In case you haven’t noticed, the Milwaukee Admirals have finally righted the sinking January ship, taking five points over the weekend and picking up another regulation win last night against Peoria.
That makes 29 wins on the season for Milwaukee in 55 games. However, the Admirals still stand in ninth place currently watching the AHL playoffs rather than participating in them. Such is life when trying to gain ground in a league full of three-point games.
But with things starting to turn around on the Bradley Center ice, Milwaukee fans have good reason to expect that Admirals will make the franchise’s 10th straight postseason appearance.
Here are four of them:
1) Milwaukee owns three games in hand on eighth place Peoria.
Though not terribly important at this point in the year, the Admirals still have three more games to play on their schedule than does eighth place Peoria. With a huge head-to-head win last night, Milwaukee also moves back ahead in the season series between the two teams and now trails the Rivermen by only a single point. As long as the Admirals match Peoria’s record in their remaining games, then pick up one win in the three games in hand, Milwaukee will leapfrog the Rivermen in the Western Conference standings.
2) Milwaukee has more wins than seventh place Houston, and a better head-to-head record.
Currently Houston stands with two more points than Milwaukee in the same amount of games played. However, if the Admirals can catch the Aeros down the stretch, Milwaukee should win a tie breaker of having more regulation wins because Houston racked up so many points in shootout losses this season. Milwaukee also owns the upper hand on the Aeros as far as the the season series to date (2-0-0-0).
3) Milwaukee carries a strong ratio of goals for to goals against.
So far this season the Admirals have scored 155 goals and have given up 144. That ratio of 1.08 is better than every other team in the conference with the exceptions of Oklahoma City, Toronto and Chicago. Even Midwest Division leading Charlotte has a worse number than Milwaukee (1.07). Two teams ahead of the Admirals in the standings, fifth place Abbotsford and sixth place San Antonio, carry ratios of less than one at .96 and .94 respectively, meaning they’ve given up more goals than they’ve scored.
Over the course of the season that ratio tends to accurately reflect who are the best teams in the AHL and who are weakest. Using this statistic as the actual standings, Milwaukee fans could book home ice tickets for the first round.
4) Milwaukee owns games in hand on its rival chasers for eighth place.
The final aspect Milwaukee has going for them is that the Admirals have games in hand on all of their fellow chasers, with the exceptions of Grand Rapids (stuck at 55 points in 53 games played) and Texas (52 points in the same amount of games played as the Admirals). Milwaukee owns one game in hand on Rochester, which trails the Admirals by a point, and two games in hand on Lake Erie, which trails the Admirals by three points. Further back Hamilton and Rockford are each at 55 points through 56 and 57 games respectively.
Along with keeping the chasers behind them, Milwaukee still has a good shot of catching sixth place San Antonio, which stands with 65 points through 57 games. If the Admirals can match the Rampage from here on out and win their two games in hand, Milwaukee will pass San Antonio. Even if the Admirals can just match the Rampage record wise, again Milwaukee takes the head-to-head match up (2-0-0-0).
So Roundtable . . . How are you feeling about Milwaukee’s chances of making the AHL playoffs? Are you breathing any easier after recent performances? Or are you still expecting the nine consecutive year playoff streak to come to an end.