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 turn our series looking at how the Jets match up against their next most likely playoff opponents. Next up is the Nashville Predators.
Let’s take an an in-depth look at the matchup after the jump.
Match Up Chances
As it currently stands, if the Jets make the playoffs, their second most likely opponent is the Nashville Predators.
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 7.6 percent chance that the Jets play the Preds 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 12.0 percent chance at facing the Predators if they do qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Sports club stats meanwhile have the Jets at a 13.8 percent chance at facing the Preds in the first round if they both make the postseason.
So, it is a long shot, but completely possible.
Even Strength (5v5)
Just like our last comparison with the Anaheim Ducks, the Jets are the stronger shot metrics team in terms of Corsi. The gap though is much closer between the two, with the Predators being the very next ranked team after the Jets.
The Predators generate a lot more shot attempts for, but they also suppress shots less efficiently than the Jets. The tradeoff has suited the Predators just fine however with All-Star talent Pekka Rinne in net.
Combination of high octane offense and one of the leagues best goaltenders have given Nashville the league’s best 5-on-5 goal differentials.
Things are not all perfect for the Predators. The team has struggled lately, with an even goal differential and “merely” a 51.4 Corsi percentage since the trade deadline. The Predators were hoping for improved depth from acquiring Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli, but things haven’t gone completely their way.
While the Predators create more than the Jets at even strength, the opposite has been true on the power play. The predators create less in attempts, unblocked or otherwise, and goals with a man advantage.
The two teams have been quite similar on the penalty kill in shots, goals, and -surprisingly- goaltending.
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 superiorly in shot attempts, but their dependency on generating attempts from the point has lead to a greater percentage of their shots being blocked.
Still, Winnipeg has performed better in getting their unblocked shots on net than their opponents, as they have a better goal differential despite experiencing more unfortunate percentages than the Preds.
Despite the Predators being outscored when comparing a minute of power play time to a minute of penalty kill time, Nashville ends up ahead due to their disciplined play and positive penalty differential.
The Jets have an 2-3-0 losing record against the Preds this season, with all five games ending in regulation. Over these five games, the Predators have outscored the Jets 9 goals to 8.
While the season series between the two teams has been close overall, the Predators have severely outscored the Jets for even strength.
Neither team has held an advantage in 5v5 shot attempts, but the Jets inability to beat Rinne has given the Nashville the upper hand.
If the Jets somehow pass the Minnesota Wild and play in the Central Division for the playoffs, the road gets a lot tougher than crossing over to the Pacific. Still, the Jets have beaten the Predators twice in five games, and these games have been close.
Anything can happen. The Jets could take the Predators four times in seven games.
But, will the Jets get in?
All numbers are from War-on-Ice and score-adjusted unless otherwise noted.