As my official entry into the world of blogging, I'd like to start off by running down my Stars/Ducks series breakdown. God I love playoff hockey.
I know that I'm already late to the party since the Stars roasted the Ducks 4-1 last night, but there's still a lot of series left to play so here goes:
Firstly, all of the analysis that I heard in the days leading up to game one was how impressive the Ducks D-core is. Add to that Giguere's playoff record and the late season slump that the Stars suffered and most prognosticators had this series going to Anaheim in 5 or 6.
I never really bought into this for all of the reasons that the Stars showed in game 1. I'm talking specifically about the Stars power play when combined with the Duck's penchant for taking lots and lots of penalties. In the regular season the Stars ranked 13th on the powerplay at 18.1 % and the Ducks powerplay ranked 20th at 16.6% and the PK was 12th at 83.1%. Figured together, the Dallas powerplay was about 10% more effective than the Anaheim one during the regular season.
In my life poker has taught me that numbers like these don't matter until you put them into the proper context. Edges must be measured against the frequency of the times that you'll encounter them. For example, if I were to say right now that I'm going to light every $100 bill on fire that I find on the street for the rest of my life, then my net loss will not be nearly what it would be if I were to instead light every $1 bill I ever found in my wallet for the rest of my life.
That's the context that I like to look at special teams numbers through, and here's how we do it:
In the regular season Anaheim lead the league in times shorthanded at 408. Dallas ranked 16th at 352. If the trend holds through the series, then Dallas can expect to see 16% more powerplays than Anaheim over the course of the series.
This adds up to a situation where a Dallas powerplay with a 10% edge in effectiveness gets on the job 16% more often. That's huge, and it could add up to a quick series win for big D unless the Ducks either drastically reduce the number of penalties they take or dramatically outscore the Stars 5 on 5 in the remaining games. I called for the Stars in 6 before the series began, and I'm sticking to it for now. If we win tomorrow I reserve the right to move to Stars in 5.