Nothing is guaranteed.
Indeed while the Winnipeg Jets have their best shot at making the playoffs in the version 2.0 era, there remains a good chance that the club will miss the playoffs yet again for the fourth consecutive time since relocating to Manitoba.
Banish such darks though though because today we open our series looking at how the Jets match up against their most likely playoff opponents. We’ll start it off with the Anaheim Ducks.
Let’s take an an indepth look at the matchup after the jump.
Match Up Chances
As it currently stands, if the Jets make the playoffs, they are most likely playing the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.
Micah McCurdy’s model – which uses score, venue, and opponent-adjusted Corsi percentage – is the best fit predictive model available to the public, and it currently projects a 47.6 percent chance that the Jets play the Ducks in the first round.
(Courtesy of hockeystats.ca)
The model includes the probability that the Jets do not play the playoffs as well. Some quick math places the Jets at a 75.2 percent chance at facing the Ducks if they do qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sports club stats meanwhile have the Jets at a 76.7 percent chance at facing the Ducks in the first round if they both make the postseason. So, yeah, this is going to happen if the Jets can hang on here.
Even Strength (5v5)
Contrary to what many individuals would like to believe, the Jets have been a stronger team than the Ducks in even-strength situations.
The Jets have been the stronger possession team, out-attempting their opponents by a much larger margin. The Jets also cary a better goal differential, although per minute of 5-on-5 ice time the two teams are essentially the same.
The Ducks have scored on a greater percentage of their shots on goal than the Jets have, but (believe it or not) the Jets’ goaltenders have stopped a greater percentage of shots on goal against.
The numbers look a bit different when looking exclusively at the most recent results. Since the trade deadline, the Jets have been posted a decent 53.1 Corsi For percentage while the Ducks have posted the league’s third strongest Corsi For percentage at 55.6 percent. Loading up on the blue line by acquiring James Wisniewski and Simon Despres appears to be paying dividends.
Both Anaheim and Winnipeg have been heavily penalized teams that serve far more penalties than they draw, although the Jets are far more penalized. Two highly penalized teams in an environment where referees tend to call less per infraction sounds like a lot of playoff fun.
The Jets create a greater number of shot attempts on the power play per minute, but the Ducks generate a greater share of attempts that are not blocked. While the Ducks score on a greater share of their 5-on-4 shots on goal, the Jets have actually scored more per minute of ice time.
On the penalty kill we see a similar pattern. The Jets suppress more shot attempts, but the Ducks do better when looking at just unblocked shot attempts. The Jets goaltenders have been the better of the two, although neither teams have performed well there, and the Jets ultimately allow fewer goals against per minute on the kill.
The numbers above are simply the power play numbers subtracted by the penalty kill numbers. Essentially what you would guess the team’s differentials would be if the team spent equal amounts of ice time in both situations.
The Jets perform better in shot attempts, while the Ducks show better by the unblocked attempts. Neither team shoots at a higher percentage on the power play than their opponents do on the penalty kill.
Ultimately the Jets end up with a positive differential, despite their true differential being severely negative – the result of a lack of team-level discipline, which has caused them to spend so much more time shorthanded than with the man advantage, while the Ducks tend to be outscored.
The Jets have an 0-1-2 losing record against the Ducks, with one loss each in regulation, overtime, and the shootout. Over these three games, the Ducks have outscored the Jets 12 goals to 8.
Despite the end results, the Jets have still performed decently against the Ducks by the underlying numbers.
For 5-on-5 minutes, the Jets have controlled play against the Ducks and have even outscored them.
The Jets’ shooting and save percentage have been slightly inflated relative to their average performance, but overall it seems like the series is far more winnable than the standings or their previous record against each other would make it seem.
The playoff road is a lot softer through the Pacific Division than the Central Division, especially if the Calgary Flames get in over the Los Angeles Kings. If the Jets can win sneak into the playoffs, it would not be a great stretch in probability to see them in the Conference Finals.
But, will the Jets get in?
All numbers are from War-on-Ice and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.