March 29, 2010

WRA 3/29 and playoff picture thoughts


1. San Jose (4.71): 1st +49
2. Buffalo (6.86): 3rd +25
3. Vancouver (7.86): 3rd +49
4. Chicago (9.14): 2nd +50
5. Detroit (9.71): 6th +10
6. Washington (10.86): 1st +78
7. Colorado (11.14): 8th +18
7. New Jersey (11.14): 4th +20
9. BOSTON (11.86):8th +2
9. Los Angeles (11.86): 7th +17
11. Philadelphia (12.00): 6th +11
12. Phoenix (12.57): 4th +23
13. Montreal (13.00): 7th -4
14. St. Louis (14.14): 10th -2
15. Pittsburgh (14.29): 2nd +20
16. NY Rangers (14.71): 10th -6
17. Calgary (16.00): 9th +1
18. Anaheim (16.43): 12th -18
19. Minnesota (17.00): 13th -19
20. Atlanta (17.14): 9th -13
21. Nashville (17.57):5th +1
21. Dallas (17.57): 11th -20
23. Ottawa (17.71): 5th -11
24. Tampa Bay (20.43): 12th -40
25. Columbus (20.57): 14th -39
26. Carolina (20.71): 14th -29
27. Florida (21.29): 13th -24
28. NY Islanders (25.14): 11th -36
29. Toronto (27.00): 15th -48
30. Edmonton (27.57): 15th -65

With a few good games under their belt the Bruins have moved up in these stats and solidified their hold on a playoff spot. They have two games in hand on Montreal and Philadelphia, who are both 2 points ahead. If I were them, I'd aim for the 7th seed. In between the somewhat lopsided but still terrifying Washington and the underrated balance of Buffalo is Pittsburgh- glorious, overhyped Pittsburgh. Yes, they're plus-20 and currently hold the second seed in the East, but their numbers don't scare me. They're 5th in goals for and PK, but 20th in goals against, 23rd in SV%, and only 22nd in PP. Sure, Fleury can make a huge difference if he picks up his game in the postseason, but I don't see him saving this team. Despite what NBC might tell you, Pittsburgh won't go very far this year.

Detroit has made a startling turnaround in nearly every category. Their special teams have improved steadily for months, while their offensive production caught on fire in the past few weeks. Additionally, their 26 year old rookie goaltender Jimmy Howard has a .926 SV% (it's been above .920 since January). Suddenly this mediocre team has turned into a well-oiled, well-balanced machine again. As it stands right now they'd face Vancouver, and I'm looking forward to that. I'd love to see a Canucks/Red Wings playoff game that ends after only one or two overtimes.

A few more thoughts and interesting stats:
  • Look out for San Jose! It's their year!!!1!
  • I see a Buffalo/Washington Eastern Conference Final. Buffalo intimidates me with their skill and hippy goaltender, but they're not a very physical team and I'm not sure how their game will translate into the playoffs. Washington is kamikaze. It'll either work or not work, but no matter what it'll be entertaining.
  • How in god's name is Ottawa doing as well as they are?! Only their PK is above average (5th). They're mediocre to bad in literally everything else. Basically, they've won games without the ability to score more goals than their opponent. I don't understand. Whoever gets them in the first round is basically getting a bye. Nashville is similar, though not quite as bad.
  • Chicago is 27th in SV%. Huet has been terrible and Niemi decent-ish. The Blackhawks do a good job of shielding this weakness (fewest shots against/game in the league), and Detroit won the Cup without standout goaltending, but this isn't Chris Osgood-level mediocre goaltending. This is bad goaltending, and I think it could hurt them a lot in the postseason.
  • Colorado and Montreal are the opposite of Chicago- they let up too many shots and rely too heavily on their goalies. However, Colorado can actually score goals, while Montreal can't.
  • Phoenix has 17 OT wins, 12 in the shootout. I'll figure out a way to relate this to my conspiracy theory about the Coyotes. I'm suspicious about a team owned by the NHL doing as well as Phoenix is doing, especially since they haven't had a history of doing particularly well. Sure, it may just be a coincidence, but between my obsession with numbers and my proneness to paranoia, I'm basically the John Nash of Bruins fans. I'll stick with the conspiracy explanation.
  • My god, are Edmonton and Toronto bad.
Let's hope the Bruins put on a good show against Buffalo tonight. They need to.

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