Monday, April 11, 2011

Playoff Previews: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

Below you can see each team's Fenwick% on the season, since Feb 1, and since March 1, plus their 5-on-5 save percentage rank, 5-on-4 shots for/60 rank, and 4-on-5 shots against/60 rank. The shots for and against on special teams are pretty tightly clustered, except San Jose's power play, which is far and away the best.

You can see that 6 of our 8 teams have been stinkin' it up as of late, with only the Caps and Sabres exceptions.

I wrote about Caps-Rangers before. Still going with Caps in 5 (crosses fingers momentum exists).

Flyers-Sabres will be very interesting. Since the Sabres added Boyes, they've been one of the best teams in the league, if not the best outright. Between outstanding possession numbers, a very good power play, and above-average goalie Ryan Miller, the Sabres look poised for an upset. Luckily, the Flyers are still very deep and boast a top PK and decent goaltending.

The X-factor in that series will be Chris Pronger's health (broken hand). Look at how the Flyers tumbled without Pronger in the lineup. If he returns, that series will be very competitive. If not, well...I have half a mind of switching to Sabres in 5, but I won't. Sabres in 6.

Bruins-Habs looks like it'll be competitive all the way. In addition to all the history and bad blood, both teams are similarly talented. Boston clearly has an advantage in net (with a better, more rested starter), but up front and on the blueline, you could make a case Montreal has been better. Their special teams are better, but they lose in possession and in net, though not by much in either case. I'll revise my prediction here. With home ice advantage, Bruins in 7.

Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay is intriguing because the rosters suggest a completely different storyline from the underlying numbers. Conventional wisdom suggests Pittsburgh will roll over to the sheer talent Tampa has--Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vinny Lecavalier, Simon Gagne, etc. The possession metrics suggest Pittsburgh is playing much, much better hockey, though. Tampa will really need their PP to click, and against Pittsburgh's elite PK, I'm not sure that'll happen. I'm switching here, too. It'll take a lot of OTs to replace those shootouts, but Penguins in 5.

No comments:

Post a Comment