Stats look to crown the Kings Stanley Cup Champions
With Game One of the Stanley Cup Final set to go tonight in New Jersey. I thought I would share some key stats with you and draw a conclusion about what the stats are saying about this series.
So far in the playoffs. The Kings have had the tougher road to the finals (believe it or not).
In facing Vancouver, St. Louis and Phoenix the Kings have knocked off the best team in the NHL and two division champions. In total those teams put together a regular season that equaled 317 points, averaged 2.74 goals per game, 2.30 goals against per game and a +108 on the season in goal differential. The goalies they beat included an overmatched Roberto Luongo, a hot Corey Schnieder, the talented duo of Brian Elliott/Jaroslav Halak and the red hot Mike Smith.
In comparison, the Devils ran through Florida, Philadelphia and New York Rangers. This included the best team in the East, a marginal division winner and a team that finished just above them in the standings. Those teams combined for 306 regular season points, 2.82 goals a game, 2.63 goals against per game and a ridiculous +47 goal differential. The goalies they beat en route to the playoffs included an injured Jose Theodore, back-up Scott Clemmensen, the underwhelmingly average Ilya Bryzgalov and probably the best goalie in the NHL today Henrik Lundquist.
As if that isn't enough to get you to lean towards the Kings in what is projecting to be a tight series. How about these stats from the playoffs so far.
Goals per game
Devils = 2.83
Kings = 2.93
Goals against pg
Devils = 2.33
Kings = 1.57
Shots per game
Devils = 30.4
Kings = 32.9
Devils = 47.5%
Kings = 48.2%
Hits per game
Devils = 29.7
Kings = 36.4
Blocked shots pg
Devils = 11.3
Kings = 14.1
The only area where the Devils are dominating is on the power play.
Devils = 18.2%
Kings = 8.1%
It does balance itself out fairly well when you look at the penalty kill.
Devils = 74.2%
Kings = 91.2%
With all of that evidence, combined with the four extra games New Jersey has played so far, I have to think the Kings will come out of this on top in six games.
That said the two wild cards are Martin Brodeur and the Devil's home ice advantage in a cross-continent battle.
Will these two wild cards be enough to make the statistical evidence irrelevant? Only time will tell. What is your call?