Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peaking at the Right Time.

It doesn’t really take more than common sense to understand what is meant by “peak” in terms of a sports team.

Obviously teams have highs and lows throughout the 82-game NHL season, but how important is it to be on a high right before the playoffs?

Let’s take a look at the past 2 seasons and what it’s meant in the recent past to be peaking upon the start of the playoffs.



Team Record Last 10 GF Average GA Average Playoff Result
Anaheim 5-3-2    12pts 2.5 2.1 Cup
Buffalo 7-3-0    14pts 3.7 2.8 ECF
Detroit 5-1-4    14pts 2.6 1.4 WCF
Ottawa 6-2-2    14pts 3.9 2.3 Runner Up
Pittsburgh 6-3-1    13pts 2.7 2.3 First Round Exit(FRE)

Shoddy chart right? Through the last 10 games in 06/07; these teams were all decent. The Penguins didn’t fair too well once the Playoffs were underway though…you remember.

Lets move to…


At this point, I began to figure out what I was really looking for. The teams that I found stats for the 2006/7 season, aside from the Pens, were all arguably contenders.

Even if the Penguins are playing phenomenal hockey right now (and they are), they aren’t looking at a top seed. So lets look from a little further away…

Team (seed) Record Last 10 GF Average GA Average Playoff Result
Boston (8) 4-2-4    12pts 2.4 1.9 round 1
Calgary (7) 5-5-0    10pts 2.4 2.6 round 1
Colorado (6) 5-4-1    11pts 3.0 2.9 round 2
Dallas (5) 3-5-2    8pts 3.0 3.0 WCF
Detroit (1) 7-2-1    15pts 3.1 2.3 Cup
Nashville (8) 6-3-1    13pts 2.1 2.1 round 1
NYR (5) 5-1-4    14pts 2.4 1.9 round 2
Ottawa (7) 3-6-1    7pts 3.1 3.6 round 1
Philly (6) 7-2-1    15pts 2.7 2.5 ECF
Pittsburgh (2) 6-3-1    14pts 2.7 2.0 SCF
Washington (3) 9-1-0    18pts 3.0 1.9 round 1

Whoa. So what can be made of this? if anything…

  • Washington was the hottest team (of those listed, at least) through their last 10 regular season games. How’d that go for them? Ovechkin was able to push them past the Canes in  the last week of the regular season last year.
  • Philly peaked at the right time last year. Then the Pens happened to them.
  • Detroit’s entire season looked similar to those numbers.
  • Teams that peak late may earn underserved spots. Washington was able to “sneak” into the third seed last spring because they were the SE division champs…


The Penguins are hot now. Can their heat carry them to the cup?

Dupuis-Crosby-Hossa < Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin

Will Malkin vanish in the Playoffs?

Fleury and Garon > Conklin and Osgood?

Pittsburgh vs. Detroit Pt. 2

Count on it.

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