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NHL 2012 Playoffs Round 1 Con’t: VAN Versus LAK


This is On Goal Analysis‘ fifth in the series and first Western Conference pairing comparison for the NHL’s 2012 Playoff season. This will post along with the NAS versus DET pairing tonight and the final two reviews before those matchups drop the puck on Thursday, 12 April. Once more, here is what you get in our first round preview:

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.

We will put these up as fast as we can go from East to West and 1st vs 8th seed to 4th vs 5th pairings. Up fifth is the No.1 seed in the West…

VAN vs LAK

A great opening round matchup for the defending Western Conference champions ensues tonight in Vancouver. Is there potential for an upset here that the numbers show?

Schedule

Wed, 11 April, 10:30p (ET) LAK at VAN [CBC,NBCSN,RDS,KCOP-13 (HD)]

Fri, 13 April, 10p (ET) LAK at VAN [CBC,NBCSN,RDS,KCOP-13 (HD)]

Sun, 15 April, 10:30p (ET) VAN at LAK [CBC,NBCSN,RDS,FS-W (HD)]

Wed, 18 April, 10p (ET) VAN at LAK [CBC,NBCSN,RDS]

Sun, 22 April, TBD (ET) VAN at LAK [FS-W (HD) – if required]

Tue, 24 April, TBD VAN at LAK [PRIME (HD) – if required]

Thur, 26 April, TBD VAN at LAK [FS-W (HD) – if required]

2012 Series

Thur, 10 November VAN 3 @ LAK 2 (Vancouver leads series 1 – 0; Luongo defeats Quick; VAN goals from Salo, Ebbett and Rome; LAK goals from Doughty and Richards; 39 PIMs)

Sat, 31 December VAN 1 @ LAK 4 (Series tied 1 – 1; Quick defeats Luongo; LAK goals from Richardson, Greene, Kopitar and Williams; VAN goal from Bieksa; 46 PIMs)

Tue, 17 January LAK 3 @ VAN 2 SO (Los Angeles leads series 2 – 1; Quick defeats Luongo; LAK goals from Penner and Williams; VAN goals from D. Sedin and Booth; 22 PIMs)

Mon, 26 March LAK 0 @ VAN 1 (Series tied 2 – 2; Luongo defeats Quick; VAN goal from Malhotra; 14 PIMs)

Key Notes: Both teams split wins in each other’s arena this season; both Luongo and Quick went 2 – 2 against each other; leading LAK goal scorer in this series is Williams (2); VAN had seven different goal scorers, all with only one goal; and the series ran an average of 30.25 PIMs per game.

VAN vs LAK CTSA

There is no change to the leading Hi, Avg and Lo numbers from Stanley Cup Finalist (SCF) values as stated in our last post. VAN with the home ice advantage is in blue and green for chart background while the LAK is in black text on white background wherever their stats fall within the average range of the post-Lockout SCF teams.

VAN has a ding against it right off the bat. As the President’s trophy winner, and as stated in our early example of the Ten Pound Bag Theory, the odds of hoisting The Cup since the Lockout are worse than 9:1 against. It is one thing if wins came easy. It is another thing entirely if there was pressure involved. At times, VAN was the cooker throughout the season by fans who are still apparently smarting from last season as expressed by how quickly they jump on Luongo when he is having a tough go. The President’s trophy overall is a negative output of pre-playoff energy. (VAN –.5; LAK 0)

Of equal interest is LAK as the 8th seed. Only the 2006 Oilers’ squad made it in as a SCF team holding down the 8th seed as the Playoffs began.  (VAN –.5; LAK –.5)

Los Angeles, we have a goal scoring problem. The Kings have the lowest total of goals scored and are the only playoff team to total in the 100’s. Keep this stat in mind: at one point, LAK netminder Quick had 30+ losses by a Goals Against total of 39. If they could put more in the net, who would be the President’s Trophy winner this season? (VAN –.5; LAK –1.5)

At the same time, LAK has the second lowest Goals Against for all Playoff teams, a number which falls outside of averages but within the Hi (performing) norm. (VAN –.5; LAK –2)

LAK’s PP is below average but within Lo norms. (VAN –.5; LAK –2.5)

VAN’s PK is above both averages and Hi norms. (VAN –1.5; LAK –2.5) [Why do we keep subtracting for even the good stats? Because performing outside of both averages and norms means a team will either set a new average/norm, or, more likely, fall in the not-winning-The-Cup majority of teams.]

LAK’s Average Winning Streak is below both averages and Lo norms. (VAN –1.5; LAK –3.5)

VAN’s Longest Losing Streak at two games is both above average and Hi norm.  (VAN –2.5; LAK –3.5)

The LAK’s Home Winning % is below the SCF teams’ average but above the Lo norm. When you compare the Home and Away Winning Percentages, one can easily come to the conclusion that this is VAN’s series in six games. (VAN –2.5; LAK –4)

VAN draws the negative penalty here for being both above average and Hi norms for Wins and Losses in their Last 10 games played. (VAN –4.5; LAK –4)

The average output by position for 16, final 2011-12 statistical categories breaks down as follows:

  • LAK is below average and Lo norm at Left Wing on a player–per–game basis (VAN –4.5; LAK –5)
  • The Kings are also above both average and Hi norm at the Right Wing position. (VAN –4.5; LAK –6)
  • VAN is above average / below Hi norm at Right Wing (VAN –5; LAK –6)
  • And as with almost every other team in the Playoffs, both teams’ Goaltenders are above both average and Hi norms (VAN –6; LAK –7)

If you add up the by–position, per–game averages, VAN leads LAK at Left Wing, Defense and Goalie and overall 27.419 to 26.182.

You would probably find it interesting that President’s Trophy–winning VAN rates an overall grade of a high “C.” That said, their overall ranking sees them fall within the averages. (VAN –6; LAK –7)

The LAK, primarily for low goal scoring and all of the stats categories that fact touches, lands a “mid–D” and a score that falls outside of averages and the Lo norm. (VAN –6; LAK –8)

We said above that it is easy to draw the conclusion VAN takes this series in six games. But overall, these two teams are closer in comparison than it looks. VAN needs confidence that will not be fueled by their home crowd if they look like last year’s Finals Game 3, 4, 7, and/or 8 team. You cannot ignore, too, the interesting fact that VAN averaged 2.94 goals per game for the regular season but LAK held them in four games to 1.75 and won 50% of the time. This is what many analysts call a classic Seven-Gamer. Here at On Goal Analysis, we believe if there is going to be a huge upset in Round 1, it is right here. So we will lay it on the line and call this a series victory for L.A. in six or seven games and in spite of the indicators.

Summary

Between these two teams, the indicators say VAN stands the best chance of being the Stanley Cup Champion out of the Western Conference. But we say this is the upset series in Round 1. Sadly, unless the inside of the net is under lock and key Ken Dryden–old style through all four series, the Kings will not hoist the Cup this year.

How does VAN take this series? Play with confidence despite the home crowd.

How is LAK going to win it though? It will begin with Quickian goaltending, the likes of which Kings (and other) fans have seen all season. Understand the VAN Left Wing is weaker without D. Sedin, will likely remain so his first game back, and exploit that fact. Finally, find enough offense to go with that Kings’ defense which has surrendered less Goals Against than all but STL in this year’s playoffs.

Our overall call is LAK’s to upset in seven games. The tell will be taking one of the first two, even if one is dropped in Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles.

Up next is the second Western Conference game tonight, NSH versus DET…

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  • ...This suggests that the LAK will defeat CHI in Game 6 to play the NYR for the Stanley Cup 3 years ago
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