After three seemingly never ending nights without hockey, the playoffs are finally upon us, with the Habs and Sens, and Caps and Isles set to kick off the postseason tonight at 7. As in years past I’m going to be posting predictions for each matchup as well as overall cup odds throughout the playoffs. Unlike the last 2 years, however, I’m using a new (and hopefully improved) model to predict how well each team will do.

This new model is based partly on work that I’ve completed and written about in the past (for example, a major element is Score Adjusted Weighted Shots), and partly on work that I’ve done but haven’t written about. I’ll hopefully get into more detail on the model later, but at a high level the key factors are:

- 5v5 Score Adjusted Weighted Shots For Per 60 (over the last 25 games)
- 5v5 Score Adjusted Weighted Shots Against Per 60 (over the last 25 games)
- Penalties Drawn Per 60 (full season)
- Penalties Taken Per 60 (full season)
- Powerplay Weighted Shot Differential Per 60 (full season)
- Penalty Kill Weighted Shot Differential Per 60 (full season)

Both the Powerplay and Penalty Kill shot weights are different from the even strength weights, but the principles used in deriving the weights are the same. All these factors are scaled against league average and then used to determine each team’s advantage on offense, defense and special teams. Based on these advantages we can predict each team’s likelihood of defeating their opponent in a single game, and extrapolate these single game numbers to find a total series probability.

So who does our new model think will be accepting the Cup from Gary Bettman this spring?