Skip to main content

Endorsements

Got any good books to recommend?

Greatest Hits from Working the Net:

Harlow Salon - one of the very best hair salons in Nashville TN.

Canucks vs. Stars, Round One Preview

The skinny on East vs. West in the NHL this year is that the Western Conference has had more defensive-oriented teams, and a perfect example of that trend is found in the Vancouver/Dallas series. Both teams have various strengths and weaknesses, but above all else they have been solid defensive performers all season, whereas few teams in the East can make the same claim.

So how do these teams match up? Let's take a look inside the numbers...




For table explanation, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

How Vancouver can score: The Canucks don't exactly light things up offensively, and perhaps their best chance at increased offense lies in long-distance shooting. The Dallas goaltending is quite poor on shots outside of 30 feet (note the Sht % Factor well above 1.00 in each case), and when you combine that with relatively good shooting from 40-49 and 50-59 feet for the Canucks, point shots on the power play coupled with effective screening could result in about one goal per game from long range, which is about three times what teams would normally average.



How Dallas can score: The Stars don't set the world on fire offensively either, and the prospect of facing Luongo can hardly give Dallas fans great hope. Notice how the "Sht % Factor" line is constantly below 1.00? That means there are no soft spots in Luongo's armor as seen in this view, and only one particular range wherein Dallas tends to score consistently well (10-19 feet). Overall, the Vancouver defense is giving up about 10% more shots than average, so the Stars may need quantity to make up for quality.

Summary: The Expected Goals values of 2.96 for Vancouver and 2.56 for Dallas would seem to indicate a moderate edge for the Canucks, although there are several other series with wider margins than this. Using Jeff Sagarin's guideline of giving the home team an extra 0.25 goals per game, Vancouver's advantage grows slightly more.

Outside the Numbers: This is the rare case where we have uncertainty in both teams' goaltending. For Vancouver, Luongo is making his playoff debut, so you never know how he's going to react. In Dallas, Marty Turco is trying to shake off the burden of previous postseason disappointments. I wouldn't neccesarily see any reason to adjust the results here in favor of one team over the other.

The Prediction: I'll take Vancouver in 7 games, with plenty of closely-fought 2-1 and 3-2 games keeping the fans on the edge the entire way.
-----------
Table Key:
Shots For = average of shots per game by that team, from the range specified.
Shots Factor = a factor representing how many shots the opposing defense yields in that range (1.24 = 24% more than average, 0.89 = 11% less than average).
Exp. Shots = "Shots For" times "Shots Factor", how many shots are expected to occur within each range.
Sht % = The fraction of shots from within that range result in goals.
Sht % Factor = a measure reflecting how the opposing goaltender handles shots from a given range (0.74 = 26% fewer goals than average, 1.53 = 53% more than average)
Exp. Sht % = "Sht %" times "Sht % Factor", the expected shooting percentage for this matchup.
Exp. Goals = "Exp. Shots" times "Exp. Sht %", the number of goals per game expected from each range.
Values indicative of significantly higher goal-scoring are shaded green, values for lower goal-scoring shaded pink.
All figures represent exponential moving averages, giving greater weight to recent performance. Empty-net goals and Penalty Shots are excluded.

Technorati Tags: stanley cup playoffs, vancouver canucks, dallas stars

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Hooray for PythagenPuck

Back in November, around the quarter-mark of the NHL regular season, I wrote a piece looking at Expected Winning Percentages for each team, based on their Goals For/Goals Against ratio, using the PythagenPuck method as outlined in Alan Ryder's "Win Probabilities" article over at Hockey Analytics. Since we're approaching the end of the campaign, I thought it worth revisiting the two assertions I made back in November - that the Ottawa Senators were capable of getting back into the playoff race, and that the Boston Bruins were in danger of a freefall to the bottom of the standings.

Just to review, the basic idea behind win probability models like PythagenPuck is that over the course of a season, the Goals For and Goals Against numbers can be used to derive a team's winning percentage, within a a surprisingly narrow margin of error. For instance, if you only had GF/GA information, you could make a very good stab at projecting what the standings would look like. The w…