TripleScoop NHL Playoffs PreviewAnalysis performed and written by the Numbers Guy, Devon.
It is now April and spring has sprung with cold snowy days giving way to warm sunny days (that is if you live outside of Colorado). It’s the time of year to start shedding layers. The puffy down jackets get hung in the coat closet, the scarfs get shelved, and the snow boots sit untouched in the garage. White legs start to blind people, and here at TripleScoop we start to grow our beards! That might seem counterintuitive but we grow beards for reasons other than warmth. It is the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs and as such every year brings back the beard growing tradition.
The Boston Red Sox last year bonded over their beards on their way to a World Series title, but the tradition has much stronger roots in the good ol’ hockey game. The beard tradition has been around in hockey much longer than it has in any other sport. It started in the 1980s during the New York Islanders’ dynasty. Every year the bushiest beards raise the cup. The beard might bring luck, focus, solidarity, brawn, grit, or it shows devotion to the hockey gods. Or it might not at all. That doesn’t matter because growing a beard is fun.
This season we get to celebrate the return of our playoff beards because our team, the Colorado Avalanche has returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs. We invite you to participate in growing a playoff beard. I will be providing updates on the state of my playoff beard. I started off at the end of the season on Sunday and I hope it will still be growing in June. Heck, I hope yours grows that long as well as long as you aren’t a Detroit fan. On the left is my beard at the start of today's games.
We have tried the tough task of predicting the final champion of this NHL season. We will be updating you with our round by round predictions when each round begins. Here are our predictions for the first round as well as our overall bracket:
Round 1 winners:
Boston Bruins in 6 games over Detroit Red Wings
Pittsburgh Penguins in 7 games over Columbus Blue Jackets
Montreal Canadiens in 7 games over Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers in 4 games over Philadelphia Flyers
Anaheim Ducks in 7 games over Dallas Stars
Colorado Avalanche in 5 games over Minnesota Wild
Chicago Blackhawks in 7 games over St. Louis Blues
Los Angeles Kings in 5 games over San Jose Sharks
That’s right, we have the Montreal Canadiens bringing the Cup home to Canada for the first time since 1993. I want the Avalanche to win the Cup, obviously, but our numbers say that this is not the year. We came to our eventual winner using a formula of dead and live loads on the team, meaning a combination of their overall record and goal differential and head to head record and goal differential against their opponent in each round. I must admit, even though it might look biased, I am pretty surprised that the Avalanche made it out of the Western Conference in our predictions. Before I ran the numbers, I thought the Sharks and the Blues were the teams to beat in the West. The Canadiens on the other hand will have to overcome the mighty Bruins, who have experience, talent, and everything to make it to the top. But our system says the Canadiens will slip by Boston on their way to raise Lord Stanley's Cup. Those series that were really close by our standards will make or break our system. The final bracket image is courtesy of nhl.com. You can visit their site and create your own bracket prediction. Let’s see how well you can do. Share it with us on our Twitter or Facebook.