by PuckStopsHere on 04/23/12 at 02:36 PM ET
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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