blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: 2012 NHL Playoff Projections - 82 Games Played

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 NHL Playoff Projections - 82 Games Played

When it comes to the NHL playoffs, a general rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected. While division winners typically hoist the Stanley Cup, top-seeded teams are no stranger to first round playoff upsets.

Acknowledging that the best predictor of future behavior is typically past performance, the chart below tracks teams over the second half of the 2012 NHL regular season examining their 10, 20 and 41 game records in order to measure where momentum lies heading into the postseason.

Team Performance Heading Into 2012 NHL Playoffs

Final10 GP20 GP41 GP
1. NYR5110961210212451
2. BOS4910271511232145
3. FLA3894298221846
4. PIT5110861215312662
5. PHI4710351113282249
6. NJD4810271513282554
7. WAS429261411252046
8. OTT4192489202045

Final10 GP20 GP41 GP
1. VAN5111181711252658
2. STL4910941111262556
3. PHO429771610242354
4. NAS4810461212252656
5. DET481024107172249
6. CHI4510161512282149
7. SJS439671410231841
8. LAK409551313292048

Vancouver , St. Louis and Nashville bested the West from the season's midpoint with Chicago and Los Angeles leading during the final 20 games, and Vancouver and Phoenix finishing strongest over the final 10 games. San Jose endured the poorest second half of any playoff bound team with Detroit trailing its peers for the final 20 and 10 game stretches.

In the East, Pittsburgh led all others over the final 41 game and 20 game measures with Boston and New Jersey posting the best records during the final 10 games of the season. Ottawa trailed its playoff conference peers at each interval during the second half, with Florida being a close second.

In terms of streaks, New Jersey finished with six straight wins and Phoenix won their final five, leading their conferences in the category. Ottawa dropped their last three games owning the coldest finish, though three others (New York, Detroit, Los Angeles) lost their last two.

In short, Vancouver, Nashville, Phoenix, New Jersey, Boston and Pittsburgh are hot heading into the playoffs while Ottawa, Florida and Detroit are not. Of course, none of these statistical measures matter when puck drops tonight. It's a new dawn. It's a new day. It's a new life.

Let the second season begin. The real season. 16W.