NHL Playoffs: The Conference Semifinals 'Seed' Advantage

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NHL Playoffs: The Conference Semifinals 'Seed' Advantage
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Can the No. 1 seed Rangers celebrate a Stanley Cup title?

The next round of the NHL playoffs begins tonight as the first of the four conference semifinals will have Phoenix and Nashville facing off in Phoenix. The matchups for the conference semis are:

No. 2 St. Louis vs. No. 8 Los Angeles

No. 3 Phoenix vs. No. 4 Nashville

No. 1 NY Rangers vs. No. 7 Washington

No. 5 Philadelphia vs. No. 6 New Jersey

Since we have each of the eight seeds represented in the second round, how well has each seed done in previous conference semifinals? Following are the series records of each seed in the second round from 1994 to 2011. (The 1994 playoffs mark the first year the league ranked eight teams from each of the two conferences No. 1 through No. 8, the current playoff format.)  

Notice how the No. 2 seed has the best series record since 1994; also notice how well the No. 6 seed has performed in the second round.


Series Record (series won/lost) of Seeds in Conference Semifinals

No. 1 Seed… 17-8 .680

No. 2 Seed… 14-5 .737

No. 3 Seed… 9-13 .409

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Will playoff history help No. 2 seed Blues?

No. 4 Seed… 11-11 .500

No. 5 Seed… 4-8 .333

No. 6 Seed… 7-5 .583

No. 7 Seed… 4-11 .267

No. 8 Seed… 2-7 .222

Let’s take it a step further. Here are the actual seed matchups from the second round from 1994 to 2011

Conference Semifinals Matchups (by seed) 1994 to 2011

No. 1 vs. No. 4: Series tied at 2-2; No. 1 vs. No. 5: No. 1 has won five series and lost two; No. 1 vs. No. 6: No. 1 has won two series and lost three; No. 1 vs. No. 7: No. 1 has won eight series and lost one.

No. 2 vs. No. 3: No. 2 has won nine series and lost two; No. 2 vs. No. 4: No. 2 has won one series and lost two; No. 2 vs. No. 5: series tied at 1-1; No. 2 vs. No. 8: No. 2 has won all three series.

No. 3 vs. No. 4: No. 3 has won five series and lost three; No. 3 vs. No. 5: No. 3 lost the only series; No. 3 vs. No. 8: No. 3 has won both series.

No. 4 vs. No. 6: Series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 7: series tied at 1-1; No. 4 vs. No. 8: No. 4 has won two series and lost one.

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How dangerous will the No. 6 seed Devils be in the playoffs?

No. 5 vs. No. 6: No. 5 has lost only series; No. 5 vs. No. 8: No. 5 has lost only series.

No. 6 vs. No. 7: Series tied at 2-2.

The results: The higher seed has won 64.7 percent of the NHL conference semifinals series from 1994 to 2011.

As mentioned above, each of the eight seeds (No. 1 through No. 8) have a team playing in the second round. This is the fourth time this has happened in the second round of the playoffs since 1994 (1995, 1999, 2006 and 2010). The No. 2 seed in 2010 and 2006 won the Stanley Cup that year. Could this bode well for the St. Louis Blues?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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