Here's a four-team subset of this morning's western conference standings, with Anaheim having ten games to go. The column on the right is "regulation + OT wins", which will be the main tiebreaker at the end of the season -- Anaheim looks to be in good shape there.
|6. Nashville Predators||74||39-25-10||88||33|
|7. Chicago Blackhawks||72||39-25-8||86||34|
|8. Anaheim Ducks||72||40-27-5||85||36|
|9. Dallas Stars||72||38-25-9||85||33|
And wouldn't you know it -- the Ducks start out on a road trip that stops in Dallas tonight, Nashville tomorrow, and Chicago on Saturday -- seems pretty huge, eh?
I should be around tonight -- stop on by for game comments. After the jump, some shot differential perspective!
Nothing too eye-opening today, but I decided to take a quick look at playoff teams since the lockout and how their shot differential looked over the regular season. 80 teams have made the postseason since the lockout; 39 of them outshot their opponents over a season by more than 100 shots.
The Ducks this season are quite the opposite of that -- through 72 games, the Ducks have 2,050 shots for vs. 2,336 shots against (-286). Projected to 82 games, that would mean that the Ducks will have been outshot by about 325 shots over the course of the regular season. That's pretty extreme -- only one team, last year's 8th-seeded Colorado Avalanche, qualified for the playoffs with a worse shot differential; they were outshot by 342 shots.
I've plotted out all 80 post-lockout playoff teams below, with a red dot representing where Anaheim projects to end this season -- if the Ducks do qualify this season, it looks like it could be a real Cinderella story.
Anyways, just something to think about as the Ducks run through their set of hero-come-lately goaltenders. Hell, even Jonas Hiller is coming along this road trip -- the drama never stops.
Prediction: The Ducks fail to yank Kari Lehtonen in the first six minutes of tonight's game, and as a result Anaheim plays an overall-more-competent game. Still, because it's the "3 points for everyone" western race, the game goes to overtime, where Saku Koivu becomes the hero.