This season changing the league format is going to make things harder to predict. I have no previous years data like I did last year with 2005-2012 to use as a reference. Now we have unbalanced divisions and different schedules. There are now 448 interconference games, 432 Eastern Conference games, and 350 Western Conference games. That adds up to 880 games played by eastern conference teams and 798 games played by western conference teams. The best I can do is carry over my regression equation from the 2005-2013 seasons (adjusting 2013 to predict a full 82 game season based off of final standings point percentage). So here it goes
I did this last before the Olympic break so it doesn't include the last few days games. Up to the break 71.5% of the season's games had been played. So we have a good judge of how it is going. We are on pace for a record 311 overtime games where 3 points are awarded for the shootout era. That is probably why there are only six teams below .500. From the three seasons 05-08 there were about 300, with a 301 game high in 07-08. From 08-13 the league was very steady 282, 272, 281, 281, 276*(162). I think the jump this year also signals how much true parity is in the East this year. There is just one dominant team and two others solidly at the top, after that it is a free for all minus NYI, BUF, FLA. Playoff threshold-wise, that means that it will take more points that normal since more points are being awarded this year.
In the East, Detroit is on pace for 90.5 points good for an 8th place finish. (Remember this is all pre-break data). Philly is on pace for 91.7 points in the third division spot. But that is not as accurate as my prediction formula as explained in last years post. My two formulas are more divergent than I would like to see for the East. One predicts it will take 89.3 points, the other predicts 91.3, a whole win apart. The latter is 99.6% accurate and the former 98% accurate. But the quote of Brodeur saying it will take 15 wins in the last 23 games to make the playoffs, is exactly what my formula predicts, the Devils need to get to 91 points.
And if you want to know, in the West Dallas and Phoenix with identical records going into the break were on pace for 90.5 points, Dallas had one more regulation and OT win. However my prediction formulas are even more divergent for the West, the less accurate one predicts 97.8 points (which history seems to support for the West) and the more accurate formula predicts 93 points to make it. History since 05-06 for the West is 97, 95, 91, 91, 96, 95, 94*
I always found it interesting how before the shootout the 8th place team generally was the last team above .500, 9-15 usually were at or below .500. clearly not the case since as we could have only 6 losing teams this season (Below 81 points).