Eastern Conference Bubble Watch: March 8th Edition

Jonathan Willis
March 08 2012 08:57AM

The Winnipeg Jets went 5-2-1 in their latest home stand, an eight-game run that helped the team into the final post-season berth in the Eastern Conference. The bad news is that the home stand is now over, and the Jets are forced to head out on the road – starting with a game in Vancouver against the Canucks tonight. Is the shift from home games to road games going to cost the Jets that playoff spot?

The Toronto Maple Leafs on the other hand have a fairly solid road record, even including last night’s distressing defeat. Is that enough for them to pull out of their recent nosedive?

Just to show the situation, I’ve decided to project the various Eastern Conference bubble teams using just schedule strength and home/road records. There are other factors – quality of opponent, back-to-back games, etc. – that should be taken into account in a full examination, but I wanted to isolate the impact of home/road games.

Florida Panthers

  • Current Record: 31-22-12, 74 points
  • Home Record: 16-9-8, 40 points (1.212 points/game)
  • Road Record: 15-13-4, 34 points (1.063 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 8 home, 9 road, 16 total
  • Expected points: 9.7 home, 9.6 road, 19 total
  • Projected end of season total: 93 points

Winnipeg Jets

  • Current Record: 32-27-8, 72 points
  • Home Record: 21-10-4, 46 points (1.314 points/game)
  • Road Record: 11-17-4, 26 points (0.813 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 7 home, 9 road, 16 total
  • Expected points: 9.2 home, 7.3 road, 17 total
  • Projected end of season total: 89 points

Washington Capitals

  • Current Record: 32-28-6, 70 points
  • Home Record: 21-10-3, 45 points (1.324 points/game)
  • Road Record: 11-18-3, 25 points (0.781 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 7 home, 9 road, 16 total
  • Expected points: 9.3 home, 7.0 road, 16 total
  • Projected end of season total: 86 points

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Current Record: 31-29-6, 68 points
  • Home Record: 20-10-2, 42 points (1.313 points/game)
  • Road Record: 11-19-4, 26 points (0.765 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 9 home, 7 road, 16 total
  • Expected points: 11.8 home, 5.4 road, 17 total
  • Projected end of season total: 85 points

Buffalo Sabres

  • Current Record: 31-28-8, 70 points
  • Home Record: 17-11-7, 41 points (1.171 points/game)
  • Road Record: 14-17-1, 29 points (0.906 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 6 home, 9 road, 15 total
  • Expected points: 7.0 home, 8.2 road, 15 total
  • Projected end of season total: 85 points

Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Current Record: 30-30-7, 67 points
  • Home Record: 16-13-5, 37 points (1.088 points/game)
  • Road Record: 14-17-2, 30 points (0.909 points/game)
  • Remaining games: 7 home, 8 road, 15 total
  • Expected points: 7.6 home, 7.3 road, 15 total
  • Projected end of season total: 82 points

As we can see, there isn’t a significant impact for any of these teams based on their remaining home/road splits; projecting ahead would seem to show the Winnipeg Jets as the likely eighth place team, just as they are today.

Sports Club Stats uses a more complex weighted algorithm to calculate playoff odds, but they see things the same way this morning, ranking the Panthers as a near-certain playoff team, followed by the Jets, Capitals, Sabres/Lightning and then the Leafs.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 Jeremy
March 08 2012, 01:45PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Props
0
props

Thanks for this. I get the feeling like it is over for the leafs, but TB is the one seems like a wild card if their goal-tending stabilizes. Please keep on writing.

Comments are closed for this article.