blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2011 NHL Playoff Projections - 82 Games Played

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 NHL Playoff Projections - 82 Games Played

A general rule of thumb for the NHL playoffs is to expect the unexpected. Though division winners typically win the Stanley Cup, top seeded teams are no stranger to first round playoff upsets.

Appreciating that the best predictor of future behavior is typically past performance, the chart below tracks teams over the second half of the 2011 NHL regular season examining their 10, 20 and 41 game records to measure where momentum lies heading into this postseason.

Team Performance Heading Into 2011 NHL Playoffs

Final10 GP20 GP41 GP
1. WAS4810771516332555
2. PHI47106397202149
3. BOS4610361310242452
4. PIT4910681613282351
5. TBL461037149222250
6. MTL449651112252249
7. BUF439681713292555
8. NYR449361312252144

Final10 GP20 GP41 GP
1. VAN5411771415302757
2. SJS4810571513292758
3. DET471044109222147
4. ANA479971415302755
5. NAS449971513292249
6. PHO439951210242452
7. LAK469861211242351
8. CHI449751111252352

San Jose, Vancouver and Anaheim bested the West with 27 wins from the season's midpoint with Nashville keeping pace with the threesome over the final 10 games. Interestingly, Detroit was the weakest team at each interval over the second half of the regular season.

In the East, Washington led over the final 41 and 20 game stretch, with Pittsburgh and Buffalo dominating during the last 10 games. At the other end, New York had the worst second half and Philadelphia posted the fewest points over the final 20 and 10 game periods.

In terms of streaks, Pittsburgh and Buffalo enter the playoffs with four straight wins and Los Angeles lost the final two games of the season.

To sum up, Vancouver, San Jose, Anaheim, Nashville, Washington, Buffalo and Pittsburgh are all hot heading into the playoffs while Philadelphia and Detroit are not. Of course, none of these statistics matter when the puck drops tonight on the 2011 NHL playoffs.

Let the second season begin.