Playoff Griever: Round 3
So round 2 gave us a seven game showdown between Ovechkin vs. Crosby and Malkin and Ovechkin almost single-handedly destroyed my pool team and eliminated the Pens but the Pens greater depth and more reliable goaltending was the difference in the end.
Meanwhile Carolina plays another 7 game series, this time eliminating the Bruins late in the first OT of game 7.
Over in the West, the last two cup champs battled it out in a series that could have been a great cup finals itself and was only decided in the last few minutes of game 7.
And finally the up and coming Hawks snipers helped their team come from behind to tie or take the lead in all 6 games, finishing up by scoring 7 on a Canucks team that hadn't allowed 7 goals once all season.
Not really a whole lot more a hockey fan could ask for.
my predictions were:
Pick: Carolina in 6
Pick: Pittsburgh in 6
Pick: Wings in 6
Pick: Canucks in 7
The one series I said would go 7, went 6, and the three I said would go 6, went 7. Let's just say I predicted they would all be close, and I was right about that. The winners were all as I predicted, with the exception, of course, of the Canucks.
The difference between my expectation and the result can be summarized in one stat: The Canucks .879 save percentage (or if you prefer, the Hawks 12.2% shooting percentage). The difference between a save percentage like that and one like, say .920, is over a third fewer goals scored against. Would the Canucks have won the series if the Hawks had scored over a third fewer goals? Of course. Part of the low percentage was Luongo being off his game, part was the Canucks failing to keep the Hawks to the perimeter and part was simply bad luck. I suspect that if you were to tabulate the series winning percentage of teams with save percentages below .880 over the last decade or two, it would be *extremely* low.
As for next round, it is rare to see two such strong offensive (and weak defensive) teams as Detroit and Chicago meet this late in the playoffs. I hope they go toe to toe and see who can outskate and outscore the other which would be great to watch. The Hawks will likely need Osgood's save pct. to be even lower than .879 to win this one.
Pick: Wings in 5
The classic 4 seed vs. 6 seed matchup! I honestly don't know here. Carolina looked like they were getting tired as the series against Boston wore on, but the Pens have played a fair bit of hockey as well. The Pens made tough work of much easier opponents than the Canes have faced so far, but somehow my gut just wants to go with Pittsburgh on this one.
Pick: Pittsburgh in 7