[Editor's Note: Please welcome the newest contributor to Defending Big D: Russell Davis. Russell is going to be providing us with some great insight into the Stars and the rest of the NHL, and we look forward to seeing more stuff from him in the future. Welcome!!]
"Today is the first day of the rest of your life," as the saying goes, but notwithstanding the game in Phoenix, Friday begins the first day of the rest of the season for the Dallas Stars. Right now with only 19 games remaining, we’re also all on standings-watch especially with things being so tight here in the West.
Herein we’re going to break down the Stars record so far and try to further some of the points projections that have been made. I'll be breaking down some of the splits and assume that, all things being equal, they will continue on the same pace for each scenario, going forward.
We’ll see some good news and some bad but like all good American movies I think we’re likely to see a happy ending.
First we’ll start with some of the simple splits in Dallas’s record; home versus away. This will give you an idea of how I break everything down.
Home, 32 games, 18-9-5 record for 41 points equals 1.28 points per game
Away, 31 games, 16-14-1 record for 33 points equals 1.06 points per game
If the trend continues...
Home games remaining, 9 = 11.53 points
Away games remaining, 10 = 10.65 points
Total 22.18 projected points
Versus Remaining Schedule: By Division
Of the 19 games remaining on Dallas schedule only one will be against the East (Philadelphia, one of the few losses) but this is about averages so...
Vs. Atlantic 11-5-1, 23 points, 1.35 points per game, 1 remaining, 1.35 points
Vs. Pacific 6-6-2, 14 points, 1.00 points per game, 10 remaining, 10 points
Vs. Northwest, 5-8-2, 12 points, 0.80 points per game, 5 remaining, 4 points
Vs. Central, 12-4-1, 25 points, 1.47 points per game, 3 remaining, 4.41 points
Total 19.76 projected points
Versus Remaining Schedule: By Team
Team – Record – (Games Remaining)
Anaheim, 1-2-0 (3)
San Jose, 2-0-1 (3)
Los Angeles, 1-2-0 (3)
Calgary, 0-1-2 (1)
Minnesota, 2-0-0 (2)
Chicago, 2-1-0 (1)
Philly, 0-1-0 (1)
Nashville, 2-1-0 (1)
Phoenix, 2-2-1 (1)
Columbus, 1-1-1 (1)
Colorado, 0-1-1 (2)
13-12-6, 32 points, 1.03 points per game, 19 games remaining
Total 19.61 projected points
Versus Playoff Position
Here I thought about going with "record against better-than-.500 teams" and even with things being so tight in the West, I thought those currently in the playoff bracket today (last night) and those that aren’t. Again things being equal, the averages still seemed to work – besides, it implies that things might be looking up.
Versus Top 8: 15-15-4, 34 points, 1.00 points per game, 10 games remaining, 10 points
Versus Bottom 7: 19-8-2, 40 points 9, 1.38 points per game, 9 games remaining, 12.42 points
Total 22.42 projected points
But here I believe is the most telling and perhaps uplifting split of them all:
Without Richards in the lineup
3-4-0, 6 points, 0.86 points per game
19 games remaining
16.29 projected points
With Richards in the lineup
31-19-6, 68 points, 1.21 points per game
19 games remaining
23.07 projected points
What can we take away from this? I think we can take away that they better improve against their own division. 6-6-2 against the Pacific is not going to cut it with the bulk of the games remaining (10) will be against them.
We also see about what you’d want to see from a team that doesn’t dominate the standings; a better than .650 record at home and about .500 on the road. That will more often than not get you into the tournament.
But mostly we see what exactly Brad Richards means to this team and their hopes for making the playoffs. His apparent return this Friday against the Ducks couldn’t be timelier.