With the disparity between games played, even a quarter way into the NHL season, the regular standings are pretty indiscernible. Unlike baseball, standard standings do not make use of the Games Behind statistic, which, when comparing a team like the Bruins who have played 17 games to the Penguins who have played 21, can be quite useful.
And so here we have it. A current (set to be out of date by nightfall) chart of the pertinent statistics in terms of games played.
[click to make it eat its vegetables and grow big and strong]
- Biggest drop from ranking by points to points per game? My Pittsburgh Penguins who go from 6th to 16th. Eventually GP is going to even out and the Pens are going to have to keep with their current pace, 9 pts in the last 5 games, to stay ahead of the pack.
- Where are these goals coming from in Boston? They're averaging 3 goals/game, on pace for 40 more goals than last season. Who would have thought free agent acquisition Nathan Horton would bring this much?
- The Panthers have to improve, right? The only difference between Florida and the San Jose is a single win and 4 overtime losses. All of the Panthers 9 losses have come in regulation, which is why they are so low in Pts/GP, but they've got a positive goal differential.
- The Blues have an even goal differential, but are currently the 5th best team in Pts/GP. Why? Because Halak has fallen apart. Factor out his last 4 losses and the Blues are +14 in 14 GP.
- The West is tight. 10 teams between 20-23 pts. Seriously.
- Look at the huge gap between the top 4 playoff teams in the East and the bottom 4. Washington, Boston, Montreal, and Philadelphia are in the top 6. Tampa, Pittsburgh, New York, and Carolina are 17th-23rd.
- Holding current pace, it's going to take 96 pts to make the playoffs in the West, and only 82 in the East. So basically, yeah, the West is probably going to have multiple teams miss the playoffs when they have better records than East playoff teams. Again.