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Vulgar Statistics: Stanley Cup Finals

05/28/12

And we are here.  The number of teams has been whittled from thirty down to sixteen down to two.  There can be only one winner of this 100-something game contest and it will come from one of the two most populated areas in the country.  Kings!  Devils!  On BBG!

THE MATCHUP:

There’s only one way to say it, the Kings have been better than the Devils in virtually every phase during their run to the Stanley Cup Finals, but what does that really mean?  You can admire what each team has done to get here and yet you can question the competition as well.  The Kings ran through a Canucks team minus Daniel Sedin, a Blues team minus Alex Pietrangelo and Jaroslav Halak, and a Coyotes team minus Raffi Torres.  Not exactly the most back-breaking of injuries to those three clubs, but making them incomplete puzzles nonetheless.  Meanwhile the Devils barely beat a Florida team no one thought was any good, a Flyers team everyone thought was very good, and a Rangers team minus Brandon Dubinsky that felt like it had already started writing its name on the cup.  Hmm.

What’s more impressive, the Devils shutting down a Flyers team that looked unstoppable and finding just enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist, or the Kings’ sterling 12-2 record and +20 goal differential heading into the Finals?  (Not to mention beating the top two seeds and technically-but-not-really the third seed out West.)  Both teams have played every series on the road to get here.  The numbers look like this:

#6 New Jersey

  • beat Florida 4-3 (18-17)
  • beat Philadelphia 4-1 (18-11)
  • beat New York 4-2 (15-14)
  • Playoff Power Play – 17.9%
  • Playoff Penalty Kill – 73.8%
  • Record in One Goal Games – 6-2
  • Record in Overtime – 4-1

#8 Los Angeles

  • beat Vancouver 4-1 (12-7)
  • beat St. Louis 4-0 (15-6)
  • beat Phoenix 4-1 (14-8)
  • Playoff Power Play – 8.1%
  • Playoff Penalty Kill – 91.2%
  • Record in One Goal Games – 4-0
  • Record in Overtime – 2-0

THE PICK:

New Jersey over Los Angeles in 6 games – It’s tough to know what to make of both of these teams.  The Los Angeles Kings are talented at every position, play in a soft division, and yet fumbled their way to the eighth seed.  The New Jersey devils put up over 100 points, and you can blame their seeding on their difficult division, but for the majority of the series versus Florida, they looked like they kind of deserved the 6th seed.  Will Jonathan Quick’s run of fantastical luck end?  Will eighth place Los Angeles show up?  Can they keep Richards and Carter from boozing it up?  Just how old is Martin Brodeur, really?  How’s Ilya Kovalchuk’s back?

I’m taking New Jersey in six games.  I think they have a slight edge in every phase of the game.  I think Brodeur is still better than Quick.  I think the Jersey defense is slightly stingier than LA’s, and I think at least two of Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Zach Parise are better than anyone Los Angeles can put on the ice.

2012 BBG PLAYOFF POOL:

  1. @jmsexauer – 35 (9-5)
  2. @MotzQuotes – 30 (7-7)
  3. @CriminallyVu1ga – 30 (7-7)
  4. @PhilBBG – 29 (8-6)
  5. @eduva16 – 24 (6-8)
  6. @MarkMiller30 – 23 (6-8)
  7. @StephanieZD – 22 (6-8)
  8. @buffalo620 – 18 (5-9)
  9. @CarlHatt – 17 (5-9)

So Jon has wrapped things up.  Better luck next year me!  (And…yeah…the rest of you also.)

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