in the Pacific, a point up on San Jose, who are 7th despite a decent 15-10-2 record which illustrates the strength of the conference.

I like to run through the playoffs based on season series, but some matchups have yet to occur, so I'll save that for the second edition in February, during which I'll do this exercise again when each team has completed 54 games.

Next Up

I'm flying to France tonight for my annual non-sports road trip. I do hope to catch one third-tier soccer game in Paris over the weekend but after that I'll be driving around to smaller towns with no sports on the menu. I'll be back in Japan for the new year and should have a trip planned for early 2012 that involves more Leafs games, so check back then.

Happy holidays everyone!

Best,

Sean

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