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Vulgar Statistics: Who Will Make The Playoffs In The East?

03/19/12

If you ask me who most deserves to make the playoffs, I’d say Buffalo or Washington.  I believe that (if you include Florida and Winnipeg) they’re the teams with the most talent, and also can produce the best storylines.  But, like so few things in the world, this isn’t about me.

I’ve done this every year the Sabres were on the bubble; taken a look at the contending teams, who their remaining opponents are, and how they’ve fared against said opponents to project a final record.  In addition to Buffalo, Florida, Washington, and Winnipeg, I have also thrown Boston into the mix because they recently coughed up the division to an Ottawa team I still don’t think is very good and their remaining schedule is brutal.

My methodology was pretty simple, I just took a team’s given record against an opponent and multiplied the points percentage by two to get their projected point total for that game.  In the case of Western Conference opponents, I simply used that teams record against the West as a whole.  So, for example, Florida was 0-2-1 versus Philadelphia which, by my formula gave them a (1 point divided by 6 available points) multiplied by two (or .166*2=.33) projection for that game.  It’s not an exact science, but it gives some idea how we can expect these teams to perform based on what they’ve shown us so far.

 

Florida:

Record: 34-23-13 (81 points)

Games Left: 12

Record vs. Remaining Opponents: 19-4-3

Projected Final Point Total: 95 (7-5-0 to finish the year)

Thoughts: Florida has the likes of Carolina (2), Edmonton, the Islanders, Montreal, Minnesota, and Columbus littered into their schedule.  They will win the Southeast and it will not be close.

 

Boston:

Record: 40-27-4 (84 points)

Games Left: 11

Record vs. Remaining Opponents: 18-12-2

Projected Final Point Total: 95 (5-5-1 to finish the year)

Thoughts: Boston has a particularly brutal schedule with their record vs. remaining opponents boosted by a 5-0-0 mark versus the Leafs this year.  Their slate of at San Jose, at Los Angeles, and at Anaheim packed into four days coupled with two games in New York City and Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Washington at home doesn’t look pretty.  Still, they’ve built themselves enough of a cushion that (barring a total collapse) it won’t matter much.

 

Washington:

Record: 36-30-6 (78 points)

Games Left: 10

Record vs. Remaining Opponents: 17-12-2

Projected Final Point Total: 89 (5-4-1 to finish the year)

Thoughts: I think this whole analysis is kind of moot for Washington and Buffalo.  So much more hinges on their March 27th meeting than on the rest of their games.  If one of the two can manage to win that game in regulation, that team will probably make the playoffs.

 

Winnipeg:

Record: 34-30-8 (76 points)

Games Left: 10

Record vs. Remaining Opponents: 17-14-4

Projected Final Point Total: 86 (5-5-0 to finish the year)

Thoughts: Winnipeg’s loss in regulation to Carolina last night was huge.  If you’re pushing towards the playoffs, you need to beat one of the worst teams in the league, especially since you have to play them again on March 30th.  I have zero faith in the Jets to make the playoffs.  Top to bottom they simply aren’t good enough and with 7 of their last 10 on the road their home field advantage is all but nonexistent from here on out.

 

Buffalo:

Record: 33-29-10 (76 points)

Games Left: 10

Record vs. Remaining Opponents: 14-14-5

Projected Final Point Total: 86 (5-5-0 to finish the year)

Thoughts: Buffalo comes in with the worst record against their remaining opponents though the slate isn’t that daunting…it’s just that the Sabres can’t seem to put away bad teams.  With the likes of Tampa Bay, Montreal, Minnesota, and Toronto (2) and a control-your-destiny game against Washington coming up, there will be no excuses if the Sabres can’t make the playoffs.

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