Pitsburgh vs Columbus
I am going with the Penguins in this one. After doing some math on how they match up, the Pens have the edge offensively. Calculating their shot percentage with the number of shots the Blue Jackets allow on Bobrovski per game, it shows that the Penguins would average 2.98 goals for per game, while the Blue Jackets would score 2.57 goals per game on Fluery. From a defensive and goaltending perspective, though, Columbus seems to have the edge. That leads me to believe there could be an upset in place. Taking the average of shots on goal the teams take each game and multiplying it by the save percentage of the goaltender, subtracting the answer from the average number of shots, Columbus came out on top. One player I’ll be watching closely is Jussi Jokinen. Why? In 2009 with the Carolina Hurricanes, he was the story of their post-season run. Game 4 vs New Jersey in round 1, he scored the game-winner with two tenths of a second left. That still holds up as the latest regulation goal in Stanley Cup playoff history. In game 7, he scored the tying goal with 1:20 left in regulation, the Canes then winning in regulation. In games 3 and 4 vs Boston, he scored the game-winners. Okay I’m getting a little off track here; point is, though, I’ll be looking for him to make a difference.
New York vs Philadelphia
From both perspectives, New York wins mathematically. The offense has been strong, and of course there is Lundqvist in net. Plus, Philadelphia has had a tough time winning in Madison Square Garden, which is where the home-ice advantage is. I am predicting New York to win, but I think it will be a close series.
Boston vs Detroit
There’s not much to deliberate here. Boston is bigger, very good defensively, and is an offensive powerhouse. The goal differential is a +84, the highest in the league. Detroit’s is a -8, the only team in the playoffs that as a minus in goal differential. The return of Datsyuk and Zettersberg should help, but I don’t think it’s enough to get past Boston, who I thnk might make it back to the finals.
Montreal vs Tampa Bay
These two were very close in points during the season. It came down to game 82 to see who would get home-ice advantage. I believe Tampa will come out as the victor in this series. In both areas, I ended with results that favored Tampa. The offensive matchup has the Bolts scoring an average of around 3.2 goals per game, while Montreal averages around 2.7. The defensive matchup is much closer, which you would expect between Bishop and Price, but still favors Tampa.
Anaheim vs Dallas
I didn’t do much math here, as clearly the offense and defense favors Anaheim heavily. I just don’t see Dallas matching up with them.
Colorado vs Minnesota
I actually see a Minnesota upset here. They seem to match up pretty well with Colorado. Since Moulson has come in, the offense has been very strong. They don’t get many shots to the net during a game, but they can score 4 goals off of 20 shots. The goaltending favors Colorado, but I don’t know if that will be enough.
St. Louis vs Chicago
This one is tough. I predicted St. Louis to win the Cup and I stand by it, but the question s the health of the Blues. They have players like Backes, Steen, and a couple others out. Good news is most of them are listed day-to-day, which means they could be back anytime. People have been saying they are losing at the wrong time, finishing the year with six straight losses, but I disagree. Yes it’d be good to finish with a few wins, but it’s better to go into the post-season on a losing streak than on winning one. I say that because once a winning streak is snapped, it can take awhile to reboot. Snapping a losing streak can bring back confidence and momentum, though. If the Blues are healthy, and Miller gets back on track, they will win the series. Otherwise, it may be the Blackhawks.
San Jose vs Los Angeles
This one is too close to call almost. Using mathematics, the overall matchup is calculated to be one one hundredth of a goal off. Because of that I looked at the season series. Well, that’s too close to get a prediction out of. Two games have gone to a shootout, two others decided by one goal in regulation. Only one game decided by more than one goal. So I’m taking the home-ice perspective and going with San Jose.