NHL Playoffs First Round: One Of Everything
When the dust finally settled on the first round of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs (only to be ruthlessly flattened by the Zamboni), we were left with the following teams for the conference semifinals:
• Western Conference 1-seed San Jose
• Western Conference 2-seed Chicago
• Western Conference 3-seed Vancouver
• Eastern Conference 4-seed Pittsburgh
• Western Conference 5-seed Detroit
• Eastern Conference 6-seed Boston
• Eastern Conference 7-seed Philadelphia
• Eastern Conference 8-seed Montrea
That's right, each numbered seed went 1-1 in the first round. Since the NHL revamped its playoff structure in 1994, this numerical seeding distribution has happened three times overall in 16 seasons, with the most recent occurrence being in 2006. (Strangely enough, in that year, the Eastern Conference had no upsets, whereas the Western Conference saw nothing but.)
The odds of the second round featuring one of each seed, with all teams being equal is 16 in 136, or is about 12 percent. So after building a 3-1 lead in their series, you can thank the top-seeded Washington Capitals for ending their season with three straight losses to the eight-seeded Montreal Canadiens and effectively skewing the standard deviation. No doubt this is the exact phrasing used by D.C.-area fans critical of Alexander Ovechkin.
Other tidbits: Joe Pavelski is going to become very wealthy this off-season...Ovechkin might now definitively be the second best superstar...the Avalanche got good in a hurry and aren't done. All these things to be discussed over the weekend here at COWAC.