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2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2: PHX v NSH Analysis


On Goal Analysis‘ 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs 1st Round pick results are all in. How did we do? We were 100% in the Western Conference in terms of picking winners. In terms of how many games we were off, here is how it looked:

VAN vs. LAK –2

STL vs. SJS –1

PHX vs. CHI –1

NSH vs. DET –1

In the Eastern Conference, we were only 50% on winners, correctly selecting NYR and NJD to win their series and missing on BOS and PIT. Of note with the Penguins, our preview of that matchup called for PHI in five or six games, or PIT if it went to a Game 7. But since we said if you held us to it, we would say PIT in seven, we call that a loss. The difference in games is:

NYR vs. OTT 0

BOS vs. WSH –1

FLA vs. NJD 0

PIT vs. PHI –1

Overall, that makes us 6 – of – 8 / 75% and an average of .875 games off of the mark in calling final games.

That all done, we are now staring at the first Game 1 for Round 2 tonight in the PHX versus NSH matchup. For this review, we use the same formula provided for Round 1 in terms of analyzing the following:

The Schedule

The 2012 Series

And finally, Comparative Team Stat Analysis (CTSA) against the Hi, Average and Lo of the previous six, post-Lockout Stanley Cup Champions including: Wins; Losses; Points; Conference Seed; Goals For; Goals Against; Goal Differential; Power Play %; Penalty Kill %; Winning Streak; Longest Winning Streak; Losing Streak; Longest Losing Streak; Home and Away Winning %; Wins and Losses in their Last 10 games played; Closing Game Streak; Average Output Per Game by position; and a total Team Point Value.

How does our analysis call this series?

PHX vs NSH

Both Western Conference series consist of multiple time zone distances between home arenas which contribute to player fatigue. Both NSH and PHX will feel that jetlag each first game played in Music City, U.S.A. But different, relative playing hours are not all that there is to this matchup. So what does our analysis say?

Schedule

Fri, 27 April, 9p (ET) NSH at PHX [NBCSN, TSN, RDS]

Sun, 29 April, 8p (ET) NSH at PHX [NBCSN, TSN, RDS]

Wed, 2 May, 9p (ET) PHX at NSH [CNBC, TSN, RDSI]

Fri, 4 May, 7:30p (ET) PHX at NSH [NBCSN, TSN, RDS]

Mon, 7 May, 10p (ET) NSH at PHX [NBCSN, TSN, RDS – if required]

Wed, 9 May, TBD PHX at NSH [TBD, TSN, RDSI – if required]

Fri, 11 May, TBD NSH at PHX [TBD, TSN, RDS – if required]

2012 Series

Thur, 13 October PHX 5 @ NSH 2 (Phoenix leads series 1 – 0; LaBarbera defeats Rinne; PHX goals from Schlemko, Whitney, Korpikoski, Boedker and Doan; NSH goals from Suter and Wilson; 10 PIMs)

Thur, 3 November NSH 3 @ PHX 0 (Series tied 1 – 1; Rinne defeats LaBarbera; NSH goals from Blum, Halischuk and Hornqvist; 10 PIMs)

Tue, 6 December PHX 3 @ NSH 2 (Phoenix leads series 2 – 1; Rinne defeats LaBarbera; PHX goals from Pyatt, Whitney and Yandle; NSH goals from Hillen and Weber; 12 PIMs)

Mon, 12 March NSH 5 @ PHX 4 SO (Series tied 2 – 2; Smith defeats Rinne; NSH goals from Erat, Fisher, Bouillon and Smith; PHX goals from Langkow, Yandle, Ekman-Larsson and Torres; 6 PIMs)

Key Notes: This series wound up an interesting tie; Rinne went 2 – 2 playing LaBarbera three times and losing the nly game he played against Smith in a SO; in every game, the visiting team was the victor; leading PHX goal scorer in this series is Whitney (2); true to form, NSH had 11 different goal scorers all with only one goal, and 12 if you count A.Kostitsyn’s SO game winner; and the series ran an average of 9.5 PIMs per game with no majors issued, indicating we are in for a lot of up–and–down the ice rushes and strong goal tending play.

PHX vs NSH CTSA

Different from our last post for Round 1 is analysis of Playoff, vice Regular Season, Streaks, Next Win or Loss and By-Position stats packs as detailed below.

Using Regular Season Wins, Losses, Points, Conference Seed, Goals For, Goals Against and Goal Differential as measured against previous Stanley Cup winners, NSH is the dominant team between the two and the best qualified team in terms of pattern analysis to advance toward winning The Stanley Cup since VAN was knocked out by the LAK. (PHX – 1; NSH –.5)

Specialty Teams stats rank NSH with the lowest PP of the remaining Playoff teams and PHX with the highest PK. Remembering our Ten Pound Bag Theory about playing effort, these are negative occurrences for both teams which likely will correct as they play more games in the post-season. For the moment, however, they work against the averages. (PHX – 2; NSH –1.5)

PHX’s Winning Streak and Longest Winning Streak averages are both among the lowest of Playoff teams while NSH’s are right about average. (PHX – 4; NSH –1.5)

The Average Losing Streak and Longest Losing Streak for both teams are equal at 1.0 for all numbers. This category is therefore a wash. (PHX – 4; NSH –1.5)

In terms of Winning % both Home and Away, PHX’s Home % is the lowest for teams still in the Playoffs and both teams have the same road record following the 1st Round. These numbers by themselves indicate NSH coming out on top of PHX by the end of Game 6. (PHX – 5; NSH –1.5)

In measuring both teams’ Round 1 Wins/Loss pattern against all other, similarly patterned teams, PHX has a 1.0 chance of a win for Game 1 of Round 2 while NSH’s probability is only a .667. Overall, neither team’s Round 1 pattern equals that of previous, post-Lockout Stanley Cup Winning Teams (SCWTs). (PHX – 6; NSH –3.5)

PHX ended their series with a Game 6 win after dropping Game 5 for a one-game winning streak. This is below the Round 1 average. NSH is right within the average having won their last three games straight. (PHX – 7; NSH –3.5)

In terms of the average, by–position output per player in 16 statistical categories, the comparison breaks down as follows:

  • PHX leads      both clubs at the LW position and is above average/below the Hi number.      All three of their LW’s lead NSH’s on a per-game statistical basis and      boast Whitney with two Regular Season goals against the Predators. NSH’s      LW corps boasts the lowest per-game totals of all teams still in      contention (PHX – 8; NSH –4)
  • NSH’s      Centermen barely lead PHX in the pivot category as an overall group. The      top, per-game player is PHX’s Hanzal. But Legwand and Fisher from NSH both      provided a higher percentage of per-game statistical output for their      team. (PHX – 8.5; NSH –4)
  • PHX leads in      terms of stats packs for RW and D as well. The Coyotes’ Doan is the leader      at RW over NSH’s Radulov by a good margin. PHX’s Defense as a whole carry      the best numbers, but the Predator’s Weber is the most prolific defenseman      on the ice in this contest and trails only the LAK’s Mitchell in overall      stats pack through Round 1. (PHX – 9; NSH –4)
  • You wouldn’t      necessarily guess it, but PHX’s Smith leads Rinne in combined, by-game      statistics based on a larger stats pack for the one more contest he has      faced and the lone Shutout garnered between the two clubs. (PHX – 9; NSH –4.5)

If you add up the by–position, per–game averages, PHX leads NSH at every position except Center with an by-game lead of 5.855 points.

NSH garners an overall statistical grade of “Low B” and the second highest of all teams still in the hunt. PHX draws a “High C” grade.

Summary

Between these two clubs, historical team statistics and their Round 1 performance indicate NSH should come out ahead. This is despite PHX’s statistical lead at every position except Center. Why? Because NSH’s effort is a by-committee game as evidenced by 11 regulation goals in the Regular Season series with the ‘Yotes all scored by different players.

How does NSH ensure they win this series? Continue to play that all–for–one… game they play so well. And it will not hurt for Radulov to continue to improve stats on the Wing and Rinne to stand on his head, again.

How does PHX pull off an upset? Three things: Mike Smith them to death; find another gear for Doan that has him rise above the NSH check; and pressure the Predator blueline to launch more hurried and less accurate SOG.

Our overall call is NSH wins the series in six games. The tell for this outcome is stealing at least one game of the first two in Glendale.

Up later are our blogs for the two Saturday contests…

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  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 4 months ago
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