Examining the Jets Playoff Hopes

Posted by Michael Remis in Columns,Jets Columns,Winnipeg Jets on March 8, 2012 — 3 Comments

On the Illegal Curve Hockey Show a few weeks back, we did a segment called “Win, Lose, Toss Up” where we went through each of the Jets remaining games and gave our prediction on the outcome. We then tallied the points up to see if it would put the Jets in a playoff spot. While I’m not going to go through each game individually, I’ll try to project the points earned in the remaining fifteen games based on past performance.

*Last season the New York Rangers took the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference with 93 points, we’ll use that as a benchmark for the final playoff spot. However, due to the quality of the Eastern Conference this season, it is possible 8th place will be less than 93 points. To ensure that the Jets are all but guaranteed a playoff spot, well use 93 points. (SportsClubStats has the Jets at 99% chance at a playoff spot if they make it to 93)

Winnipeg currently has 72 points in the standings, if they want to finish with 93 points, they’ll need to earn 21 points in their final fifteen games finishing at either 10-4-1 or 9-3-3, that is a winning percentage of 66.7% or 60%, and a points earned per game of 1.4. That is greater than the team ‘s winning percentage this season of 47.8% and average points-per-game on the season of 1.07.

(Winning percentage: wins/games played, points per game: total points/games played).

From a strictly mathematical point of view, if we take their average points-per-game (1.07), and multiply it by the number of games remaining (15), they should earn 16.05 points. Well short of the 21 hypothetically required.

What is most interesting about the Jets is that they are a completely different team at home (21-10-4, 60% winning percentage, 1.31 points-per-game average) than on the road (11-17-4, 34.4%, 0.81 points-per-game average).

Unfortunately for Jets fans, nine of the remaining fifteen games are on the road. If we take their points per game at home and the road, and multiply it by the respective games (1.31 x 6)+(0.81 x 9) the Jets will finish with 15.15 points, short of the  21 required.

For the purposes of this article, the best case (but unlikely) scenario is that the Jets will perform for the remainder of the regular season at the level they have performed at home all year. In this case, they should theoretically earn 19.65 points (1.31 x 15) for the remainder of the season, close to the goal of 21, but not quite.

What is clear from the math is the Jets are going to have to play beyond the level they have throughout the season to make the playoffs.  While this is not necessarily unheard of in professional sports, teams get “hot” at the end of the season and make a run to ear a playoff birth.

The good news for Jets fans is that they could be one of those teams that gets “hot”.

Since the All Star break, the team has posted a record of 10-5-2, averaging 1.29 points-per-game. On the road the Jets have posted a respectable 4-3 record, averaging 1.14 points per game.  Conversely, at home the has posted a record of 6-2-2, averaging 1.4 points per game.

Comparing the post All Star break and total season records, the Jets are playing their best hockey right when it counts most—down the stretch. From projecting their point total based on post All-Star break performance we can project that they will earn ((9 x 1.14) + (6 x 1.4)) 18.66 points in the remaining 15 games, arriving at a total of 90.66 points.

According to the website SportsClubStats if the Jets finish with 90 points they have an 80% shot at the playoffs, if they finish with 91, they have around a 90% shot at the playoffs.

As Lloyd Christmas once said, “so you’re saying there is a chance.”

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  • buck919

    While this is a worthwhile analysis of the Jets chances of getting to the mark that’s likely to be needed to make the playoffs, the key element that’s missing is what the other teams need to do. Using points per game earned in the past isn’t helpful in that applying that same logic to the teams chasing the Jets would put them in the same position after 82 games that they are in now…2 to 5 points behind.

    What’s also missing is the strength of each team’s schedule for the next month. Best example of this is Toronto’s ugly current week (Bos, @Pit, Phi).

    What I think this article does prove is that the team(s) that plays beyond their historical level (the teams that get “hot”) over the next month will get the 2 spots being contested.

  •  Right, I would agree with you, this is a pretty general analysis, and does not go into detail about specific opponents. It is a model that is focused strictly on the Jets, ignores other teams.and isn’t a representation of real life.

    The point of the article is to show that the Jets need to score 21 points in 15 games to pretty much guarantee a playoff spot, which is at a rate that is above their performance this season.

    The Jets have gone on a bit of a hot streak since the All-Star break, and if they want to make the playoffs they will have to step up their play from what they have shown so far.

    Thanks for reading and I hope that clears things up.

  • buck919

    Great stuff. At the end of the day, you’re right, the Jets need to get to about 93 points to assure themselves a spot. Since the all-star game I’ve been saying to myself “win 2/3 every week and they’ll get in”. So far so good! Hope they can keep it going.

    Keep up the great work Illegal Curve. I’ve been a listener back to your Kick days — you all do a fantastic job.