Clear Victory Standings: The Luckiest (and unluckiest) Teams In The NHL

Things are looking up for the Red Wings - Gregory Shamus

What can two-goal games in 2012-13 tell us about the NHL in 2013-14?

A hockey team's ability to win one-goal games is widely regarded as a great indicator of a battle-tested team full of mettle and guts. Never mind that there is only a small correlation in a team's season-over-season skill in winning one-goal games, and those toughness adjectives are more story than reality.

The true measure of a team's talent is the ability to win games by two or more (non-empty net) goals. There's a much larger correlation in year-over-year two-goal winning percentage. For further discussion, see here. In fact, clear victories are better at predicting a team's talent than even their won-loss record.

We've talked a lot about clear victories, and Scott has tracked the clear victory standings for a number of years. With that in mind, we might be able to look back which 2012-13 teams were more solid than originally thought and which teams might run of out of luck in 2013-14.

Clear Victories, 2012-13
Rank Team W L %
1 Chicago 15 3 0.833
2 Boston 12 3 0.800
3 Montréal 16 7 0.696
4 Pittsburgh 15 7 0.682
5 Anaheim 11 7 0.611
6 NY Rangers 14 9 0.609
7 Detroit 13 9 0.591
8 Tampa Bay 11 8 0.579
9 Vancouver 12 9 0.571
10 Ottawa 8 6 0.571
11 Columbus 8 6 0.571
12 NY Islanders 12 9 0.571
13 St. Louis 13 10 0.565
14 San Jose 9 7 0.563
15 Los Angeles 13 11 0.542
16 Toronto 13 11 0.542
17 Washington 11 10 0.524
18 Dallas 12 12 0.500
19 Phoenix 9 9 0.500
20 New Jersey 10 11 0.476
21 Minnesota 11 13 0.458
22 Buffalo 7 10 0.412
23 Edmonton 10 16 0.385
24 Nashville 8 14 0.364
25 Philadelphia 7 13 0.350
26 Winnipeg 7 14 0.333
27 Calgary 8 17 0.320
28 Carolina 8 19 0.296
29 Colorado 6 15 0.286
30 Florida 5 19 0.208

It comes as no surprise to see Chicago and Boston along with Pittsburgh at the top of the list. Los Angeles was hindered by extremely poor goaltending early in the season and it shows here. Florida, Colorado, and Calgary were the pits and Carolina's AHL -level goaltending did them in as well.

In the table below, I've left the clear victories rank in tact but I've sorted by one-goal game win percentage:



One-goal games, 2012-13
Clear Victories, 2012-13
Rank Team W L %
W L %
4 Pittsburgh 20 4 0.833
15 7 0.682
1 Chicago 21 9 0.700
15 3 0.833
26 Winnipeg 17 9 0.654
7 14 0.333
13 St. Louis 16 9 0.640
13 10 0.565
5 Anaheim 19 11 0.633
11 7 0.611
21 Minnesota 14 9 0.609
11 13 0.458
17 Washington 15 10 0.600
11 10 0.524
15 Los Angeles 14 10 0.583
13 11 0.542
25 Philadelphia 15 12 0.556
7 13 0.350
9 Vancouver 14 12 0.538
12 9 0.571
16 Toronto 12 11 0.522
13 11 0.542
3 Montréal 13 12 0.520
16 7 0.696
2 Boston 16 15 0.516
12 3 0.800
6 NY Rangers 12 12 0.500
14 9 0.609
14 San Jose 16 16 0.500
9 7 0.563
28 Carolina 10 10 0.500
8 19 0.296
10 Ottawa 15 17 0.469
8 6 0.571
11 Columbus 15 18 0.455
8 6 0.571
27 Calgary 10 12 0.455
8 17 0.320
12 NY Islanders 12 15 0.444
12 9 0.571
22 Buffalo 13 17 0.433
7 10 0.412
7 Detroit 11 15 0.423
13 9 0.591
18 Dallas 10 14 0.417
12 12 0.500
23 Edmonton 9 13 0.409
10 16 0.385
30 Florida 9 13 0.409
5 19 0.208
29 Colorado 10 16 0.385
6 15 0.286
19 Phoenix 11 18 0.379
9 9 0.500
20 New Jersey 9 17 0.346
10 11 0.476
24 Nashville 8 17 0.320
8 14 0.364
8 Tampa Bay 7 21 0.250
11 8 0.579

Now both the lucky and unlucky become obvious. On the extremely lucky side, we have Winnipeg, 26th in clear victories, and 3rd in one-goal games. Winnipeg pushed for a playoff spot but fell apart late - don't expect a repeat. Minnesota, no stranger to getting lucky, is 6th in one-goal games and made the playoffs on that run of luck, but they were a losing team in the clear victory standings.

On the opposite side - Tampa Bay took it on the chin. The two results are so disparate, it's almost like the Lightning iced two different teams last season. Detroit also got a bit unlucky with the losing record in one-goal games, and should that right itself this season, combined with a move east, the Red Wings could be killers.

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