Vulgar Stats: Stanley Cup Playoffs
Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the big giant Black and Blue and Gold (in name) 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Vulgar Statistics Post. I want to make sure nothing is missed for you ‘tl;dr-ers’ so I’m offering up a table of contents before we get into the good stuff.
This Article Will Include:
- Playoff Power Rankings
- Post Lockout – The Season Series vs. The Playoff Series
- This Year’s Matchups
- The First Annual Black and Blue and Gold Playoff Pool
PLAYOFF POWER RANKINGS
You’ll notice that this time the rankings look a little bit different. I chopped the irrelevant teams and added a few categories. In addition to being ranked (within conference) in points, goals, goals allowed, power play and penalty kill, winning percentage (because OTLs no longer matter) against playoff teams and in one goal games will also factor in. And, like always, shootouts are excluded.
So yeah, I’d be surprised if anyone aside from Pittsburgh, the New York Rangers, Vancouver, or St. Louis appeared in the cup finals. But let’s look at what needs to happen for each of the other teams to cash in:
Philadelphia – The goaltending to prove that for the first time in two decades that it isn’t a liability. With some injuries floating about someone or something needs to step up. If Philadelphia can get past Pittsburgh then I think they’re the team to beat.
Boston – The team to once again make up for a lack of talent with superior effort and hustle. I don’t think it’s going to work this time, everyone knows they have to bring it against Boston and Nathan Horton is out.
New Jersey – Martin Brodeur to regain his old form and the goal scoring to be more than simply average. Ilya Kovalchuk to be a point per game player.
Florida – The collection of spare parts to play with a chip on their collective shoulders plus a bloody miracle.
Washington – Alexander Ovechkin taking over games.
Ottawa – More than one bloody miracle.
Nashville – The combination of grit, scoring depth, and Pekka Rinne to frustrate and outlast more talented teams.
Los Angeles – Jonathan Quick to play like the Vezina winner plus one of the forwards stepping up and actually scoring.
Detroit – A time machine to be invented.
Chicago – The top two lines to make up for the bottom two and the goaltending. Lackluster special teams to catch fire.
Phoenix – To prove that they’re not just a flukey team atop a bad division.
San Jose – For their stars to show guts that they’ve never seemed to have.
POST LOCKOUT – THE SEASON SERIES VS. THE PLAYOFF SERIES
This is what happens when you argue with columnists on Twitter. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail tweeted earlier today that a series with a decent potential for an upset out west is the St. Louis series. I pointed out that St. Louis swept the Sharks in the season series (and outscored them 11-3 with two shutouts, but who’s counting?). Mirtle responded “is there any proof season series matters.” Sigh. Okay, I know we’re all romantically attached to this notion that everything resets come playoff time and that anyone can win it (especially Leafs fans), but that’s a load of crap. Certain teams win season series and compile gaudy point totals for a reason. They’re better teams. So while the season series doesn’t always tell the whole stories, it does give a pretty good indicator of how the playoffs are going to shake out.
Note that there are tabs in the above. My First Round Picks:
New York over Ottawa in 5 games – I just think top to bottom the New York Rangers are the better team, but especially in goal. Ottawa’s goaltenders feel like a pair of sieves waiting to happen and the Rangers forwards should be feeling pretty good about themselves early on.
Washington over Boston in 7 games – I’m going to stick my neck out here and say the underachieving Capitals put it together against a Boston team that lucked their way through last year’s playoffs.
New Jersey over Florida in 6 games – Too bad overtime losses don’t count for something, eh?
Pittsburgh over Philadelphia in 6 games – Everyone probably thinks this will be a bloody series destined to go seven. I see an injured Flyers team and a Pens team that will be a disappointment if it doesn’t win the cup. The only thing that can save Philly is their goaltending becoming a strength for the first time in decades.
Vancouver over Los Angeles in 5 games – The Kings can’t score and the Canucks do everything well. Ouch.
St. Louis over San Jose in 5 games – A brutal St. Louis team against a San Jose team with questionable goaltending and a penchant for sloppy play? Ouch.
Chicago over Phoenix in 7 games – I think this will be closer than everyone thinks. Chicago struggled heavily at times but I still think they’re more talented at every position.
Nashville over Detroit in 6 games – I want to take the Predators in 5 games, but I still think Detroit has a little pluckiness left over.
THE FIRST ANNUAL BLACK AND BLUE AND GOLD PLAYOFF POOL:
The rules are simple:
Predict the series winner and the number of games before each round.
- 5 points for each correct series winner
- -1 point for each game off
- 0 points for an incorrect pick
- 1 point if you picked the series to go seven games, it does, and you wind up with the loser
For example, if you pick the Rangers to win in 5 games and they win in 6, you were off by one game, so 5-1=4 points for that series. Post your picks for each round either in the comments here or get at me on Twitter. You can make picks right up until the first puck drops for each round and I will post leaderboard updates here after each round.