Apr 292013
 

Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks, Stanley Cup playoffs

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

After 48 games last season, the Florida Panthers were out of the playoff picture; they ended up winning the Southeast Division. At the Christmas break, the Minnesota Wild were leading the Northwest Division. And on January 1st, after 40 games, the Wild were only 2 points back of the Canucks; they finished the season in 12th place in the Western Conference and 30 points behind the Canucks.

My point is, so many things can happen over the course of 82 games. And then you have to factor in another 20+ games in the postseason. As such, teams usually go through various peaks and valleys during the regular season. And there are some teams who perhaps peak in the regular season and then dip in the playoffs. And vice-versa.

But of course, this season is different. For starters, the regular season is only 48 games long. In other words, when the puck drops for game 1 of the playoffs this week, it’ll really only be game 49 for each of the 16 playoff teams.

For fun, I looked at several teams’ records – including the Canucks’ – from the last 3 seasons in 24-game segments:

2011/2012 season

2011/2012Games 1-24Point %Games 25-48Point %Games 49-72Point %
Canucks14-9-10.60415-6-30.68814-6-40.667
Blackhawks14-7-30.64615-6-30.68810-12-20.458
Kings12-8-40.58311-7-60.58312-10-20.500
Sharks14-9-10.60414-5-50.6888-12-40.417
Blues14-8-20.62515-5-40.70816-6-20.708
Penguins14-6-40.66713-11-00.54218-4-20.792
Bruins16-7-10.68816-7-10.68810-13-10.438
Capitals12-11-10.52114-8-20.62510-11-30.479
Rangers15-6-30.68816-6-20.70814-8-20.625
Leafs14-8-20.62510-11-30.4798-13-30.396

2010/2011 season

2010/2011Games 1-24Point %Games 25-48Point %Games 49-72Point %
Canucks14-7-30.64615-3-60.75018-6-00.750
Blackhawks11-11-20.50015-7-20.66713-7-40.625
Kings14-10-00.58311-12-10.47915-4-50.729
Sharks12-8-40.58312-11-10.52117-4-30.771
Blues12-9-30.56310-10-40.50010-12-20.458
Penguins14-8-20.62515-7-20.66712-8-40.583
Bruins14-8-20.62513-6-50.64613-8-30.604
Capitals16-6-20.70810-8-60.54215-7-20.667
Rangers13-10-10.56314-8-20.62511-12-10.479
Leafs8-12-40.41711-12-10.47912-7-50.604

2009/2010 season

2009/2010Games 1-24Point %Games 25-48Point %Games 49-72Point %
Canucks13-11-00.54215-7-20.66716-6-20.708
Blackhawks16-6-20.70817-5-20.75013-8-30.604
Kings13-9-20.58314-9-10.60415-6-30.688
Sharks15-5-40.70815-5-40.70813-9-20.583
Blues10-9-50.52111-11-20.50013-9-20.583
Penguins16-8-00.66713-10-10.56313-6-50.646
Bruins12-8-40.58311-9-40.54210-10-40.500
Capitals13-5-60.66717-7-00.70818-2-40.833
Rangers13-10-10.5639-9-60.5009-13-20.417
Leafs6-11-70.39610-12-20.45810-11-30.479

My take-away from these?

It’s interesting to note the Canucks have been quite consistent from season-to-season. And not only that, it looked like they got better as the season went on.

In each of the 3 seasons from 2009 to 2012, they won 13-14 of their first 24 games and 15 of their next 24 games. And the next 24 games after (games 49-72)? The Canucks won 14, 18 and 16 games – the highest average of the teams listed above.

Of course, this isn’t intended to be definitive. Whether it’s game 49 or game 83 of the season, the playoffs are still a different beast, and like it or not, the games are officiated according to a different standard. It’s just interesting, that’s all. When the playoffs start on Wednesday, will the Canucks wilt like they did against the Kings last spring? Or will they just be hitting their normal midseason stride?

[Update]

Here are the 24-game stats for the 2013 season. The Canucks won just 11 of their first 24 games, but again, they won 15 of the 24 games after that.

2012/2013 season

2012/2013Games 1-24Point %Games 25-48Point %
Canucks11-7-60.58315-8-10.646
Blackhawks21-0-30.93815-7-20.667
Kings14-8-20.62513-8-30.604
Sharks11-7-60.58314-9-10.604
Blues13-9-20.58316-8-00.667
Penguins16-8-00.66720-4-00.833
Bruins17-4-30.77111-10-30.521
Capitals10-13-10.43817-5-20.750
Rangers13-9-20.58313-9-20.583
Leafs15-9-00.62511-8-50.563
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