Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

A Gaudy Stat

The first round of the playoffs is a short run of games over a period of about two weeks.  In a run like that flukes can occur.  Teams can post statistics that are both amazing and unsustainable.  In fact I have already written about how statistically unlikely the first round results have been.  There is one number that seems so amazing that I thought it should be mentioned in a post.

The Philadelphia Flyers posted a 52.2% success rate on the power play in their first round series against Pittsburgh.  That success rate is amazing.  That stat by itself is enough to explain why the Flyers won their series.

In the regular season Philadelphia had a very good power play.  With a 19.7% success rate, they were sixth best in the league.  They had some strong individual performances on the power play.  Claude Giroux led the league with 38 power play points and Scott Hartnell was second in the league with 16 power play goals. 

Of course a big part of power play numbers is the penalty kill against which the power play must play.  Pittsburgh had a good regular season penalty kill.  They were third best in the league and only allowed goals on 12.2% of opposing power plays.  Pittsburgh’s penalty kill allowed goals a rate more than four times as big in the first round of the playoffs.  That is an amazing but unsustainable swing.

Short term trends can be unpredictable.  A playoff series takes place in a short period of time.  Flukes can occur.  The extreme success of the Philadelphia power play/ failure of the Pittsburgh penalty kill is one example of this.  It is part of why their series was the high scoring affair when it occurred.  Philadelphia has a good power play but nobody would expect a more than 50% success rate or anything close to it.

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You should have also noted that, in the “meaningful” Regular Season (i.e., excluding the irrelevant last game), the Flyers PP and Penguins PK overperformed and underformed respectively.
So, the playoff results were closer to their regular-season play against each other than their play against the rest of the league.
Not that it is relevant with such small sample sizes, but still interesting to note…

Posted by Not Justin Bourne on 04/24/12 at 12:45 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com