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by on January 24, 2019
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Throughout the NHL playoffs, I have forecasted each round simply by using shots on goal and goaltender save percentage to come up with a baseline for the series. Chris Herndon Jets Jersey . Its not intended to be some magical formula and doesnt apply any context, like, for example, taking injuries into account. This remedial statistical method has gone 9-5 in picks through the first three rounds. Heres a quick look at the five series that went the wrong way: In the first round, Columbus came in ahead of Pittsburgh, though that required Sergei Bobrovsky to perform better than Marc-Andre Fleury (not an impossibility given Fleurys playoff track record), but Fleury and Bobrovsky each had a .908 save percentage in Round One and Pittsburgh dominated puck possession to an extent that they did not during the regular season. Minnesota upended Colorado, in Game Seven overtime, which wasnt altogether surprising. I would have easily been able to talk myself into the upset had the Wild not gone into the series with Ilya Bryzgalov as their starting goaltender, because the Wild were a superior possession team. Darcy Kuemper returned for four games and helped tilt the series back in Minnesotas favour and Semyon Varlamov, whose regular-season play fueled the Avalanches top seed finish, was only okay in the postseason, posting a .913 save percentage in seven games. The touchiest series for this years playoffs was the San Jose-Los Angeles matchup in Round One. The forecast had the Sharks favoured by the slimmest of margins (18.15 expected goals to 18.09 expected goals) and, when they had a 3-0 series lead, that coin flip looked to be falling the right way. We know how that has turned out since that point. In the second round, the Boston Bruins were favoured over the Montreal Canadiens, and while the Bruins controlled large portions of the series, they couldnt solve Carey Price, who had a .936 save percentage in the seven-game upset. Then, in the Conference Finals, the forecast put the Chicago Blackhawks over the Los Angeles Kings, due to a goaltending advantage, because Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick hasnt been great in this years playoffs. After what was a sensational series, it was safe to say that neither team held a goaltending advantage -- both Quick and Corey Crawford struggled -- and the Kings took Game Seven in OT. So, those misses are on the record as we head into the Stanley Cup Final. The expected goals for each team in the series are determined by taking each teams shots for and against over the course of the season, as well as through the first round of the playoffs, and splitting the difference. So, for example, the New York Rangers, over the regular season and playoffs have averaged 32.4 shots on goal per game and the Los Angeles Kings have allowed 27.0 shots on goal per game; the average of those two numbers, 29.70 shots, is the number that is then multiplied by (1 - the opposing goaltenders save percentage) to determine an expected goals per game for the Rangers. Finally, the number is multiplied by seven to indicate an expected goal total for a seven-game series. Theres no guarantee that scoring more goals in a series will result in winning four games first, but the odds certainly favour the team that scores more. So, lets see how the numbers shake out for the Final: Team SF SA Goaltender SV% Expected GF/Series Los Angeles 31.5 27.0 Jonathan Quick 0.912 16.54 N.Y. Rangers 32.4 29.1 Henrik Lundqvist 0.922 18.30 Verdict: While the Kings and Rangers are very similar in their playoff puck possession rates, the Kings were tops in the league during the regular season and ran through a more difficult gauntlet in the Western Conference to reach the Cup Final. The difference in shot rates during the regular season is pretty small, however, with the Kings earning 54.7% of the shots as the Rangers earned 53.0% of the total shots. Over the course of a game, that amounts to about one extra shot on goal; hardly the kind of difference that couldnt be overcome by better goaltending. Which brings us to the advantage to which the Rangers will cling. Lundqvist has been one of the games top goaltenders since coming into the league in 2005-2006, and is performing at a high level in this years playoffs as well, so couldnt he stop an extra shot or two per game? At the other end, Jonathan Quick has traditionally been a very good playoff goaltender in his own right, but his .906 save percentage this year has dropped Quicks all-time playoff save percentage to .922, falling fractionally behind Lundqvist. Certainly, some of the blame for this seasons save percentage can be attributed to the calibre of teams that the Kings have faced on their way to the Cup Final, with San Jose (sixth), Anaheim (first) and Chicago (second) all among the top-scoring teams in the league this season. By comparison, the Rangers got through Philadelphia (eighth), Pittsburgh (fifth) and Montreal (21st), so there is some quality of competition favouring Quick. It would be an upset if the Rangers won the series but a seven-game series, if otherwise close, can easily be decided by goaltending and, right now, its not unreasonable to hold higher expectations for Lundqvist. Lets see if King Henrik can get the job done. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen.  For more, check out TSN Fantasy Sports on Facebook. Nathan Shepherd Jets Jersey . Adding playoff teams. Monitoring instant replay from league headquarters. Possibly creating a set of guidelines to prevent locker-room bullying. Avery Williamson Jets Jersey .ca presents a week long look at some of the teams and stories that will shape the up coming campaign.TSN Baseball Insider Steve Phillips answers several questions each week. This weeks topics include the Blue Jays struggles at Yankee Stadium, what the Tampa Bay Rays should do with David Price, remembering Tony Gwynn and his pick for the best team in baseball. 1) What is it about the Blue Jays and Yankee Stadium that dont go together (15 straight losses through Wednesday)? You would think an offensive team would do well in a hitters park. In your experience, what was the toughest park to play in and why? There isnt anything wrong with the Blue Jays. They just cant seem to beat the Yankees. The Yankees have the Jays number.  Baseball is such a mental game. What you think or feel impacts how you play. When one team dominates another like this it gets in the mind of the losing team. It also empowers the winning team. As each subsequent game unfolds, the losing team feels that a loss is inevitable. When something goes wrong in the game it feels like that will be the reason the team loses on that day. In contrast the winning team has a feeling of inevitability as well. They just know someone will make a play or get a big hit to win the game.  The Jays have a defeatist attitude against the Yankees. Im sure they start out each game telling themselves that this will be the day they end the losing streak. But at some point a lost scoring opportunity, an error, a bloop base hit, etc causes the voices of doubt start to scream in their psyche. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  I lived this nightmare when I was Mets general manager. We could not beat the Atlanta Braves, especially at Turner Field in Atlanta. It didnt matter what we did, we lost. We could get good starting pitching but their starters pitched better. We could score a bunch of runs but they would find a way to outscore us. We lost every way imaginable. We lost some games with bad first innings and some with bad ninth innings. We lost on home runs, errors, wild pitches and squeeze bunts. We would rally and look like we were coming back and then hit in to a double play to end the game. We even walked in a game-winning run in the NLCS in 1999.  What makes matters worse is when the team that has your number is in your division. With the unbalanced schedule we played division rivals nineteen times each. We always finished second to the Braves mainly because we couldnt beat them head-to-head. I told Braves GM John Schuerholz and manager Bobby Cox that if I ever had to pick them out of a police line-up I would have to have them turn around because I chased them for six years and only saw their backside and never saw their faces.  In fact I am convinced that the only reason we advanced to the World Series in 2000 against the Yankees was because the Braves lost in the NLDS that year to the Cardinals.  Our struggles ran from one season into another season. Not even an off-season flushed out the demons. In fact, several years after I was general manager I returned to Turner Field as a baseball analyst to broadcast a game. I remember walking in the visiting clubhouse and the awful feelings of past losses at Turner Field flooded me. It was still in my head. Every team has that other team. Unfortunately for the Jays that team is the Yankees.  2) There are a lot of suggestions that the Rays should be trading David Price now. Would you do it, and what would be your expected return in a deal for Price? What team has assets that fit that wish list? The Rays must trade David Price. Small market teams have to do all they can to maximize their assets.  Price is the Rays most substantial asset.  They cant afford to keep him and they cant afford not to trade him. In order to continuously reinvent themselves, small market teams have to recycle their roster.  It seems highly unlikely that the Rays would trade David Price withinthe AL East. It is already a very difficult division so why make it that much tougher. Certainly the Jays, Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox would all have interest in Price.  But so do the Tigers, Athletics, Angels, Braves, Cardinals, Reds Giants, and Dodgers. The Rays have had success being an organization built around deep pitching and just enough offense. Unfortunately for them, this year they dont have anywhere close to enough offence. The challenge for small market teams is finding the right balance between their pitching and offence. The timing between the two is critical since they cant spend significant dollars in the free agent market to fill deficiencies. The Rays want to compete again as soon as possible so finding young major league talent instead of a bevy prospects is preferred. The team that can make the best deal with the Rays is the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rays should ask for 1B Matt Adams and RHS Michael Wacha. This would replace Prices role in the rotation and give them a big power bat for the middle of their lineup. I would expect the Cardinals to say no to including Wacha in the deal.  So the Rays should then ask for RHS Shelby Miller and RHP Carlos Martinez in the deal with Adams. The Cardinals would have a rotation that would include Adam Wainwright, Wacha, Price, Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia. Alan Craig can play first base in the absence of Adams and Oscar Tavares can play right field. The Rays would get a quality young starter in Miller, a potential impact starter/closer in Martinnez and a big bat for their lineup. Trumaine Johnson Jets Jersey. .  It will be very interesting to see where Price goes and what the deal will be.  One thing for certain he will not finish the season with the Rays.  3) We lost one of the great hitters and great personalities in baseball last week. What is your fondest memory of Tony Gwynn and where does he rank among the hitters you saw play? Tony Gwynn is one of the best pure hitters that baseball has ever known.  He was a student and a teacher of the game. Gwynn is one of the rare players who played for one team his entire career. He is known as Mr. Padre. He never had a contract dispute. He didnt play for the money. He could have taken advantage of the free agent market and squeezed every last dollar out of his ability. But he wasnt about money. He played for the love of the game. Interestingly Gwynn got more attention in his death than he did as a Hall of Famer. People in some ways diminished his accomplishments because he was a singles hitter. The most home runs he ever hit in a season were seventeen. He could have hit more but he chose to stay within himself and do what he did best. He punched the ball the other way. He was a contact hitter. He hit for average. Gwynn had a .338 career batting average. He led the league in hitting eight times. He was a 15-time All Star and a five-time Gold Glover. His .393 batting average in the strike-shortened 1994 season, was the closest that anyone has gotten to .400 since Ted Williams did it in 1941. The hole between the shortstop and third baseman became know as the "5.5" hole because of Gwynn. He had an uncanny knack of being able to hit any pitch anywhere in the zone through that hole.  I remember an afternoon when I was GM for the Mets that I was sitting in my office and heard the crack of the bat coming from the field at 1pm. We had a 7pm game that night so I wondered who could possibly be hitting that early. I went out on the concourse and saw Tony Gwyn taking early batting practice with one of the Padres coaches. I couldnt believe it. The game was six hours away. Then after regular batting practice I saw Gwynn walking with a bucket of balls down to the batting age under the stadium.  He was going to practice some more. The best pure hitter of his era was also the hardest worker. That told me all I needed to know. The other remarkable thing about Gwynn was his smile. He was the least Hall of Fame acting Hall of Famer I have ever met. He was genuine, sincere, compassionate, kind and friendly. He greeted fans and opponents and ground crew workers in exactly the same way. He wasnt too big for anyone and no one was too small for him. Baseball lost the best pure hitter of this era and one of the best ever in the game. But the bigger loss was that of the man that was Tony Gwynn. 4)  Baseball is such a great sport. Everyday gives you some different feeling about your team and its chances. It is made for sports talk radio. Or maybe it made sports talk radio. Either way our team can excite us one day and disappoint us the next. One week we feel like we are going all the way and the next week our team is a bunch of bums. The season is a marathon-long roller coaster ride.  It can be exhilarating or exhausting depending upon the end result. Statistics allow us to continuously grade the progress of our team and how it is performing. The numbers can be made to tell just about any story and often times suit our bias.  I love the weekly power rankings that come out and show which team is ranked ahead of its competition. Each week the teams are moved up and down based upon how they performed over a seven-day time frame.  Seven days in a baseball season is only a snapshot of a team and who they are. There is a saying in baseball that no team is as good as they are when playing its best or as bad as they are when they play their worst. Yet each week we come up with an ordering of the teams according to some arbitrary evaluation. This year is no different. So far in one ranking the Giants, Cardinals, As, Brewers and Tigers have all been atop the rankings at one point or another this season. This is bizarre to me because there is one team that is the best and no one else is even close. The best team in baseball by far is the Oakland As.  Why? The As have outscored the opposition by 134 runs. The next closest team is the San Francisco Giants who are a +47.  Isnt the idea to outscore your opponent? The As have scored the most runs in baseball.  "Well isnt pitching more important?" you ask. The As have given up the least number of runs as well. Back when Billy Beane co-wrote "Moneyball" everyone focused on the need for hitters to have a good OBP. Yet, Beanes teams back then had much better pitching than they did offence. They didnt win because their hitters had a great plan at the plate, they won because their pitchers didnt give up OBP.  This As team is a true "Moneyball" team through and through. They are baseballs best offensive team while also having the best pitching.   Beane has been criticized because his teams never won anything. That means championships. His clubs won a ton of games and got more bang for the buck than anyone else but that doesnt seem to matter. This is their year. Here are my power rankings: Its the Oakland As and then everybody else.  Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys From China Cheap Nike Basketball Jerseys Wholesale Hockey Jerseys China Nike Baseball JerseysCheap College Jerseys China Cheap Football Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Canada Wholesale NHL Jerseys Canada Wholesale Nike MLB Jerseys Canada Cheap NBA Jerseys Authentic Canada Stitched Soccer Jerseys Canada Cheap Jerseys Canada NFL ' ' '