Numbers Behind the NHL Playoff Match-ups

Anaheim has a 75% chance of winning each home against Dallas while Detroit has only a 38% chance at home vs. Boston during the playoffs. Detroit is the only playoff team to allow more goals than they scored (2.7-2.8 average score), while the Penguins Sidney Crosby leads the league with 104 points and Josh Harding is tops with 1.7 goals allowed though not playing for the Wild for months. These key facts for all 16 playoff teams are listed on the table below.

The average NHL team goes 22-19 at home, but has a total of 49 points in the standings due to getting two points for each win plus an average of five extra points for an average five overtime losses - for a 22-14-5 record in the standings. However, in the playoffs a loss is a loss, so you must compare the home teams home winning percentage (e.g. Boston 0.756) to the visiting teams road winning percentage (Detroit is actually better on the road than at home at 0.512) and run it through Bill James formula:

Home Chance = (HomeWin% - (HomeWin% * RoadWin%)/(HomeWin% + RoadWin% - ( 2 * HomeWin% * RoadWin%)

That shows Boston with a 75% chance in each home game, and a 62% chance at every game in Detroit (shown as 38% chance for Detroit at home). Boston had the best record ("1") in the NHL this year while Detroit was 15th best. Boston won their average game 3.2-2.2, but far the best mark in the league, while Anaheim, San Jose, St. Louis and Chicago were the other teams to average winning by at least 0.6 goals per game.

The top scorer and goaltender for each team are listed as well. While the Penguins' Crosby gives them a chance with 104 points - 17 more than any other player - to help the Penguins be one of six teams averaging three goals or more per game.

On the flip side, Josh Harding's 1.66 goals against average would hold up most games with the Wild averaging 2.5 goals a game this season. He accomplished that despite battling multiple-sclerosis in the early season, but unfortunately has been unable to play since January. His replacement Ilya Bryzgalov allows just over one goal a game more at 2.68, and will be in the nets for most of the playoffs. Here are the key numbers for all eight playoff match-ups. The team with home advantage is listed first in each coupling.

Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
Boston 1 0.756 0.512 75% Friday 3.2-2.2 Krejci 69, Rask 2.0
Detroit 15 0.439 0.561 38%   2.7-2.8 Legwand 51, Gustavsson 2.6
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
Anaheim 2 0.707 0.415 77% 4 3.2-2.5 Getzlaf 87, Anderson 2.3
Dallas 16 0.561 0.610 45% 3 2.9-2.8 Seguin 84, Lehtonen 2.4
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
Colorado 3 0.634 0.415 71% 5 (OT) 3.0-2.7 Duchene 70, Varlamov 2.4
Minnesota 11 0.634 0.634 50% 4 2.5-2.5 Pominville 60, Harding 1.7
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
St. Louis 4 0.683 0.463 71% 4 (3OT) 3.0-2.3 Steen 62, Elliott 2.0
Chicago 7 0.659 0.585 58% 3 3.3-2.7 Hossa 60, Crawford 2.3
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
San Jose 5 0.707 0.561 65% 6 3.0-2.4 Pavelski 79, Niemi 2.4
Los Angeles 10 0.561 0.537 52% 3 2.5-2.1 Kopitar 70, Quick 2.1
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
Pittsburgh 6 0.683 0.512 67% 4 3.0-2.5 Crosby 104, Fleury 2.4
Columbus 14 0.537 0.561 48% 3 2.8-2.6 Johansen 63, Bobrovsky 2.4
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
Tampa Bay 8 0.610 0.561 55% 4 2.9-2.6 Palat 59, Johnson 2.4
Montreal 9 0.561 0.512 55% 5 (OT) 2.6=2.5 Pacioretty 60, Price 2.3
Home Team Rank Home% Opp Road% Home Chance Actual Game 1 Ave. Sc Top Scorer, Top Goalie
New York Rangers 12 0.488 0.439 55% 4 2.7-2.4 St. Louis 69, Lundqvist 2.4
Philadelphia 13 0.585 0.610 47% 1 2.9-2.9 Giroux 86, Mason 2.5

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