Some good analysis of the NHL finals that start tonight:
Based on this research, we focused on several championship characteristics that might predict the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup finals. We also applied a Monte Carlo simulation to compute series probabilities for the finals.
In particular, we focused on factors related to sports psychology like big game experience, leadership and consistency. These concepts have proven to be common themes across all sports we have studied.
Big Game Experience: Across all sports, we have found a meaningful relationship between big game experience and winning championships. In our work, big game experience is measured by appearances in finals over the past three years. In the N.H.L., the team with an edge in this area has gone 11-2 (84.6 percent) in Stanley Cup finals series over the past 33 years. Both the Blackhawks and Bruins have made finals appearances over the past three years. Edge: Even
Offensive Leadership: The team with the better offensive star, measured by points scored, has won 20 of the last 33 Stanley Cup finals (60.6 percent). The Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane (55 points) outscoredthe Bruins’ Brad Marchand (36 points) during the lockout-shortened season. Edge: Chicago.
Defense: The team with a better goals-against average has won 19 of the last 33 Stanley Cup finals (57.6 percent). But since the high-scoring period of the mid-1980s to the mid-90’s ended – the team with the better defense has been even more dominant:
- 5-1 over the last 6 years
- 8-3 over the last 11 years
- 13-6 over the last 19 years
The Blackhawks had the N.H.L.’s best defense this season. The Bruins are also a good defensive team, ranking third in goals-against during the regular season. Edge: Chicago.
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