Breaking Down 2010-2011 Pt. 2: Joy Division(s)

We need more of these, thanks. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

 

In Part 1 of the breakdown of the Jackets' 2010-2011 season, we compared them to teams from both conferences who made their way into the playoffs, and determined that the Jackets' inter-divisional play wasn't really up to par compared to playoff squads, but there's still indications that the team was closer to success than we might have thought.

So, now, using our same comparisons against the 7 and 8 seeds in both conferences again, let's now look at their records against the other divisions in the same conference, and where the gaps really start to form.

Just like before, we'll do East, then West, then the Jackets. So, how did the Rangers do in games outside of their division?

Team

Division

Home Record

Away Record

Overall Record

Points

Playoff Team?

Bruins

Northeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Sabres

Northeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Montreal

Northeast

1-1

0-2

1-3

2

Yes

Senators

Northeast

0-1-1

2-0

2-1-1

5

No

Maple Leafs

Northeast

1-0-1

2-0

3-0-1

7

No

Thrashers

Southeast

0-2

1-1

1-3

2

No

Hurricanes

Southeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

No

Panthers

Southeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

No

Lightning

Southeast

0-1-1

0-1-1

0-2-2

2

Yes

Capitals

Southeast

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

Yes

There are a few stinkers in there, but in general the series against Tampa, Montreal, and Atlanta were counterbalanced by Ottawa, Toronto, and Washington. (This also makes the Rangers' loss to the Capitals in the playoffs a bit surprising - you'd have thought they'd at least have given it a bit more fight. Hat tip to Bruce Boudreau for getting his players ready to do some damage.)

The Rangers took 17 points in 20 games from the Northeast, for .85 points per game, and 18 from the Southeast, for .90 points per game. (That 35 points is also a hefty chunk of their 93 point total for the regular season. More, in fact, than they got from the other Atlantic teams....but I'm getting ahead of myself.)

Now, let's look at the Sabres.

Team

Division

Home Record

Away Record

Overall Record

Points

Playoff Team?

Islanders

Atlantic

0-1-1

1-1

1-2-1

3

No

Rangers

Atlantic

1-1

1-0-1

2-1-1

5

Yes

Devils

Atlantic

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

No

Flyers

Atlantic

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Penguins

Atlantic

0-2

0-2

0-4

0

Yes

Thrashers

Southeast

2-0

1-0-1

3-0-1

7

No

Hurricanes

Southeast

1-1

1-0-1

2-1-1

5

No

Panthers

Southeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

No

Lightning

Southeast

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Capitals

Southeast

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

Yes

Buffalo really only had one really bad series, against Pittsburgh, which was easily balanced by Atlanta and Jersey, while they used the extra point and good old fashioned winning to do the rest.

Taking 23 points from the Southeast (1.15 PPG) and 18 from the Atlantic (.90 PPG), it again looks like at least .85 points per game against the rest of the conference was needed if you wanted to be a playoff squad. (Again, like the Rangers, the Sabres brought in more points (41) vs the rest of the conference than the division (31).)

So, if that's the bar in the East, what about the West?

Here's Chicago:

Team

Division

Home Record

Away Record

Overall Record

Points

Playoff Team?

Canucks

Northwest

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Flames

Northwest

2-0

0-2

2-2

4

No

Wild

Northwest

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

No

Avalanche

Northwest

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

No

Oilers

Northwest

0-2

2-0

2-2

4

No

Sharks

Pacific

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

Yes

Ducks

Pacific

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Coyotes

Pacific

1-1

1-0-1

2-1-1

5

Yes

Kings

Pacific

2-0

2-0

4-0

8

Yes

Stars

Pacific

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

No

If you're LA, and you end up meeting Chicago in the conference finals (which could have happened), do you feel a bit nervous? Or wish you'd grabbed at least one game to keep the Hawks out and put the Stars in? Too late now, of course.

One of the clearest divides between the West and East comes when you look at the level of conference play needed to make it into the post-season - while an overall .90 points per game was enough to let the Rangers make it in, in the West, the Hawks had to grab 43 points in 40 games, for 1.075 PPG. Winning every other game isn't just nice, it's basically a survival tactic if you even want to think about the playoffs. And, once again, you had to try and valance the bad series with some dominant ones, served up in this case by Minnesota and LA.

Speaking of the Kings, with the exception of the Hawks, how'd they do?

Team

Division

Home Record

Away Record

Overall Record

Points

Playoff Team?

Canucks

Northwest

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

Yes

Flames

Northwest

2-0

1-1

3-1

6

No

Wild

Northwest

1-0-1

1-0-1

2-0-2

6

No

Avalanche

Northwest

2-0

2-0

4-0

8

No

Oilers

Northwest

2-0

2-0

4-0

8

No

Blackhawks

Central

0-2

0-2

0-4

0

Yes

Blue Jackets

Central

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

No

Blues

Central

0-2

0-2

0-4

0

No

Predators

Central

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

Yes

Red Wings

Central

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

Yes

Notice the series against Edmonton and Colorado, or in the case of the Eastern teams, the series vs. Florida, the Islanders and Ottawa? These bottom teams, generally, are where you should be feasting if you're looking to make it, and the Kings did just that, though they struggled against St. Louis and the Black Hawks, particularly on the weak Northwest, where they collected 31 points (1.55 PPG!!!), combining with their 18 points against the Central for 49 points in 40 games, a 1.225 PPG average. Quite a leap from Buffalo's 1.025 - and these are the low seeds in the West.

With that in mind, here's the Jackets, and how they fared.

Team

Division

Home Record

Away Record

Overall Record

Points

Playoff Team?

Canucks

Northwest

0-2

0-0-2

0-2-2

2

Yes

Flames

Northwest

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

No

Wild

Northwest

1-1

2-0

3-1

6

No

Avalanche

Northwest

1-1

0-1-1

1-2-1

3

No

Oilers

Northwest

2-0

0-2

2-2

4

No

Sharks

Pacific

0-2

2-0

2-2

4

Yes

Ducks

Pacific

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

Yes

Coyotes

Pacific

1-1

0-2

1-3

2

Yes

Kings

Pacific

0-1-1

1-1

1-2-1

3

Yes

Stars

Pacific

1-1

1-1

2-2

4

No

At 34 points in 40 games, the Jackets took 17 points from the Pacific and Northwest divisions, at .85 PPG right across the board. Too many bad series, and only one strong series (against Minnesota) to balance them, while the weaker teams like the Oilers, Flames, and Avalanche end up being even, or worse, losing efforts. The Jackets might not have been able to compensate entirely for weaker divisional play by taking more games against the Northwest, but it certainly would have been a big step in the right direction.

Another thing to point out is how many of these "repeat" series were split - Scott Arniel recently talked to the Dispatch about having a different style of play up his sleeve for back to backs or nights where he wants to mix it up in front of an opponent. Would it have turned a few of these around? Quite possibly.

Our last part of the breakdown will take a look at cross-conference play, and perhaps we'll take a shot at answering the old saw that Columbus would be a playoff team in the East...

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