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Hawks-Flyers Scoring Chances through Game 5

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If you haven't been following Scott Reynolds' analysis of the Stanley Cup Finals, you're really missing out.  Scott watches every scoring chance and I think he comes away with a better understanding of what happened in the game than anybody else. 

I made a table of even-strength scoring chances recorded for the Chicago Blackhawks by Scott and his scoring chance compatriots over the course of the season and the playoffs.  You can see the difference between playing against playoff teams and playing against a mix of Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Minnesota and Colorado:


PHI 5 72 80 47.4 14.4 16.0
SJ 4 53 53 50.0 13.3 13.3
VAN 6 89 80 52.7 14.8 13.3
SEASON 13 203 136 59.9 15.6 10.5


Now there are some small score effects in the San Jose and Vancouver series (not that there weren't during the season when Chicago was dominant) but the Hawks have simply underperformed in the playoffs.  During the regular season they controlled 55% of the chances against teams of Philadelphia's caliber.  No matter - they are just that much better than everyone else, and the odds of them winning the Stanley Cup are, at worst, 75%.


There seems to be some question about whether Philadelphia should start Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher.  The answer is that it doesn't matter - over their careers, Leighton averages 0.08 more saves per 30 shots.  That's as close to even as we can get.  Remember, both of these guys are probably worse than Marty Turco or Martin Gerber or Manny Legace, so it's not like there's some high probability of one of them pulling off a shutout.  So Peter Laviolette should flip a coin, pick one, and then make all kinds of bogus claims about why it was the right choice - if the Flyers win, he'll be a genius.