Tag Archives: Stanley Cup

NHL has the most parity in last 20 years

The Boston Celtics are back and looking to add...

Boston Celtics NBA Championship banners (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the past several years, we have heard the word “parity” thrown around quite a bit, especially in the world of sports. Professional teams like the Montreal Canadians, the New York Yankees, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakes, and at various times in the NFL, the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers and 49ers, have all enjoyed long success in their respective league.

While the fans in those towns may enjoy the dynasties that were built, other cities and executives within each of the four major sports leagues would rather see the wealth spread around a bit to other teams.

Back-to-back titles have happened in each of the four major sports in the last two decades. The Yankees won three straight titles in the late ’90’s; the Patriots won back-to-back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005 (there has not, however, been a team that has won three straight Super Bowls); the Lakers won three consecutive NBA titles earlier this century (and the Miami Heat are hoping for a third straight title this year); and, the Detroit Red Wings won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. But those days when a franchise won five or more straight championships are very much a distant past.

So which of the four major sports in the last 20 years has seen the “most” parity? Let’s start the discussion with a few numbers.

Different champions: Of the four sports, the NHL has had 13 different franchises win the Stanley Cup in the last 20 years. The NFL is close behind with 12 teams winning at least one Super Bowl in the past two decades. The World Series has been won by 11 different teams since 1993, while the NBA Championship has seen only eight franchises hoist the title trophy since 1993. Slight advantage to the NHL.

Repeat champions: Of the four sports, the NFL has had the most repeat champions (teams that won more than one title) in the last 20 years with seven (Baltimore, Dallas, Denver, Green Bay, New England, New York Giants and Pittsburgh). The other three sports have each had five repeat champs in the past 20 seasons. No advantage.

Back-to-Back titles: In the past 20 years, the NHL has had the fewest consecutive titles by a team, one. That happened in 1997 and 1998 when the Red Wings won back-to-back titles. It has happened only twice in major league baseball in the last 20 years; it has occurred three times in the last 2o Super Bowls. In the NBA, there have been seven times when a team won back-to-back titles (on two occasions, those teams won a three-peat). Advantage NHL.

So based on these three factors, the NHL, in my opinion, has had the most parity over the past 20 years.

Your thoughts?

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Kings vs. Devils: Someone’s gonna make history!

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Stanley Cup in Hockey Hall of Fame

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With their 2-1 win last night, the New Jersey Devils became only the third team in NHL history to go from being down three games to none in a seven-game finals to win the next two games and force a Game 6. The Kings will try to end the series at home on Monday night.

Depending on which team wins the series, history will be made:

* The Kings are looking for their first Stanley Cup in the team’s 45-year history.

* The Devils, should they win the next two games, would become the first team in 70 years to win a Stanley Cup after being down 3-0 in the series.

The Kings are also looking to become the first team since 1997 to win the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals on the road and then win the title (The Detroit Red Wings in ’97 won the first two games of the finals on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers and then went on to sweep the Flyers in four games).

Since the 2000 playoffs, there have been 135 series played (not counting the 2012 Stanley Cup finals). In 29 of those series, the road team won the first two games of the playoff series. In 23 of those 29 series, that road team went on to win the series and advance to the next round.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what playoff round had the most series where the road team won the first two games of the series (since 2000):

Conference Quarterfinals: 15 (those road teams won the series 10 of the 15 times)

Conference Semifinals: 9 (those road teams won eight of the nine series)

Conference Finals: 5 (those road teams won the series each time)

The Kings are also the first road team to win the first two games of the series in each of four rounds of a playoff. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim won the first two games of the first three rounds of the 2003 playoffs as the road team. In the finals, however, they lost Games 1 & 2 to the New Jersey Devils.

In 1949, the Toronto Maple Leafs won Games 1 and 2 as the road team in the semifinals and the Stanley Cup Finals. Whereas the Maple Leafs accomplished this feat in two rounds of the playoffs, the Kings accomplished it this year in four rounds of the playoffs.

The Kings are the 12th team to win Games 1 & 2 of the finals as the road team in a seven-game series. Of the previous 11 teams to accomplish this, nine went on to win the title. Will the Kings follow suit?

Here’s a look at the road teams that won Game 1 & 2 of a seven-game Stanley Cup finals:

Year, Road team wins games 1 & 2 (series outcome)

2012 L.A. Kings (?)

1997 Detroit (won Cup over Philadelphia)

1995 N.J. Devils (won Cup over Detroit)

1990 Edmonton (won Cup over Boston)

1983 N.Y. Islanders (won Cup over Edmonton)

1970 Boston (won Cup over St. Louis)

1968 Montreal (won Cup over St. Louis)

1966 Detroit (lost Cup to Montreal)

1952 Detroit (won Cup over Montreal)

1949 Toronto (won Cup over Detroit)

1945 Toronto (won Cup over Detroit)

1942 Detroit (lost Cup to Toronto)

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NHL Conference Finals: Six Stats You Might Not Know

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

Pepsi Center's interior during Game 4 of the 2...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The NHL Conference Finals begin Sunday as the Los Angeles Kings travel to Phoenix to take on the Coyotes. The other Conference Final will begin on Monday after the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals play Game Seven on Saturday in their series to see who advances to face the New Jersey Devils.

Following are six stats you might not know about the NHL Conference Finals since 1980 (the last 31 years).

1. In the first two games of the Conference Finals since 1980, 30 of them had one of the teams take a 2-0 lead. In the other 32 series, the teams split the first two games.

2. In the 30 series where a team took a 2-0 lead, that team won the Conference Finals 28 times. The last team to fall behind two games to none in the Conference Finals and win that series was in 1991 when the Pittsburgh Penguins lost the first two games against the Boston Bruins and then won four straight to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

3. In the 32 series that started out with the teams splitting the first two games, there was no advantage by winning either Game One or Game Two of the series.  The eventual series winner won Game One 16 times; the eventual series winner won Game Two 16 times.

4. When the series started out 1-1, the team that won Game Three went on to win the series in 27 of the 32 series. From 1980-1999, the team that won Game Three after the series was tied at 1-1 won 21 of the 22 series. In the 10 Conference Finals that were tied at 1-1 since 2000, the team that won Game Three has won the series six times and lost the series four times.

5. Of the 62 Conference Finals played since 1980, 10 lasted only four games. The series went five games in 20 series; six games in 19 series; and the series went the full seven games in 13 series.

6. There have been 59 overtime games played in the Conference Finals since 1980. The home team has won 29 and lost 30. The home team has won five of the last five overtime games in the Conference Finals.

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A sports first! Reigning champs Packers (NFL), Mavs (NBA), Bruins (NHL) lose in 2012 first-round playoffs

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

English: Rick Carlisle with the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers lost their first playoff game to the New York Giants. Then the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins lose their first-round series to the Washington Capitals four games to three. Finally, the defending NBA champs, the Dallas Mavericks, were swept in a four-game first-round series to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Put it all together and it was the first time in sports history that the defending NFL, NHL and NBA champions were all defeated the following year in the first-round of the playoffs. (If baseball’s St. Louis Cardinals make the 2012 MLB playoffs and are defeated in their first-round series, we’ll have a clean sweep of defending champs in the first round of the playoffs in 2012.)

Following is a look at each of the football, basketball and hockey champions since 1970 that were defeated in their first-round playoff the following season after their title (Year listed is the year they won the Super Bowl or the NBA, NHL championship, followed by their first-round loss in the playoffs the following season.)

National Football League (10)

2011-Green Bay Packers: Lost 37-20 to NY Giants in divisional playoff game

2010-New Orleans Saints: Lost 41-36 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

2008-NY Giants: Lost 23-11 to Philadelphia in divisional playoff game

2007-Indianapolis: Lost 28-24 to San Diego in divisional playoff game

2000-St. Louis Rams: Lost 31-28 to New Orleans in Wild Card playoff game

1995-San Francisco: Lost 27-17 to Green Bay in divisional playoff game

1986-Chicago: Lost 27-13 to Washington in divisional playoff game

1985-San Francisco: Lost 17-3 to NY Giants in Wild Card playoff game

1984-LA Raiders: Lost 13-7 to Seattle in Wild Card playoff game

1974-Miami: Lost 28-26 to Oakland in divisional playoff game

National Basketball Association (6)

2011-Dallas: Lost 4-0 to Oklahoma City in Western Conference first-round series

2006-Miami: Lost 4-0 to Chicago in Eastern Conference first-round series

1999-San Antonio: Lost 3-1 to Phoenix in Western Conference first-round series

1983-Philadelphia: Lost 3-2 to NJ Nets in Eastern Conference first-round series

1980-LA Lakers: Lost 2-1 to Houston in Western Conference first-round series

1977-Portland: Lost 4-2 to Seattle in Western Conference semifinals (they had a bye in the first round)

National Hockey League (12)

2011-Boston: Lost 4-3 to Washington in the conference quarterfinals

2010-Chicago: Lost 4-3 to Vancouver in the conference quarterfinals

2007-Anaheim: Lost 4-2 to Dallas in the conference quarterfinals

2004-Tampa Bay: Lost 4-1 to Ottawa in the 2006 conference quarterfinals (no 2005 season due to season cancelled)

2003-NJ Devils: Lost 4-1 to Philadelphia in conference quarterfinals

2002-Detroit: Lost 4-0 to Mighty Ducks in conference quarterfinals

1993-Montreal: Lost 4-3 to Boston in conference quarterfinals

1973-Montreal: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1972-Boston: Lost 4-1 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1971-Montreal: Lost 4-2 to NY Rangers in quarterfinals

1970-Boston: Lost 4-3 to Montreal in quarterfinals

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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.