NHL 2012 Playoffs Round 1 Fin: PHX Versus CHI

This is On Goal Analysis‘ eighth and last in the Round 1 series comparisons for the NHL’s 2012 Playoff season. This is posting along with the PHX versus CHI analysis before tonight’s puck drop. For the last time, 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 seventh is the No.2 seed in the West…


Along with PHX versus CHI, this is our other, multi-time zone crossing matchup in the Western Conference. Do not underestimate the toll jet lag and game abuse will have on these teams going forward. Who wins this series?


Thur, 12 April, 10p (ET) CHI at PHX [TSN,NBCSN,RDS,CSN-CH (HD),FS-A PLUS (HD)]

Sat, 14 April, 10p (ET) CHI at PHX [TSN,NBCSN,RDS,CSN-CH (HD)]

Tue, 17 April, 9p (ET) PHX at CHI [TSN,CNBC,RDS,FS-A PLUS (HD),CSN-CH (HD)]

Thur, 19 April, 8p  (ET) PHX at CHI [TSN,CNBC,RDS2,FS-A PLUS (HD),CSN-CH (HD)]

Sat, 21 April, 10p (ET) PHX at CHI [TSN,NBCSN,RDS,CSN-CH (HD),FS-A (HD) – if required]

Mon, 23 April, TBD PHX at CHI [FS-A PLUS (HD) – if required]

Wed, 25 April, TBD PHX at CHI [FS-A (HD) – if required]

2012 Series

Tue, 18 October CHI 5 @ PHX 2 (Chicago leads series 1 – 0; Crawford defeats LaBarbera; CHI goals from Hossa, Toews, Mayers, Bolland and Bickel; PHX goals from Pyatt and Whitney; 16 PIMs)

Sat, 29 November PHX 4 @ CHI 1 (Series tied 1 – 1; Smith defeats Emery / Crawford; PHX goals from Langkow, Doan, Vrbata and Whitney; CHI goal from Sharp; 10 PIMs)

Mon, 5 December PHX 4 @ CHI 3 SO (Phoenix leads series 2 – 1; Smith defeats Emery / Crawford (again); PHX goals from Torres, Vrbata and Yandle; CHI goal from Toews (2) and Kane; 18 PIMs)

Sat, 11 February CHI 0 @ PHX 3 (Phoenix wins series 3 – 1; Smith defeats Emery; PHX goals from Vrbata, Gordon and Chipchura; 22 PIMs)

Key Notes: Smith was a stellar 3 – 0, including one shutout, against the ‘Hawks; leading PHX goal scorer in this series is Vrbata (3); leading CHI goal scorer in this series is Toews (3 – and if reports are correct, he will be back off of injury to open the series); and the series ran an average of 16.5 PIMs per game with no majors issued.


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

The first statistical mark against a team goes to PHX who was below both SCF average and Lo norms for Goals For. (PHX –1; CHI 0)

CHI’s Goal Differential is below average but above Lo norm. (PHX –1; CHI –.5)

PHX and CHIs’ Power Play Percentages respectively stand as Nos. 1 and 2 in terms of the worst PP of the 16 Playoff teams. (PHX –2; CHI –1.5)

CHI’s Penalty Kill Percentage fell both below average and Lo norm. the PHX PK% is above average and barely below the Hi norm for the first Ten Pound Bag Theory subtraction of this series. (PHX –2.5; CHI –2.5)

The Coyotes’ Average Winning Streak is below both average and Lo norms. (PHX –3.5; CHI –2.5)

CHI has streaking problems. Their Longest Winning Streak is below average / above Lo norms. Both their average Losing Streak and Longest Losing Streak are below average and Lo norms. (PHX –3.5; CHI –5)

In terms of Winning % both Home and Away, the only shortcoming is CHI’s road record is below average but above Lo norm. When you add everything up head-to-head, we get a Game 7 matchup before we have a winner. So the series winner here comes down to team play and strength of goaltender. If all else is even going into a Game 7, we like PHX to pull off a Round 1 victory. (PHX –3.5; CHI –5.5)

The PHX Last 10 Games’ Wins record was above average / below Hi norm. (PHX –4; CHI –5.5)

In terms of the average, by–position output per player for our statistical analysis, the comparison breaks down as follows:

  • PHX is above both average and Hi norm at Right Wing on a player–per–game basis (PHX –5; CHI –5.5)
  • CHI is all over the place at every position forward of the net: above average / below Hi norm at Left Wing; below average / above Lo norm at Center; above both average and Hi norm at Right Wing; and below both average and Lo norm at Defense. This is all due primarily to the injuries the club has faced and the desynchronizing effect inserting and removing players into line combinations spawns  (PHX –5; CHI –8.5)
  • PHX joins the majority with Goaltender numbers above both average and Hi norms (PHX –6; CHI –8.5)
  • CHI, on the other hand, is the only Playoff team with Goalie numbers that is above average but below Hi norm (PHX –6; CHI –9)

If you add up the by–position, per–game averages, PHX leads CHI at every position except Defense with an overall 27.964 to 25.047.

Despite the minuses above, CHI lands an overall grade of “mid-C” while PHX rounds up to a “(very) low-C.” We reconcile a PHX series victory over CHI in the same fashion as STL over SJS – based on the Ten Pound Bag Theory subtractions, Winning Percentages and average player stats. Again, we say PHX in seven. (PHX –7; CHI –10)


Between these two clubs, the stats and 2011-12 history have us calling PHX the team to move into Round 2. If STL and NSH win in Round 1 as we predict, PHX still has to face one of the better two teams. PHX may progress this year, but will not contend for The Cup.

How does PHX ensure they win this series? Outplay CHI in net. Stifle the ‘Hawks (wounded) creativity. And fuel Coyotes’ output on the success of their first Pacific Division title and the sting of last year’s Playoff sweep.

How does CHI pull off the upset? Somehow elevate the play in goal. Once they can win a close one that is a goaltender’s duel, keep that defensive intensity and ramp up the offense.

Our overall call is PHX wins the series at Game 7. The tell for this outcome is catching the plane for The Windy City at 2 – 0 on 14 April and, if not outright winning either Game 3 or 4, keeping both games a close Coyotes’ loss.

With this as our final Western Conference analysis piece, we review our calls:

LAK in seven games.

STL in six games.

PHX in seven games.

NSH in six games.

Follow @Pelican4 on Twitter for stat comparison analysis of each matchup beginning with the first Game 2’s on Friday, 13 April.




  1. Pingback: 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2: PHX v NSH Analysis « The OGA Blogs - April 27, 2012

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