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04-11-2012, 10:40 AM
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From ESPN Insider:

Sometime in the early 1980s, Bill James of "Moneyball" fame noted that a baseball team's true strength could largely be determined more accurately by looking at runs scored and runs allowed than by looking at wins and losses. To be more specific, he found that one can predict future win-loss records more accurately using only past runs scored and runs allowed, as opposed to using only past wins and losses. The same can be said for hockey using goals-for and goals-against. Here is the formula, known as the Pythagorean win expectation: Goals for^2 divided by (Goals for^2+ Goals against^2).

For example, when this year's President Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks scored 249 goals and gave up 198, using the Pythagorean formula we could expect them to win 60.6 percent of their games, or 50 wins. They ended the season with 51.

Knowing a team's Pythagorean win expectation also allows us to figure out who is more likely to win in a head-to-head matchup over a seven-game series. Over Vancouver's last 35 games they scored 72 goals while giving up 55 -- almost identical to the Los Angeles Kings (71-57), their first-round opponent -- making this matchup almost a coin flip, albeit one in Los Angeles' favor.

There can be no doubt the Kings have goaltending good enough for an upset over the Vancouver Canucks. Jonathan Quick had 10 shutouts in the regular season, which led the league, and he had another 15 games where he allowed two goals or fewer and suffered the loss.

It is still unclear if Vancouver will be without Daniel Sedin, who led the Canucks with 30 goals before being elbowed by Duncan Keith in a loss to Chicago on March 21. Sedin was back at practice Monday, but if he doesn't return to the lineup, expect Vancouver's power play (which is 2-for-35 in the past nine games) to continue to struggle.

Chance of Los Angeles Kings winning series: 53 percent

Prediction: Kings in seven.

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