Capitals’ Magic Numbers


Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

After Friday night’s results, the Capitals essentially need three regulation or overtime wins (a.k.a. ROW) out of the final five games to virtually guarantee home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. The following provides information on the tie-breakers, and the implications of Sunday’s game versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, which significantly impacts what results need to be achieved in the remaining games. 

On Friday night the Capitals lost to the Arizona Coyotes 6-3.  With the regulation defeat, the Capitals missed an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the race to finish first in the Metropolitan division and secure home ice advantage in the playoffs. However, their closest competitor, the Columbus Blue Jackets, lost Friday night as well.

As the table below illustrates, the Capitals essentially clinch home ice advantage throughout the playoffs with three regulation or overtime wins.

At this point, the Penguins have lost the second tie-breaker to the Capitals.  For home ice advantage, the Penguins would need to beat the Capitals on points.  Both the Blackhawks and the Penguins need to win to keep their hopes alive for a chance at the league’s overall home ice advantage.  Once past the tie breakers of points and regulation or overtime wins, the Caps hold the decided advantage if two clubs are tied.

Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 1.22.00 AM

Here is a key for reading the table:

Areas where Caps have a current advantage start with a +; the number that immediately follows is the current lead margin.  The number in parenthesis represents the most an opponent could achieve; i.e., if the Caps reach that number, the worst that could happen would be that the next tie-breaker would be employed.

If the Caps were behind on a tie-breaker, it would start with a  and the number that followed would have to be attained by the Capitals to close the gap.

If just “Caps” is in the same column as the opponent, the Capitals have already won the tie-breaker in a two-way tie.

Pens = Pittsburgh Penguins; CBJ = Columbus Blue Jackets; Hawks = Chicago Blackhawks

PTS = Points; ROW = Regulation and Overtime Wins (Shootouts excluded); HTH = Head to Head leader in points; GD = Differential between teams’ goal differentials

A three-way tie is looking increasingly unlikely , but if you want to learn about one troubling scenario, you can read more about it here.

WHAT’S NEXT?
The Capitals next play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.  Here are the six scenarios that could result from Sunday’s contest:

1. Capitals beat Jackets in regulation (Caps 2 points, 1 ROW; Jackets nothing) — The Capitals would only need one more regulation or overtime win and one more point (e.g., an overtime or shootout loss) to clinch home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

2. Capitals beat Jackets in overtime (Caps 2 points, 1 ROW; Jackets 1 point) — Similarly, the Capitals would only need one more regulation or overtime win and one more point (e.g., an overtime or shootout loss) to guarantee home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

3. Capitals beat Jackets in shootout (Caps 2 points; Jackets 1 point) — The Capitals would only need two more wins of any type to clinch home ice advantage throughout the playoffs

4. Capitals lose to Jackets in shootout (Caps 1 point; Jackets 2 points) — The Capitals would only need two more regulation or overtime wins and one more point (e.g., an overtime or shootout loss) to guarantee home ice advantage throughout the playoffs

5. Capitals lose to Jackets in overtime (Caps 1 point; Jackets 2 points, 1 ROW) — The Capitals would need to get three wins of any type out of the final four games to clinch home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

In the five scenarios above, if the Capitals and Jackets end up tied on standings points and ROW at the end of the regular season, the Capitals win the third tie-breaker, head-to-head.  In the scenario below, if the Capitals and Jackets end up tied on standing points and ROW at the end of the regular season, they need to go to the fourth tie-breaker, differential in goal differential which the Capitals are currently ahead +15.

6. Capitals lose to Jackets in regulation (Caps nothing; Jackets 2 points, 1 ROW) — In this worst case scenario, the Capitals need to get three regulation or overtime wins out of the final four games to all but guarantee home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

After every game played, the tie-breaker scenarios get updated.  Both the Penguins and Blackhawks play earlier on Sunday, so the first scenario could get adjusted depending on their results.

Here is their remaining regular season schedule:
Screen Shot 2017-04-01 at 8.30.09 AM

By Tim Foisie

About Tim Foisie

I'm a businessman and sports writer. You can find some of my articles through the link below (to view some other articles just search my name in Nova Caps):
This entry was posted in Editorial, Essay, News, Opinion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Capitals’ Magic Numbers

  1. Pingback: Game Preview: Capitals @ Blue Jackets | NoVa Caps

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