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NHL Conference Parity or Lack Thereof

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Since the lockout, the Western conference has outscored the Eastern conference in head-to-head games every single season.  it doesn't really matter how we slice the data - all games, even-strength only, tied games only - the Western conference is significantly better than the East:

 

 

FEN% GOAL% EV FEN% EV GOAL%
ALL 51.25 51.64 51.02 51.50
TIED 51.31 51.82 51.09 52.34
05-06 to 08-09 51.79 50.36 51.77 51.23
09-10 to 10-11 50.69 53.95 50.23 53.88

 

Overall, the Western conference is roughly a 53% or 54% favorite to win games against the East.  Now, the West seems to have regressed slightly in the last two seasons, at least in terms of puck possession.  But they've also had significantly better goaltending than the East:

 

SH%F SH%A PDO EVSH%F EVSH%A EVPDO
ALL 6.82 6.71 1001 6.11 6.00 1001
TIED 6.42 6.29 1001 5.69 5.41 1003
05-06 to 08-09 6.44 6.81 996 5.74 5.87 999
09-10 to 10-11 6.39 5.60 1008 5.63 4.86 1008

 

In terms of which teams have been very good in inter-conference play, it's pretty obvious when we look at shots and goals with the score tied:

 

Fen% Goal% EV Fen% EV Goal%
Det 56.5 Det 56.7 Det 56.6 NJ 55.8
SJ 53.9 NJ 54.9 SJ 53.2 Det 55.2
NJ 52.3 SJ 54.8 Chi 53.1 SJ 54.9

 

Detroit, New Jersey, San Jose and Chicago have all been very good for at least four of the last six years, so it's not surprising that they'd be at the top of the list.