# The playoff percentages seem to be off

For the NHL, the percentages are far off. For example Toronto has a 35-24-8 record for 78 pts while Montreal has a 35-25-7 record for 77 pts with both teams playing the same number of games, yet Montreal has an 85.3 percent chance of making it while Toronto has a 82.2 percent chance. Shouldn't Toronto's chances be a tad bit higher than Montreal? Like why does Montreal only need 94 pts to make it, with a worse record than Toronto, while Toronto needs 95?

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• Anonymous commented  ·

The site simulates the rest of the season millions of times, and these simulations are based on weighted probabilities of a given outcome for each game. The first difference, in percentages, is either because Montreal has an easier schedule ahead, Toronto has gotten its points from an easier schedule so far, Toronto has been more (mathematically) impressive against its opponents, or some combination of the three.

As for the second observation, both teams actually would appear to need 99 points to be "in," as the 100.0% actually means between 99.95% and 100.00%, with at least one simulation showing a failure to make the playoffs. But why would Montreal hit 99.95% with 94 points and Toronto not get there until 95 points? This would be most likely if MTL were playing more eastern conference playoff bubble teams than Toronto - the proverbial 4-point games. It would then be difficult for MTL to get to 94 points without knocking some teams out of the playoffs. Toronto would have less control over their own destiny, which is why they'd need more points to get the same level of certainty.

If you click on "50/50," the site will show you what the simulation results look like if all of the weightings are removed and each games outcome is treated like a coin flip (well, if coinflips could have overtimes and shootouts, but you get the idea). When you do that, you'll see that Toronto's chances look better than Montreal's.

• Travis commented  ·

I've watched these percentages for a while, one of the main drivers of the probability of making the playoffs is goal differential. Toronto's goal differential is quite low (-7 right now) vs. Montreal (-3) or Tampa (+15). Sort of explains why Tampa's chances are 95%, whereas it would seem Toronto is ahead of them in the standings (+3 points having played 2 more games)

• Dave commented  ·

I'm pretty sure this is based on a variety of factors. Not just how many points you have at a given moment.