The 2015 NHL playoffs are set and we are now settling in for an exciting couple of months of playoff hockey. But before the puck drops, we must first go through the exercise of making predictions. To help us make better predictions, we decided to lean on history and statistics but we didn't forget to use our gut.
Here are four different Stanley Cup brackets (and winners) for the 2015 NHL Playoffs...
Goal Differential Bracket
Teams that score more goals win. Pretty simple stuff. In fact, over the last 22 NHL seasons, every single Stanley Cup winner has been in the top 10 in the league for goal differential. Check out the goal differential stats for each team this season: 2014-15 NHL goal differential.
For this bracket, we will simply be taking the teams with the higher goal differential in each round. And the winner is...
Congratulations to the 2014-15 New York Rangers who win their 5th Stanley Cup in franchise history and their first since 1994.
Shot Differential Bracket
A consistent predictor of Stanley Cup winners is shot differential, which simply measures the difference between the shots a team puts on net and the amount of shots they allow opponents. The idea is that the greater you outshoot your opponents, the greater your chances of winning.
Since 1993, over the last 21 NHL playoffs, the Stanley Cup winner has fallen in the top 10 of shot differentials 19 times (90.4%) and 14 times (66.7%) they have been in the top 5. For more behind this stat, check out Using Shot Differential to Pick the 2014-15 Stanley Cup Winner.
For this bracket, we will simply be taking the teams with the higher shot differential in each round. And the winner is...
Congratulations to the 2014-15 New York Islanders who win their 5th franchise Stanley Cup and their first since 1983.
Regular Season Series Bracket
Instead of shots and goals, lets focus on wins. For this bracket, we will be looking at the season series between each team to determine the winner, with the winner of the regular season series advancing in each bracket.
And the winner is...
Congratulations to the 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightening who win their 2nd Stanley Cup in franchise history.
My Prediction Bracket
Ok. Time to put the statistics away and use that good ol' gut feeling. Here is my personal take on who I think will win each round and take home the Stanley Cup.
And the winner is...
Congratulations to the 2014-15 St. Louis Blues who after 3 previous trips to the Stanley Cup finals, win their 1st Stanley Cup in franchise history.
If you want to build your own 2015 Stanley Cup Bracket, check out the NHL Bracket Challenge.