Thursday, May 1, 2014

FTC's NHL projections: Round 2

The first round of the NHL playoffs has come and gone. Let's look at a few interesting things from our round one projections:

The Pens got it done. They were pretty mediocre through four games, but really turned it up in Games 5 and 6. They controlled the puck, and they need to keep playing that way.

We really nailed it with the Minnesota-Colorado projection. The Avalance simply weren't as good as their results showed.

So far, the model seems to be performing pretty well overall.

The model may be underestimating both the Blackhawks and the Pens. The Hawks were the 2nd best possession team all year, but the model is holding their goaltending and penalty killing against them, and only gave them a 34% chance to beat the Blues. Corey Crawford wasn't great, but the Hawks killed 27/29 penalties against the Blues. If Crawford can hold it together and the Hawks continue to do well on special teams, they'll be hard to beat. As for the Pens, they may finally have enough healthy forwards so that their 3rd and 4th lines aren't possession sinkholes like they were in the regular season. That's a big deal. Also, Kris Letang started to play much better toward the end of the series. If the Pens can keep playing how they did in Games 5 and 6, they can do some damage.

Now, onto our second round projections. Keep in mind that the second round projections don't take into account how the teams played in the first round. So, we're assuming that a team's performance in round 2 is independent of its performance in round 1.

Boston Bruins vs. Montreal Canadiens 
It's always great to see another installment of this rivalry. The model loves the Bruins; they're an elite team with great puck possession, great goaltending, and great penalty killing. If the Canadiens are to win this series, Carey Price will have to be amazing, and the Habs will need to win the special teams battle.
77% chance of a Bruins victory.
23% chance of a Canadiens victory.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
In my first round preview, I said that the Pens have to play a fundamentally different brand of hockey if they want to go deep into the playoffs. They started to do that at the end of the first round. If they can keep that up, they can get back to the eastern conference finals. The Rangers struggled to close out the Flyers despite out-possessing them throughout. The model likes the Rangers; they were a good possession team all year with good goaltending, but the Pens are finally healthy and could be heating up.
74% chance of a Rangers victory.
26% chance of a Penguins victory.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Minnesota Wild
The Blackhawks are very good. The Wild were able to squeak by the Avs, but they face an uphill climb against the Hawks.
65% chance of a Blackhawks victory.
35% chance of a Wild victory.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings came back from 3-0 to beat the Sharks. They probably won't have as much difficulty with the Ducks.
80% chance of a Kings victory.
20% chance of a Ducks victory.

Updated conference winning probabilities



Eastern

Western

Boston Bruins
51%
Los Angeles Kings
64%
New York Rangers
33%
Chicago Blackhawks
19%
Montreal Canadiens
9%
Anaheim Ducks
11%
Pittsburgh Penguins
7%
Minnesota Wild
6%



Updated Stanley Cup probabilities



Los Angeles Kings
37%
Boston Bruins
31%
New York Rangers
17%
Chicago Blackhawks
6%
Montreal Canadiens
3%
Anaheim Ducks
3%
Pittsburgh Penguins
2%
Minnesota Wild
1%


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