Sunday's 4-1 loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals was costly enough in a crucial 4 point game vs. the team the Express are directly battling with for the final playoff spot in the Coastal Conference.
The teams are tied with 21 points in the standings through 33 games, but Cowichan has the tie-breaker with a record of 10-22-0-1 compared to Burnaby's record of 9-21-0-3. Cowichan winning the last 2 head to head meetings doesn't help the Express cause as well.
With that in mind, I did a little number crunching to project where the two teams will finish in the standings. And the picture isn't pretty for the Express.
As we all know, the Express got off to a 5-0-0-1 start in the month of September for a total of 11 points in the first 6 games. Knowing what we know now, the record in the month of September was the exception rather than the rule. In that same time frame, the Caps record was 1-4-0-1 for 3 points in their first 6 games this season.
In the 27 games played since then, the Express have gone 4-21-0-2 for 10 points. In the same time, the Caps have gone 9-18-0-0 for 18 points.
So going back to the 6 game mark, I calculated both the Express and Capitals 54 game pace for the rest of the season.
Burnaby's 54 game pace since game 6 of the season is, 8-42-0-4 for 20 points. Cowichan's 54 game pace in the same time frame is 18-36-0-0 for 36 points.
Considering the pace that the two teams are on since game 6 of the season, that would see Cowichan Valley finish with a record of 19-40-0-1 for 39 points if you add their 54 game pace to the record they posted in their first 6 games.
Burnaby's final number will be 13-42-0-5 for 31 points if you add Burnaby's record after game 6 and the pace they're currently setting since their 5-0-0-1 start in September.
The math is simple, the pace the Express are on will see them miss the playoffs by 8 points considering where the two clubs are projected to finish the season if they maintain current pace in addition their record at the 6 game mark of the season.
If we use Cowichan Valley's magic number of a 39 point pace, the Express will have to post a 9-17-1 mark in their final 27 games to eclipse the Capitals in the standings and hit the 40 point mark. (Considering that Cowichan Valley maintains their tie-breaker advantage over Burnaby.)
And if Burnaby is to finish ahead of the Capitals for the final playoff spot, they will need to win the final head to head meeting between the two teams on Sunday February 14th at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
Looking at the schedule leading up to that matchup, Burnaby will be coming off a 2 day break after playing host to the Powell River Kings on Thursday February 11th.
For Cowichan Valley, they will be playing their 3rd game in less than 3 nights plus travel after playing at home Friday and Saturday leading up to the final matchup with Burnaby.
Considering what we know now, the Express have to pick up their pace.