2010 NHL Playoffs: It's Only An Upset If Your Team Loses

Tyler BlouinContributor IApril 16, 2010

WASHINGTON - APRIL 15:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals is pulled down by Brian Gionta #21 of the Montreal Canadiens in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Verizon Center on April 15, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The first games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in the books, and Montreal, Philadelphia, Ottawa, Colorado, and Phoenix all walked away victors of their respective games.

Just about every news outlet, pundit blog, or everyday idiots' Twitter musings are still in awe that the “underdogs” prevailed against their heavily-favored opponents.

Highlighting this pack’s unlikely charge into playoff success was the Canadiens defeating the Capitals 3-2 in overtime of Game One in the best-of-seven series. “Shocked,” “stunned,” and “disbelief” are only a few words plucked from game recap headlines of this match.

However, the game is only an upset victory if your team (or the publicly-favored team) loses.

Comparing shots, hits, blocks, regular season records, or anything else for that matter only gives you half the picture. Many past and current players assert that the playoffs are a season all their own; a fresh start, a clean slate.

Nobody predicted that Alex Ovechkin would not get a single shot off in the first playoff game, mostly because they’re blinded by his incredible scoring pace during the regular season. But again, we’re in a different kind of season.

As a professional number cruncher, I can say with 95 percent confidence that statistics can imply, suggest, or justify almost anything. More importantly, the numbers and scenarios are rarely 100 percent accurate.

So reserve caution when reading The Hockey News, TSN, ESPN, Sportsnet, the Washington Post, Unplucked Sports , or MSNBC . Predictions are only predictions and they're solely based on an individual’s assertion that their statistics are the sound devices of determining success.

The fact of the matter is: The winner will be determined by the best offense, defense, goaltending, and coaching of each game in each series until one team hoists the Cup above the rest.

Tyler Blouin for Unplucked Sports <> Follow us: twitter.com/unpluckedsports