I was reading through the weekend of posts on Puck Daddy, and as I am sure almost everybody knows, the big story is the Capital's losing streak and the end of the streak. In the "What we learned" Column, there was the usual rip on the weak SE Division, but according to several statistic categories, the SE Division is actually the strongest in the East to this point in the season. After the Jump, the details.
As it stands right now, two of the Eastern Conference Divisions have 3 teams in playoff positions, The Atlantic, and the SE.
I will compare the 3 divisions based on several categories. First, let's look at points. It is pretty clear that the top two teams are in the Atlantic Division, the Flyers and the penguins have the best points totals and either hold games in hand or are at the same point in the schedule in terms of games played than the rest of the division, particularly those close to them. However, Divisional totals in points look like this:
ATL: 172 - 246 Team games remaining
NE: 168 - 246 Team games remaining
SE: 185 - 248 Team games remaining
So not only do teams in the SE Division have more total points as their other EC Counterparts, they also have two additional team games remaining.
In terms of Goal Differential, the SE is the only division in the EC with a positive total. The details are as follows Divisional totals follwed by (Individual team totals by current divisional standing):
ATL: -4 (35, 26, 14, -40, -39)
NE: -21 (15, 24, -11, -25, -24)
SE: 5 (5, -9, 12, -5, 2)
The ATL suffers tremedously in this stat because of the abysmal differentials of NJ and NYI. Their -79 total is more than the rest of the teams in the division with a negative differential by a full 5 goals. But another interesting thing that these numbers show is the wide deviation between the strongest and weakest in the divisions. The team with the best differential (PHI) is in the same division as the team with the worst (NJD) a total deviation of 75. The top and bottom teams in the SE (ATL, and TBL respectively) is only a 21 goal swing.
Looking in depth at records, the SE is a very good team at home, and a mediocre team on the road. SE division teams are currently averaging a 64.13% Total points percentage at home, but only a 50.57% on the road. This is seemingly good news as of the 248 team games remaining, 129 of them are home games, adnd only 119 road games.
Finally (for now), looking at the current standings, the only team from the SE that does not appear to have a chance at the playoffs is the Panthers. The Hurricanes (4 points back of 8th place) could make a legitimate playoff push.
What this tells me that right now, the worst division in the east is the Northeast. Yes the Atlantic has the 2 worst teams, but also the two best, and the rangers are in the top 5 in current points as well. In the NE, there are 3 teams with double digit negative goal differentials (OTT, BUF, TOR), both Ottawa and Buffalo have <50% points percentage in games both at home and on the road (TOR has 56% points percentage at home, but an abysmal 30% in road games.
I will continue to track the Eastern Conference through the rest of the season and add to this as the season progresses.
Note: I am also looking at certain Flyers game by game stats, and will have some kind of analysis on that later this week