The Bruins and Sharks are favored to advance to Stanley Cup final. ASL's Todd Lewys explains why.
Suffice it to say, anyone who says statistics are for losers doesn't know what they're talking about.
The NHL playoffs are a good example of how stats truly do tell the whole story.
Take the Boston Bruins, for example. After running roughshod over the Carolina Hurricanes 6-2 in game two of their division final, Boston is just two wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup final.
There are several reasons why the Bruins are poised to play for Lord Stanley's coveted mug.
First, goalie Tuuka Rask's has taken his game to another level after a regular season that saw him post a goals against average (GAA) of 2.64 and save percentage of .912. In the post-season, the lanky Finn has been brilliant with a 2.02 GAA and .937 save percentage. He's one of the biggest reasons why the Bruins are looking good to play for the Cup in short order.
Then, there's Boston's scoring.
In the post-season, no fewer than 19 players have recorded a point, breaking a record set by the Bruins way back in 1988.
True to form, the top line of Marchand, Bergeron and Pastrnak is leading the way. That said, everyone is contributing: deadline pick-ups Marcus Johannson and Charlie Coyle, the B's defense corps, even role players on the second, third and fourth lines.
As if that across-the-board performance wasn't enough, the Bruins' powerplay has been hitting on all cylinders at a clip approaching 30 percent of late. Combine all the stats together, and you have a team that has the chemistry to win it all.
The same could be said for the San Jose Sharks, a deep, experienced team that's been getting contributions from everyone aside from Evander Kane. Martin Jones has been rock-solid in net, center/winger Logan Couture is the NHL's playoff scoring leader and defensemen Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have 28 points combined.
At this point in time, the Bruins and Sharks should be favored to advance to the Stanley Cup final based on their well-balanced statistical performances.
That said, tenacity and character also plays a big part in who advances and who doesn't.
After a big 4-2 win in San Jose, the gritty St. Louis Blues are tied 1-1 as they head back home to St. Louis for games three and four in the Western Conference final. If they can finally figure out how to win at home - the Blues have won more on the road than at home during the playoffs - they might be able to flip the script and edge past the Sharks.
As for the Carolina Hurricanes?
To avoid being swept - let alone making it to the finals - their goaltending needs to be better and their anemic power play needs to start producing. Better five-on-five production is also required, with everyone contributing on the score sheet.
Should the Blues' home ice struggles continue, look for the Sharks to close them out in five to six games. And if the Hurricanes can't find the magic that helped them score stunning upsets over the Capitals and Islanders, they will be out in four games.
Ultimately, the stats don't lie.
Both the Blues and Hurricanes must improve their stat line in several key areas. If they don't they will be on the outside looking in as Boston and San Jose play for the Stanley Cup in the waning days of May.