NHL Playoffs – Pens and Sharks Look Good in Conference Finals

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After more than a month of playoff action, we’ve finally moved into the Conference Finals. As before, I’ll make my predictions using a couple of my favourite measures – expected goals for percentage (xGF%) and Corsi differential per 60 (CD60).

But before the round 3 predictions, a quick look back at how the round 2 projections turned out.

I picked

Penguins – correct

Lightning – correct

Blues – correct

Sharks – correct

Including the first round picks, I’m up to 10/12. Before my head swells, let’s get on to the new predictions.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning

In the interests of good etiquette, I published my Pens prediction as a tweet on Friday night.


With the Penguins down a game, I don’t suppose anyone will suggest it’s an unfair edge if I stick with this selection.


Dashboard 1 (21)


*larger image here.


In terms of Corsi differential, there’s little to choose between the Pens and Bolts. The two teams mirrored each other all season (except for March). Both teams manage good shot differential results, so this area seems unlikely to be the determining factor.


Dashboard 1 (18)

*larger view here.

Though this measure is tight as well, the Penguins were the better team in terms of expected goals for percentage throughout the season. That hasn’t held up relative to the Lightning in the few games they’ve played this month but was a clear trend, especially at the end of the regular season.

Advantage goes to Pittsburgh here.

These two teams are fast and loaded with a variety of offensive options up front. This series will be fun to watch.

Penguins win in seven games.


St. Louis Blues vs. San Jose Sharks

In the battle of teams exorcising their playoff demons, the Blues and Sharks couldn’t be faulted for being satisfied already. Is there much to choose from in terms of Corsi differential and expected goals for?


Dashboard 1 (22)


*larger view here.


San Jose and St. Louis have flip-flopped relative to each other all season long. The Blues enjoyed some peaks (and suffered some valleys) in average Corsi differential while the Sharks remained more consistent.

Since the playoffs began, the two teams have matched each other’s production. Little to choose from here.



Dashboard 1 (17).png

*larger view here.

The Sharks held the slight edge in this category throughout the season. Much like Corsi differential, San Jose remained fairly consistent in expected goals for percentage. While the teams are tight in this regard as well, the Sharks do hold the advantage.

It’s difficult to wager against the Blues, especially considering the way they sliced through the Stars at some points during their round 2 series. Still, the Sharks appear to have slight edges in the applied stats. Should be tight.

Sharks win in seven games.

Read more…

NHL Playoffs Game Charts ā€“ Friday, May 13

NHL Playoffs Predictions ā€“ Round 2

Playoff Predictions using Corsi Differential and xGF%



13 thoughts on “NHL Playoffs – Pens and Sharks Look Good in Conference Finals

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