Professional sports can be a funny place. When a team has been so good for the majority of the regular season, management and coaches decide to rest star players down the stretch in hopes for peak performances in the playoffs.
Although that is never an option in fantasy sports, Top of the Rock already clinched a playoff in week 11, so most of the players decided to take the week off, and those lacklustre performances cost the franchise their first top seed.
Now not everything was dark and gloomy because The Rock only lost to Horcoff’s Manly Wife 5-4-1; they were able to secure enough points and earn a second overall finish and a first-round bye.
The boys took it easy in the finale and now have extra time to gear up for the upcoming playoffs, which could be a blessing or a curse. Only time will tell.
Top of the Rock finished the season with a matchup record of 8-4, dropping both contests with Horcoff’s Manly Wife. They beat us 3-6-1 (week one) and, to add injury to insult, beat us in one of the most important matchups in franchise history, 4-5-1 (week twelve). For those who are keeping track at home, we finished 7-11-2 against them, the only team we played twice during the short season.
When we dissect the overall matchup numbers, we can only describe them as ugly. However, the final numbers could have been worse since we did win a tiebreaker in the save percentage category.
A handful of categories were close, but as you will see in the daily scores, this was never going to be our matchup to win, no matter how slim the deficits were.
We lost the assists category by one, 21-20, and won the goalie wins by the same margin, 3-2. Less than 10 points decided the following few categories, goals, power-play points, and shots on goals. After that, it was a 10 point swing in penalty minutes and 15 point difference in plus-minus. They posted a better goals-against average of 0.23 points while both teams failed to register a shutout.
According to Yahoo Fantasy, the official save percentage numbers broke down like this: Top of the Rock 0.89908257 and Horcoff’s Manly Wife 0.89867841.
We opened the matchup by falling behind 4-3 after night one. Thanks to some good numbers on Tuesday and Wednesday, we could grab our first lead of the matchup. It was still close (4-3) before our opponent leapfrogged us again to take a commanding lead on Thursday. We flipped the score on Friday for our last lead of the matchup before faltering over the weekend.
Hockey historians will have a field day when they look back at our shorter 2020-21 season. Top of the Rock hung around the top three spots in the standings for 11 out of 12 weeks yet had some terrible team numbers.
Our best numbers ended up being in save percentage, where we finished with the third-best totals. The next best total was goals-against average, which is funny to talk about since we finished dead last in wins and second to last in shutouts. So strange that those numbers are opposites.
Regarding offensive numbers, we finished in the top half of the league in just one of the six categories (assists). Historically we have always been the worse teams regarding helpers, so this was a welcoming sight.
After that category, our next best finish was shots on goal (7th), followed by power-play points and goals (8th). Penalty minutes were next at 9th, and our plus-minus took a savage beating over the last few weeks to finish in 10th.
The final buzzer has sounded on the season, and Top of the Rock finished in the 2nd overall seed, just three points behind Donkey Kong Country in first. Bettman’s Bubble finished a point behind us in third, followed by last season’s champions Benn Tallon Sens Won in fourth. B Galli (5th) and Bros Before Ahos (6th) round out the playoff bracket, while the bottom six teams all play for bragging rights in the consolation bracket.
As we have pointed out on several occasions throughout the season, the top six teams in the league all had winning records, while the bottom six never found the right time to get over the 0.500 bump.
The difference in points from first place to the last place was 46 points, while Bros Before Ahos made the playoffs over GLASS OF MARLEAU by a cushion of 10 points. The difference between the top team and the lowest seed in the playoffs is 16 points.
Every team won at least 40 categories, while Benn Tallon and Bros Before are the only teams to advance without reaching 60 wins.
When we examine the bench numbers from this matchup this week, we will fall upon a double-edged sword.
In a perfect world, we’d love to count up the offensive numbers because they would have drastically altered the final score in our favour. However, if we had plugged in our goalie numbers, the bench numbers were so off the charts that it would have hurt us more than help us.
Viktor Arvidsson (Nashville) was injured and scored a hat trick upon his return to the lineup. Meanwhile, in Calgary, Elias Lindholm played two games and collected a few points that would have flipped several categories in our favour.
With those players’ numbers injected into the box score, we would tied goals 9-9 and won the assists category 22-21. The plus-minus, penalty minutes, and power-play points wouldn’t have changed; however, 22 extra shots on goal, and we take that category 95-79. The 5-4-1 loss would have turned into a 6-2-2 victory for us, giving the team enough points to either tie for first place or be the outright winner.
There is no guarantee that we would have played Casey DeSmith (Pittsburgh) on any of the days he got into the net. But when you look at his numbers and how horrible they were, it is safe to say that we are thankful he didn’t play because he would have cost us the tie-in save percentage. For fun, had DeSmith played, we would have still won the matchup 5-3-2, which is still better than a 4-5-1 loss.
In preparation for the upcoming playoffs, Top of the Rock made no roster moves during the final week of the season.
Weekly Move Total: 0/4
Season Move Total: 14/50
Follow Top of the Rock all season long @keepingthestats or facebook.com/keepingthestats.