Welcome, dear reader, to the final installment of our playoff previews and predictions! Just to recap, I developed a statistical model a couple of months ago in an attempt to predict how the playoffs will unfold. Please check out the first round preview, second round review, and conference finals preview.
There were no surprises in the conference finals, with the favored Rangers and Kings both winning their series. Before the first round, our model gave the Kings the best chance of winning the West and the Rangers the 2nd best chance of winning the East, so the model did its job pretty well. I'll do a full review and evaluation of the model after the Kings-Rangers series. Ok, on to the Cup prediction. Remember that even the Cup prediction is based on regular season numbers, and doesn't take into account how the teams have played to get here.
Los Angeles Kings vs. New York Rangers
Again, This Stanley Cup Final match-up shouldn't surprise anyone. Both teams
were favorites in all of their series. Outside of guys like Tyler Dellow and Eric Tulsky, I don't think many people considered the Rangers as Cup contenders back in April. The Kings were the best possession team all year, in terms of score-adjusted Fenwick. The Rangers were the 6th best. Johnathan Quick was pretty average this season, and has really not played well in these playoffs. Meanwhile Henrik Lundqvist has been brilliant. I've been reading a lot of stuff about how the Western Conference Final was the REAL Cup Final, and that the winner of that series should have just been handed the Cup after Game 7. That's ludicrous. The Rangers are a good team. Hockey is a funny game with a lot of inherent randomness. Our model shows the Kings as favorites, but not overwhelming favorites. This is the first time all playoffs that the Rangers are underdogs. Enjoy the series!
61% chance of a Kings victory.
39% chance of a Rangers victory.