Kings/Flames: What You Need to Know [Preview #26]

The Flames, for all the reverse-buzz about their season being in the toilet, have had a season much like the Kings'. They started fast out of the gate (6-3-0, beating the Kings in there somewhere), and followed that up with a disastrous run of 2-8-2 (landing them in the Western Conference basement), before leveling off at 4-3-0 in their last seven games. The Flames have beaten Nashville, San Jose, Chicago, Columbus, Philadelphia and Tampa (and LA), so there's no reason to take them lightly. The Flames are currently four points behind the Kings, though the Kings have played three fewer games. In fact, the Kings have games in hand on everybody.

Which reminds me...this morning's standings. Check out the difference between the official (ESPN) standings and my standings (sorted by WIN%):

 

 

 

Q OFF.   GP GiH W L WSO OTL PTS W% PRJ W%* PRJ* GB PS +/- PB to95
1 1 DET 26 1.0 17 6 0 3 37 0.712 117 0.654 107 0 7 15 26-24-6
2 3 VAN 26 1.0 14 8 1 3 33 0.635 104 0.577 95 -2 3 19 28-22-6
3 2 DAL 27 0.0 14 9 2 2 34 0.630 103 0.593 97 -2.5 2 20 28-21-6
4 5 PHX 26 1.0 12 7 1 6 32 0.615 101 0.500 82 -2.5 2 20 29-21-6
5 10 LAK 25 2.0 12 10 3 0 30 0.600 98 0.600 98 -2.5 2 20 30-21-6
6 9 CBJ 26 1.0 13 10 2 1 31 0.596 98 0.577 95 -3 1 21 29-21-6
7 6 SJS 27 0.0 12 9 2 4 32 0.593 97 0.519 85 -3.5 0 22 29-20-6
8 7 NAS 27 0.0 9 8 4 6 32 0.593 97 0.481 79 -3.5 0 22 29-20-6
9 11 STL 26 1.0 10 9 3 4 30 0.577 95 0.500 82 -3.5 0 22 30-20-6
10 4 CHI 30 -3.0 14 12 2 2 34 0.567 93 0.533 87 -5.5 -4 26 28-19-5
11 12 COL 27 0.0 11 10 2 4 30 0.556 91 0.481 79 -4.5 -2 24 30-19-6
12 8 ANA 31 -4.0 13 13 1 4 32 0.516 85 0.452 74 -7.5 -8 30 29-17-5
13 13 MIN 26 1.0 11 11 0 4 26 0.500 82 0.423 69 -5.5 -4 26 32-18-6
14 14 CGY 28 -1.0 9 14 3 2 26 0.464 76 0.429 70 -7.5 -8 30 32-16-6
15 15 EDM 27 0.0 10 12 0 5 25 0.463 76 0.370 61 -7 -7 29 32-17-6
    MAX 31   17 14 4 6 37                
    MIN 25   9 6 0 0 25                

Chart key:

  • Sorted by winning percentage (W%).
  • Only regulation wins and OT wins are counted as wins (W).
  • Shoot-out wins (WSO) are tallied separately. Why? Because they don't count in the "total wins" tie-breaker, so we need to keep them out of the W column.
  • "OTL" = loss in OT or shoot-out (i.e. Bettman point). 
  • "OFF." = the official standings, as rendered by ESPN. 
  • "Q" = Quisp standings. 
  • "GiH" = games in hand, above or below the average for the division. 
  • "PRJ" = projected final point total.
  • "W%*" and "PRJ*" (note the asterisks) show the team's win percentage an projected point total if you eliminate the "Bettman Point" and treat a loss as a loss.
  • "GB" = games back, i.e. baseball standings. 
  • "PB" = points blown. Points-blown refers to the number of potential points a team has failed to earn. Lower number is better, like golf. This may seem like a needlessly confusing and pointless stat to keep track of, in which case, feel free to skip this column entirely. However, I find it's a useful way to correct for disparities in games-played. Think of points-blown as a kind of "hidden reason for optimism (or pessimism)". 
  • "PS +/-" = points blown, relative to the 8th seed. In other words, how far above or below the post-season ("P.S.") cut-off a team is.
  • In the first two columns (Q rank and ESPN rank), green means 1-4 seed, yellow is 5-8, orange is 9-12, red is 13-15. 
  • For the columns "team name" through "PRJ", green indicates a projected finish 100 points or above (certain to qualify for playoffs). yellow is 94-99 projected points (probable for playoffs), orange is 86-93 (projected to fall short), red is below 85 (falling short of falling short). 
  • For the No Bettman Point columns (with asterisks), the thresholds have been shifted downward slightly, to reflect the fact that teams across the board earn between 2-14 fewer points.
  • For the last four columns, the colors translate to great, good, bad and screwed. 
  • "to95" - the record each team needs to get to the presumed playoff threshold of 95 points. 
  •  

    Some observations:

     

    • The most extreme disparities so far this year between the official standings and my corrected standings.
    • The Kings are 10th officially, and 5th ranked by WIN%. Why? Because they have played the fewest games of any team in the conference. 
    • Chicago has played five more games than LA. Anaheim has played six more games than LA. 
    • That's why Chicago, 4th in the official standings, is 10th in mine. (The difference of 6 spots is the highest I've seen in the two years of doing this.)
    • Anaheim is (by WIN%) 12th, not 8th. 
    • STL, CBJ and LAK are all much better in reality than in the official standings. 
    • CHI, MIN, ANA, CGY and EDM have the worst records, purely judged by points blown (PB). However:
    • Four points separate 3rd from 11th. Ten points separate 2nd from dead last. The Kings are one point from 2nd, 2 or 3 points from 11th. 
    • EDM could go on a tear and find themselves in the top four in a month. 
    • Pretty much anything is still possible. 
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