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NHL Predictive Playoff Analysis – 13 May


The 2013 Playoffs continue with two Eastern Conference Game 7’s Tonight!

So how is OGA looking at this? Saturday, we provided predictive analyses indicating what the odds said are the chances for outcomes on all weekend games. The odds were not as good to us as they were Friday night. They said incorrectly:

The New York Islanders would win Game 6, which fell short in the OT period.

And the Washington Capitals would win Game 6 (although we said they would likely not)

Correctly, the odds predicted Detroit would win Game 7 against Anaheim, although we said the series would go to the Ducks. Anaheim was two goals short of a win, 1.5% of the total they netted in the regular season, underscoring how close things always are in the NHL.

The odds as we passed them are 5 – 2 / 71.4% for the two blogs.

What do they tell us about our two G7’s tonight? As you will see below, we had to delve a bit deeper on at least one call…

What Is Ahead?

Toronto at Boston, 7pm Eastern on Monday, 13 May. Based on the Win/Loss pattern of both teams and whether teams with those records have won their next game since the 2006 Playoffs, the chances of winning Game 7 are 50/50 for both teams as shown below:

TORbos13May

Of interest here is there are only two other instances of this pattern as historically mentioned above. One was a win and one was a loss each way. For Toronto, one was a win on the road and the other a road loss, meaning the same applies to home ice for Boston. Boston retains the slight edge for winning Game 1 in the series. How do we call this, then?

We said prior to Round 1 the stats indicated Toronto would win in six games. Looking at our original stats advantages for total output in 15 categories just for the Playoffs, here is who has what statistical advantage:

Toronto: LW, RW, Team Average, Total Team Skaters, Goalie and Total Team Numbers

Boston: C, D, Goals Scored Per Game

So this game will come down to three things: Goaltending, defense and line matchups.

The nod goes to Toronto’s Reimer in goal who has faced more shots against and still come up with as many wins as Rask. Rask has him in terms of goals against, but this is likely going to be a game like yesterday’s first period was played. Up and down the ice, fire a shot on goal, then back the other way. Reimer is likely Toronto’s best player on the ice right now.

The big question on defense is who makes the first mistake in front of their goaltender. I believe Boston is less likely to do it, so the issue for Toronto will be whether or not the mistake simply allows one more shot to hit Reimer or for the puck to go into the net.

And in terms of line matchups, Randy Carlyle needs to out duel Claude Julien’s changes like he did so well in Game 2 of this series. Carlyle has shown he can order it, and the Leafs’ players have shown their flexibility to make it happen.

As a bottom line here there is no clear-cut set of things to point to for this call. You can flip a coin. We will stick with our original prediction of Toronto as the series victor.

The New York Rangers at Washington 8pm Eastern on Monday, 13 May. Based on historical Win/Loss pattern as mentioned above that we have here, the chances of winning Game 7 are in the New York Rangers’ favor as shown below:

NYRwsh13May

The significant note here is that there are only two, post-last-Lockout Playoff patterns that match the current Win/Loss of the Rangers going into G7. They happen to be from Boston in 2011 and Pittsburgh in 2009, both Cup-winning years for the two teams. They also happen to come from both teams’ Round 4 Stanley Cup victory. These are good omens for the Rangers. So we are going to leave it at that and go with our original call of the Rangers take Round 1 in seven games.

Summary

Tonight, we close out Round 1 action with two, potentially great, G7 matchups. This is for all the marbles to extend deeper into the post-season. Expect lots of great saves, hits and defense, making every goal that much more important.

And if the odds are correct above, Round 2 will look like this:

Eastern Conference: Ottawa @ Pittsburgh and The New York Rangers @ Toronto (a second straight Original Six matchup)

Western Conference: Detroit @ Chicago and San Jose @ Los Angeles

Excitement, no? The potential for another Original Six matchup? A ratings coup of Chicago/Detroit? The chance for an all-Canadian Eastern Conference final? And a potential Chicago/Los Angeles Western Conference final as well? What’s not to love here?

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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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