In “The Best Worst Team in NHL History”, Stephan Cooper has done an interesting analysis of goal differential.
Cooper’s point is that goal differential is “the best predictor” of how a team will fare in hockey. To get an accurate read on goal differential, Cooper has eliminated shootout goals and empty-netters, for and against.
As you might expect, Boston, Pittsburgh, the Rangers and Philadelphia have outstanding positive goal differentials in Cooper’s analysis.
What may surprise you is the Canadiens at minus-2, sixth best in the Eastern Conference. Their differential is better than those of Ottawa, Washington and Florida.
There are some other NHL stats that suggest the Canadiens weren’t all that bad.
As we know, the team finished 28th. But the Canadiens were:
• 19th in goals-per-game
• 11th in goals-against per game
• 18th in 5-on-5 for/against
• SECOND in penalty-kill efficiency
• 19th in shots per game
• 12th in shots-against per game
The stats that correspond more closely to the Canadiens’ lowly finish?
• They were 25th in faceoff efficiency.
• 28th in number of minor penalties
• Power-play was 28th in the NHL.
• A league-high 12 shootout losses
• The Canadiens were 30th in percentage of games won when scoring the first goal, 29th in percentage when leading after the first period, 28th when leading after two.
And playing before sellout crowds of 21,273 noisy and loyal fans, the Canadiens were 16-15-10 at the Bell Centre – a home record that was 28th in the league and – like the PP and number of minor penalties – corresponds exactly with their place in the standings.
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Live blog lives!
For the amusement of those watching the Habs-free playoffs, HIO will offer some live game blogs as a forum for ranting.
The fun begins Wednesday night, when the Penguins will try to avoid a sweep in Philadelphia.
There won’t be a live blog every day. But HIO will try to pick ut the post interesting games in the preliminary rounds, and then we’ll have full live-blogging of the Eastern Conference final and the Cup final.