I don't usually do polls on the site, but in celebration of a playoff berth and the potential of an Eastern Conference title, let's dance.
Basically, after the jump I wanted to look at the East's playoff teams (and those that are still in the race) to determine whom we (as NYR fans) should be cheering for with less than 10 games to go for everyone. Please vote in the poll BEFORE reading the article (I'm curious). Two things to note here:
1) Contrary to popular belief (probably?), momentum is essentially a glorified myth heading into playoffs. You want predictive results? Go back at least 35 games in the season (I have done just that after the jump).
2) The best team in the league only wins the cup 22% of the time.
With that said; vote, then read, then comment.
All's I've done here is taken a peek at each teams Shot Ratio (here is NYR's link) and PDO as of tonight (3/22) and looked back 35 games to see the difference. What I like about the 35 game rule is that even by looking at the stats now (where teams have played 70+ games), it brings us back to the upper-30's GP range. This means that a team's true talent has been identified due to the sample size of games (this is when the Wild were about five games into their "skid" from first place in the West to a top ten pick). The Rangers, at around game 38, were continuing to climb the Shot Ratio mountain, which has been a thrilling ride to say the least.
Anywho, here's the chart:
Let's start with the bad news first. Who would I not want to see the Rangers play? Here's my order:
- Pittsburgh (everyone now is like, DUH SIDZ BACK - but this is no shock to me. Go back through my team metrics updates if you don't believe me)
- Boston (I don't care about the season series, they're good)
- Philly (Bryzgalov has gone from a pre-WC .890 Save% to a now .910 Save% - no thank you)
- Winnipeg (Quietly good all season)
- Ottawa/Washington (mixed feelings - will explain below)
And now the good news. Who I'm hoping for, in order:
- Florida (below 0.5 Shot Ratio - Jose Theodore in net)
- Carolina (they're brutal - only Cam Ward can save them (who has gone from a .896 at the new year to a now .914, woof)).
- Buffalo (Kinda the same boat as Carolina - Miller has gone from a .898 to a recent .916 - its all averages)
- New Jersey (NYR did beat the piss out of them in the first three seconds, but they're still decent and can hang with NYR as well)
Ottawa/Washington explanation: Ottawa is good, and they have been all season, floating above the critical 0.5 Shot Ratio % line. The difference as of late? They've been riding a decent luck streak (PDO rise) with their shooting and Ben Bishop being a bit of a savior. But luck isn't supposed to stick around for a while, right? Correct, but in a seven game series anything can happen, and that's why the best team only wins the cup 22% of the time.
Washington, meanwhile, is an interesting cupcake. Plenty of potential, they were actually better off under Bruce Boudreau, but around game 52 they started making a push north in terms of controlling the shots. I'd rather just not see the Rangers play them, for the fear of the "what if" (that and if/when Vokoun comes back).
So yeah, I'm cheering for not only the Rangers to grab the 1 seed, but for Buffalo to grab the 8 (so I can rub it in my WNY friends when they lose; yeah I'm talking about you Hawk), and for somehow NYR to end up with the Panthers in the second round. That, my friends, would be like hopping on the thruway (the 90 for you non-upstater's) to the Eastern Conference Final with an E-Z pass.