The Numbers Game(s).
37 GP, a record of 21-10-6, for 48 pts, with a P% of 0.649.
Normally, removing games from a teams record is akin to cherry picking numbers, and thus putting the resultant conclusions entirely out of perspective.
But not always.
When statistically analysing a process for results one must examine `stable` data. This means raw data, and enough of it to be considered an accurate representation of the processes output. This is why excluding the Sens first 6 games, in one block, is not considered cherry picking the numbers. The remaining 37 GP, all in one block, un-changed, is more than enough raw data to be considered a reliable sample of the process, this being the 2011/12 Ottawa Senators. In fact, those first 6 games could be considered statistically anomalous, and likely a result of the “breaking in” of the new process, a one time variable.
Sorry for all of the jargon, but I just wanted to be clear that the following examination of the Senators is not “cherry picking”, from a statistical analysis point of view.
And when you exclude these first 6 games something else important happens to the Sens season statistics, the GF/GA changes significantly, from a deficit of eight (135/143) to a surplus of six (119/113).
Why does this matter? Well, one of the most robust indicators of team quality is the GF/GA ratio. Simply put, good teams have a positive ration skewed towards GF. You can also determine a teams offensive strength (GF/GP) and defensive ratio (GA/GP) from these numbers, making them fundamental variables in measuring a teams strength against its peers.
With a GF of 119/37 (3.21), the Sens instantly jump from 7th in NHL offense to tied with VAN for 4th.
With a GA of 113/37 (3.05), the Sens instantly jump from 28th in the NHL, in defense, to 23rd.
Using these revised season stats (again, based upon 37 contiguous data points), the Sens appear even stronger than their current 6th place within the Eastern Conference.
A 0.649 P%, extrapolated over the remaining regular season schedule (39G), has the Senators finishing the season with an additional 50 pts, for a regular season total of 100 pts., or a P% of 0.610.
IF, and it remains a massive IF, the Sens can pull this off, they would (again, projecting from current standings) finish fourth in the Eastern Conference, and face the Florida Panthers in the first round.
But the remaining 39 games have a different look from the past 37 (of the data set), requiring some tweaking of the numbers before simply using ther revised P% as a multiplier.
In the 37 game data set, the Sens went 13-6-1 at home, for a P% of 0.675. Of these 20 home games 7 (or 35%) were against opponents currently ahead of the Senators in P%. In these matches the Senators earned a P% of 0.571, and thus earned a P% of 0.654 against teams currently below them in P%.
On the road, in the 37 game data set, the Senators played 17 contest, going 8-4-5, for a road P% of 0.618. Of these games 6 were against opponents currently ahead of them in P%. In these matches the Senators earned a P% of 0.417, and thus earned a P% of 0.727 against teams currently below them in P% (BTW, this represents the Sens best P% scenario, road games vs. opponents below them in P%).
In the remaining 39 games, 18 will be home dates, 21 will be on the road.
Of the 18 home games, 7 will be versus teams currently ahead of them in P%. So, if the process remains stable, the Sens can expect (0.571×14) 8 points from these games and thus (0.654×22) 14 points from teams below them in P%. Therefore, total hme points in the remaining 39 games is expected to be @22.
Of the 21 road games 8 will be versus teams currently ahead of them in P%. So, if the process remains stable, the Sens can expect (0.417×16) 6 points from these game and thus (0.727×28) 21 points from teams below them in P%. Therefore, total road points in the remaining 39 games is expected to be @27.
Now, there are some key variables missing from the above (injuries, specific team records, scheduling) but all f these factors exist within the first 37 games. This is why I say “if the process remains stable”. If any of the teams involved suffer key injuries, it will have a strong chance at fundamentally altering the process.
So here’s my statistical prediction based upon the above data;
Sens will finish the regular season with 99 points, finishing with a regular season P% of 0.603, for a 4th place finish in the Easter Conference and will, in the first round, face the Florida Panthers.
Well, that’s what the stats. say…but I remain skeptical this team has what it takes to turn it up another notch heading into the hotly contested second half.
But, in saying that, my “gut” has been awful in predicting how this team will perform…here’s to a rotten gut going forward…I guess.
Follow Sensay on Twitter at @GNSensay.