The Carolina Hurricanes’ Playoff Chances: By the Numbers

Let’s see what the numbers say about the Carolina Hurricanes playoff chances

So here we are guys.  The Carolina Hurricanes sit one point back of fifth in the Metropolitan Division.  A spot currently held by one of Raleigh’s most hated rival: the Philadelphia Flyers.  Ok, that’s a little harsh.  Maybe not most hated.  Um, let’s go with most annoying.  Nah, that doesn’t quite have the oomph I’m looking for.  Flips through the thesaurus.  Our most vexatious rivals!  Hah, there it is.  A classy word for our, um, classy neighbors to the north.  Still, they are better than Buffalo fans, to say the least.

In each team’s last ten games, the Hurricanes went 6-4-0 while the Flyers have gone 2-6-2.  Ouch, that has to hurt Flyers’ fans.  Especially after that ten game win streak the Flyers reeled off seemed to put them firmly in a playoff spot at the end of the year.  Get’s pelted with light up bracelets.  Hey, and to think I called you guys classy!  Well, that still doesn’t change the situation the Hurricanes are in, though.  The playoffs are so close.  You can see them on the horizon.  But are they a reachable oasis in the middle of playoff desert, or it all just a mirage?  Three of the top hockey stats minds can help us find out a little bit more on the situation.

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Micah Blake McCurdy

Micah owns the website HockyViz.com.  It’s a great site for all graphs hockey for both players and teams.  One can lose hours looking at the different types of graphs he creates.  In addition graphs, Micah runs simulations and models on a variety of things such as number one overall pick and who has the best chance to win the Presidents Trophy.  What we’re interested in though are his playoff probabilities shown below:

Shown here, the Carolina Hurricanes have a 36% chance of making the playoffs.  That seems pretty low given their situation, but if one looks closely the growth in probably has increased at a steady rate from the beginning of the year.  Probably what is affecting the Hurricanes chances the most are Toronto’s and Ottawa’s games in hand on the Hurricanes.  Both teams sit one point back of Carolina with two games in hand the exact same scenario staring down the Flyers.  Some of it could be the schedule up ahead for the Hurricanes.  As Charles Taylor wrote earlier the games don’t get any easier for a while.

DTM About Heart

Well, DTM About Heart’s model really diverges away from Micah’s.  He gives the Carolina Hurricanes over a 70% chance to make the playoffs.  He is not near as high on Ottawa as Mich was.  This is probably due to his playoff probability model including his own (I would assume) player WAR model which does not like the Ottawa Senators roster at all.  You can follow him @DTMAboutHeart and he sometimes posts at Hockey-Graphs.com.

Dom Luszczyszyn

Dom is a freelance writer who is probably best known for his Hockey Scores seen in The Hockey News along with other various publications like the new AthleticTO and Leafs Nation.  You can follow him on twitter @omgitsdomi  and his graphs he publishes here.  I highly recommend.  Here are his current projections for playoff probabilities:

He also isn’t as high on the Hurricanes as some other teams and has placed them in a dead heat with the Philadelphia Flyers at 35%.  I know Dom publicly stated his model doesn’t like Cam Ward which could be part of the problem, but his current trends show the Hurricanes chances growing at a rapid rate just like Micah’s chart:

@Omgitsdomi Playoff Probabilities

Adding it all up

I was going to do an average of all of them and see where the Hurricanes lie, but with DTM About Heart’s much larger percentage I don’t think an average would tell us that much.  My own personal opinion would almost split it down the middle and give them a 50% chance which is actually pretty close to the actual average of the three models: 47.3%.  The team has been playing great to start the year and every game they get better.

The emergence of Lindholm and McGinn as secondary scoring options is an immense boost to the Canes playoff chances.  But the schedule up ahead is very tough, and the team is one Cam Ward tweaked groin away from disaster.  Despite those issues, this team is probably the closest to making the playoffs since the 2010-11.  That year the team lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the last game of the season.  There’s definitely an increasing playoff atmosphere with each win tallied, and it seems like fans can smell the postseason much like the spring showers that are so common in April.  Let’s just hope the Hurricanes don’t leave us caught out in the rain for yet another year.

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