This is how the Pacific Division looked as of Sunday afternoon:
While I was one of the very first to make my predictions for the Pacific Division known, most of you out there haven't been as forthcoming. Well, now it's time to take a stand.
With 25 or so games remaining for every team, there is still time for the standings to change a bit, though dramatic rearranging is unlikely. The sprint to the finish after the Olympic break means that a hot or cold streak could shake things up heading into the playoffs - but can the Sharks possibly overcome Anaheim's current nine-point lead to take back the top spot in the division?
Yeah, they totally can. And they will!
Advanced stats, which all smart and good people love and all Ducks fans hate, say the Sharks and Kings are teams we should expect to rise and the Ducks are a team we should anticipate (while we sport gleeful erections) to fall.
Now, combine those numbers with the relative strengths of the remaining schedule for the teams:
Remaining strength of schedule for the Western Conference: pic.twitter.com/pUcHKUWR9q— Travis Yost (@TravisHeHateMe) January 31, 2014
And now it's almost TOO clear how this is all going to play out. I'll take a guess at point totals based on what I'm guessing will be team winning percentages down the stretch, then I'll add five points to all the teams' totals because of three-point games.
Here's my prediction for what the final standings in the Pacific will look like:
1. San Jose 115 points (66% winning percentage in remaining games)
2. Anaheim 112 points (45% winning percentage in remaining games)
3. Los Angeles 106 points (70% winning percentage in remaining games)
4. Vancouver 99 points (60% winning percentage in remaining games)
5. Phoenix 91 points (45% winning percentage in remaining games)
6. Calgary 76 points (40% winning percentage in remaining games)
7. Edmonton 60 points (35% winning percentage in remaining games)
Disagree? Well that's stupid. But go ahead and post your own predictions in the comments, and we'll see who ends up the closest at the end of the season.
Prediction: The Sharks win, and begin their march to the top.
Video Gamery: My 26th-favorite video game is Dragon Quest VIII.