Monday, April 11, 2016

Why Dallas Won't Win the Stanley Cup


The NHL season is over after a shameful final weekend in which the NY Islanders tanked their last game to avoid facing Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. As an Islander season ticket holder, I was appalled to see them lay down and hope that the Panthers eliminate them quickly. I won't be going to any more games, and won't be renewing my season tickets. Frankly, I can't imagine anyone paying money to see a team that is scared of an opponent and expect the Barclays Center to be even more deserted next season.

Anyway, every year I like to predict the playoffs based on the season series. Most of the time, I do it before the season is even over. Last year, I ran a simulation after 60 games and had the Islanders beating Tampa Bay in the East and then Chicago in the Final, which wasn't that far off, once the Islanders collapsed in the first round.

This year however, Washington dominated through the first 60 games and won every simulation I ran. So I waited until the season was over and surprisingly the Capitals lost a season series. Here is how the playoffs would shake out if every series was won by the team who took the season series.

Atlantic
Florida over NY Islanders (2-1)
Tampa Bay over Detroit (2-2, Lightning advance due to better record)
Florida over Tampa Bay (4-1)

Metropolitan
Washington over Philadelphia (2-0-2)
Pittsburgh over NY Rangers (3-1)
Pittsburgh over Washington (3-2)

Central
Dallas over Minnesota (4-1)
Chicago over St. Louis (2-0-3, Blues won 3 of 5 but all 3 Blackhawk losses were extra time so they win the series on points 7-6)
Dallas over Chicago (4-1)

Pacific
Nashville over Anaheim (2-1)
San Jose over Los Angeles (3-1-1)
Nashville over San Jose (2-0-1)

Semifinals
Pittsburgh over Florida (2-0-1)
Dallas over Nashville (4-1)

Dallas beat Pittsburgh twice all the way back in October so they are your soon-to-be Stanley Cup Champions! Except they won't be because this method is never right.

By the way, if St. Louis is given the series over Chicago based purely on wins, they knock out Dallas (4-1) and are then eliminated by Nashville (4-1), who go on to lose to Pittsburgh. Every good team has a nemesis and the season series results sometimes indicate which strong teams might be at risk for an upset.

As for my predictions, I'll go with Pittsburgh over Detroit and Chicago over Nashville, with the Penguins winning the Cup. Check back in two months to see just how wrong I was.

Update 1: Dallas is out, so I was right on that. But only Pittsburgh is still alive in my final four picks. Update 2: And the Penguins  have made the final against San Jose. Would be nice to see Phil Kessel get a ring.
Update 3: Well, I did predict the eventual champion, though that is about all I got right.

Best,

Sean

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