Freddie's Fodder: by Fred Jack, Hurricanes Colour Analyst
Lethbridges’ remaining schedule as of February 6, 2011. 18 games to go. Next 7 of 8 will be played on home ice. 7 of final 10 games will be played away from the Enmax Centre.
Home Games (10)
Red Deer (2)
Away Games (8)
- Currently: 0.86 pts per game gets you into a playoff spot.
- 62 points projected earns you a tiebreaker (possibly # 8 seed outright).
- Lethbridge has 45 points in 54 games played, and based on projections would need 17 points in their last 18 games to earn a tiebreaker.
Since it’s still a few hours away from Super Bowl kickoff, and the lights are dark throughout the Western Hockey League today, I thought it would be interesting to see what the Hurricanes have left in their 2010-11 regular season and see what they might need to do over the final six weeks of the regular season to earn a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. When I look at their schedule I break it into three types of games… First, the ultra tough tests. The big 5 in the Eastern Conference are very good! Saskatoon, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Kootenay and Moose Jaw provide the opposition for the Hurricanes seven times during the stretch drive. Five of those tests will be at home, two versus Red Deer and one more each against Kootenay, Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat. Two times they will play those clubs on the road, once in Red Deer and once in Cranbrook. The next grouping I have created is the games against Western Conference opposition. I lump all of those contests together, because the Canes’ games against the Western Conferences elite are behind them. However, all five games will be played against British Columbia based teams who are in a fight for their own playoff lives. Two will be at the Enmax Centre against Kamloops and Prince George. The other three will be played out West in Kamloops, Chilliwack and finally against Kelwona versus the Rockets who are making a push for the Division title. The remaining six are against the rest of the Eastern Conference clubs who are battling for one of the final three playoff spots. Regina, and Edmonton twice will still make visits to Lethbridge. The Hurricanes will play their three remaining games on the road, in Edmonton twice and finally in Calgary. The Hitmen are a long shot at best to get into the playoffs but have proven since Christmas they can still win games. Just ask Rich Preston whose club lost twice to Calgary last month. Based on mathematical projections through the first three quarters of the regular season, the Hurricanes would need 17 points in their final 18 games to get into a tiebreaker situation. A near .500 record doesn’t appear to be too daunting of a task. However, they will need to be better than they have been over the last quarter of the season. The Hurricanes earned just 13 points in their last 18 games. In fact, Lethbridge has only accumulated 18 points in their last 27 hockey games. So where will the points come from? How do you go about getting those 17 or 18 points? The big key for me will be getting points against the clubs surrounding them in the Eastern Conference chase. I believe you need 5 out of 6 points in the three home games against Edmonton (twice) and Regina. You will need to split in Edmonton and win the game in Calgary giving you nine more points to add to the total. From there, a split against the BC teams should be fine. 5 out of 10 points there puts you up to 14. That would mean, you would need 2 wins in seven games against the ‘Big Dogs’ of the Conference. There’s the 18 points that I figure are out there for the Canes’ to get. There are many ways to reach 18, but that jumps out to me as the most manageable. Should be a fun stretch drive!
- Points needed to make Eastern Conference Playoffs last few years – since three points games (including shoot out losses) were introduced.
2009-10 = 78 points (Moose Jaw)
2008-09 = 67 points (Tiebreaker Prince Albert & Edmonton)
2007-08 = 88 points (Moose Jaw)
2006-07 = 69 points (Swift Current)
2005-06 = 62 points (Swift Current)