Better With Popcorn

Eastern Conference Playoff Study Part II

Photo Credit: AP

Considering how the topic of history is a huge storyline in the Flyers-Bruins series, it seems only logical to look back to the History of the Eastern Conference study, published right here at The Checking Line a few weeks ago.

This time, the study will analyze variables that pertain to areas that have influence on how teams have historically performed in the second round. Through this analysis it became clear that last year’s history-making performance by the Flyers isn’t the only piece of history in the team’s favor.

Season Series
After analyzing the first round of the postseason, it turned out that the team who won the season series went on to win the postseason series 76% of the time.

In the history of the second round, seven of the ten match-ups had instances where there was an outright winner of the season series. In those situations, the team that lost the season series went on to win the playoff series 85.7% of the time.

The Bruins won the season series between these two teams this year by registering three regulation wins and losing one game in overtime. Considering that only one team has gone on to win the playoff series after winning the season series, one would have to assume that this category favors the Flyers.

Historical advantage (as surprising as it may be): Flyers

First Round Performance
Even though both teams went the full seven games in their first series, the Bruins have a slight advantage over the Flyers.

When a team wins their series in six or seven games, they have historically had a 50% chance of winning their second round series. When a team wins their first round series in seven games and is the lower seeded team in the second round, they have gone onto win their series 100% of the time.

It took both squads seven games to punch their ticket to round two. This alone would have already given the teams a 50% chance of moving on historically if they were playing anyone else, but since they are playing each other, this statistic is nullified.

Another interesting trend to note is that when a team that goes seven games is the lower seed in the second round, they have always gone on to win their next series.

Historical advantage: Bruins

When looking at how a team performed in the first round, one needs to go deeper than looking just at the record. This study also evaluates how a team finished their series by looking at how many consecutive games they won to eliminate their first round opponent.

Teams that eliminated their first round opponent by winning two consecutive games advanced to the championship round 66.6% of the time.

Teams that advanced to the second round by winning a single game, won their second round series 50% of the time.

The Flyers lost Games 4 and 5 to Buffalo prior to winning two consecutive games to advance to the second round. The Bruins dropped Game 6, then rebounded in Game 7 to win their series.

Historical edge: Flyers


Historically speaking, the Flyers have a lot of statistics in their favor. But as we all know, the Bruins had a lot of statistics in their favor last year and ended up becoming the wrong kind of history.

Ultimately, it needs to be acknowledged that these stats will probably play little factor in who is advancing to the final round of the Eastern Conference tournament. The stats that will really matter will be Tim Thomas’ goals against average and the collective plus/minus ratings of Boston blue-liners Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, and Tomas Kaberle.

In addition, if Claude Giroux and Danny Briere go dry, will the other five 20+ goal scorers on the Flyers’ roster step up? Will Chris Pronger be able to play twenty-to-thirty minutes a night in the entire series? Will the goalie carousel slow down long enough for Brain Boucher to emerge as a consistent starter?

While it may be fun to look back in time for answers to the future, the past will have nothing to do with the winner of this series.

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