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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

NHL Playoffs 2015: Stanley Cup Final Prediction

Whether we are using SAC or SAF, both of these teams are among the elite in the possession category. That didn't seem to matter much in round 1, but as I wrote at the time, the cream usually rises to the top. Once again, possession remains the most reliable, repeatable skill to look at when predicting cup contenders.

As pointed out at nhlnumbers.com, the Bolts are the superior team when it comes to generating scoring chances, and dangerous scoring chances at that. Both offenses can win a game, but over the course of a series, I have to give the slight edge to Tampa. They not only have the best line in hockey, but Stamkos isn't even a name in that trio.

In contrast, the Hawks are giving up the 2nd most "high danger" scoring chances in the playoffs.

Another thing going for Tampa is that their woeful regular season powerplay is now a distant memory. It didn't make sense on paper why a team with this much skill would struggle in that area, but they've completely turned that around in the post-season. They also draw more penalties than any other team in the playoffs.

I only have two reservations about Tampa winning the cup at this point. One is Ben Bishop. He's been equally good/inconsistent as Crawford up until now, but it could be a different story in the final. One has done it before, the other hasn't.

The other concern is the lack of experience for the Lightning. On one hand that could be a benefit as they don't know any better, and have never been more confident as a group, but if they get down early in the series, it could get away from them.

In the end though, the Hawks are favored, which is based entirely on reputation and experience, rather than how these two matchup on the ice. In reality, Tampa should be the slight favorites, and at worst, it should be a coin flip price.

Since I'm sitting on a Bolts futures ticket, I'll be hedging on the Hawks to cover my bases, but I'm still going to let most of it ride on Tampa. I think they hold the slight edge, and also have home ice advantage to go with it.

Blackhawks (-128) (4u)

Filppula O3.5 pts (-120) (1u)
Hedman O3.5 pts (-120) (1u)
Who will score more pts Hossa Vs Kucherov: Kucherov (-120) (1u)

Who will score more pts Richards Vs Palat: Palat (-125) (1u)
Who will score moer pts Keith Vs Hedman: Hedman (+140) (1u)