## Thursday, April 3, 2008

### More Math

The Sabres chances of getting into the playoffs is getting more and more tricky. For example, the Bruins overtime loss to the Devils means that if the Sabres beat Montreal and the Bruins lose to Ottawa, then the Sabres will have to beat the Bruins in regulation to get ahead of the Bruins on the fourth tie breaker.

The Penguins did come through, and Philly is still down at 91 points (with two games to go). Given the remaining schedules the Capitals are going to be hard to catch, and should claim the seventh spot. Also Carolina's win puts them out of reach for the Sabres, not that I was aware that they were in reach to begin with (turns out they were).

Both Buffalo Main Event and Mirtle have taken a look at their chances. The short version is that while it is mathematically possible, odds are against it happening. As for tie breakers the Sabres will have the advantage over the Bruins and the Flyers, but lose out to the Capitals. This would have to happen at 92 points, which means that the Sabres still need to win everything.

What both of them failed to talk about is three way ties, and also four way and five way ties (yes those are possible). Furthermore a six way tie is almost possible, except for the fact that the Senators and the Bruins play each other.

Alot of this is actually simple. By virtue of more wins the Hurricanes, Capitals, and Senators would all move on. In the case of a three way tie between one of these teams and either Boston or Philly, Buffalo would be ok, as they would go against these teams one on one where we win the tie breaker. In a three way tie between the Sabres, Flyers, and Bruins things get more complicated.

Tie breaking rule number three reads as follows:
The greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs. If two clubs are tied, and have not played an equal number of home games against each other, points earned in the first game played in the city that had the extra game shall not be included. If more than two clubs are tied, the higher percentage of available points earned in games among those clubs, and not including any "odd" games, shall be used to determine the standing.

In short, suddenly all of the games count, and the individual games for Philly count more because they play Boston and Buffalo less then they play each other. In eight games against Boston the Sabres are 4-2-2, and in four games against Philly the Sabres are 3-0-1. Overall the Sabres earned 17 points in 12 games or .708% of all possible points. The Bruins also went 4-2-2 in their eight games against Buffalo, and went 3-1-0 against Philly giving them 16 points in 12 games right behind Buffalo at .667% of all possible points. The Flyers went 1-1-2 in four games against Boston, and 1-2-1 in four games against Buffalo. This leaves Philly with 7 points in 8 games which is only .438 of all possible points.

Short version is that between these three teams Buffalo wins the tie breaker, and if it ends up being a three way tie for seventh (because Washington lost out) then the Bruins get the eighth seed. Also if the Capitals, Bruins, Flyers and Sabres all tie for seventh, both the Capitals and the Sabres would be in. Of course a three way (or four way) tie involving the Capitals for eighth place doesn't work out so good.

Of course if the Sabres had just done half way decent against the Rangers this season, none of this would matter. I'm pretty sure those numbers are correct, but if not let me know. First of course the Sabres need to beat Montreal or none of this counts for anything.

danielleia said...

"Of course if the Sabres had just done half way decent against the Rangers this season, none of this would matter."

Agreed, but the Rangers have Drury... not cool.