The Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 win over the Chicago Wolves last night was another performance in a train of resilient efforts. Once again, it wasn’t the prettiest of games played by the Admirals to start the contest but they managed to refine and adapt to what the game is giving them before taking control.
So much of this now franchise record tying thirteen-game point streak can be said, game by game, with that last sentence in mind. It’s with that where I say individually the games haven’t impressed me too much but the ability to do it again, and again, and again – is nothing short of phenomenal. Nothing seems to really throw this Admirals team off at the moment. And what a time to be creating that characteristic.
There are only two-games remaining in the Admirals regular season. They have the Bakersfield Condors at home on Friday night and then get to play their currently prospective first round opponent in the playoffs, the Rockford IceHogs, on the road Saturday night. The Admirals right now have a record of 48-21-3-2 (101 points) for a 0.682 points percentage. It’s the first time since the 2010-11 season that the Admirals have eclipsed 100 points in a regular season campaign. That same season was also the last time the Admirals had earned a divisional title. With one more victory the Admirals will match their AHL franchise record for wins in a season with 49 wins which took place during the 2005-06 and 2008-09 seasons. Both of those seasons were played in an 80 game schedule as opposed to today’s 76 game schedule. What you’re watching this Admirals team do right now is cement itself as the best Admirals team, on points percentage, in the AHL history of the franchise.
~Hunting the Reign’s Reign~
I’ve spoken before about what’s left for the Admirals to play for. Quite honestly there isn’t anything there but the desperate hope that the Ontario Reign slip up in their final two games of the season where they’ll play the San Diego Gulls on the road in both contests. Thanks to points percentage, and the eight-games lesser schedule for the Reign, any loss or failed point can make a dent on their points percentage.
If the Reign lose both of their last two games in regulation they drop to a 0.669 points percentage. An overtime or shootout loss and a regulation loss moves them to 0.676 points percentage. A win and a loss, or consecutive overtime or shootout defeats, would see them move to a 0.684 points percentage. A win and any form of a loss past regulation moves them to 0.691 points percentage. Two wins vaults them to a 0.699 points percentage.
The best the Admirals can achieve, by winning out their regular season and becoming the first Admirals team in their AHL history to secure 50 wins in a regular season, is a 0.691 points percentage. Should the Admirals and Reign tie on points percentage the tiebreaker rules are as follows:
Between two teams:
a) percentage of games won (excluding shootout wins)
b) points in season series between teams
c) goal differential
d) goals scored in season series between teams
e) intra-conference points percentage
Consider that very first tiebreaker a death blow because the Reign’s 43 wins this season have all come in regulation while the Admirals now currently stand at 41 games. For both two have been tied at 0.691 points percentage would mean the Admirals sitting at 43 ROW from a higher games played total. Even if the Reign won that one game needed to get to that equal playing field 0.691 mark in overtime or a shootout their 43 ROW from their eight-games lesser schedule makes that percentage of games won excluding shootout wins a dagger.
That means what you should be pulling for is 0.684, 0.676, or 0.669 points percentage. In short, start rooting for the Gulls if you want to see this year’s Admirals team taking home the best record in the Western Conference. The Reign are great but the Gulls aren’t slouches either. The Gulls’ 0.621 points percentage is better than that of the Grand Rapids Griffins right now. All they need to do is thwart the team with the best road record in the Western Conference is all.
For all that I just said. For all the numbers crunching and repeated use of the term points percentage. Here’s the catch that I feel it is worth stating. The Admirals don’t gain anything by beating out the Reign as the team with the best record in the Western Conference at the end of the regular season. They aren’t battling against the Reign to get the right to play against the lowly eighth seed of the Western Conference come season’s end. No matter what happens the Admirals will still be playing their first round of the playoffs against the fourth seed of the Central Division. It would simply be a nice bonus or something to put on a banner when the Admirals move over into the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
As you’ll hear head coach Dean Evason state it’s really not about looking too far ahead as much as it is simply tomorrow for the Admirals. Simply put: if having the best record in the Western Conference at season’s end happens it happens. If it doesn’t, the team’s focus hasn’t changed because they’re all set firmly on the next day and opponent in front of them. To me, I’d much prefer to have the Admirals sights set on the here and now rather than pretentious scoreboard watching while playing games of “what if?” Instead this team is doing what the Nashville Predators are wanting them to do which is being groomed for playoff caliber hockey at the professional level. Focus on the here and now. That’s what’s important. If that gets taken care of other little treats, such as divisional titles, fall into place. The main goal is the 2016 Calder Cup. That isn’t where the eyes are now though. The Admirals have today off and are looking to the Condors for Friday night’s game. One item at a time. One day at a time. The results are speaking for themselves with this philosophy.
After last night’s game I not only had the chance to catch up with Mr. Evason but I also chatted with Max Reinhart, Frédérick Gaudreau, and Max Görtz. It’s worth noting that two cameos were made during Gaudreau’s interview. Pontus Åberg gave a walk by so I name dropped him as a result and then Vladislav Kamenev made his Chatterbox debut by silently dropping an interview bomb. Poor Gaudreau.
Comments from the comments? What are your impressions of this point streak by the Admirals? Any concerns from you that the Admirals might be peaking before the playoffs or are they getting hot at the right time?
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