Every March, intelligent hockey fans turn to Sports Club Stats to assess the odds of NHL teams making the playoffs, and to predict their playoff position once the season ends.
Be thankful for computers. They do the heavy lifting, calculating every possible combination of game results (numbering in the hundreds of thousands). Factors such as a team’s home ice performance are worked in, and the odds are recalculated after every night’s games.
Vancouver has all but clinched a postseason berth, with only a 1 in 10,000 chance of missing at this point. No surprise there: the Canucks have had a 97% chance or higher of making the playoffs since finishing a strong December.
The Canucks’ chances of making the playoffs:
Can Colorado catch the Canucks for the division title? The Av’s chances are slim: just under 10%. Here are the Canucks’ chances for different playoff positions:
Our old friends the Flames are sputtering: their chances dropped from 15% to 6.5% with a 3-2 road loss to the Islanders last night.
Most likely the top four in the West will be (1) Chicago, (2) San Jose, (3) Vancouver, and (4) Phoenix.
The bottom four could be in any order. Vancouver will most likely play the number six seed, which could be Nashville (27% chance), Colorado (25%), Los Angeles (23%), or Detroit (18%).
In the East, the Bruins have a 72.1% chance of holding on to eight place. The Rangers (20.9%) and Thrashers (14.7%) have a small chance of catching them.
The most likely ranking in the East is (1) Washington, (2) New Jersey, (3) Buffalo, (4) Pittsburgh, (5) Ottawa, (6) Montreal, (7) Philadelphia, and (8) Boston.
The Final Games
It’s an unusual season in that the teams in and out of the playoffs have pretty much been decided. There likely won’t be any final game dramatics.
The Canucks are sitting solidly in first place, with a small chance of moving up to second. The real concern is Detroit: no one wants to play the skilled and experienced Wings. Most of us will be rooting for them and the Avalanche to lose, and for Nashville and Los Angeles to win.
As for the Flames, we’re all very sorry they’ll miss the playoffs. We truly are, we promise.