Why you can't ignore second-half numbers


Pierre LeBrun

At this time every season, I make sure to take a close look at second-half records in order to give myself a better feel for the playoffs.
More often than not, the teams with the better second-half records have good playoff runs, which is why you should be wary, in some cases, of the final standings. Throw out the first half.

Case in point: Detroit and Pittsburgh were among the top teams in the second half last season en route to their Stanley Cup finals rematch.

So let’s dig in. Thanks once again to our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau for providing us with second-half records of all 30 NHL teams through Sunday night (in order of points percentage):

SECOND-HALF RECORDS
Team Record Points PCT
Washington 27-4-6 60 .811
Vancouver 24-11-3 51 .671
Phoenix 23-12-3 49 .645
Detroit 20-10-8 48 .632
San Jose 22-12-4 48 .632
Anaheim 22-13-2 46 .622
Chicago 21-12-4 46 .622
Los Angeles 21-12-4 46 .622
Carolina 22-13-3 47 .618
St. Louis 21-13-3 45 .608
Nashville 22-14-3 47 .603
Pittsburgh 19-12-6 44 .595
Montreal 20-13-5 45 .592
Ottawa 22-15-1 45 .592
Philadelphia 20-15-3 43 .566
Buffalo 17-14-6 40 .541
N.Y. Rangers 17-15-5 39 .527
Colorado 19-17-1 39 .527
Atlanta 16-15-7 39 .513
Columbus 17-16-5 39 .513
Minnesota 17-17-4 38 .500
N.Y. Islanders 17-17-3 37 .500
Dallas 17-18-3 37 .487
New Jersey 15-16-6 36 .486
Calgary 16-18-4 36 .474
Boston 15-17-5 35 .473
Florida 15-17-5 35 .473
Toronto 15-18-5 35 .461
Tampa Bay 15-20-2 32 .432
Edmonton 8-25-4 20 .270

Now you see why I like Washington-Vancouver as a possible Cup finals matchup this June. The Caps have steamrolled through the season, so it’s no surprise they are ranked first in the second half, but the Canucks’ dominance might take some people by surprise. As I wrote in my earlier blog Monday, there’s still some nervousness around the Canucks these days, between Roberto Luongo’s recent struggles and the team’s defensive play; but you can’t ignore what the team has done in the second half.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/blog?name=lebrun_pierre&id=5057927


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