A quick look at the NHL standings at the Olympic break offers some interesting contrasts from expectation, with some teams surprising, others disappointing.

In the East, Ottawa sits atop the Northeast Division and third in the Conference with Buffalo right behind them due to a recent cold streak. In the West, the Phoenix Coyotes with an amazing 37 wins sit in fourth place in the conference, only one point ahead of the LA Kings. Colorado may have outperformed expectations the most thus far, with the Yotes making a case.

Then there’s the Detroit Red Wings looking from the outside and Columbus floating around near the bottom.

A look at these clubs records in one-goal games provides good insight as to how the Kings/Senators sit high, and why the Red Wings/Blue Jackets sit outside of a playoff spot, and the Leafs trail the NHL sitting dead last.

Overall, goaltending may be the biggest factor in most of the standings anomalies. After all, goaltending is most important in one-goal games, whether it’s to solidify a win, or to keep the team in games during overtime, or to outright wing on in a shootout.

While goalies carry a burden, the ability to score that important goal holds weight. As often is the case, the important ‘next goal’ could begin a rally, or break the spirits of a team at some point during a game.

Below are three separate tables with stats based on one goal games.

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This table, is the ranking of teams in total one goal games from 2008-09 and 2009-10 and ranked by Winning Percentage. Some quick notes:
Risers:
Ottawa ranks in 08-9, 26th overall and 2nd overall in 2009-10
Los Angeles ranked 22 in 2008-09 and sixth in 2009-10
Phoenix were ranked 17th in 2008-09 and sit in third in 2009-10

Fallers
Columbus was 9th in 2008-09 and dropped to 20th in 2009-10
Detroit dropped from 4th in 2008-09 to 22nd overall in 2009-10
Carolina are the biggest drop from second overall in 2008-09 to 24th in 2009-10
Calgary ranked fifth overall in 2008-09 and rank 21 in 2009-10
And even the mighty offensive machine Washington has dropped from seventh in 2008-09 to 19th in 2009-10.

Rank(08-9) Team W L OTL W%
Rank(09-10) Team W L Tot W%
1 NJ 25 5 4 0.735 1 NJD 18 8 26 0.692
2 CAR 24 8 7 0.615 2 Ott 17 8 25 0.680
3 SJ 26 7 11 0.591 3 Pho 21 10 31 0.677
4 DET 24 7 10 0.585 4 Pit 18 10 28 0.643
5 CAL 21 9 6 0.583 5 Chi 20 12 32 0.625
6 NAS 22 8 8 0.579 6 LA 20 12 32 0.625
7 WAS 19 7 8 0.559 7 Col 19 12 31 0.613
8 NYR 24 10 9 0.558 8 Van 13 9 22 0.591
9 COL 20 6 10 0.556 9 Ana 15 11 26 0.577
10 PIT 19 8 9 0.528 10 Min 19 15 34 0.559
11 COL 22 15 5 0.524 11 Buf 17 14 31 0.548
12 ANA 23 14 7 0.523 12 SJ 14 12 26 0.538
13 FLO 16 4 11 0.516 13 Nas 16 14 30 0.533
14 MTL 20 8 11 0.513 14 Phi 12 12 24 0.500
15 BUF 16 7 9 0.500 15 StL 15 15 30 0.500
16 STL 18 9 10 0.486 16 NYI 16 17 33 0.485
17 PHX 17 11 7 0.486 17 Mtl 16 18 34 0.471
18 DAL 19 10 11 0.475 18 Dal 14 16 30 0.467
19 BOS 18 10 10 0.474 19 Was 13 15 28 0.464
20 VAN 17 9 10 0.472 20 Cbs 13 17 30 0.433
21 TOR 16 5 13 0.471 21 Cal 14 20 34 0.412
22 LA 20 12 11 0.465 22 Det 12 18 30 0.400
23 EDM 19 13 9 0.463 23 Bos 13 20 33 0.394
24 MIN 19 13 9 0.463 24 Car 9 14 23 0.391
25 PHI 18 11 11 0.450 25 Atl 14 22 36 0.389
26 OTT 17 10 11 0.447 26 NYR 10 16 26 0.385
27 ATL 15 14 6 0.429 27 TB 11 18 29 0.379
28 CHI 12 7 12 0.387 28 Edm 9 15 24 0.375
29 NYI 11 17 9 0.297 29 Flo 11 19 30 0.367
30 TB 10 11 18 0.256 30 Tor 8 18 26 0.308

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This table looks at the year-to-year change in rankings from 2008-09 to 2009-10. Ottawa has the biggest change, while Carolin lines the bottom, with some strange changes throughout the NHL.

One anomaly has the Minnesota Wild as jumping 14 spots from 24th in 2008-09 to 10th overall, yet, they are still sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Rank(08-9) Team W% Chg Rank(09-10) Team W%
26 OTTAWA 0.447 24 2 Ott 0.680
28 CHICAGO 0.387 23 5 Chi 0.625
22 LOS ANGELES 0.465 16 6 LA 0.625
24 MINNESOTA 0.463 14 10 Min 0.559
17 PHOENIX 0.486 14 3 Pho 0.677
29 NY ISLANDERS 0.297 13 16 NYI 0.485
20 VANCOUVER 0.472 12 8 Van 0.591
25 PHILADELPHIA 0.450 11 14 Phi 0.500
10 PITTSBURGH 0.528 6 4 Pit 0.643
11 COLORADO 0.524 4 7 Col 0.613
15 BUFFALO 0.500 4 11 Buf 0.548
12 ANAHEIM 0.523 3 9 Ana 0.577
30 TAMPA BAY 0.256 3 27 TB 0.379
27 ATLANTA 0.429 2 25 Atl 0.389
16 ST LOUIS 0.486 1 15 StL 0.500
18 DALLAS 0.475 0 18 Dal 0.467
1 NEW JERSEY 0.735 0 1 NJD 0.692
14 MONTREAL 0.513 -3 17 Mtl 0.471
19 BOSTON 0.474 -4 23 Bos 0.394
23 EDMONTON 0.463 -5 28 Edm 0.375
6 NASHVILLE 0.579 -7 13 Nas 0.533
3 SAN JOSE 0.591 -9 12 SJ 0.538
21 TORONTO 0.471 -9 30 Tor 0.308
9 COLUMBUS 0.556 -11 20 Cbs 0.433
7 WASHINGTON 0.559 -12 19 Was 0.464
5 CALGARY 0.583 -16 21 Cal 0.412
13 FLORIDA 0.516 -16 29 Flo 0.367
4 DETROIT 0.585 -18 22 Det 0.400
8 NY RANGERS 0.558 -18 26 NYR 0.385
2 CAROLINA 0.615 -22 24 Car 0.391

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The picture is slightly altered however when taking into consideration one-goal wins in regulation time, as opposed to lumping together all the extra time games.
San Jose leads the NHL with a .700 winning percentage, with Ottawa and Anaheim a close second and Colorado making up ground. Buffalo, Dallas and NJ are tied and then Phoenix makes its appearance, as does one of the better clubs in the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Rank(09-10) Team W L TOT W%
1 SJ 7 3 10 0.700
2 Ott 9 4 13 0.692
3 Ana 9 4 13 0.692
4 Col 13 6 19 0.684
5 Buf 10 5 15 0.667
6 Dal 8 4 12 0.667
7 NJD 10 5 15 0.667
8 Pho 9 5 14 0.643
9 Pit 8 6 14 0.571
10 LA 10 8 18 0.556
11 StL 7 6 13 0.538
12 Van 8 7 15 0.533
13 Cbs 8 7 15 0.533
14 Chi 7 7 14 0.500
15 Det 6 6 12 0.500
16 Min 11 11 22 0.500
17 Tor 7 7 14 0.500
18 Nas 8 9 17 0.471
19 Was 6 7 13 0.462
20 Cal 9 11 20 0.450
21 NYR 7 9 16 0.438
22 Phi 7 9 16 0.438
23 TB 5 7 12 0.417
24 Atl 8 12 20 0.400
25 Car 4 7 11 0.364
26 Flo 5 9 14 0.357
27 Edm 4 9 13 0.308
28 NYI 4 9 13 0.308
29 Bos 3 9 12 0.250
30 Mtl 3 12 15 0.200

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Gus Katsaros is the McKeen's Hockey Director of Analytics & Pro Scouting and has been writing at MLHS since 2009.

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