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2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 3 Fin: NYR v NJD Analysis


On Goal Analysis completes their 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 3 analysis with the NYR versus NJD matchup that begins on Monday, 14 May. For this review, we provide the same analysis formula we used in our previous Round 3 blog:

The Schedule

The teams’ 2012 Series

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; and Goal Differential.

We also provide CTSA on team performance as a combined average from regular season and through Round 2 of the Playoffs in terms of: Power Play %; Penalty Kill %; Winning Streak; Longest Winning Streak; Losing Streak; Longest Losing Streak; Home and Away Winning %; odds of Wins and Losses of Round 2, Game 1 and the series as a whole from historical patterns; Round 1 Closing Win Streak; Average Output Per Game by position; and a total Team Point Value. We combine these numbers because Playoff figures are inflated by as much as 1.5 times taken by themselves when compared to the regular season and depending on the category.

After a long layoff for both teams, what does our pattern analysis say about this series?

NYR vs NJD

This matchup is being billed as a fierce rivalry between two opponents separated by a river crossing. True, there has been intense combat between these two teams during the regular season. True outcomes were close. But you have to wonder who will be affected most – the Devils by their long break, or the Rangers by their long series? What does our pattern analysis tell us?

Schedule

Mon, 14 May, 8p (ET) NJD at NYR [NBCSN, CBC, RDS]

Wed, 16 May, 8p (ET) NJD at NYR [NBCSN, CBC, RDS]

Sat, 19 May, 1p (ET) NYR at NJD [NBC, CBC, RDS]

Mon, 21 May, 8p (ET) NYR at NJD [NBCSN, CBC, RDS]

Wed, 23 May, 8p (ET) NJD at NYR [NBCSN, CBC, RDS – if required]

Fri, 25 May, 8p (ET) NYR at NJD [NBCSN, CBC, RDS – if required]

Sun, 27 May, 8p (ET) NJD at NYR [NBCSN, CBC, RDS – if required]

2012 Series

Tue, 20 December NYR 4 @ NJD 1 (New York leads series 1 – 0; Lundqvist defeats Brodeur; NYR goals from Anisimov, Gaborik (2) and Hagelin; NJD goal from Zajac; 52 PIMs)

Tue, 31 January NYR 3 @ NJD 4 SO (Series tied 1 – 1; Brodeur defeats Biron; NJD goals from Parise, Kovalchuk [plus the SO game winner] and Clarkson; NYR goals from Stralman, Boyle and Del Zotto; 12 PIMs)

Tue, 7 February NJD 1 @ NYR 0 (New Jersey leads series 2 – 1; Brodeur defeats Lundqvist; NJD goal from Clarkson; 34 PIMs)

Tue, 27 February NJD 0 @ NYR 2 (Series tied 2 – 2; Lundqvist defeats Brodeur; NYR goals from Hagelin and Callahan; 44 PIMs)

Tue, 6 March NYR 1 @ NJD 4 (New Jersey leads series 3 – 2; Brodeur defeats Lundqvist; NJD goals from Kovalchuk, Clarkson, Carter and Elias; NYR goal from Stepan; 32 PIMs)

Mon, 19 March NJD 2 @ NYR 4 (Series tied 3 – 3; Lundqvist defeats Brodeur; NYR goals from Dubinsky, Girardi, Zuccarello and Stepan; NJD goals from Elias and Sykora; 56 PIMs)

Key Notes: The regular season series ended in a tie with both teams 2 – 1 at home as in the PHX versus LAK series; Lundqvist is 3 – 2 versus Brodeur with Brodeur starting every game in this series for NJD; leading NYR goal scorers are Gaborik and Hagelin (2); leading NJD goal scorer was Clarkson (3); and the series ran a significant average of 38.33 PIMs per game with all but one game including fighting majors.

NYR vs NJD Combined CTSA

After the defeat of BOS and OTT, NYR and NJD both are the next most likely Eastern Conference teams to compete for the Stanley Cup. It was just about a dead heat, however, with NYR holding a less – than – .1 point advantage. Both teams had the same number of statistical calls over or under averages except NYR held the dreaded #1 Conference seed. (NYR – 1.5; NJD –1)

Special teams show as a mixed bag. In the Playoffs only, NJD has the best PP and worst PK while NYR is within average limits. The Rangers hold that average when combining regular season and Playoff numbers. Predictably, NJD is above average / below Hi norm on the PP and below average / above Lo norm on the PK. (NYR – 1.5; NJD –2)

NYR is below both average and norm for Playoff Winning Streak and Longest Winning Streak – they have only once produced two consecutive Playoff victories. NJD is only below average in terms of their Longest Winning Streak in the Playoffs. Both teams are right at average in combining regular season and Playoff numbers for these stats. (NYR – 1.5; NJD –2)

Both teams’ Playoff Average Losing Streak and Longest Losing Streak are all but tied. They also are both right on average for these numbers when combined with the regular season. (NYR – 1.5; NJD –2.5)

NJD holds the advantage in terms of Playoff Home and Road records. The Devils’ Home record is the best (.800) of the four remaining Playoff teams while the Rangers’ Road record is the worst (.500). The two are much closer and right in line with averages when combining regular season and Playoff numbers, however. And if you add up the percentages head-to-head, this series requires a Game 7 for a winner to be decided. History suggests Game 6 is th end for Round 3 matchups, however. At a Game 6, NJD is in the lead. (NYR – 2; NJD –2.5)

There have only been two teams to win a series with a L,W,W,W,W pattern since the Lockout. One team lost their first, Round 3 game following the above for an historical 0% chance of a Devils’ Game 1 win. Overall, only two teams have carried a W/L pattern like that forward in the playoffs and they bat a .500. Nobody has produced a W/L pattern like the Rangers in any post-Lockout series, so no call can be made with that reference. In relative terms, NYR has played about eight games in a 15-day span to five games in 10 days for NJD. Fatigue is going to play a factor in Game 1 and beyond. Both teams get a minor minus in this category. [For post-Lockout comparison purposes, teams with an 8-6 record like NYR carries into Round 3 are 0-2, losing in four and five games. Teams with NJD’s 8-4 record going into the 3rd Round are 3-4 with CHI ’10 winning the Stanley Cup Championship] (NYR – 3.5; NJD –3)

Interestingly, both NYR and NJD’s records in their Last 10 Games are the same as they were to close out the regular season. These numbers put NYR below average in terms of both W’s and L’s in their Last 10, and NJD above average in both categories in terms of combined regular season and Playoff averages. The same goes for their current Winning Streaks. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)

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

  • NJD leads both clubs at the Left Wing position in terms of the highest, by-game statistical average. Both the Devils’ Zack Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk top the Rangers’ LW leader, Brandon Prust in this category. And while New Jersey’s ranking would be the highest at that position for teams still in the playoffs, they do not lose points based on our Ten Pound Bag Theory – combined regular season and Playoff averages are just that. On average. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)
  • At Center, NJD also has an overall by-game statistical advantage. NYR’s Brian Boyle and Brad Richards are overall leaders at this position in front of the Devils’ Patrick Elias. But after the Rangers’ two leaders, the overall statistical contributions by the rest of NJD’s Pivots give them the Playoff advantage. As with the LW position, however, combined stats for ‘both seasons’ renders the two      clubs right at average. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)
  • Statistically speaking, the single most dominant player coming into this matchup is New York’s Right Wing Ryan Callahan. Hot on his heels in NJD’s leading statistical player, RW David Clarkson. While Clarkson lead all scorers in these teams’ regular season series, he still is a notch under Callahan in terms of total output. But both teams are right on average in combined regular season/Playoff      numbers. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)
  • In order, the top four Defensemen in this series statistically speaking are NYR’s Dan Girardi, NJD’s Marek Zidlicky, NYR’s Michael Del Zotto and NJD’s Andy Greene. Those four are followed by the Rangers’ Staal and McDonagh. Overall, this position runs decidedly in New York’s favor. But as with the other skaters’ stats, the two teams come out about average when looking at regular season and Playoff totals. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)
  • And at the Goalie position on a per-game basis, the Devils’ Martin Brodeur leads the Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist on the strength of his Winning and Saves Percentages. The difference between the two players is slight. But again, when you take into account the “two seasons’ ” numbers, both teams remain at average. (NYR – 5; NJD –4.5)

If you add up the by–position, per–game averages through Round 2, NYR has a slight point lead in terms of total combined, by-game stats. (NYR – 5; NJD –5)

Both teams’ grade out at a ‘Low C’ average. But the Rangers’ overall grade is above average / below Hi norm for a slight hit. (NYR – 5.5; NJD –5)

Summary

This series is just about as close as the PHX versus LAK call. How does this one fall out?

NYR wins this series if:

  1. Lundqvist is going to have to be just about perfect four times. That could drag this out to a third, consecutive 7-gamer.
  2. They, like the LAK’s, can produce some scoring in this round. They need to channel those 28 times in the regular season they scored four or more goals. And the one time they did it against OTT in the Playoffs. They must BE who they have been for less than 1/3 of this season.
  3. Hope NJD doesn’t figure out how to overcome the Rangers’ blocking machine.

The Devils win by solving Lundqvist and the sea of blocked shots. It is both that simple and that difficult.

It pains us to have to say this at OGA because we were Rangers fans long before On Goal Analysis (no offense intended, NJites). Our analytical side, however, cannot help but say the numbers and patterns drift just a bit more to the West side of the Hudson River. Since we are forced to make a call, we have to say NJD wins the series in six, close games.

If the Rangers win, it is likely to go seven games and they will get there on heart and perseverance, a good story in anybody’s book.

While some may sound the death knell after Game 1, you can lose that one and still go all the way to Stanley Cup victory just like BOS, ANA or CAR did. The tell in this series, as we indicated in our posting about PHX versus LAK, will be who wins Game 2 as they are undefeated progressing from Round 3 on to Round 4 since the Lockout.

So in our mind, it will be NJD taking on the LAK for the Stanley Cup Final. Let’s see how right we were as Round 3 kicks off….

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  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 1 month ago
  • Since 2005/6, when a Round 3 team wins Game 5, they lose Game 6 66.7% of the time; also, Western series are determined by Game 5.889... 1 month ago
  • ...So those stats point to the NYR claiming victory tonight and playing the winner from the Western Conference in the Finals 1 month ago
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