Sunday, June 01, 2008

Detroit Is One Win Away

The Detroit Red Wings are now one win away from winning the Stanley Cup. They defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 in game four of the Stanley Cup finals series to move into a three games to one lead. Marian Hossa scored early in the game to give Pittsburgh a lead, but Detroit answered back with a Nicklas Lidstrom goal in the first period and a Jiri Hudler goal in the third. They secured the win by killing a two-man power play in the mid-3rd period with Kirk Maltby and Andreas Lilja in the box. Detroit again outshot the Penguins. The shots were 30-23 in this game. Detroit has outshot Pittsburgh in all four games of the final series so far and has not been outshot in any playoff game this season except for game four of the Nashville series in the first round. Detroit can win the Stanley Cup in game five which will be played on Monday.

I still can't believe the Pens didn't score on that minute and one half 5on3!!

The Penguins lack of production during the power play has been unbelievable. They were such a powerhouse all playoffs. Clearly, experience has proven to be the difference in this series.

"The Sports Watcher"

I disagree with your conclusion. I think power play differences are largely explained as random fluctuations when we are dealing with small numbers of events.

I the regular season, Pittsburgh scored on 20.4% of their power plays. In the playoffs they< have scored on 22.0% - thats throughout the entire playoff. That number being higher than the regular season is likely a fluke.

Now if we break down numbers further (and quickly enter the regime where there are few chances and thus one or two events can greatly influence percentages, they are 16 for 65 (24.6%) on the power play in the first three rounds of the playoffs. In the finals they are 2 for 17 (11.8%). Of course in their last two games they are 2 for 9 (22.2%) but they didn't score on their 8 attempts in the first two games (because they didn't score at all).

There is no puzzle here to explain the power play results. Its all in random statistical fluctuations.

Pittsburgh has scored half their goals in the finals on the power play (2 of 4). Now that is a problem. They need more goals and more at even strength.

You can't conclude from these power play numbers anything about experience or lack of it.

I would interpret the final series so far as being one dominated by Detroit's team defence. They have shut down the Penguins. I suggested this might be possible before the finals began and an anonymous commenter told me it was idiotic. I think the problem gets worse for the Penguins back in Detroit in game five. Detroit has the last line change so they can better match lines and better keep Pittsburgh's scorers against the shutdown players on the Wings.
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