Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Alan Ryder of the Globe and Mail,
One of the silver bullets of sports analytics is the successful forecasting of playoff outcomes. The answer, in hockey, is quite simple. Regression analysis over the recent history of the NHL has indicated that the best predictor of success in the playoffs is simply regular (full) season success.
Below is a chart showing the winning percentage of playoff teams, grouped by their exit round, since the big-bang expansion of the late 1960s. It shows that the average winning percentage is dramatically higher for teams that persist deeper into the playoffs.
from Ed Moran of the Philadelphia News,
“The key is always more emphasis on the goaltender. If we believe it or not, it’s always going to be that way and goalies are always going to be at the forefront of the playoffs because it’s an important position.”
Good thing Biron knows that, because the Flyers’ playoff hopes rest on his shoulders, particularly against Washington. The best-of-seven series will open tonight at the Verizon Center.
Stacked together, the Flyers and the Capitals match up very well. Each has a crop of scoring forwards, though Washington does have Ovechkin, a player who can take over a game by himself.
From the Washington Times:
Is [Bruce] Boudreau ready to be an international folk hero?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just stay in the house. I turn off the TV because if I see myself, like most people, [they] wish they were 30 pounds lighter.”
From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
The word is if Alfredsson tried to come back now he wouldn’t be much help anyway. He hasn’t been on the ice since he suffered the injury a week ago against Toronto for a reason: He’s not ready to skate.
The Senators have to prove they can win without Alfredsson.
They didn’t do it this season by going 3-9 in the 12 regular-season games he missed as a result of various injuries—including his hip and groin.
“He’s a key part of our team, but we can win without him,” said Senators centre Jason Spezza.
from Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun,
There was no chance of the Shark Tank faithful serenading Phaneuf with a song for his special day, not while they were busy firing the boos that were raining down on him in both games so far in this series. Every time Phaneuf touched the puck, the boobirds came out.
“They obviously don’t like the way I play or they’re just trying to do their part to help contribute,” Phaneuf said with a shrug.
“It’s part of the game. It’s a fun building to play in—there’s a lot of energy and a lot of emotion.
“They’re a loud group of fans, so it’s an exciting building to play in.”
Phaneuf may be a fan favourite in the Stampede City, but it’s not a show that goes on the road.
from Lynn Zinser of the New York Times,
Heading into Game 2 on Friday night, the Rangers assume Brodeur will bounce back from his unraveling, letting a puck sit free in the crease long enough so Ryan Callahan could come from behind the net to score.
But Lundqvist does not need to think about bouncing back. Game 1 was a continuation of a strong finish after a midseason swoon. In his last 14 regular-season games, he allowed more than two goals only three times and never allowed more than three.
from Mark Purdy of the Mercury News,
The Sharks didn’t nab a victory Thursday night. They Nabbied a victory. They Nabbied themselves back on track. Heavens to Kamenogorsk, did Evgeni Nabokov save the Sharks’ tail fins in their 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
On a night when the Sharks needed their goalie to be great, Nabokov was greater. The ethnic Russian from Kazakhstan who speaks five languages might have had his best playoff game ever, in any language. But the only ethnicity that mattered to him was the Sharks’ continuing legal status as Playoff Viable Citizens.
from Ken Wiebe at Best of Seven,
We’re not about to suggest a sweep is in the offing, but goalie Dan Ellis was the only reason the 3-1 game (including an empty-netter) was close.
Having said that, without a pair of turnovers (one by Marek Zidlicky and the other by Shea Weber, which took a crazy bounce off the arm of a linesman and landed back into the defensive zone) the Predators were in position to steal Game 1.
“They just keep coming at you, so we have to limit our turnovers, limit the chances we give them and give ourselves a better chance to win,” said Ellis. “You’re going to have your turnovers because they clog up the neutral zone as good as any team. They don’t give you very much.”
added 9:24am, from the NHL Blog at the NY Post,
Brian Rafalski was shaky on the blueline for long stretches and Dominik Hasek can thank Lady Luck as much as—if not more than—himself for keeping the puck out of his net. The Detroit team that played tonight looked far different than the dominating side that racked up 115 points in the regular season. Nashville took this game to the Wings, and were much closer to a win than the final score indicates.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
In their first playoff game as the defending Stanley Cup champions, facing a team that was imploding during the final month of the season, the Ducks tripped over their own lofty expectations and dissolved into an ugly pile of mush before a stunned crowd that didn’t fill the Honda Center in body or spirit.
All the mistakes the Ducks overcame last spring because their character and scoring power ran so deep were insurmountable for them Thursday night.
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
It’s time to adjust, in a hurry, because the flat tire the Bruins hitched to their postseason bandwagon last night isn’t taking them anywhere but straight to the ditch.
There are beatings, and then there are total, all-out William Bendix what-a-revoltin’-development-this-is BEATINGS, such as the one the Bruins suffered inside Bell Centre. They came out tentatively, summarily had a pair of Kostitsyn goals (No. 1 Sergei, No. 2 Andrei) jammed into their net, then spent most of the remaining 57-plus minutes chasing the Canadiens without ever coming close to catching them.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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