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Pittsburgh Vs. New York Is Process Vs. PDO

April 13, 2015, 9:11 AM ET [500 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will play each other in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second consecutive season.

The New York Rangers will be justifiably favored heading into this matchup. After all they won the President’s Trophy as the league’s best regular season team.

When using advanced metrics to predict playoff success you are using all the information from past games that is available from the current season and attempting to make sense of it all. Possession is still probably one of the best predictors of future success.

Possession is also better at predicting success over large sample sizes. As we all know playoff series are not a large sample. This is where PDO (percentage driven outcome) comes into play. High shooting/save percentages can overcome poor possession or can bury a team playing well. Any team is capable of getting hot or cold during a single playoff series.

For me this series is a case of process vs. PDO. The Penguins have had a better process than the Rangers for the better part of the 2014-15 season while the Rangers lead the NHL this year with a PDO of 1019.

Here is the 10 game rolling average each team and their ability to possess the puck:

The Rangers are not playing their best hockey of the year. The Penguins despite all their injuries/roster issues have not done as badly as some people think.

PDO can drive perceptions of teams. The following graphic is a great example of this:

The early part of the year the Penguins were considered one of the better teams in the East. Their PDO was consistently above the 1000 mark. As you can see in recent weeks they have fallen off of a cliff. This has given a lot of people the perception that the Penguins are a bad team that is backing into the playoffs. In reality they are still a decent team that was having terrible luck at the wrong time of year. Their PDO was never going to stay that low and it has started to climb back up.

As mentioned above the Rangers are the top PDO team in the NHL. They have been consistently above the 1000 barrier for the entire year. Their league best PDO has done a nice job of hiding the fact that they have the puck less and less in recent weeks.

If the Penguins can possess the puck at similar rates as their regular season numbers and combine it with just an average PDO this will be a close series. If for some reason the New York Rangers PDO drops they may find themselves in bigger trouble than some think.

The Rangers are the favorite, but not by as much as some think.

Thanks for reading!

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