Saturday, May 17, 2014

Conference Finals Preview, By the Pool Numbers

In the Eastern Conference, it is another one of those classic Original Six match-ups, as the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens go head-to-head.  This series has the makings of a classic, with a goaltender battle, which lights up the marquee over both buildings.

The Rangers go into the Conference Finals as the underdog in selections for the hockey pool, as there was very little belief that they would have made it as far as they did.

New York has the combined number of 71 selections in the pool, led by Mats Zuccarello in Box 17 with 14 and Marc Staal in Box 22 with 11.

In terms of scoring, Henrik Lundqvist leads the way for the Rangers, with points from his 8 wins, making 16 points, heading into round three.  Brad Richards finished the Division Finals with 11 points, including a couple of bonus points.

Our pool leader, Dale B., has three Rangers on his side: Zuccarello, Derrick Brassard and Staal.

As for the Montreal Canadiens, their 104 selections puts them ahead of their Conference Finals counterpart, giving some hope for a Canadian team to make the finals... if you're into that sort of thinking.

The most popular Montreal players in the pool were Box 18 forward David Desharnais with 21 picks and Box 20 defenseman P.K. Subban with 19 picks.

On the scoresheet, it should come as no surprise that Carey Price led the way with his 8 wins and 1 shutout, good enough for 18 points.  Also in the double-digits was Subban, who finished the second round with 13 points, including a game-winner.

Going back to Dale B.'s team, he has two Habs on his side, defensemen Andrei Markov and Aleksey Emelin.

If matching up the numbers between the boxes is something you're looking for, the Canadiens lead the number of selections in seven out of the 12 boxes, with the Rangers leading in four and there is one even box, as Emelin and John Moore each have seven picks in Box 23.

Scoring by the boxes... the Rangers match-up favourably, leading in seven boxes to four with one draw, Box 21, as both Dan Girardi and Andrei Markov each have 5 points.

In the Western Conference, we have another match-up between the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, a rematch of the 2013 Western Conference Finals, where the Blackhawks took the series in five games, as they headed for another Stanley Cup win.

The Kings go into the series as the hockey pool underdog, with only 87 picks to their name.  With the number of underdog success stories in these playoffs, this might bode well for Los Angeles.

The most popular players for the Kings this year are Box 8 defenseman Drew Doughty with 14 picks and Box 12 goalie Jonathan Quick, with 13 picks.

The Kings are rocking the best player in the scoring race this year, as Anze Kopitar leads all players in the hockey pool with 20 points, including 1 game-winner.  Quick has 18 points, followed by Justin Williams with 12 points and Jeff Carter has 11 points.

Who is Dale B. watching from Los Angeles?  Kopitar, Doughty and Quick.  That's going to be tough match-up to beat for any pool team.

The Chicago Blackhawks were one of the favourites for the Stanley Cup, as they ranked 3rd among all playoff teams in selections with 125.  They were the favourite in the Western Conference to come out, leading all teams out this way.

Patrick Kane was the most popular Chicago player taken, with 18 picks to his name.  The picks were spread around pretty well for Chicago, as Jonathan Toews finished with 15 picks and four others had 14 picks each.

Goaltender Corey Crawford has the lead in scoring for the pool, with 8 wins and a shutout for his 18 points.  Toews goes in with 14 points, followed by Kane with 13, followed closely by Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook, each with 11 points.

And just to finish the thought... our pool leader has Patrick Sharp, Hossa and Bryan Bickell from Chicago.  He's probably rooting for the Kings for the money win.

Chicago out boxed Los Angeles, 8-3-1, as Box 8 was the only draw, seeing Duncan Keith and Drew Doughty each had 14 picks each.

And finally, the scoring between boxes, it is 5-5-2 between the two teams, making it a very even match-up in this respect.  Box 3 between Patrick Sharp and Mike Richards are tied with 6 points and the goaltending match-up comes in even.

No comments: