Photo credit: Don Heupel
The Washington Capitals are in second place in the Southeast Division, only one point behind the leading Tampa Bay Lightning with 21 games remaining this season. Can the Caps catch them?
As usual, we will ask the Monte Carlo Machine to simulate the rest of the season. To determine the chance of winning any individual game we will use the Log5 method. Log5 is a method of estimating the winning percentage when two teams play each other. The formula is:
W%(A v. B) = W%(A)*(1 – W%(B))/(W%(A)*(1 – W%(B)) + (1 – W%(A))*W%(B))
Since we know what the win percentage is for both Washington and Tampa Bay, and their remaining schedule, we can pop these results in, run the Machine 10,000 times and see how often the Caps come out ahead of the Lightning in the division.
The chart above shows how often each team is projected to finish the season with a certain number of points. Thirty-two percent of the time we expect the Capitals to end the campaign with 103 points while the Lightning would finish with the same number of points 17% of the time. But since Tampa Bay has more upside, we would expect them to win the division more often than not. According to the Monte Carlo Machine, the Caps have a 43.94% chance at winning the Southeast Division.
In contrast, I ran the same simulation for the New Jersey Devils — everyone’s favorite underdog. If we go on Mirtle’s premise of needing 90 points in the Eastern Conference to make the playoffs, the Devils would have to win 17 out of their next 22 contests. In other words, they would make the playoffs in 6 out of every 10,000 seasons. Now that is a long shot.
Editing by Chris Gordon and Ian Oland.