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Lucky 13

March 14, 2007

No, this post isn’t about Nikolai Zherdev.  Luck has nothing to do with his drop in production this year.

I took a few minutes this morning and broke down the remaining games the Jackets have left to play, of which there are thirteen.  (All stats are as of 3/13/07)

It’s been mentioned in a few places that, at least lately, the Jackets have played decently against playoff (or close) teams and simply haven’t showed up on the nights against fellow bottom dwellers.  The sample size being used for these “trends” is usually eight to twelve games, which hardly makes a telling statistic in my book.  Yes, it’s nice that Columbus has beaten Anaheim, Detroit, Buffalo, and others recently.  But unless it keeps happening, it doesn’t mean much.

So I went back over the course of the season and looked at how the Jackets have done.  If a team is currently in the top 8 in their conference, or within 5 points of the 8th seed, they are a “playoff” team.  All others are non-playoff teams.  My questions were these:

  1. How did Columbus perform against each subset?
  2. What does this predict for their final thirteen games?

What did I find for #1? 

  • Games played against playoff teams: 40
  • Record in these games (straight won/loss, no OTL): (15-25), for a 37.5% win rate
  • Games played against non-playoff teams: 29
  • Record in these games: (12-17), for a 41.4% win rate

So while Columbus has won more games against playoff teams, their win rate is higher against non-playoff teams.  In the larger picture, the mini-run the Jackets had against Detroit/Buffalo/Minnesota/Vancouver is a bit of a fluke.  They would normally win 1.5 of those games, not all four.  It’s also a disappointing finding that the team only wins 41% of games against crappy teams.  I would have figured that Columbus could have picked up more than five wins in twelve games against the also crappy Blackhawks and Blues.  Not so.

How about question #2?

  • There are eight games left against playoff (or close) teams.  Using a 37.5% win rate and rounding down (let’s be honest, CBJ fans), we’d anticipate three wins.
  • There are five games left against non-playoff teams.  Using a 41.4% win rate, we’d anticipate two wins. 

There is an extra ten points to add to the current 61, for a total of 71.  Not the rosiest picture, but we could be Philly fans.

One interesting thing to think about, if you’re a Detroit player/coach/fan, is how your team has fared against Columbus compared to how Nashville has done.  The best Detroit can do at season’s end is earn 12 of 16 points from the Jackets.  Nashville earned a full 16 of 16 from the CBJ, which could be the difference between playing Calgary or San Jose in the first round of the playoffs.

So the Jackets might be playoff spoilers of a sort, but I’m sure they didn’t think of it that way on December 18th and January 19th.  I’m a Buckeye at heart, so it’s kind of nice to be able to screw over any team from Michigan, even if I did have to use 551 words to figure out how. (I kid!)

Thanks for stopping by the End of the Bench.  Come back soon.

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2 comments

  1. Okay … but how about we only look at the games where Hitch has been behind the bench, instead of the season in its entirety, since it could be legitimately said that much of that miserable record can be hefted on to the shoulders of “Turk”, coupled with a cumbersome coach search that resulted in Gary Agnew all but burying this team (0-4-1)? Because then that seems to speak of another story altogether:

    Teams currently playoff seeded or within 5 points since 11/24:
    15-13-2

    Teams not seeded or not within 5 points since 11/24:
    8-9-3

    I really do believe that gauging the record under Hitch against both playoff and non-playoff teams is a lot more legitimate than the full season, but that’s just my opinion.

    Feh. Forgive me if I sound argumentative, since that’s totally not my intention at 6:30 in the morning. I’m a miserable wreck of sickness (again) thanks to this [expletive deleted] manic weather, and feel like dying on the spot, so my normal levels of tact reserves are at rock bottom. 😦


  2. You raise a good point. One that I considered, but I opted for the largest sample size possible.

    They’re certainly better since Hitchcock has been on board, but how does anyone explain the Nashville thing? We should have gotten more than one (mercy) point against them this season.

    Hope you get to feeling better.



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