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NHL Predictive Playoff Analysis – 2 May


It’s the 2013 Playoffs! And we owe you two more Eastern Conference team calls and the Conference rollup.

So how does OGA do this? On 1 May, we provided one half of the Eastern Conference’s predictive analysis for Round 1. Here we give you the calls for the last two Eastern Conference series that launch tonight. Call it the Eastern Middles if you will as we take on No. 2 Montreal versus No. 7 Ottawa and No. 3 Washington versus No. 6 the New York Rangers. So we wind up Round 1 predictions tonight.

And don’t forget –it’s the chase for “3.” The first team to it wins the vast majority of the time.

No. 2 Montreal Versus No. 7 Ottawa

I pick Montreal over Ottawa in 6 games. Here is the Montreal versus Ottawa Chart:

MTLvOTT

As you can see, the Canadiens overmatch the Senators in seven of 10 categories. The big question here is in the numbers, are we seeing the Montreal which went streaky good and streaky mediocre, or are we seeing the effects of a Senators team who persevered through many lost games to injury? Be that as it may, we pick the Canadiens based on the numbers as follows:

Of note going into the Playoffs:

  1. The Canadiens are the only team in the playoffs not to hold the lead in terms of both Goalies and Defense. Carey Price is the one to watch for Montreal here.
  2. In terms of total statistical output, Phillips and Methot of Ottawa make a better pair than Montreal’s Subban and Georges in terms of each team’s top pair. And Ottawa gets a slight edge going on down into the defensive depth. Could it be size does in deed matter here?
  3. Les Canadiens’ Pacioretty, Prust and Eller gave more to their team across the 15 stats categories than the top LW and C for Ottawa.
  4. Make no mistake – Chris Neil holds the highest total stats rating of any single player in the East’s list of playoff teams. And if Ottawa was going to knock out Montreal, he will have to be even better.
  5. But in overall average for the men out in front of the goaltender, total team average, goals per game, and the regular season series, Montreal pushes ahead.
  6. And Ottawa played a tad better down the pike.
  7. But Montreal edges out Ottawa in the end. In six games.

No. 3 Washington Versus No. 6 New York Rangers

I say the New York Rangers defeat Washington in 7 games. This is the closest statistical pairing of any playoff matchup. My notes here:

WSHvNYR

  1. The Capitals lead in goal and on defense and LW. Note here it is the TEAM goaltending rating versus any one against Lundqvist and King Henrik could potentially carry games all on his own. (Who to watch: Holtby/Lundqvist in goal and Carlson and Ovechkin from Washington.)
  2. The Rangers’ top four Centers and lead RW are strong enough to also carry the stats average for skaters as well. (Who to watch: Stepan, Boyle, Richards, Brassard and Callahan.)
  3. Washington’s Goals Per Game and Last 10 games as .850 Hockey lead the two clubs.
  4. But total team average and the series between these two teams at 2-to-1 even things out between the clubs.
  5. We have a draw here. Statistically. So it comes down to intangibles. We don’t really have any. It’s a feeling then, and that feeling is in favor of the Rangers.

So How Does The Rest Play Out?

If the above all happens as the stats tell us it will, Round 2 will be:

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh, and

Toronto at Montreal

Kinda makes you go Hmmmm… Doesn’t it? We will see. Periodic updates come as the Round continues…

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