blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: March 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

2013 NHL Playoff Projections - 20 Games To Play

With 28 games banked in this lockout-shortened season and only 20 to play, the NHL playoff picture is taking shape. The chart below projects final standings based on the points-per-game pace to date.

Projected 2013 NHL Playoff Picture: 28 Game Pace
TeamW Pts Pace TeamW Pts Pace
1. MTL19421.501. CHI23491.75
2. PIT20401.432. ANA21461.64
3. CAR15321.143. MIN16341.21
4. BOS19411.464. LAK16341.21
5. OTT14341.215. STL16341.21
6. WPG15321.146. VAN13321.14
7. NJD13321.147. DET13311.11
8. TOR15311.118. PHO13301.07
9. NYR14301.079. SJS12301.07
10. NYI13291.0310. DAL13291.03
11. TBL12250.8911. NAS11281.00
12. WAS12250.8912. EDM11281.00
13. PHI12250.8913. CGY11260.93
14. BUF10240.8614. CLB10260.93
15. FLA 7200.8015. COL10240.86

If teams maintain their 28 game pace, the playoff points cutoff will be 53 (East) and 51 (West), with the East threshold being higher than that of the West for the first time in four years. An uptick in production, however, is needed for outliers to salvage their season.

Points Needed In Final 20 Games


9. NYR231.159. SJS211.05
10. NYI241.2010. DAL221.10
11. TBL281.4011. NAS231.15
12. WAS281.4012. EDM231.15
13. PHI281.4013. CGY251.25
14. BUF291.4514. CLB251.25
15. FLA331.6515. COL271.35

While most have enjoyed relatively consistent production thus far this season, some have deviated drastically during the past 10 games. Most notably Columbus and Winnipeg have seen a significant uptick in their points per game pace of +.47 and +.36, respectively. On the other hand, Boston and Vancouver have fallen further than any other team over the past 10 games collecting -.36 and -.34 fewer points per game, respectively, than during the first half of the season.

Points Collected In Past 10 Games


WAS101.00SJS 90.90
TOR 90.90VAN 80.80
NJD 80.80EDM 80.80
PHI 80.80CGY 80.80
TBL 60.60NAS 70.70
FLA 60.60COL 70.70

Understanding past behavior is a strong indicator of future performance, the question is how far back does one look to prepare predictions. The chart below posits final standings extrapolating the points pace for the past 10 games over the remainder of the regular season.

Projected 2013 NHL Playoff Picture: 10 Game Pace
TeamW Pts Pace TeamW Pts Pace
1. MTL33741.541. CHI39811.69
2. PIT36721.502. ANA35741.54
3. WPG29621.293. MIN30621.29
4. BOS29631.314. LAK28581.21
5. CAR27581.215. STL28581.21
6. OTT22581.216. DET23551.14
7. NYR26541.127. CLB20541.12
8. NYI23531.108. PHO23521.08
9. TOR23491.029. DAL21491.02
10. NJD19481.0010. VAN19481.00
11. BUF18460.9611. SJS18481.00
12. WAS22450.9412. EDM19440.92
13. PHI20410.8513. NAS17420.87
14. TBL18370.7714. CGY19420.87
15. FLA 11320.6715. COL16380.79

In the East, the 28 game points pace the Devils and Leafs edge the Rangers and Islanders, however, the 10 game points pace flips this equation with the Rangers and Islanders displacing the Devils and Leafs. In the West, the only difference in terms of playoff qualification involves the Canucks and Blue Jackets, the former qualifying applying the 28 game pace and the latter stealing a spot using the 10 game pace. In short, it's getting real in the playoff points race. Time will tell which teams and pace prevail during the final 20 game postseason push.