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Division Leaders With A Negative Goal Differential

from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,

If the NHL playoffs began today, the Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars would be the No. 3 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences respectively, as the division leaders (winners) in the Southeast and Pacific Divisions (and enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round).

But the Panthers and Stars have another discouraging fact in common – both teams have given up more goals than they’ve scored.

Through Thursday, Florida was sitting with 183 goals for and 201 against, while Dallas was slightly better – 193 for and 195 against. Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right that one team, let alone two, can potentially win its divisions, while being outscored over an 82-game season.

Of course, the Southeast is so bad this season that all five teams are in the same statistical deficit – more goals permitted than goals scored. Cumulatively, they are an ugly minus-109.

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, | KK Hockey | Permalink


NHLJeff's avatar

I agree with the sentiment, but in hockey, winning is the bottom line, even if all of your wins are 1-0 and all of your losses are 7-0.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Denver on 03/24/12 at 12:12 PM ET


i was about to rip on the southeast some more, but after looking at the standings I realized something.

For as bad as the southeast is, it is entirely possible that 3 teams from the southeast make the playoffs this year.  With Florida in third, and Washington only two points from 7th, and Winnipeg only 4 points from 8th.

Maybe more people should be talking about how weak the Northeast division actually is.  Boston sits in 2nd place in the east with 3 points less than 6th place New Jersety.  Ottawa is currently in 7th but only in ahead 8th place by 2 points.

It is possible only 1 team makes it from the Northeast (Boston) and they could actually have fewer points than the 8th seed when its all done.

The East looks really weak when you look at the southeast and northeast.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/24/12 at 01:09 PM ET

Mojo Tooth's avatar

I concur, Jeff, goal differential is an indicator, but is not an end in and of itself, or even a means to an end. Points percentage is all that really matters over the course of a season. That’s the way the league is set up. If it were setup up such that GD really mattered (as more than a tertiary tiebreaker), then you would find goalies being pulled less often in 1-goal games because losing by 2 would hurt way more than losing by one.

You could draw some conclusions about the *way* the team wins and loses, but the object of the game is wins, and if you have enough wins compared to your peers, you make the playoffs. Full stop.

Posted by Mojo Tooth on 03/25/12 at 10:54 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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