Monday, April 9, 2018

Why Nashville Won't Win the Stanley Cup


The NHL playoffs begin Wednesday and there is no clear favourite to hoist Stanley's mug in two months time. One thing I like to do every year at this time is simulate the playoffs based on season series, because at least that tells me one thing: a team that will definitely not win. I've done this exercise at least 6 times over the years, and not once has the team that wins based on season series results managed to take home the Cup in the playoffs. So who is the unlucky team this year? Let's have a look:

Atlantic
New Jersey over Tampa Bay (3-0)
Toronto over Boston (3-1)
New Jersey over Toronto (2-0-1)

Metropolitan
Washington over Columbus (3-1)
Pittsburgh over Philadelphia (4-0)
Washington over Pittsburgh (2-2)*

Central
Nashville over Colorado (4-0)
Winnipeg over Minnesota (3-1)
Nashville over Winnipeg (3-1-1)

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

Semifinals
Washington over New Jersey (3-0-1)
Nashville over San Jose (2-1)

Final
Nashville over Washington (2-0)

* For season series that are tied, the team with the better goal differential in those games advances. This is an arbitrary choice that does impact the simulation. Vegas was outscored 11-10 by the Kings in their 4 games - if I chose another method (better record for example), then Vegas would win the Cup as they only lost season series to Edmonton, Minnesota, and the Islanders.

So based on the season series/goal differential method, Nashville would win the Cup. Which means that they won't because this method is always wrong. Also, Roman Josi touched the Presidents Trophy. So who will win? I'd guess Winnipeg, who seem to have all the pieces, and like last season's champion, have to beat the favoured team in the divisional finals. Check back in two months to see if I was right.

Update: I was wrong. Washington made the finals as predicted and won! Congrats to the Capitals and their long-suffering fans.

Best,

Sean

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