Hot streaks are hard to predict but they frequently have a huge impact on the final standings. Last year it secured playoff spots for teams like the Islanders, Rangers and Sharks, but it proved too little and too late for Columbus, Philadelphia and Phoenix. Which teams will get hot this year, and what could it mean for them?
There a number of ways that analytics can help determine which teams are most likely to pick up a few extra points down the stretch.
First, the ease of a team's schedule can be calculated by figuring out how many points an average NHL team would earn playing those same games. There can be a four to five point swing right there.
Analytics can also help quantify the potential impact of a key trade. A top-line player can swing the balance by a couple of points over 20 games, or more if it's a goalie.
And there are always other factors to consider. An underlying improvement in possession play, a player coming off a hot Olympics can all foreshadow a hot stretch.
While no one can truly predict which teams will get hot, a close look at each of these factors can help narrow down the possibilities to the following 10 teams that could have the right conditions for a winning streak. Let's begin!
Possession statistics from Extra Skater. All advanced statistics are via writer's own original research unless otherwise noted.