Friday, April 27, 2007

The value of Game 1

The Vancouver Canucks almost blew it. If there was one trend in the first round of the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs that was solid gold it was whichever team won the opener went on to win the best-of-seven series a perfect eight times. The Canucks, of course, won the first game in their series against the Dallas Stars, but needed a seventh game to finish off their opponents.
So, here we are, one game into each of the four second-round series, and if that trend from Round 1 noted above holds, we've already seen who will be advancing to the conference finals.

(I'm kidding, of course.)

Still, one has to believe that Anaheim-San Jose and Buffalo-Ottawa are now the most likely scenarios given what happened in game one, and especially so for the Sharks and Senators, who managed to steal home-ice advantage by winning on the road.

According to, however, the historical probability of the team that wins game one in the conference semi-finals advancing is .697 per cent. If the home team wins game one, it goes onto win the series .765 per cent of the time, while the visitor's record is .560.

By my rudimentary math, that means there's about a 43-per-cent chance we'll see the Battle of California in the West, and the same probability of the Buffalo-Ottawa match-up coming to fruition.

Sure, we're just one game in, but this is just for fun, right?

Western Conference probabilities (given Game 1 results)
Anaheim-San Jose: 42.8%
Anaheim-Detroit: 33.7%
Vancouver-San Jose: 13.2%
Detroit-Vancouver: 10.3%

Eastern Conference probabilities (given Game 1 results)
Buffalo-Ottawa: 42.8%
Buffalo-New Jersey: 33.7%
Ottawa-Rangers: 13.2%
New Jersey-Rangers: 10.3%

I'll update these numbers as the playoffs move on.


At 3:51 a.m., April 27, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

Irrefutable. Send it to the commissioner and let's move on.

At 1:32 p.m., April 27, 2007, Blogger Matt said...

I woke up with this question in my head (completely random, but hear me out), but I'll try to put it into coherent words and maybe you can even make this into a new post...

Is a team better (or worse?) off sweeping a series and then having the long layoff between series or having the previous series going 7 games and then playing again two days later, especially as the playoffs wear on?

I say this because the Rangers swept Atlanta and then basically didn't play well against the Sabres, and equally, Vancouver had nowhere near enough to win against Anaheim after getting through a 7 game series.

I did a little of my own research too... Carolina (after beating Buffalo in 7) beat Edmonton (dispatched Anaheim in 5) in 2006.

However, when Tampa won the Cup in 2004, they went 8-1 through the first two playoff series, then went to 7 with Philly and 7 with Calgary.

I'm sure you can come up with actual percentages (since I'm not good at math), but I think this is as intriguing as the team winning Game 1.


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