NHL Playoff Preview 2010

NHL PLAYOFF PREVIEW 2010

Whatifsports.com presents its 2010 NHL Playoff Preview. Below is the main bracket and round-by-round series breakdown. To the right of the bracket is our stats table explaining each NHL playoff team's chances of winning each round including the Stanley Cup.

We simulated the entire playoff 2,001 times using the current season rosters and statistics. Home ice advantage is taken into account. Average wins and losses per series are indicated in the bracket. Team-by-team breakdowns are below the bracket. To toggle between rounds, click the appropriate link

You can simulate any game in the playoffs yourself using our "NHL Sim Matchup" feature. In addition, create your own
"NHL Dream Team" of past and present players. It's all free!

1
8
Capitals
Canadiens
4
0
4
5
Penguins
Senators
4
2
3
6
Sabres
Bruins
4
1
2
7
Devils
Flyers
4
1
1
8
Sharks
Avs
4
2
4
5
Coyotes
Red Wings
4
3
3
6
Canucks
Kings
4
3
2
7
Blackhawks
Predators
4
2
1
4
Capitals
Penguins
4
1
3
2
Sabres
Devils
3
4
1
4
Sharks
Coyotes
4
2
3
2
Canucks
Blackhawks
3
4
1
2
Capitals
Devils
4
2
1
2
Sharks
Blackhawks
3
4
1
2
Capitals
Blackhawks
4
2

WINNING PERCENTAGES

Eastern Conference
Seed/Team 1st Round Conf. Semifinals Conf.Finals Cup Winner
1 Washington
96.78% 93.25% 70.55% 50.92%
2 New Jersey
91.10% 54.60% 16.41% 8.44%
3 Buffalo
79.60% 39.26% 11.50% 5.21%
4 Pittsburgh
81.28% 10.90% 1.53% 0.15%
6 Boston
20.39% 1.53% 0.00% 0.00%
5 Ottawa
18.71% 0.15% 0.00% 0.00%
7 Philadelphia
8.90% 0.15% 0.00% 0.00%
8 Montreal
3.22% 0.15% 0.00% 0.00%
Western Conference
Seed/Team 1st Round Conf. Semifinals Conf.Finals Cup Winner
2 Chicago
87.88% 58.28% 31.90% 12.12%
1 San Jose
76.07% 51.84% 28.37% 10.49%
3 Vancouver
69.02% 36.20% 20.86% 6.60%
4 Phoenix
73.01% 28.07% 10.74% 2.45%
6 Los Angeles
30.98% 11.35% 5.06% 0.92%
8 Colorado
23.92% 5.06% 1.53% 0.46%
7 Nashville
12.12% 3.53% 0.46% 0.00%
5 Detroit
26.99% 5.67% 1.1% 0.00%
Washington Capitals
Pittsburgh Penguins
1
4
Capitals
Penguins
4
1
Capitals
Record: 54-15-13
Analysis: With two players tallying more than 100 points and two more with at least 75, Washington seems to be the prohibitive favorite after its most prolific season in franchise history. Alex Ovechkin eclipsed the 50-goal mark for the fourth time and Nicklas Backstrom followed him to 100 points as the Capitals scored more than 3.8 goals per game. That''s about half a goal more than anyone else in the league. The only question at this point is who will be between the pipes. The Capitals haven''t announced whether they''ll go with Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov in net to start the playoffs. However, with their offense, it may not matter.

Penguins
Record: 47-28-7
Analysis: Sidney Crosby is still there. So are Evgeni Malkin and the usual Pittsburgh Penguins'' suspects that helped the franchise to its third Stanley Cup championship a year ago. But a repeat run is going to take a bit more consistency than the Penguins have shown this year as well as victories over the East''s top teams that proved elusive during the regular season. Crosby, again with more than 100 points, had himself in the race in just about every individual offensive category. But goalie Marc-Andre Fleury needs to get hot for a Pittsburgh team that went just 0-8-2 against Washington and New Jersey this year.

Player of the series: Capitals - Nicklas Backstrom (4 goals, 4 assists)

Chances of Winning Conference Semifinals: Capitals 93.25% - Penguins 10.90%
Buffalo Sabres
New Jersey Devils
3
2
Sabres
Devils
3
4
Sabres
Record: 45-27-10
Analysis: Ryan Miller doesn''t have the years of experience like Martin Brodeur, but he''s got the numbers that could make a potential second-round matchup with New Jersey interesting and the Sabres dangerous in the playoffs. The United States'' goalie during its Olympic run, Miller ranks second in the league in save percentage and goals allowed and is obviously used to pressure-packed situations. The Sabres are lacking huge numbers on offense individually, but Thomas Vanek proved he''s still got it with four goals in a game last week and if Miller gets that kind of help, Buffalo is a legitimate contender.

Devils
Record: 48-27-7
Analysis: There''s no goalie question in Jersey. If a Stanley Cup is in the cards for the Devils this time around, Martin Brodeur will take them there for a fourth time. The all-time leader in wins and shutouts, amongst plenty of other marks, simply kept adding to those totals all season, leading the league in both categories. And no team gave up fewer goals per game than New Jersey, which bodes well for left wings Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise, who each scored more than 80 points. But all eyes will be on Brodeur, who beat Washington three times in four meetings this season.

Player of the series: Devils - Travis Zajac (4 Goals, 1 assist)

Chances of Winning Conference Semifinals: Devils 54.60% - Sabres 39.26%
San Jose Sharks
Phoenix Coyotes
1
4
Sharks
Coyotes
4
2
Sharks
Record: 51-20-11
Analysis: Keep the "Big Line" together or split them up? That seems to be the question. Veteran Joe Thornton appears to be healthy and ready for the playoffs and with Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley on either side of him, the San Jose Sharks have perhaps the best line in the NHL. All three have eclipsed the 80-point mark this season and Marleau and Heatley are amongst the top 10 goal-scorers in the league. But some have questioned whether the Sharks should split the three up to even out the talent level amongst all lines with the Sharks looking to erase the memory of last year''s early-round exit.

Coyotes
Record: 50-25-7
Analysis: Who will take over as the new owner of the Coyotes? Will they stay in Arizona? Those are the questions off of the ice. On it, it''s all about whether Phoenix will make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Since relocating from Winnipeg in 1996, the Coyotes have made the playoffs five times but have never won a series. If they''re going to this time, netminder Ilya Bryzgalov will lead them there. In his third season in Phoenix, Bryzgalov has posted his best career numbers, making up for the fact that the Coyotes rank near the bottom of the league in goals per game.

Player of the series: Sharks - Joe Thorton (2 goals, 6 assists)

Chances of Winning Conference Semifinals: Sharks 51.84% - Coyotes 28.07%
Vancouver Canucks
Chicago Blackhawks
3
2
Canucks
Blackhawks
3
4
Canucks
Record: 49-28-5
Analyis: The fate of Vancouver in the Stanley Cup playoffs may not rest with anything that the Canucks can control. Instead, it could come down to keeping their defensemen in the lineup. While most of their late-season injuries don''t appear to be completely devastating, a handful of blue-liners were listed as day-to-day as the season came to a close. With those depletions and goalie Roberto Luongo seemingly taking a step back, it will be up to the Sedin brothers - Henrik and Daniel - and Ryan Kesler to put up enough offense to erase those concerns.

Blackhawks
Record: 52-22-8
Analysis: Chicago ended a decade-long span of NHL obscurity by reaching the Western Conference Finals a year ago. One year later, it parlayed that success into a record-breaking season. The Blackhawks notched franchise marks in both points and victories this season and won a division crown for the first time in nearly 20 years. With youngster Patrick Kane propelling the offense, they have the firepower to make a run to their first Stanley Cup in almost half a century, but it could come down to goaltending. Antti Niemi has the hot glove after wrestling the starting gig from Cristobal Huet.

Player of the series: Blackhawks - Jonathan Toews (3 goals, 4 assists)

Chances of Winning Conference Semifinals: Blackhawks 58.28% - Canucks 36.20%

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