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.

Devils vs. Lightning, Round One Preview

The New Jersey Devils/Tampa Bay Lightning matchup would seem to be a very basic clash of styles. New Jersey is what they have been for more than ten years - a solidly deep team that stresses defense and goaltending above all else (only Philadelphia scored fewer goals in the Eastern Conference), whereas Tampa Bay relies on the sensational play from a core group of stars (Lecavalier/St. Louis/Richards) to make things happen. Without further ado, here's my take on how this series shapes up:

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


How the Devils can score: During the regular season New Jersey didn't even average 2.7 goals per game, so the 3.81 expectation here says as much about the Lightning goaltending than anything else. The quantity of shots their teams won't be the concern (overall shots factor of 1.00 means shot totals should be average for New Jersey), but in the 10-19 and 20-29 foot ranges, the shooting percentage takes a big jump, meaning either the Lightning defensive coverage gives opponents more time to pick their spots, or the goaltending is failing. Either way, the Devils should enjoy a few games of offensive superstardom at the expense of Tampa Bay.

How the Lightning can score: Opposition goaltending looks to be the big story here. Despite the prospect of getting a decent number of shots, Martin Brodeur simply isn't coughing up easy goals from inside 39 feet, which is where most scoring comes from. The Lightning have a decent (not outstanding) team offense, but the Devils defense gave up the least goals in the East by a 10% margin, and I just don't see that changing in this series.

Summary: The difference between New Jersey's 3.81 and Tampa's 2.26 GPG expectations is the largest gap among all first-round matchups. Even giving an extra +0.25 to the home team in each game isn't likely to buy the Lightning much here.

Outside the Numbers: How will the Devils respond to Lou Lamoriello's April Fool's shocker by replacing Claude Julien as coach? Yes, something similar was done a few years back to Robbie Ftorek before they went on to win the Cup, but that doesn't mean it's a formula for success.

The Prediction: I'll take New Jersey in a 4-game sweep.

-----------
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, new jersey devils, tampa bay lightning

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…

Where are my tickets, Mr. Holland?

While working on a piece about the 10th anniversary of the great Colorado/Detroit game at Joe Louis Arena, I caught myself reflecting on some of the great games I've had the fortune of seeing in Detroit during the 1990's, through a variety of means. Then another thing came to mind - when I'm in attendance, the Red Wings win. I'm on a huge personal winning streak here, so perhaps the Red Wings front office would want to bolster their chances during the upcoming playoffs and make sure I'm in the house for those critical games? I can make myself available...

June 4, 1995: Detroit takes Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals from Chicago, 3-2 (although the Hawks put one of the goalpost as the final horn sounds). Wow, has it been that long since the Blackhawks achieved anything? Ticket courtesy of a college buddy who had a spare.

October 13, 1995: The Wings pummel the Edmonton Oilers in their home opener, 9-0. After the painful Finals sweep against New Jersey the…