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  • [Wild About Numbers]: Turns Out The Avalanche Weren’t a Special Snowflake After All


    It seemed that, while they were terrible when both teams had the same amount of players on the ice, they played like an elite team once they had an extra man out there. It's been shown time and time again that, to be a successful team in this league, you need to post strong possession numbers and not rely on unsustainable shooting percentage or your usually average goalie having an incredible season. Sooner or later those percentages are going to regress and, if you're being consistently out-shot, things are going to go downhill fast.

    -Look at the comparison between the Avs' regular season and playoff numbers:

    The Avs were able to out-score teams in the regular season thanks to their high shooting percentage and great goaltending, but when their goaltending regressed to the mean in the playoffs, the house of cards came tumbling down. Their Sh% actually increased in the playoffs and yet they were still out-scored at 5v5 Close. The Wild out-scored them 13-9 with a PDO of 98.6. That shows you the kind of luck the Avs had to ride during the regular season. Looking at total EV play and not just when the score was Close, the Wild had a 98.2 PDO to the Avs' 101.8 and yet the Wild out-scored them 16-13.

    The only reason this series made it to 7 games was thanks to the Avs dominance with the extra man (particularly with the empty net), laughably incompetent officiating in Game 5 and a freak Game 2 in which the Wild just didn't show up at all.

    I don't know how any Avs fan could watch that series and come away thinking: "Yup, our team is definitely as good as their standings position suggests". They were consistently outplayed by a non-elite Wild team. Their shot totals in Games 3 and 4 were simply embarrassing. Can you fathom the Blackhawks or any other true elite team ever turning in a performance like that in the playoffs? I sure can't.

    All the talk before the series about how their high Sv% wouldn't regress because Roy's coaching system (allegedly) allowed for fewer quality shots to be taken on Varlamov turned out to be as true as the Leafs talk about how their Corsi sucked because they held the puck in the zone longer and waited for high percentages chances only.

    I pinpointed the Avalanche as the most favourable match-up for the Wild before this series and, despite a few hiccups, it all went according to plan. Truth be told, while this is a sweet, sweet victory, the Avs are an inferior team who the Wild should beat every time and the real challenge lies in the next round against the Blackhawks.

    I think they can stop asking #WhyNotUs now. The answer should be painfully, painfully obvious.



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    Thanks to Extra Skater, Hockey Analysis, Hockey Abstract and SomeKindOfNinja for all the data.


    For a quick advanced stats 101, read this. For more in-depth stuff, read this.

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