2015 NHL Stanley Cup Conference Final Predictions: Maybe…Truculence, Size, & Experience Don’t Matter Much

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Photo by “Resolute” via Wikimedia Commons; altered by author

Another round in the books, so it’s time to re-assess truculence, size, and experience in our Stanley Cup Playoffs predictions and reload for the Conference Finals. SAP had a better-than-coin-flip 2nd round, getting 3 of 4 series right, and you’ll be disappointed to know that that pulls them ahead of our more-celebrated team “virtues.” For those interested after our previous post, Nicholas Emptage over at Puck Prediction nailed the 2nd round and his model improved to 10-2 these playoffs — Bravo.

Let’s see how everything broke down for us…

Using a team’s number of fights during the season (expressed by their standard deviations above average to establish the # of games), our truculence category predicted the Wild, Ducks, and Capitals to win in 6 games, and Montreal in 7. By size (same process, with BMI), we had the Wild and Capitals in 6, Montreal in 5, and Anaheim in 4 games. Finally, by experience (same process, by average age of roster), we had Minnesota and New York in 7 games, and Montreal and Anaheim in 6 games, but decided to flip the predictions since age was a poorer performing predictor in the 1st round. So, we went forward with Chicago and Washington in 7 games, and Tampa Bay and Calgary in 6.

For the second round, the results:

Bracket Series Guessed Correctly Team Wins Accuracy
Truculence 1 of 4 59%
Size 1 of 4 66%
Experience 2 of 4 69%

The completely arbitrarily switched bracket wins! What if we put the first and second round predictions together?

Bracket Series Guessed Correctly Team Wins Accuracy
Truculence 4 of 12 60%
Size 5 of 12 70%
Experience 5 of 12 67%

Even by the best of these virtues, we’re coming in below a coin-flip prediction. SAP, for their efforts, have matched the coin-flip, going 6 for 12 this year.

This go-around, there’s no need to do any arbitrary flipping, as each bracket’s giving us a different prediction. They are:

You can click on any of these to enlarge them. Truculence has Anaheim in a sweep and Tampa in 7 games, while size has Anaheim in another sweep and the Rangers in 6 games. Experience flips on Anaheim and gives it to the Hawks in 7 games, while the Rangers hold at 6 games. The best part? The odds are pretty close to 70% (the Lightning have the edge in their series) that one of these is exactly right.

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