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Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
If you believe in a stat like PDO, which (in layman’s terms) measures how lucky a given team is, the numbers are on the Montreal Canadiens’ side…sort of.
Of course, if you don’t believe in PDO, it’s unfortunately not like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus where you’ve got a choice in the matter. It’s a very real thing. People measure it. It exists.
What you can argue, however, is that luck doesn’t exist, which will kind of paint you into a corner when the puck deflects oddly off the glass and then off the skate of the referee into your team’s net with 30 seconds left to go in a tie game.
In any case, PDO adds together a team’s shooting percentage (8.6 percent) and save percentage (.930) and theorizes that teams with totals above 1.000 are essentially getting more bounces than normal. Teams below 1.000 are meanwhile unlucky and should, over time, move back towards 1.000.
Looking at team PDO numbers so far this year, the Canadiens are actually one of the “luckier” teams in the league with a PDO of 1.016 (10th highest). So, if you’re a pessimist, you’re thinking the Habs are poised to fall off an even taller cliff than they have already.
However, there is a flip side.
The Toronto Maple Leafs (1.051), Tampa Bay Lightning (1.037), Boston Bruins (1.027), Ottawa Senators (1.024) and Washington Capitals (1.022)—teams that the Habs are battling for playoff spots—all have higher PDOs.
Four of those five teams are even ahead of them in the standings currently, which, yeah, admittedly sounds kind of bad on the surface. However, that presents hockey fans with two possibilities:
- Either you believe those teams, including the Habs, are right where they should be in the standings (FYI, the rookie-coached, 13-2 Colorado Avalanche have the highest PDO) or
- You believe those teams are going to regress, giving Montreal a chance to catch up. You can’t have it both ways.
Admittedly, that second argument doesn’t work with the Washington Capitals thanks to the new seeding system. Even if the Habs do end up catching the Caps, Washington will likely still finish ahead of them because they’re in the other, weaker division.
Of course, fans can always delude themselves into thinking the Metropolitan as a whole doesn’t exist. No one would blame you for believing something so collectively bad was just made up by a bunch of suits with little to no brainpower. Oh, wait…