Tag Archives: NHL

SIX STATS you might not know about… NHL playoffs (4-game sweeps vs. 7-game series)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Stanley Cup, on display at the Hockey Hall of ...

The Stanley Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Hockey League playoffs are underway. Two series, Los Angeles-Vancouver and Pittsburgh-Philadelphia, still have the potential of a four-game sweep as the #8 seed Kings hold a 3-0 series over top-seeded Vancouver, and the Flyers are up three games to none over Pittsburgh. In the other six series, there is still the potential of the teams taking the series to a deciding seventh game.

Following is a stats snapshot of NHL playoff series going back to 1987 (the year all playoff series went to seven games) with a focus on four-game sweeps and series that go to a deciding seventh game.

Conference Quarterfinals

1. Four-game series sweeps: There have been 25 four-game sweeps in the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1987. Teams that win the first round in a four-game sweep won 11 series and lost 14 series in the next round.

2. Seven-game series: There have been 52 seven-game series in the first round of the NHL playoffs since 1987. Teams that win a first-round series in seven games won the next series 23 times and lost the next series 29 times.

Conference Semifinals

3. Four-game sweeps: There have been 18 four-game sweeps in the semifinals since ’87. Teams that won a second-round series by sweeping the opposition went on to win the conference finals 11 times and lost in the conference finals seven times. (The extra rest before the conference finals helped?)

4. Seven-game series: There have been 23 seven-game series in the semifinals since ’87. Teams that won a second-round series in seven games won in the conference finals only six times and lost in the conference finals 17 times. (The fatigue factor of a seven-game series in the semifinals hurt teams in the conference finals?)

Conference Finals

5. Four-game sweeps: There have been six four-game sweeps in the conference finals from 1987-2011. Those six teams went on to win the Stanley Cup three times and lost the Cup three times.

6. Seven-game series: There have been 12 seven-game series in the conference finals from 1987-2011. Eight of the 12 teams went on to win the Stanley Cup; four lost the next series.

Did you know? In the 24 Stanley Cup finals since 1987, eight of the series went the full seven games. In six seasons, the Stanley Cup champion won in a four-game sweep.

Note: In all NHL playoff series from 1987-2011, 55 ended after a four-game sweep; 97 went the full seven games.

Note #2: Last year, the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins became the first team in NHL playoff history to win three playoff series by winning a decisive seventh game. Ironically, they won their fourth series (a semifinal series win over the Flyers) with a four-game sweep.

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Can Red Wings extend playoff series win streak?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Detroit Red Wings won 62 games in a single sea...

Detroit Red Wings logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The National Hockey League playoffs begin with three of the eight first-round series dropping the puck tonight. The Detroit Red Wings will be looking to extend their current streak of winning at least one playoff series to six. They are, however, as the #5 seed, the underdog in their series against fourth-seeded Nashville.

Following is a look at how many seasons each NHL team has won at least one playoff series in the past 25 years (since 1986).

Seasons with one playoff series win (1986-2011), Teams

16: Detroit

13: Montreal

12: Pittsburgh

11: Philadelphia, St. Louis

10: Boston, Colorado, San Jose

9: Edmonton, New Jersey, N.Y. Rangers, Toronto, Vancouver

8: Dallas, Washington

7: Buffalo, Chicago

5: Anaheim, Los Angeles, Ottawa

4: Calgary, Carolina

3: Tampa Bay

2: N.Y Islanders

1: Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, Phoenix

0: Columbus, Winnipeg

Note: Of the teams that have won a playoff series in the last 25 years, three franchises – Florida, the N.Y. Islanders and Phoenix – have not won a playoff series this century. Florida last won a playoff series in 1996; the Isles last won a series in 1993; and the Phoenix franchise last won a playoff series in 1987.

Did you know? Detroit and San Jose have each won a playoff series in eight years in this century. They are followed by Colorado and Philadelphia (six each) and the N.J. Devils, Pittsburgh and Vancouver (five each).

Not only does Detroit lead the NHL with five straight seasons with at least one playoff series win, but it also leads all of professional sports in that same category. Here are the major sports teams that have a current streak of winning at least one playoff series (or game, in the case of the NFL) in three straight seasons (or more).

Current streak of winning at least one playoff series, Team

5: Detroit Red Wings

4: Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Baltimore Ravens

3: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks

Note: The Texas Rangers were the only MLB team to have won a playoff series in both 2010 and 2011.