FeaturedHockey HousePrashanth's Piece of History

How Does A Team’s Post-All Star Break Record Influence Playoff Success?

Since 1967-1968, there have been 38 All Star games played and 533 teams have played games following an All Star Break in that time span. Well, I went and looked at every single team’s post-All Star Break record (Olympic Breaks not included) and then looked to see how many points they earned out of the points possible. We then ranked every single team based on their points percentage and then looked to see how those teams finished in the playoffs that year. The old cliche that we hear every year is that you have to watch out for the hottest teams as they are playing their best hockey as the playoffs approach. But is this cliche true? Do the teams playing the best after the All-Star break actually have more success come playoff time? Let’s have a look. Listed below are the top 50 All-Star break records and where that team finished in the Postseason. The percentage in parenthesis is that team’s points percentage. So if you see 60.0%, that team earned 60.0% of the possible points after the All Star Break.

1.    1976-1977 Montreal Canadiens (88.3%) – Stanley Cup Champions

2. 1984-1985 Philadelphia Flyers (84.6%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

3.    1977-1978 Montreal Canadiens (84.3%) – Stanley Cup Champions

4. 1995-1996 Detroit Red Wings (84.2%) – Lost in 3rd round

5.    1972-1973 Montreal Canadiens (80.4%) – Stanley Cup Champions

6.    1981-1982 New York Islanders (81.5%) – Stanley Cup Champions

7. 1979-1980 Montreal Canadiens (80.4%) – Lost in 2nd round

8. 1970-1971 Boston Bruins (79.4%) – Lost in 1st round

9.    1975-1976 Montreal Canadiens (78.6%) – Stanley Cup Champions  

10. 1974-1975 Montreal Canadiens (77.6%) – Lost in 3rd round

11. 2000-2001 Detroit Red Wings (76.8%) – Lost in 1st round

12. 1983-1984 Washington Capitals (76.8%) – Lost in 2nd round

13. 2002-2003 Detroit Red Wings (76.7%) – Lost in 1st round

14. 2010-2011 San Jose Sharks (76.6%) – Lost in 3rd round

15. 2002-2003 Colorado Avalanche (76.6%) – Lost in 1st round

16. 1971-1972 Boston Bruins (76.6%) – Stanley Cup Champions

17. 1973-1974 Chicago Black Hawks (76.6%) – Lost in 2nd round

18. 2006-2007 Pittsburgh Penguins (76.4%) – Lost in 1st round

19. 1985-1986 Edmonton Oilers (75.9%) – Lost in 2nd round

20. 2006-2007 Minnesota Wild (75.8%) – Lost in 1st round

21. 1992-1993 Boston Bruins (75.0%) – Lost in 1st round

22. 1971-1972 Montreal Canadiens (75.0%) – Lost in 1st round

23. 1982-1983 Edmonton Oilers (75.0%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

24. 1975-1976 Boston Bruins (75.0%) – Lost in 3rd round

25. 1973-1974 Philadelphia Flyers (75.0%) – Stanley Cup Champions

26. 1969-1970 Chicago Black Hawks (74.3%) – Lost in 2nd round

27. 2000-2001 New Jersey Devils (74.2%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

28. 1992-1993 Pittsburgh Penguins (74.2%) – Lost in 2nd round

29. 1972-1973 Boston Bruins (74.1%) – Lost in 1st round

30. 1988-1989 Montreal Canadiens (74.0%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

31. 1984-1985 Winnipeg Jets (73.9%) – Lost in 2nd round

32. 2006-2007 Ottawa Senators (73.4%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

33. 1967-1968 Montreal Canadiens (73.4%) – Stanley Cup Champions

34. 1976-1977 Philadelphia Flyers (73.4%) – Lost in 3rd round

35. 2003-2004 Tampa Bay Lightning (73.2%) – Stanley Cup Champions

36. 1988-1989 Calgary Flames (72.9%) – Stanley Cup Champions

37. 1977-1978 Boston Bruins (72.9%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

38. 2006-2007 Detroit Red Wings (72.7%) – Lost in 3rd round

39. 2007-2008 Anaheim Ducks (72.4%) – Lost in 1st round

40. 2002-2003 Ottawa Senators (72.4%) – Lost in 3rd round

41. 1999-2000 St. Louis Blues (72.4%) – Lost in 1st round

42. 1975-1976 Philadelphia Flyers (72.2%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

43. 2008-2009 Pittsburgh Penguins (72.1%) – Stanley Cup Champions

44. 2008-2009 Vancouver Canucks (72.1%) – Lost in 2nd round

45. 2006-2007 Vancouver Canucks (72.1%) – Lost in 2nd round

46. 2010-2011 Vancouver Canucks (71.9%) – Stanley Cup Finalists

47. 1968-1969 Montreal Canadiens (71.9%) – Stanley Cup Champions

48. 1980-1981 New York Islanders (71.7%) – Stanley Cup Champions

49. 1987-1988 Montreal Canadiens (71.7%) – Lost in 2nd round

50. 2000-2001 Dallas Stars (71.7%) – Lost in 2nd round

 

So what can we see from this? Well, of the top 50 records posted after the All-Star break, 13 of those teams went on to win the Stanley Cup, and another 8 finished as the runner up. That’s a pretty strong statement. 21 of the 50 teams made the Stanley Cup Finals. 13 of our 38 Champions looked at had a top 50 record. However, is that statistic deceiving? Of those 13 champions, only 2 have occurred in the last 20 years. Some may say, “Well, maybe fewer teams in the past 20 years have posted a top 50 season”. Actually that claim is false. 20 of the top 50 records have occurred in the past 20 years as more points can be earned by the introduction of the shootout and overtime, yet only 2 teams have gone on to win the Stanley Cup and only another 3 went on to reach the Finals. So only 5 out of the 20 teams to post a top 50 season in the last 20 years have gone on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. This is in stark contrast to the 23 preceding years, where there were 30 top 50 seasons, 11 of the 30 won the Stanley Cup, and 16 of the 30 reached the Finals. So, has having a strong end to the regular season lost its weight? To analyze this, I went to see where the Stanley Cup Teams of the last 10 years placed in our overall ranking. The overall rankings consist of all 533 teams to play since 1967-1968 and we are just looking at the Champion and the Finalist of the past 10 All Star Seasons.

1998-1999

82. Dallas Stars (67.9%) – Stanley Cup Champions

423. Buffalo Sabres (48.7%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

1999-2000

437. New Jersey Devils (48.3%) – Stanley Cup Champions

316. Dallas Stars (55.2%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2000-2001

95. Colorado Avalanche (67.2%) – Stanley Cup Champion

27. New Jersey Devils (74.2%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2001-2002

137. Detroit Red Wings (64.3%) – Stanley Cup Champion

209. Carolina Hurricanes (60.0%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2002-2003

194. New Jersey Devils (60.9%) – Stanley Cup Champions

133. Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (64.5%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2003-2004

35. Tampa Bay Lightning (73.2%) – Stanley Cup Champion

196. Calgary Flames (60.7%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2006-2007

114. Anaheim Ducks (65.6%) – Stanley Cup Champions

32. Ottawa Senators (73.4%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2007-2008

217. Detroit Red Wings (59.7%) – Stanley Cup Champion

104. Pittsburgh Penguins (66.7%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

2008-2009

43. Pittsburgh Penguins (72.1%)

125. Detroit Red Wings (64.7%)

2010-2011

165. Boston Bruins (62.5%) – Stanley Cup Champions

46. Vancouver Canucks (71.9%) – Stanley Cup Finalist

 

What can we see from looking at the last 10 years of post-all star break records? Well we can clearly see that a team’s post All Star Break has almost zero influence on how it performs in the playoffs. We had just 1 final when both teams were inside the top 100. Our most recent Stanley Cup Champion posted the 165th best All Star Break Record since 1967-1968. So what does this mean? Well for starters, it definitely does not mean that a team can roll into the playoffs bone cold and expect to win anything. If we look at the bottom 50 teams since 1967-1968 (not shown here to save space), we have 1 Stanley Cup Champion (85-86 Canadiens – 518th) and 1 Stanley Cup Finalist (95-96 Panthers – 503rd). After that, we only had 2 other teams even advance to the Conference Finals. This suggests that if a team rolls in bone cold, there is a very slim chance that they will turn on the jets and make some noise in the playoffs.

Ultimately, the moral of the story is that a long time ago, coming into the playoffs hot used to bode well for a team. Nowadays, with the amount of parity in the league, every playoff series is tough no matter how well a team is playing at the moment and any team can beat any other on any given night. Thus I think that’s why we’ve seen the diminished importance occur in terms of the post-All Star break records. Another thing to point out is that a lot of these playoff teams nowadays are coming in hot. For example, in the 2010-2011 season, 11 teams came into the playoffs having earned more than 60.6% of the possible points. If a team were to play at that level for an entire season, that would put them on pace for a 100 point season. Imagine that. 11 teams playing at a 100 point season pace coming into the playoffs. Upsets are far more likely and will occur much more often and I think the data shows that. There are many unknowns still for this season as we come out of the All Star Break, but one thing we do know is that we can dispel the notion that the hottest team will make the most noise in the playoffs.

Prashanth Iyer

Prashanth Iyer

Prashanth is a third year doctor of pharmacy student at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill, NC. Prashanth is studying to be an infectious disease pharmacist, but in his spare time, he watches any hockey game he can catch. He was born and raised just outside Detroit, Michigan and hence is a big Red Wings fan. He is always willing to hear any and all debates pertaining to his articles, so feel free to contact him.
Love Reading About Hockey?
Subscribe to keep up-to-date with the latest and most interesting hockey news!
We hate spam just as much as you
0 comments
Close