With the season down to just over a dozen game, I'm going to do what I've done each of the past couple of seasons and track the pace to the playoffs for the T-birds as well as the teams they are in a battle with for a playoff spot. In this case those teams would be Everett and Prince George.
It's a fairly simple formula of figuring the points each team is, on average, earning for games played and projecting that out over a 72 game schedule. Obviously it fluctuates from game to game. But it gives you sort of an idea of what each team needs to make the playoffs over their remaining games.
Right now, Seattle is in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They have earned 45 points in 58 games. That means they are earning, on average .776 points per game. They have 14 games remaining. .776 x 72 = 55.9 points. Rounding it up, they are currently on pace to finish with 56 points. A win tonight in Everett would increase that pace to 57.35 points, a loss would drop it to 54.9. Earning one point would put them on pace for a 56.1 pt season.
Everett, currently in 7th place in the conference standings, has played one more game and has earned 47 points thus far. On average they are earning .796 points per game. They have 13 games left. .796 x 72 = 57.35, basically they are on pace to earn 57.4 pts.
Prince George currently sits 9th in the standings. Through 58 games they have earned 42 pts. Like Seattle the Cougars have 14 games left on their schedule. On average PG is earning .724 pts per game. .724 x 72 = 52.13, so the Cougars are on pace for 52 pts.
Here is what is left on each of the schedules for those three teams:
Seattle (14 games) Three against Everett (2 home, 1 away), two against Vancouver (1 home, 1 away), one home game vs. Edmonton, one road game at Kelowna, three against Tri-City (2 home, 1 away), one game at Spokane, one home game versus Prince George and a home and away to end the regular season against Portland. The T-birds, with nine, have the most home games remaining of the three teams and Seattle has earned at least a point in seven of their last nine home games (10 pts earned over that span). So if Seattle continues to play the final nine home games the way they played the last nine at the ShoWare Center, they should be in line for another 10 pts. But they stil have road stops in Tri-City, Spokane, Kelowna and Portland.
Everett (13 games) Three versus the T-birds (1 home, 2 away), two against Tri-City (1 home, 1 away), two versus Spokane (1 home, 1 away) one home game versus Edmonton, two versus Portland (1 home, 1 away) one game at Vancouver and two games against Victoria (1 home, 1 away). The Silvertips have 7 of their final 13 at home but they do have a stretch of five straight on the road including stops in Portland, Spokane and Victoria as well as Vancouve and Kent.
Prince George (14 games) one game at Lethbridge and one game at Edmonton, two home games versus Portland, three versus Kamloops (2 home, 1 away), three against Tri-City (2 home, 1 away), one at Seattle, and one game each at Vancouver, Spokane and Kelowna.
All three teams have tough schedules remaining but Prince George may have the most difficult road. PG has just six home games remaining. After they finish a swing through the Central Division (two games left) they come home for five straight against Portland (2), Kamloops (1) and Tri-City (2) then are back on the road for six straight before ending the regular season at home against the Blazers. Of course last season, I thought Victoria had the toughest road to climb to get into a playoff spot but the Royals got hot at the right time and passed by everyone to get into the postseason.
For the T-birds and Silvertips, who play each other three times, getting points out of those head-to-head games is crucial. Who ever gets more points in those three games proably controls its postseason fate.
In memory of Bruce McDonald, 1971-2012